Wigry is one of the best lakes in Poland

12 Best Lakes in Poland to Visit in 2024

Poland is a country full of natural beauty, from mountains to lakes. With almost 10000 total lakes, the best lakes in Poland can be hard to choose. It is likely that wherever you travel in Poland, you will not be far from a lake. One region of Poland, Masuria, is even known as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes: while hosting around 2,600 total lakes densely packed into the northeast of Poland.  

Of course, many of these lakes are small and not worth a dedicated visit. But, if you enjoy relaxing on a lake, whether through boating, swimming, fishing, or hiking around the perimeter, Poland has the lakes to fulfill all your lake tourism wishes. In fact, the brilliance and beauty of Masuria means you can even make a trip to Poland solely for lake tourism. However, there are many lakes near major cities of Poland that are also worth a visit as part of your itinerary to the Polish cities. 

This list attempts to encompass the 12 most unique and beautiful lakes in Poland, whether due to beauty, a unique feature, location, historical significance, or the amount of tourism facilities around the lake. Many of these lakes will be in Masuria, but there are some spread throughout other parts of Poland, but mostly in the northern parts of the country. For this reason, it is likely you will need to rent a car so you can explore some of these lakes to their fullest potential. 

My guide will include a short description of each of the 12 lakes on this list. I will go into specific detail on what the main attractions of the lake are, and what cities are near the lake, so you know the best place to stay the night or grab a bite to eat. I will additionally include some travel information, including weather, and some notes I have from my own visits to over half of the lakes on this list. I hope you will find the lake (or lakes) you want to visit most on this list! 

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1. Morskie Oko

Location | Lesser Poland 

Description: Morskie Oko is perhaps Poland’s most famous and popular lake. Located high in the Tatra Mountains near the Polish border with Slovakia, this lake is not what you might imagine when thinking of Poland. It is a crystal-clear beautiful blue lake surrounded by rugged mountains, lush green forests, and covered in snow throughout the winter. This unique beauty explains its massive popularity, with nearly a million people hiking out to the lake each year. 

Morskie Oko
Morskie Oko. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

The lake itself is not massive, and you will not be able to take part in traditional lake tourism. No fishing, swimming, or boating is allowed. But you can take a slow walk around the edge of the lake and admire the beauty, take lots of photos, and have a nice picnic meal. The hike itself is overall easy, paved most of the way with a gradual slope, hence why you will see all ages complete the hike, even parents pushing their kids in strollers. It is worth it, Morskie Oko is popular for a reason; I think it is the perhaps the most beautiful spot in all of Poland. 

Attractions: Morskie Oko itself is an attraction within Tatra National Park. Thus, if you want to extend your trip to the lake, all you must do is take a longer hike somewhere around the lake. The most popular choice is hiking up to Czarny Staw pod Rysy, which is a small pond a very strenuous extra 15-20 minutes above Morskie Oko, which supplies the best views of the lake in my opinion. If you are extra adventurous, you can continue past the pond up to Rysy itself, which is Poland’s tallest mountain, shared with Slovakia. 

If you do not feel like having an extra adventure, you can hang out at the Morskie Oko Lodge, found at the end of the trail right along the lake. Here, you will find everything you need, including delicious Polish food, beer, an ATM, flush toilets, and picnic tables. Naturally, the lodge gets quite busy, so you might have to wait for your food a bit depending on when you arrive.  

Cities: The most popular city near Morskie Oko is the well-regarded resort town Zakopane. Zakopane is a wonderful place to visit on its own whether in the summer or the winter. Morskie Oko and Zakopane are a package deal in many ways, it is likely you plan to do both when you want to do one. Zakopane has lots of lodging and delicious restaurants, and buses leave for Morskie Oko very often. 

If you want to stay in a less busy city, consider either the village of Małe Ciche or the small town of Nowy Targ. Małe Ciche is closer to Morskie Oko than Zakopane, and due to its small size stays less busy. But it is still popular due to the presence of a ski resort in the village. Nowy Targ is a bit farther away from the Tatras, but still close enough for stunning views. You will also be able to get cheaper lodging here if you are staying on more of a budget. 

Weather: The weather at Morskie Oko stays quite mild during the summer and is below freezing most of the winter. There will also be snowfall most of the winter as well, making the hike a bit slower. No matter the season, always check the webcam supplied to get an idea of the weather at the top, since it is vastly different than the weather when you start the hike. 

