We actively collaborate with influencers from Austria and Switzerland, leading the way for those seeking new and exciting experiences. Explore what they had to say about their unforgettable stays!

Kayaking down the Czarna Hańcza River

This river is to kayak enthusiasts in Poland what the Zermatt area is to mountain hikers in Switzerland.

The varied, beautifully meandering, thoroughly wild river flows out of Poland’s deepest lake of the same name.

Cutting first through the idyllic, hilly fields of the area dotted with post-glacial boulders, the large Lake Wigry, surrounded by the national park, to enter the wooded backwoods of the Augustów Forest in its lower section.

The long section is not technically difficult and meanders gently away from villages and human settlements, allowing for long moments of relaxation without overly strenuous paddling. Along the rafting route there are secluded glades that are perfect for pitching a tent and long conversations around a campfire. What more could you want?

The routes of the kayaking trip down the Czarna Hańcza River vary in length and you can adjust them to your own abilities. Rowing a two-person kayak or a wide, open canoe is a solid exercise for your arms in the long run, so if you are not a seasoned kayaking enthusiast, it is best to start your adventure with a one or two-day kayaking trip. When you book a kayaking trip at one of the resorts, you will be picked up at a specific location at the end of the route, where a return transport will be provided for you – and your kayak – to the starting point.

The section of the river that is most popular with kayakers begins at Lake Wigry, above which a historic monastery from the 17th century towers. The monumental, iridescent pink and white complex occupies a peninsula cutting into the lake.

This is the abbey of the Camaldolese monks.

Monks who observed an extremely strict rule. The Camaldolese monks lived alone, in individual hermitages, devoting their lives to prayer and growing vegetable gardens. Almost 200 years ago, the monks were moved from here to Warsaw by the then Russian authorities, but the spirit of the place remained.

The river in the initial section flows through open terrain, among reeds and rolling hills. After a few kilometers, it is worth making a short stop in Buda Ruska – one of the former villages of the Old Believers. Representatives of this strict faction of the Orthodox Church fled persecution from Russia in the 17th century and are called “Polish Amish.” The community and traditions of the Old Believers have almost disappeared, but in the village you will find several traditional cottages with distinctive banyas – a variant of the steam sauna. At No. 16 there is a gallery and cafe run by local culture enthusiast Piotr Malczewski.


In the further stretch, the river meanders heavily between reeds. The terrain becomes flat when the river enters the huge forest complex of the Augustów Forest. This is one of the three largest forests in Podlasie, inhabited by numerous wolves, moose, deer, roe deer and beavers, with an area equal to the Swiss canton of Fribourg.

The kayaking trip is best completed in the village of Rygol, where the river joins the Augustów Canal.

The 100-kilometer-long canal linking the basins of the Vistula and Niemen rivers was built in the 19th century to transport grain down it and bypass high customs duties in Prussian-controlled Gdańsk. Strewn with more than a dozen locks, the waterway is a unique monument of technology. If you have enough time to spare, you can paddle it all the way to the bird kingdom on the wild Biebrza River!

You will find kayaking marinas offering kayaking trips in the villages of Wigry and Czerwony Folwark.




Czarna Hańcza Kanutour - Rafting, Kajak

Kayaking down the Czarna Hańcza River