You can go kayaking individually or take advantage of the offer of organised trips, which are definitely longer and usually end with a shared feast around a bonfire that involves grilling of sausages and great fun. There is no shortage of canoeing routes in the Małopolska region, and indeed everyone will find something for themselves.
Those willing to try recreational canoeing can use the offer of the rental located in Wadowice on the so-called Wenecja (tel. 608 093 166, www.kajaki-na-skawie.pl). Here you can choose from over a dozen routes on the Skawa and the Vistula Rivers. You can paddle down the Skawa river from Wadowice towards Grodzisk or Witanowice, or from Grodzisk to Zator.
For fans of the Vistula, we recommend the route from Lipowa or Przewóz to Łączany. There is also the possibility of transport for an additional fee. In addition, you can use the mobile canoe rental in Brzeźnica "Kajaki na Wiśle" (tel. 668 389 789, www.kajaki-na-wisle.pl). You can take the route from Skawina to Tyniec for a two-three-hour trip or from Spytkowice to Brzeźnica for an easy and pleasant two-hour trip. Both companies offer organised rafting, the route and time selected according to the participants’ preferences, and the rafting trip ends with a barbecue and other attractions. You can, moreover, rent equipment for individual trips.
The routes on the Vistula River are more extended, while those on the Skawa may be an ideal choice for families with children.
In Bochnia, on the other hand, you can rent kayaks for rafting down the Raba River. This is a very picturesque mountain river with many twists and turns, which gives a lot of fun. You can rent equipment at Bochnia (187 Wygoda Street, tel. 606 88 93 64, 607 983 500, www.kajakibochnia.pl). People who are just beginning their adventure with canoeing can gain basic skills in the Canoe School operating there. The shortest route can be covered in two-three hours, while the longest takes seven-eight hours.
The opportunity to admire picturesque landscapes, such as the Wolski Forest and see historical buildings from an unusual perspective are the advantages of canoeing down the Vistula near Kraków. The 1929 Railway Water Club marina is perfect for starting your water expedition. From here, it is worth setting out to explore Kraków from the level of the Vistula River. Namely, the route leads across the Zwierzyniecki Bridge, Wawel Castle and the Norbertine Monastery, at which point you can turn around and sail upstream to your starting point. For family trips, it is also worth choosing a slightly longer route leading from Tyniec. It is easy, pleasant and, what is essential, very picturesque, and the average time of such a trip is three-four hours. The start is at Benedyktyńska Street (668 389 789, www.kajaki-na-wisle.pl), and the finish is at the marina at the Railway Water Club in Kraków. This is a nine-kilometre section. For the more persevering, there is a possibility to go to the lock in Dąbie. The route is then 6.5 kilometres longer. However, in the offer of the rental company operating at the Railway Water Club 1929 in Kraków (Kraków, 24a Księcia Józefa Street, tel. 606 785 541, www.kajaki-krakow.pl), there is a proposal for more experienced paddlers. Accordingly, you can paddle upstream in the direction of the Kościuszko Lock and then towards Tyniec. Although swimming against the current may seem complicated, it is worth considering this alternative because it is not as hard as it may seem. Admittedly, the trip takes longer, but we assure you that with views of Bielany and Las Wolski, it is a pure pleasure and a fantastic experience!
As far as canoeing is concerned, we cannot forget about Kraków's canoeing/kayaking track in Kolna. This is the only facility of this kind in Poland. On a 320m-long track, where the obstacles are modified as needed, athletes of the Polish Canoe Federation and Poland’s Olympic athletes train. The facility is also adapted for winter training. On the track, at about 200-m distance, a roof is installed, together with a heating system and lighting. Equally attractive, beautifully situated and available for amateur canoeists is the training track in Wietrznice (Zabrze 415A 33-390 Łącko, 600 055 939, www.wietrznice.eu). The track runs between two villages, Zabrzeż and Tylmanowa, on the Dunajec River. The facility offers courses for beginner canoeists.
Canoe rental is also possible in Niepołomice, precisely at the hundredth navigable kilometre of the Vistula River. Thanks to the location of the rental directly by the Vistula Cycle Route, it is possible to go down the river in a canoe and then return on rollerblades or a bike. The rental offers to deliver the bike to the place where the trip ends (tel. 511 622 734, www.kajaki.na.setce.pl).
You can also go kayaking on the Dunajec River, where different routes await you depending on your skills and length. The shortest, route, 10 km long, leads from Jurków to Zakliczyn and is ideal for families with children. Other suggestions include the route from Jurków to Tarnów or Sromowce to Krościenko. Many companies offer organised trips or opportunities to hire kayaks individually (888 780 222, www.kajakidunajcem.pl). Another option is year-round rafting from Szczawnica, or, more precisely, the Port Pieniny marina (149 Główna Street, Szczawnica, 721 977 632, www.portpienin.pl) to Tylmanowa. In this place, many athletes have trained, including three Olympic athletes. Those who like extreme attractions and are hungry for thrills are recommended to combine kayaking with off-road driving.
How do you prepare for a canoeing trip?
- Wear comfortable, quick-drying clothes and shoes, which are waterproof or designed for water, also take dry clothes for a change and properly protect them from getting wet.
- On sunny days, provide protection in the form of sunscreen, head coverings and sunglasses; on rainy days, remember to bring a jacket or raincoat with a hood.
- Take something with you against mosquitoes, e.g. spray.
- Don't forget to drink and eat.
- If you take your phone or other electronic devices, put it or them in a waterproof bag - if you do not have one, ask for one at the rental office.