January April July October December 
-1/-6 (30/21) 5/0 (41/32) 15/9 (59/48) 7/2 (45/36) 0/-5 (32/23) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Morskie Oko naturally has some of the coldest temperatures of the lakes on this list, given its much higher elevation. So, make sure to bring a jacket with you no matter the season, and be prepared for snow for a good chunk of the season! Also come prepared with the basics for a hike, such as water, some sort of map, bandages, and a flashlight. 

Also note that due to its popularity, it is best to get to Morskie Oko as early as you can. Beating the crowds is worth it, as you can enjoy a bit more peace both on the walk up, and around the lake. For a full guide to everything you might want to know about Morskie Oko, read the guide I wrote earlier here

2. Jezioro Śniardwy

Location | Warmia-Masuria 

Description: Śniardwy is a large lake found in the far northeast of Poland, within the famous lake region of Masuria. Although small by the standard of the great lakes of the world, it still has an impressive size, and is Poland’s largest lake, covering 114 sq km (44 sq mi). Its ovular shape means you can see any end of the lake from all parts of the lake. This also means it is a good place for sailing, with strong winds occasionally getting up to speeds of 130 km/h (about 80 mph).  

Śniardwy, for a large lake, is relatively quiet, as only small villages and hamlets dot the coastline here. Thus, you can enjoy some privacy at some of the sandy beaches along the shore. However, there are many spots full of reeds, due to the shallowness of the lake. Thus, fishing is also a great possibility. Overall, while Śniardwy is not flashy in any way, it supplies everything you should want in a lake, from swimming to tanning to sailing.  

Lake Śniardwy
Lake Śniardwy. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Attractions: The main attractions of the lake are spread around the lengthy shore of the lake. There are a few nice beaches to enjoy, such as the one at Suchy Rog, featured on our best beaches in Poland, or at the small town of Nowe Guty. You can also enjoy a stellar view at Śniardwy Lookout, a dock on the north shore that costs a small fee and gives a good view. The best place to get free views is along the south shore near Nowe Guty, much of the lake is quite far away from solid roads unfortunately. 

If you want to get out on the water, there is the option to rent boats in Nowe Guty. Or you can go to the larger town of Mikołajki, which has many boat rental places. From there, you can sail through the canals connecting the two lakes of Mikołajki to Śniardwy. There is also the possibility that a hotel or house you rent along the lake will have boats available for rental or usage. As Śniardwy is best enjoyed on the water, I recommend getting out on a boat if you can. 

Cities: As mentioned before, the lakeside is sparsely populated, with only a few small villages here and there. Thus, the best way to stay at Śniardwy is probably camping, as there are many campgrounds on the shore. If you want a hotel, Nowe Guty has a nice resort. However, the best city is the previously mentioned Mikołajki has many resorts, including one with an indoor water park, and lots of restaurants and grocery stores. Even though it is not on Śniardwy itself, the lake is not too long of a drive away. 

Weather: The weather for Śniardwy is typical of Masuria, and you will see similar temperatures for many other lakes on this list. Masuria is freezing in the winter, with mildly warm summers full of thunderstorms and higher humidity (and lots of bugs!). 

January April July October December 
0/-5 (32/23) 12/3 (54/37) 23/14 (73/57) 11/5 (52/41) 1/-3 (34/27) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Śniardwy, of all the lakes I visited in Masuria, was the least accessible despite its size. It is worth a stop as you tour Masuria for sure, but you might struggle to find a place to stay along the lake unless you book well in advance. There will probably be less people speaking English here too, I did not meet anyone except Poles while exploring Nowe Guty and the lakeshore. 

3. Jezioro Mamry

Location | Warmia-Masuria 

Description: Found about a 15-minute drive from Poland’s border with Russia (but this area is totally secure, so nothing to worry about), Mamry is Poland’s second largest lake, also found in Masuria. Mamry is connected to many other lakes of Poland through a series of canals, making it a great place to take a longer boating adventure. Its remoteness also makes it a peaceful place to visit. Even if it were not uncrowded, its beauty still requires a visit if you can make it.  

The lake is a shallow one on average, with the northern parts of the lake being deeper than the southern parts. The lake is surrounded by forests, with the shore full of reeds and other vegetation. Here and there, there are small sandy beaches where you can swim in the refreshing water of Mamry or take a kayak out onto the water. Overall, Mamry is one of the best lakes in Masuria, and in Poland, and is worth a visit.  

Mamry lake in Poland
Mamry is very close to the Russian border – but safe! Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Attractions: Unlike the earlier entry on this list, there are quite a few things to do around the lake. First, you can take advantage of two great beaches. The first is Plaża Publiczna, which I got the chance to visit. It is a quiet beach at the far north of the lake, with a wooden pier and small sandy beach. There is a free parking lot with a small snack bar, toilets, and changing stations. The lake here is peaceful and shallow, and great for swimming.

