The morning mist reveals the smooth as a table surface of the lake. The sun rises quickly with a chorus of birds and spices up the blue of the water with its warm rays
The wooded hills around smell of conifers and mushrooms, legs dangling idly on the wooden platform. Silence so intensive that it resonates in our ears. Travelers called this phenomenally beautiful corner of Poland “modry kraik”, but the name “Kashubian Switzerland“, coined in the 19th century by tourists from Germany, has become even more popular. Lake Ostrzyckie, one of the largest in the area, was compared to Lake of the Four Cantons in Lucerne! Right or wrong – it does not matter because soon after your arrival you will see that (just like Switzerland) Kashubia is a one-of-a-kind place.
More than 500 lakes, gentle hills and massive boulders lining the meadows are reminders of the great glacier that once covered all of northern Europe.
It is only 50 kilometers to the sea and Gdańsk from here, but the landscape does not reveal the proximity of the white beaches of the Baltic Sea and the big port city at all. You can traverse the Kashubian lakes and forests at will by canoe, sailboat or bicycle. The hills are not high and the roads, though sandy at times, wonderfully circulate between empty forests and fields, revealing every now and then insane views. The highest hill in Kashubia and all of northern Poland is Wieżyca, at the top of which there is an observation tower. Connections between the lakes, in turn, make it possible to make the wonderful 40-kilometer-long Raduńskie Lakes Kayak Circle, which we describe here.
Kashubia stands out not only because of its landscape, but also because of its distinct regional culture and Kashubian language, which is the only remnant of the speech of the Pomeranians – Slavs from the shores of the Baltic Sea. Although it was recognized as a regional language in 2005 and is taught in 400 schools in the region, it is spoken on a daily basis mainly by the elderly, and UNESCO keeps it on the list of languages threatened with extinction. Kashubian has survived largely thanks to pastors of the Lutheran Church, who have used it in liturgy since the 16th century. The biggest blow was dealt to Kashubian by Poland’s communist government, which, as a rule, exterminated any manifestation of regional distinctiveness. Today, the language is slowly being revived. In many towns and cities you will find bilingual signs with the characteristic Kashubian alphabet, in which sounds unique to the language are written, and on houses you will see black and yellow flags of the region.
Characteristic of Kashubia is the local floral embroidery, consisting of seven colors, dominated by shades of blue. You will find it on traditional Kashubian costumes, in homes and on souvenirs from the region. Another hallmark of this picturesque land is the snuff – “devil’s herb” – eagerly taken by old Kashubians. In addition to dried tobacco, Kashubian snuff contains coffee, mint leaves and dried plums, among other ingredients.
Kashubia is a land made for exploring in a slow rhythm. On our site you will find several travel recommendations, but it is best to rely on the advice of the hosts where you are staying, and above all – your own leisure preferences. Regardless of the weather, you will remember your summer vacation in Kashubia for the rest of your life!