Friends avoid this city going to Masuria. I went there and I’m happy?

  • On the first weekend of June I went to Olsztyn for the first time in my life. This city really surprised me, especially with the huge range of ways to spend my free time
  • Olsztyn is a place where nature is perfectly integrated into the urban landscape. And thanks to this, it impresses! Not only the extremely lush vegetation attracts attention, but also the exceptionally vibrant and intense color
  • The city is a paradise not only for lovers of all activities on the water, on the water and under. Those who like to eat well will also find something for themselves. It is a real gem on the culinary map of Poland
  • You can find more such stories on the Onet homepage

Mikołajki, Giżycko or Mrągowo these are the names of the cities I heard most often when I asked my friends where exactly they were going to Masuria or surroundings. And Olsztyn? I heard the name of this city most often in the context of Kortazda, ie the largest student youth in Poland, which every year attracts crowds of students from all over the country. As you can see, not only those who study in Olsztyn.

Olsztyn delights at night – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

So I decided to see for myself what the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship and the largest city in Warmia† It was my first time in Olsztyn. One thing I know for sure: I’ll be back soon.

I chose the first weekend of June for my trip, which is literally a moment before the start of the holiday period. Nevertheless, all seats were taken on the PKP Intercity train that I traveled from Warsaw to Olsztyn on. It immediately caught my attention. “If so many people go there, it must be a very special place” I thought and soon realized that it was.

The famous High Gate in OlsztynThe famous High Gate in Olsztyn – Private Archive
This is what the old town of Olsztyn looks like at nightThis is what Olsztyn’s Old Town looks like at night – Private Archives

Not everyone knows, but Nicolaus Copernicus himself lived in Olsztyn for several years. Not only did he make his astronomical observations there, but he also worked in the Olsztyn Castle as the canon administrator of the Warmian Chapter. In practice, this meant managing local estates and money.

A model of the old town in OlsztynA model of the old town in Olsztyn – Private Archive

It is among others Nicolaus Copernicus prepared the castle for defense against the expected German attack. “In January 1521 the monastic troops’ attack on the city walls was repulsed and Copernicus was hailed as the defender of Olsztyn” we read on the official website of the city visit.olsztyn.eu.

Castle of the Warmia Chapter in OlsztynCastle of the Warmia Chapter in Olsztyn – Anna Górska / Private Archive

The Gothic castle of the Warmian Chapter, where Nicolaus Copernicus lived, currently serves as the seat of the Museum of Warmia and Mazury. It is one of the greatest showpieces of Olsztyn† You can admire, among other things, the former astronomer’s room (one of the few at the time, he also had its own toilet), as well as an extremely valuable exhibition, his famous astronomical table from 1517. It was then that Nicolaus Copernicus put it on the wall of the cloister of the castle. The board was used for observing the sun and marking the spring and autumn equinoxes. It is the only surviving device made by Nicolaus Copernicus himself, making it unique on a global scale. From the castle tower you can also admire the amazing panorama of the city.

This is what Nicolaus Copernicus' famous astronomical table looks likeThis is what Nicolaus Copernicus’ famous astronomical table looks like – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

The fact that Nicolaus Copernicus was a resident of Olsztyn is not only reminiscent of the Warmia Chapter castle. The city also has a famous planetarium, which was established in 1973 as a tribute to the astronomer. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Olsztyn. In addition, it is the second largest institution of this type in Poland. In addition, at ul. Zamkowa is a special Copernicus Bank with its monument, which is very popular among tourists. The first thing that catches your eye is… the astronomer’s much brighter nose. And all because rubbing this part of the monument is said to bring good luck. And that’s what tourists do.

St. James the Apostle in OlsztynSt. Jakub the Apostle in Olsztyn – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

The first thing that immediately strikes me in Olsztyn is green. is everywhere! The city is not called “natural garden” for nothing. Not only the ubiquitous and unusually lush vegetation attracts attention, but also the exceptionally vibrant and intense color. A fairytale view, as you can see in the photo below. No filters or graphics, only Mother Nature is responsible for these colors.

The vegetation in Olsztyn has an exceptionally fabulous colorThe vegetation in Olsztyn has an exceptionally fairytale color – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

Olsztyn can boast of not only no less than 11 Lakes and five smaller water reservoirs within the city limits, as well as Forest urban, which is considered one of the largest forest complexes of this type in all of Europe. It extends between the western and eastern parts of the city and covers approximately 1,300 ha. Not only perfect for nature walks. It is full of very attractive cycle paths. It takes up almost 15 percent. area of ​​Olsztyn and is just a few steps from the city center.