For the more popular beach, visit Plaża Miejska Mamry, which is a protected swimming hole with a small sandy strip, a concrete barrier wall to walk on, and a bar. It is well served by bike paths from nearby cities. If you want to do something else near the lake, you could visit the Museum of Folk Culture in Węgorzewo. This museum tells the history of the people who lived on Mamry’s shores for centuries, through art, household equipment, art, and more. You can also explore the Ethnographic Park next door to see how people in the area used to live.  

A final worthy attraction is the Mamry Bunker Museum. Located next to the abandoned Masurian Canal along the lakeshore, this complex was built by German Nazi forces during WWII and is better preserved than almost any other bunker system left from this era. A conspiracy against Hitler was conducted here, and you can learn about this and more about the war at this informative museum that is closely connected to the lake. 

Cities: The only city of note close to Mamry is Węgorzewo, a riverfront town of about 11 thousand, once home to a Teutonic castle. It is a beautiful town full of gothic and baroque architecture, and all the facilities you might want in a city of its size. Węgorzewo is unfortunately not served by train service most of the year, so taking a long bus or renting a car is necessary. 

Other than that, there are only small villages along the lake, and even then, there are only a few of these. Camping is a possibility, but this would require a car for sure. One place to try is the small village of Kal, which has more resorts and guesthouses for a village of its size. Kal is nestled between Mamry and Jezioro Święcajty, so you can get twice the lakes for the price of one. 

Weather: The weather for Mamry is almost identical to other lakes in Masuria, with cold winters and mild summers.  

January April July October December 
0/-5 (32/23) 13/3 (55/37) 23/13 (73/55) 11/4 (52/39) 1/-3 (34/27) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Explore the west side of the lake if you can! It is quieter and scenic. There are fewer places to swim, but that contributes to the quiet. If you want the full experience, stay in a guesthouse on this side of the lake. 

4. Jezioro Wigry

Location | Podlaskie 

Description: Wigry is the wildest lake on this list yet, found in a quiet corner of Poland near its borders with Lithuania and Belarus. The lake is surrounded by dense forests, and full of islands to explore. It is a great place for sailing (motorboats are banned) and fishing, with dozens of fish species swimming through the calm waters of the lake. The lake is both large and deep, which contributes to it being a great place to indulge in lake tourism. 

Wigry is one of the wildest lakes in Poland and one side is protected as a national park. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Wigry is shaped like the letter s, so exploring it requires taking many beautiful country roads down the many peninsulas jutting into the lake. Its beauty explains why most of the west side of the lake is protected as part of Wigry National Park, which is full of massive forests perfect for a hike, or to take a boat out at one of their docks. All in all, the rugged beauty of Wigry makes it worth a visit, despite its remote location. 

Attractions: There are quite a few attractions along the lakeside of Wigry, starting with Wigry National Park. The best place to explore the park is to the far west of the lake, near the village of Gawrych Ruda. Here there are many trails, ample parking, a dock, and other ponds to explore. During the winter, this area is also a great place to snowshoe or cross-country ski, with defined trails marked thoroughly through the areas. 

Near the park are also a few other beautiful spots. I recommend driving down the gravel road to Wieża Widokowa w Kruszniku. This brand-new wooden view tower supplies great views of Wigry from the top. Close to this there is the Wigry Narrow-Gauge Railway, which claims to be one of the narrowest rails in the world. This 2.5-hour journey takes you slowly through the forests, and to a couple of places to view the lake and is especially a great activity for children. 

However, maybe the coolest place to see is Wigry Monastery, found on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Wigry. Here you can tour the monastery and admire the beauty of the building. You can also have a meal, or even stay the night if you choose to. Admission is less than 20 PLN, plus an added 10 PLN for parking. I wish that I had gotten the chance to visit, and given that kings and popes have visited, I recommend you visit too if you have the time. 

Cities: the closest major city to Wigry is Suwałki, found in the triangle between Lithuania and Belarus. With about 70 thousand residents, there is everything you need here, from lodging, to food, to attractions. It is also well served by bus services from Warsaw, as they make their way to the Baltics. There is also a train service, although it can take a good amount of time to get here from Warsaw or Olsztyn.  

However, Suwałki is not directly on the lake. If you want to spend time directly on the lake, one possibility is Bryzgiel. Bryzgiel is a small village on the southern shores of Wigry, but houses many restaurants and guesthouses, with beach and boat access at a small port in the city. On the other side of the lake, you can stay in Stary Folwark, which has many guesthouses, camping, and a city beach, as well as views of the monastery. If neither of these options work, there are many campgrounds along the shores, and you cannot go wrong picking any of them. 

