Cruises on the Vistula
Do you know that in the past the Vistula was a main communication and transport route? Wooden boats transported goods and sand to the other side of the city, and grain was transported to Gdańsk. Today that is all history, but you can go on a cruise and see the city from the river, hear about old traditions or simply relax. There are many options to do just that in the summer season. These include traditional flat-bottomed boats, a historic boat that can accommodate several dozen people on board, as well as comfortable catamarans and gondolas. If you are looking for something more exciting, rent a motorboat or a yacht. You can also hire kayaks. All these vessels moor in many places, mainly on the left bank of the Vistula. In most cases, you can book and pay for your trip online.
A cosy catamaran, a gondola or a cruise boat
Every day, from the floating barge Kurier (El Chapo) moored by the Bulwar Karskiego at the foot of the Old Town and the Royal Castle, you can set sail on a sightseeing cruise on one of the Po Wiśle boats. You can check the cruise times on the website. During the hour-long cruise, you will see the panorama of the Old and New Town, the Copernicus Science Center, the entrance to the Czerniakowski Port, as well as the unique Gruba Kaśka water supply station. On the way, you will enjoy the sun, drink tea, coffee or taste juicy Polish apples – all included in the price. During evening cruises you will admire the sunset, the colourfully illuminated bridges and the famous PGE Narodowy Stadium. It’s a good way to start your evening fun.
On summer Sundays, you can also take a cruise on the glass iBarka with two decks and a sunny terrace that even hosts live concerts. The catamaran for more than a dozen passengers berths at Czerniakowski Port, Cypel Czerniakowski or at the Nowa Fala marina (at the Copernicus Science Center).
From the marina on the right bank of the Vistula, near the Śląsko-Dąbrowski Bridge, you will take a romantic cruise in a comfortable, covered gondola from the Aquatica fleet. Sit on a comfortable sofa and see the Vistula boulevards, Warsaw’s Old Town and the magnificent Copernicus Science Center from the river’s perspective. Airy curtains add to the atmosphere of the expedition. If you want to eat a meal on board or have a drink, please report this when booking the boat.
If you want to feel the spirit of history, go on a cruise on a beautiful replica of the oldest vessel of the Masurian white fleet – the 19th-century Loewentin steamboat from 1892. Up to 80 people can fit on its four decks. During the 1.5-hour cruise you will listen to interesting facts about Warsaw, order beer or eat grilled snacks. You can also eat in even more comfortable conditions in one of the two exclusive cabins finished with natural wood. The boat runs on weekends. The cruise begins and ends at Barka Warszawska on Bulwar Jana Karskiego at the foot of the Royal Castle. The route is set each time by the captain (it normally runs between the Gdański and Łazienkowski bridges).
You can also rent these and other vessels by booking a group dinner cruise. You choose the start and end point of the cruise yourself.
If you want to be a captain but you don’t have the right qualifications, rent a smaller vessel: a RT5 catamaran, accommodating 10 people, or a five-person GAMMA boat. They both moor at the WIR barge on Bulwar Pattona. There are tables on both of them, so bring your own lunch and have a picnic on the river. The echosounder will help you avoid the sandbanks. Just in case, you will receive two fuel tanks, as well as an oar, boat hook and an anchor. Please arrive 10 minutes early to learn about the vessel and the echosounder, and the rules for navigating the route. Then set off on an exhilarating adventure.
A traditional Vistula boat
You can go on a Taxi Wisła cruise from almost anywhere on the Warsaw stretch of the river. Call us and make an appointment to see for yourself what boats were used to transport goods, animals and sand to the other side of the river in the past. The 12-meter bull-type vessel the Olęder – as the medieval settlers of the Netherlands were called – has a sun and rain roof and a large open deck where you can laze around during the cruise. You can also decide at what stops you want to get off. Or maybe you want to cross the river? That’s also possible. For early risers, there is even a possibility of a cruise up the river and eating (your own) breakfast at sunrise.
A punt, a flat-bottomed boat designed along the lines of a traditional Vistula boat, will take you on an hour and a half cruise from the Nowa Fala marina or Cypel Czerniakowski. The 3-metre width of the boat means that tables can be set up – when booking a boat, decide whether you want to order brunch or dinner from the organiser. During evening cruises (up the river) a bottle of Prosecco awaits you as well as an unforgettable view of the Warsaw skyline against the setting sun.
