But since lately I’m really into exploring Poland and especially its eastern part and since I had a free day this Saturday I’ve decided to go for a small daytrip and visit Augustów – a town close to the Lithuanian border, with long and rich history and famous for its location between lakes and forests. Sounds like a perfect summer destination for crowds, right? I was expecting to see lots of people everywhere and ubiquitous Polish kitsch on every step. I must admit I didn’t have my hopes all that high but still wanted to visit Augustów and hopefully relax by the lake a little bit.
The first surprise came right after arriving to the Białe Augustowskie lake, close from the train station. There were not that many people or the infrastructure and the shore was a wild one, covered in grass. The water in the lake was incredible clear and of amazing colour, that’s actually how it got its name (Białe means “white” in Polish). I immediately fell in love with this place and I knew I wanna spend more time there, just relaxing. But there were other places in Augustów that I still had to explore!
While Białe Augustowskie lake is a little bit of the center of Augustów there’s another big and beautiful lake right in the middle of the city – Necko. There’s a really lovely walking path through the forest offering amazing views of the lake every now and then. Closer to the center two city beaches with big piers to sunbath on are located. And even if there were quite some people it still wasn’t overcrowded and looked like a good place to spend a decent summer day in. It was much more commercial than on the other lake – there was loud music playing, couple of stands with drinks and candies, kayaks or paddle boats to rent or gondola trips on the lake… all your typical water activities.
There was a really pleasant promenade next to the water, leading from the beach on the Necko lake to the center. The whole waterfront was all renovated and really enjoyable place for a walk. The center of Augustów wasn’t bad either, I’d say it was a typical town in that part of Poland plus couple of touristic stands with souvenirs and tours. All in all a nice place to hang out in for a while, grab a lunch (and one of the most delicious ice cream ever!) but lakes are definitely the best thing Augustów has to offer!
On the way back to the Białe Augustowskie lake, where I wanted to spend my remaining time in this town, I passed the beginning of the Augustów Canal. It was built at the beginning of XIXth century and is quite an achievement in the technical history. The Canal is 101 kms long, 82 of which are in Poland, the rest in Belarus; there are 18 locks and 22 sluices on it. I was lucky to see how the water was pumped so the boat could go through – such an interesting thing to observe! I think it would be actually pretty cool to go for the boat ride in the Augustów Canal, all the way to Belarus!
The only bad thing about Augustów is the main international road connecting Lithuania and Baltic States with the rest of Europe going through the city. It was crazy, there were so many trucks with licence plates from all over the continent, going one after another… At some points crossing that strip was a big challenge! There were plans to build a ringroad around Augustów but since the nature there is so amazingly beautiful and untouched people were against that, there were really big protests going on and the decision was suspended. And while I was annoyed by the traffic and I feel really sorry for locals dealing with it on daily basis I support the protests big time!
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Since I had only less than 6 hours to spend in Augustów (and the train from Warsaw took 4.5 hours one way, crazy me!) I didn’t have much time left to relax. But still I managed to hang out at the wild shore of Białe Augustowskie lake, lieing on the blanket, reading a book, chatting with a friend, staring at the beautiful landscape in front of my eyes, drinking a beer or two and just recharging my batteries. I really needed this short trip and I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s such a beautiful part of Poland I wish I had explored it before. But now I’m definitely gonna catch up and while it was my first visit in Augustów I’m sure I’ll return there sooner than later….
Do you like spending time by the lake?
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Polish countryside my friends have a lovely cottage in the heart of Masuria Great Lakes – click here for more details!
If you think of visiting Poland or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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