Weather: The weather at Wigry is a little bit colder than other lakes in this part of Poland, due to its farther distance from the sea’s regulating powers. It can get cold in winter, so the best time to visit is late spring to early fall. 

January April July October December 
-2/-7 (28/19) 12/2 (54/36) 23/12 (73/54) 10/3 (50/37) 0/-4 (32/25) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: I recommend giving yourself at least half of a day to explore this area if you are taking a road trip through Masuria. There is so much to do around the lake, and barely anyone around to bother you, so enjoy the lake as much as you can! It is also a great place to drive on some beautiful country roads of Poland.  

As mentioned previously, Wigry is part of Wigry National Park, which means much of the lake front is protected. This also means you need to buy a ticket to see much of what is along the lake. A ticket for the day only costs 9 PLN, or 4.5 PLN reduced. There are QR codes to buy the tickets at various places throughout the park, although these require the ability to pay via bank transfer. You can also buy tickets at the ranger’s center, which also has lots of information and maps. 

5. Jezioro Jamno

Location | West Pomerania 

Description: Lake Jamno is our first lake on the list outside of the Masuria or the mountains. It is a coastal lake found right next to the beautiful Baltic Sea, which makes up most of Poland’s northern border. It is only separated from the Baltic by a small strip of land now populated by small villages perfect for tourism. Due to its proximity to the sea, and it being connected by a canal, this lake has more saltwater in it than the average lake would, meaning it is not as good for swimming as other lakes on this list. 

However, the lake’s size and relative calmness make it extremely popular for sailing and other watersports. Or you can sit on the outside of the lake and admire its beauty. Regardless of what you choose, Jamno offers the best of both worlds of Poland, both sea tourism and non-sea tourism. You should take advantage of this.  

Attractions: As far as Jamno goes, the attraction is Jamno itself. The cities and towns surrounding the lake will have some touristy places, but the lake itself has everything you need for a good time. One attraction that is available is that you can rent boats in many of the villages and enjoy sailing across the lake. While doing this, fishing is also available. On the shore, there are many places to sunbath, and maybe take a quick dip, although I would recommend instead taking advantage of the sandy Baltic beaches right next door for swimming purposes. 

However, the main highlight of Jamno is biking. Most people who come to Jamno participate in some sort of bike tourism, and there are many places to rent bikes for a few hours, or the entire day. If you really feel up for it, you can bike your way around the entire lake, there are small roads and lanes available to bike on. Be warned that in some seasons, the paths closest to the lake might be flooded, so check the weather conditions before planning your bike trip. 

Cities: If you are visiting Jamno, there are quite a few cities that you could choose from. The main one is the town of Koszalin. Koszalin has the advantage that it is served by coastal train routes from major cities in the Polish north, such as Szczecin and Gdańsk, and is only about 5 hours from Warsaw by train. Given its size, and the fact that it is not directly on the coast, you will be able to find some cheaper lodging and food by staying in Koszalin. The downside is that you will need to be able to commute to the lake, although with some motivation it is even possible to do this by bike. 

If you want to stay on the lake, you have a few options. The best options are three of the cities on the narrow strip of land between Jamno and the Baltic. The small towns of Unieście, Mielno, and Łazy are probably the three most popular. There are many lakeside and seaside apartments and hotels to choose from, an extensive bike trail along the lake, and lots of beautiful nature. Consider booking here much in advance due to these towns’ popularity.  

Weather: As is typical of the Polish seaside, the weather at Jamno is a little bit warmer than the rest of Poland in the winter, and a little bit colder than the rest of Poland in the summer. Even when it is cold, the Polish Baltic coast is stunning, so do not skip Jamno even if you are coming in the winter! 

January April July October December 
2/-3 (36/27) 12/3 (54/37) 22/13 (72/55) 12/6 (54/43) 3/-1 (37/30) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: The Polish coast on the Baltic Sea is one of the most beautiful spots in the entire country! Coming to this lake counts as both a Polish lake trip and sea trip, so you can maximize what you see all at once. I will also say that the Polish seaside can be quite expensive, especially in the summer. So, going to the seaside might not be the budget trip you might have expected for your planned trip to Poland. 

6. Jezioro Ełk 

Location | Warmia-Masuria 

Description: Lake Ełk (pronounced Ehwk) is a small, but deep lake found in the heart of Masuria. What makes this lake worth a visit is the medium-sized bustling town of Ełk, found on the east side of the lake. This town is a lovely place to stay and supplies everything you need to enjoy the lake. While the lake is small, it has amazing scenery, and features one of the best sunsets I have ever seen. 

