In North-East Poland, close to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Mazuria, the “land of a thousand lakes”, stretches from South to North, a network of lakes, canals and rivers fringed by great forests of pine, oak and silver birch. A nature-lover's paradise, the whole area boasts a rich fauna: lynx, deer, bison, wolves, wild boar, beavers as well as a wide range of birds, such as swans, cormorants and grey herons. Mazuria, which until World War 2 was part of East Prussia, was converted to Christianity by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. During your cruise you will be able to see their ruined castles atop many hills, and specially at Gizycko, Worgorzeno and Ryn. The little towns along your route have been popular since the 1920s for their boating, fishing and bathing, and there are many festivals and concerts during the summer months.
Between Ruciane Nida and Mikolajki do visit the Wildlife Park at Kadzidlowo. As well as the zoo, you can see inside a beautifully restored traditional house. At Gizycko, the vast fortress of Fort Boyen stands as a reminder of Poland's troubled past. Further north, the little town of Wegorzewo on Lake Mamry is only 20km from the Russian frontier; it's an attractive place to visit
both for its many craft workshops and for the sandy beach at Ogonki 7km south-east.