Olsztyn is a place where nature is perfectly integrated into the urban landscapeOlsztyn is a place where nature is perfectly integrated into the urban landscape – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

Olsztyn is a place where nature is perfectly integrated into the urban landscape. And thanks to this, it impresses. It is nature that is one of the greatest showpieces of the city. No matter which part of the city you are in, you will feel close contact with nature everywhere.

The Old Town Hall in OlsztynThe Old Town Hall in Olsztyn – Anna Górska / Private Archive

The rest of the article can be found below the video:

Olsztyn is an ideal city for anyone who enjoys spending time by the water, on the water and below the surface. It can boast of no fewer than four modern and extensive city bathing areas. Each of them is equipped with changing rooms and toilets, guaranteeing full bathing comfort. Most of these bathing areas are located on the largest lake in Olsztyn, Ukiel, which is surrounded all year round by infrastructure in the form of the sports and leisure center. Above the reservoir, you’ll find a large pier, a water playground, water equipment rentals (bicycles or kayaks) and many, many other attractions for anyone who enjoys spending time on the water. The offer also includes sailing, rowing or windsurfing boats. Diving enthusiasts will also find something for themselves.

One of the many city beaches on Lake UkielOne of the many city beaches on Lake Ukiel – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum
Breathtaking view over Lake UkielBreathtaking view over Ukiel Lake – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

When I came to Olsztyn, I was waiting most for water attractions. One of them, which I have enjoyed taking advantage of, is a motorboat cruise on Lake Ukiel. An unforgettable experience not only because of the breathtaking views. The size of the lake caught my attention. It is huge, giving the impression that you are swimming and swimming… It covers an area of ​​412 ha. Ukiel Lake is also the deepest in the city, sometimes even 43 m deep, but the average is about 10-11 m. This reservoir is often called “Krzywy” because of its rather original shape. From the bird’s eye view you can see that the edges are heavily curved.

Motorboat cruise on Lake Ukiel.  My face speaks for itselfMotorboat cruise on Lake Ukiel. My face speaks for itself – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum
Olsztyn is a paradise for people who like to spend time on and in the waterOlsztyn is a paradise for people who like to spend time on and in the water – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

My water attractions in Olsztyn didn’t just end with a motorboat cruise on Lake Ukiel. I also had the chance to participate in a kayak tour on the Łyna River. It was my first time kayaking! As I swam, I felt like a kid walking into a candy store with open mouth and delight. It is precisely in this part of the Łyna River, which flows through Olsztyn, that the river is quite calm and shallow. Therefore, such a trip is also perfect for beginners, just like me. What fascinated me most during the kayak trip? Total peace and quiet, here and there you only heard singing birds or croaking frogs, plus these beautiful views and completely wild nature. And all this is practically in the center of the city!

Canoeing on the Łyna in OlsztynCanoeing on the Łyna in Olsztyn – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum
Such views await anyone who decides to go kayaking on the ŁynaSuch views await anyone who decides to go kayaking on the Łyna – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum
We ended our kayak trip in such a fairytale placeThis is such a fairytale place where we ended our kayaking trip – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum
The canoe route on the ŁynaThe canoe route on the Łyna – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

At the end, I left Olsztyn’s attractions for the palate. At first glance you can see that the city is strongly attached to tradition. This is mainly reflected in the menus of local eateries, which mainly focus on local dishes. One thing is certain. I have not eaten a fish anywhere else like in Olsztyn! Fresh, soft inside and perfectly seasoned. I had the pleasure of eating it at one of the largest fish bars on Lake Ukiel beach. Delicious fish, forest and water close by, and sunset what else do you want?

The fish in Olsztyn tastes the bestFish in Olsztyn tastes best – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum
The famous restaurant Cudne Manowce and its table with exceptional cutleryThe famous restaurant Cudne Manowce and its table with exceptional cutlery – Anna Górska / Prywatne archiwum

The famous restaurant Cudne Manowce also caught my attention. It is located in one of the small side streets around the Old Town. When visiting Olsztyn it is well worth getting off the main trail and stopping by for lunch. The restaurant looks quite inconspicuous from the outside, but inside it makes a huge impression. After entering you have the impression that we have moved to a completely different world than before. The effect is enhanced by old chairs and tables and unique folkloric decorations. Even the crockery looks like it used to be.

In Olsztyn it is worth trying the regional craft beers. I recommend the local family run Ukiel brewery. Everyone will find something for themselves, both those who prefer alcohol with a more intense and expressive taste, and milder, light and sweeter. By purchasing such beer on site or at home in bottles, we will not only please ourselves, but also support a small family business.

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