You will set off on an hour-long cruise on a traditional Vistula Galar vessel from the marina near the Mermaid statue and the Copernicus Science Center Metro Station. The wooden boat, modelled on 18th-century Galars, has a deck divided into two parts – closed and open, while its flat-bottomed structure means you can sail in the lowest water levels and get direct access to the beaches. On the way, you will see the Old Town, stop at one of the Vistula islets, and in good weather even raise a traditional sail. You will also listen to stories about the Vistula and Warsaw. Bottled water is included in the price of the cruise.
Do you know that you only need an ID card or a passport to go on a motorboat cruise – a polyethylene boat with a 13-horsepower engine, designed for recreation and rescue? If you haven’t done it before, you will have to learn some rules about the water – you will learn who you have to give way, what to do if you run aground and in what position the engine lock lever should be when shifting gear. If you want to get to maximum speed, the limit is three passengers. When booking a boat for the hour, remember that you will go down the river three times faster than against the current. You will pick up the boat near the Słonka ferry port on the Bulwar Flotylli Wiślanej at 511 km.
You can order a group speedboat cruise from the Nowa Fala marina at Bulwar Pattona (near the Copernicus Science Center) or at Cypel Czerniakowski by the Miami Wars bar. In addition to the helmsman provided by the organiser, up to 9 people will fit on board, and the cruise itself will take 1 or 2 hours. You will be delighted by the unforgettable view of the Warsaw skyline on one of the evening cruises, during which wine is served, and the main attraction is the view of the setting sun. If you feel like it, you can go on a 1.5-hour cruise up the river with brunch or dinner served on board, and on special request, you can also go further to the Zegrze Reservoir.
Entertainment straight from New Zealand, where the first jet-powered boat was constructed. During the 15-minute ride in a super-fast 11-person, 380-horsepower flat-bottomed JET GO speedboat you will feel like you are on a roller coaster. At a speed of nearly 80 km/h, the vessel rotates around its axis (horizontally, of course :)) and makes dynamic turns, so it is worth taking a towel with you. It departs from the WIR marina near the Poniatowski Bridge, upon prior reservation by a minimum of 3 passengers. From the SUM port at ul. Wał Miedzeszyński 297 up the river you will go on a 12-seater, propeller-driven AIRBOAT – one of the fastest vessels on the Vistula River. During the 20-minute cruise on this unusual vessel, you will feel as if you are flying, not swimming.
You can also charter the vessel with a captain exclusively. Reservations require 2 days’ advance reservation.
For active people
Almost everyone has heard of Omega – the most popular Polish sailing yacht constructed in occupied Warsaw in 1942. Used for sailing training of Home Army soldiers, during the Warsaw Uprising it was used to transport equipment and soldiers across the Vistula River. After the war, it was still used for training purposes. It took part in multi-day cruises and canoeing trips, and is still a very popular regatta class.
You can charter it exclusively with a skipper. You will find the marina near the Mermaid statue on the boulevards.
The only thing you need is to be an adult or to have a certificate from your legal guardian. You can reach places by canoe that are inaccessible to others, you will visit canals, the port with its old ramps, locks, you will visit islands and various river nooks on the right bank of the Vistula. Choose the route you are interested in: 1.5-2 hours for beginners or parents with children, or a full day for experienced kayakers looking for a challenge. Go to the starting point, collect a 1 or 2-person kayak and hit the water.
If you like picturesque views, head down the river. Just outside the city, the river almost flows into the Kampinos National Park and continues through many smaller nature reserves. Numerous islands are a real paradise for birds that nest here or find a safe haven while migrating. You can also go south – against the current. Clean water and the wide riverbed near Otwock attract many campings. A particularly interesting river near Warsaw is the Świder with a strong current, numerous narrow meanders and fallen tree branches.
You can order kayaks for these and many other routes at: kajakwstolicy.pl or nakajak.com.
Take Warsaw Tourist Lines to Serock
If you like long, lazy trips, take a day cruise to Serock. The Zefir runs on weekends and takes over 100 passengers, each of whom has a guaranteed covered seat with access to a table. During the cruise, you will feast your eyes on nature and see the ruins of the old bridge from 1897, blown up by retreating Russian troops in 1915. You can buy grilled food and drinks on board. Your final destination is the picturesque Zegrze Reservoir, on which Serock is located, full of motorboats, sailboats and canoes in the summer. During the 2-hour break, you can sunbathe on the local beach, take a walk along the shore or visit the charming town, even in high season, which exudes tranquillity. The boat departs from the marina in Żerań at the beginning of the canal at 9.00 and returns at 18.00.