Because the lake is deep, there is the chance for fishing too. And because the lake is small, there is also a chance to boat. Motors are allowed, but sailing or kayaking is the best way to go. While on the lake, you can admire the beautiful buildings of Ełk, sail under a few picturesque bridges, and then enjoy a beer after you are done. All in all, Ełk is an idyllic lake worth a visit if you are in the area. 

Lake Ełk during sunset
Lake Ełk during sunset. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Attractions: Most of the attractions of the lake are on the east side of the lake. Here, you can walk along the Ełk Promenade, enjoying the views of the lake while eating an ice cream, or you can rent a bike and bike along the promenade. There are also places to rent boats here. As you walk along the promenade, you can also stop at the city beach and play some beach volleyball, or climb up the accompanying view tower, and take in a sunset over the lake. 

Another popular activity on Ełk is kayaking. The Ełk River flows into the southside of the river, and is shallow and slow, making it easy to kayak through the beautiful forests. You start next to some villages and will likely be greeted by village people or kids. Depending on which service you use depends on how far in the lake you start, or how far the river you end up. I used this service, although be warned the owner did not speak English. But he was very nice and accommodating, and we used Google Translate where necessary to get everything done! 

Kayaking on Ełk lake
Poland Insiders writer Jeremy is kayaking on Ełk.

Cities: The main city along the lake is the previously mentioned city of Ełk. Ełk is the historic capital of Masuria, and hosts over 60 thousand residents. There are lots of nice hotels and inns to stay at here. The city is walkable and full of delicious food and many of the lake’s main attractions. It is also served by bus and train from surrounding larger cities, making it easy to get to. Within the city, a car is not necessary, but getting there, you might want a car to speed things up. 

Weather: The weather for Ełk is typical of Masuria. I stayed here, and it was quite humid, so come prepared for that, and make sure to get lodging with a fan or air-conditioning.  

January April July October December 
-2/-6 (29/21) 12/2 (54/36)  23/12 (73/55) 11/3 (51/38) 0/-5 (32/24) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Ełk is a very lovely lake and town! I really recommend making this a part of your itinerary as one of many lakes to see in Masuria. Having a car is nice, but I think Ełk is the easiest city in Masuria other than Olsztyn to get around in without a car. It is large, but not too large, and has buses that run too.  

7. Jezioro Gopło

Location | Kuyavia-Pomerania 

Description: Lake Gopło is a narrow lake, like the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. It is located a little bit south of the Vistula River close to where it runs through Bydgoszcz and Toruń. It is also only a short drive after a 2-hour train ride from Warsaw. Thus, the location of Gopło makes it a convenient lake to take a trip to from many major cities in Poland, compared to the relative remoteness of Masuria and some of the other lakes on this list.  

With many miles of shoreline despite its small size, there is lots to explore. The lake is very easy to boat on, and is full of European catfish, the largest fish in all of Europe. There are also many beautiful and picturesque villages along the shores, perfect to get an idea of what rural life is like in Poland. All in all, Gopło is worth a visit if you are in Poland, especially due to its closeness to so many major cities of Poland. 

Attractions: There is a lot to do on the lake, from enjoying the beaches, to going fishing, or taking advantage of some boats! There are two boats that run regularly on the lake. The cruising Rusałka and the water tram Margitka sail across the lake allowing you to take in the views. You can also take the small car ferry between Ostrówek and Złotowo. The ferry ride may be short, and only on a small barge, but the experience is cool and unique. 

This ferry ride is also convenient, as it takes you to the main peninsula in Gopło. At the very end of the peninsula, you can visit Nadgoplański Park Tysiąclecia, a beautiful nature reserve that the lake is also a part of. The other peninsula worth visiting is Rzępowski, a small narrow one at the northern end of the lake. At the beginning of the peninsula, you can visit Mysia Wieża, a heritage and ethnographic museum that will tell you the history of the area and importance of the lake.  

Cities: There are a lot of places to stay along the lake, but the main place to stay is definitely Kruszwica. Kruszwica is located at the northern end of the lake, which makes it easier to start exploring either side of the lake. Kruszwica also houses a few attractions, such as Mysia Wieża, which was mentioned earlier. There is a long narrow isthmus that leads to Plaża na Cyplu, a small but beautiful sandy beach on the lake. To top it off, you can spend a nice evening sitting in the beautiful town square. 

There are many other villages found around the lake that have beaches and places to stay. Any of those cities will supply the best experience for Gopło, so do not feel scared to stay in them, especially if you have a rental car. Some good villages are Połajewo and Łuszczewo. There are also a few campgrounds with beachfront access, so consider doing this for an especially amazing experience! 

Weather: The weather is typical of central Poland, which is a bit warmer in the summer, and not quite as cold in the winter. 

January April July October December 
1/-4 (34/25) 15/4 (59/39) 25/15 (77/59) 13/5 (55/41) 3/-1 (37/30) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Even though Gopło is close to some major train stations, having a car is probably best for exploring the lake fully. You can get to Kruszwica using buses or a taxi from Konin, and you can explore the lake decently well from there. If you want to stay anywhere else, definitely rent a car. 

8. Jezioro Niegocin

Location | Warmia-Masuria 

Description: Niegocin is a good-sized lake located in Masuria, found between Mamry to the north and Śniardwy to the south. It is the third largest in Masuria, and the seventh largest in all of Poland. Niegocin is part of the network of connected lakes in the central part of Masuria, making it especially popular for watersports and sailing and kayaking.  

Lake Niegocin in Poland
Lake Niegocin is the seventh largest in Poland. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Its size makes it very popular amongst tourists, with resorts and tourist towns surrounding the lake. Thus, there is lots to do, making Niegocin an amazing lake to visit if you want to experience the best lakes of Poland. Swimming used to not be possible due to poor water conditions, but water conditions have improved greatly, and you can swim throughout the lake, on top of all other watersports available. All these things make Niegocin a fine place to visit. 

Attractions: There are many things to do around the lake! Firstly, because Niegocin is connected to so many other lakes, this is the perfect place to take a sailing excursion. There are many boating services to do this, just Google the city you are planning to visit, and you will find some! If you do not want to go on the water, you can bike around most of the lake, enjoying views on the way. 

Some other nice sites are the Ferris Wheel in Giżycko, which supplies nice views of the city, and was brand new as of 2023, and should be active all year round. If you like heights, but not Ferris wheels, consider climbing to the top of the free Wieża Widokowa, a new wooden observation tower which supplies great views of the lake from the north, and offers a large Catholic shrine if that is your thing. 

Jeremy at lake Niegocin
Poland Insiders writer Jeremy at lake Niegocin

Cities: The main city to visit is Giżycko. Giżycko is a decent-sized town that has a bustling tourism industry. In fact, it is probably the best tourist city in all of Masuria other than Olsztyn. There are dozens of places to stay, lots of good food to eat by the water, and lots of shopping. Giżycko is also well-connected to Olsztyn by train, with multiple trains per day, and by many buses to other major cities in Masuria.  

Other than Olsztyn, there are a variety of resort towns surrounding the lake. Options include Rydzewo, at the southern end of the lake, which houses many guesthouses, and camping opportunities, as well as a beautiful small-town feel. You can also stay in the towns of Wilkasy or Bystry, on opposite sides of the lake, but both nice places to stay. Also, look for campgrounds in other places on the lake, which can provide you with the opportunity to stay right next to the lake and sleep under the stars.  

Weather: The weather at Niegocin is typical of all the other lakes and cities in Masuria.  

January April July October December 
0/-5 (32/23) 13/3 (55/37) 23/13 (73/55) 11/4 (52/39) 1/-3 (34/27) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: I was really impressed with Giżycko. Consider staying here a few days as your central base for exploring Masuria! However, it is a little bit more popular and expensive because of this, so book in advance. 

9. Jezioro Karwowo

Location | West Pomerania 

Description: Are you looking for a lake that is pretty much only known by locals? Karwowo is the lake for you. It is by far the smallest and shallowest lake on this list, but it is the beauty and peacefulness of the area that makes traveling all the way to this lake worth it. Even with its small size, Karwowo has become a popular holiday destination for Poles. It is in the northwest of Poland, found not far from many major cities of the region, making it a popular day-trip destination. 

Poles come to participate in all sorts of lake tourism, from swimming to fishing. The scenery is pastoral and a slice of heaven in a busy part of Poland during the summer season. So, if you want some peace and quiet and to visit a part of Poland many foreign tourists have probably never seen, I recommend Karwowo highly. 

Attractions: The attractions of Karwowo are solely related to the beauty of the lake and the forests surrounding it. There are many bike trails around the lake, and through the surrounding forests. You can also leisurely bike from some of the nearby cities, as the terrain is relatively flat in the area. You can camp, fish, and swim in the lake. Fishing is especially popular, with motorboats banned, allowing for a silent environment, and the shallow waters provide good spots for fishing.  

Cities: The most convenient city is Karwowo, but there is no lodging here. However, you can explore the historic church in town, and enjoy the atmosphere of a small Polish farming village. The closest town with lodging options is Łobez, which is a reasonable bike ride from Karwowo. There is plenty of shopping as well. Additionally, there is a train station that gets regular service from Szczecin, and to other cities on the northern Polish Baltic coast. There is also service from other major Polish cities such as Gdynia and Olsztyn. 

If you want to stay in a larger city, I recommend Szczecin or Kołobrzeg. Both cities are within an hour train ride of Łobez, and are some of the best cities to visit in Poland. Szczecin has the advantage of having an airport and a major train station and is especially a convenient place to stay if you are coming from Germany. Kołobrzeg has the advantage of being on the Baltic and being a fun resort-style town with lots to do and lots of options for places to stay. 

Weather: The weather at Karwowo is typical of northern Poland near the Baltic.  

January April July October December 
2/-3 (36/27) 13/3 (55/37) 23/13 (73/55) 13/5 (55/41) 3/-1 (37/30) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: I will repeat again that this lake is small, and far away from major cities. However, that is the appeal. Having a car is a MUST for coming here.  

10. Jezioro Łebsko  

Location | Pomerania  

Description: Łebsko is the third largest lake in this list? Why then is it so low on this list? While the lake is absolutely stunning, and the result of a unique feature of nature, it is this unique feature of nature that is the draw to the area, rather than the lake itself. However, there are still many features to enjoy of the lake. The lake is barely removed from the Baltic Sea to the north by a narrow spit, which is full of massive sand dunes and beautiful sandy beaches. The lake itself is very shallow, resulting in a higher level of salinity than normal due to close connection to the sea. 

The lake is full of stunning scenery and is recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO due to the valuable nature located in and around the lake. There are especially many species of birds here, so if you like birdwatching, this is the lake for you! Overall, with many cities and attractions located around the lake, and its proximity to the beautiful city of Gdańsk, Łebsko is one of the best lakes in Poland to visit! 

Attractions: The main attraction of the lake is Słowiński National Park (SPN), which includes the lake and much of the surrounding lake. SPN mainly protects the phenomenon of the wandering dunes in the north of the park. Łebsko used to be a bay attached fully to the Baltic, but strong winds have slowly moved massive sand dunes east, creating the spit that separates the lake and sea today. You can explore these dunes on foot, or by bike from below, as well as many other places of natural beauty spread around this massive national park.  

If you want to get on the lake, the best bet is to take one of the tourist boats that operate during the summer. Boats leave from Rąbka and sail west across the lake, or do a circle around the lake, taking around 20 minutes. These boats run frequently, around every 30 minutes. You can also take a boat to the village of Kluski, which is a longer trip, and allows you to see more of the lake, and engage in some other tourist activities. Finally, you can choose to kayak in the lake, but the size and proximity to the sea makes it an activity only recommended for skilled kayakers used to large waves. 

For other aspects of lake tourism, you can drive a car around the lake to discover many beautiful viewpoints of the lake, some on docks over the water, and other towers overlooking the lake. The sand dunes are also a great place to get a view of the lake. You can hike and bike extensively throughout the park. You can also find a few places for swimming and fishing too.  

Cities: The main city to stay at is Łeba. Łeba is a small city east of the lake, which is extremely popular and touristy. There are amusement parks, pirate ships, beachfront bars, long stretches of sandy beaches, and more. Naturally, there are also many places to stay. Łeba is also well-connected by train, especially during the summer, with direct trains even available from Warsaw. 

You can make this lake a day trip from a few other fun cities nearby. Gdańsk is the largest and most obvious choice, although the daytrip will take a bit more of your time, but the advantage is that it is more achievable by train to get to the lake. The other choice is Ustka, a very beautiful and popular beach town west of the lake. Having a car will make a trip to the lake easier, but Ustka’s beauty and high level of amenities makes it a good staying point for a trip to the lake. 

Weather: Weather at the lake is typical of the Baltic coast, with strong winds especially being present, and more clouds and rain than other parts of Poland. 

January April July October December 
2/-3 (36/27) 10/2 (50/36) 21/13 (70/55) 12/6 (54/43) 3/-1 (37/30) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Entering the national park costs money, so you will have to purchase an entry pass at one of the ranger’s stations, or online, before accessing many parts of the lake. You can learn more here

11. Jezioro Orzysz

Location | Warmia-Masuria 

Description: Like Lake Wigry earlier on this list of lakes, Orzysz is a wilder lake compared to other Masurian lakes on this list. It is narrow in many places with many arms and hidden coves to explore, with a large basin at the northern end of the lake. The main parts of the lake are separated by the American peninsula, which in a way gives you two lakes in one to explore.  

The forest is surrounded by heavy forests at most ends, meaning the best way to explore the lake is on the water itself. This way, you can see all the islands and inlets. You can get off at some places and explore the dense and diverse forests, and maybe see some wildlife along the way. While Orzysz should not be your headliner lake when coming to Poland, it is a good second lake to add to the many beautiful lakes of Masuria to explore.  

Lake Orzysz
Lake Orzysz is also one of the wilder ones. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Attractions: As with other lakes on this list, the attractions of Orzysz all depend solely on the lake. Boating is the most popular pastime, and there are many opportunities to fish. If you do not like either of those activities, you can sunbathe and swim at Plaża Miejska, which is a small sandy strip with the rarity of free parking, and food and drink to buy. Other than this, activities are limited! 

Cities: The obvious city to stay in is Orzysz, right next door to the lake on the west, and home to the beach mentioned previously. Orzysz is a city you will have to reach by bus from other larger cities in Masuria. Orzysz is a nice little town, worth a visit itself. But you can also access the lake from other major cities nearby if you are staying in Masuria, the lake has a very central location. 

Weather: The weather at Orzysz is typical of a Masurian lake. 

January April July October December 
0/-5 (32/23) 12/3 (54/37) 23/14 (73/57) 11/5 (52/41) 1/-3 (34/27) 
Monthly weather averages in Celsius, then Fahrenheit

Extra Notes: Orzysz is definitely a hard lake to access, but I found it quite beautiful and wish I had gotten a chance to get out onto a boat to explore it further. Orzysz is close to Lake Śniardwy, so consider this as the second lake to hit in this part of Masuria. 

12. Jezioro Gosławskie 

Location | Greater Poland 

Description: Gosławskie is the last lake to make this list, but perhaps the easiest lake to get to from Warsaw. Gosławskie is located just north of the city of Konin, and south of previously mentioned Gopło, making it an additional lake you can add to your itinerary if you are visiting Gopło. The lake is small and shallow. But, given that Konin is a short train ride from Warsaw, and Gosławskie is located entirely in the city limits of Konin, visiting Gosławskie is easy. Read on to find out what makes Gosławskie one of the 12 best lakes in Poland! 

Lake Goslawskie
Lake Goslawskie in Poland. Taken by Janusz Walczak on Unsplash.

Attractions: The interesting part of Gosławskie is not that it is a great lake to swim, take a boat, or fish in. Rather, it is the massive power plant north of the lake, which at night shines bright and illuminates the whole lake. The most scenic spot, scenic in an industrial way that is, is the large bridge that crosses the middle of the lake, where power flows from the plant to Konin to the south. It creates a unique photo opportunity. 

The lake itself is still beautiful and can be enjoyed beyond just taking pictures. There is heavy wind, so if you are into windsurfing, this is perhaps the best lake in Poland for this. There are also many trails around the lake perfect for a walk or bike ride. If you want to get in the water or do some sailing, head over to next-door Jezioro Pątnowskie, which is only barely separated from Gosławskie. 

Cities: If you are visiting Gosławskie, you will certainly be staying in Konin, a mid-sized city of around 70 thousand people. There are lots of places to stay, good restaurants, parks, and other activities to do, centered around a public plaza with a horse statue and fountain, as the city is named after the Polish word for horse. Dozens of trains go through every day, due to Konin’s placement on the line between Berlin and Warsaw, and all trains between the two stop here. There are also regional trains.  

Weather: This area is hotter in the summer and winter, typical of central Poland.  

January April July October December 
3/-2 (37/28) 14/4 (57/39) 25/14 (77/57) 14/6 (57/43) 4/-1 (39/30) 

Extra Notes: This lake is easily the most accessible on the list. While it is not the prettiest, do not pass it up if you are in the area, or driving through from the west of Poland to Warsaw, it is not far off the highway! 

Conclusions about the Best Lakes in Poland

The best lakes in Poland are spread throughout the country, meaning no matter which city you choose, you should find a good lake to visit on this list! And even if you do not, there are many other beautiful lakes in Poland, it was hard to narrow down from almost 10 thousand to 12! Masuria is the best place in Poland for exploring lakes, but there are many in the north and central parts of the country that are near mid-sized towns where you can stay to explore these lakes fully. 

However, I would definitely say having a car is a must for lake tourism. This is the best way to explore the lake in its entirety or be able to camp or take a boat onto the lake. With some of these lakes being remote and far away from major train stations and bus depots, a car makes these lakes more accessible. Check the guide I linked at the beginning of this article for all the information you could possibly need. I hope you find the lake for you on this list! 

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