Walking Holidays in Poland
Poland’s territory extends across several geographical regions. In the northwest is the Baltic sea coast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk. This coast is marked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), and dunes.
The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon. The centre and parts of the north lie within the Northern European Lowlands. Rising gently above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of northeastern Poland.
The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. South of the Northern European Lowlands lie the regions of Silesia and Masovia, which are marked by broad ice-age river valleys. Farther south lies the Polish mountain region, including the Sudetes, the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and the Carpathian Mountains, including the Beskids. The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, along Poland’s southern border.
Mountains and Lakes
Poland has 21 mountains over 2,000 metres (6,561 ft) in elevation, all in the High Tatras. The Polish Tatras, which consist of the High Tatras and the Western Tatras, is the highest mountain group of Poland and of the entire Carpathian range.
In the High Tatras lies Poland’s highest point, the northwestern peak of Rysy, 2,499 metres (8,199 ft) in elevation. At its foot lies the mountain lake, the Morskie Oko. The second-highest mountain group in Poland is the Beskids, whose highest peak is Babia Góra, at 1,725 metres (5,659 ft). The next highest mountain group is the Karkonosze, whose highest point is Śnieżka, at 1,602 metres (5,256 ft).
Among the most beautiful mountains of Poland are the Bieszczady Mountains in the far southeast of Poland, whose highest point in Poland is Tarnica, with an elevation of 1,346 metres (4,416 ft). Tourists also frequent the Gorce Mountains in Gorce National Park, with elevations around 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), and the Pieniny in Pieniny National Park, with elevations around 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). The lowest point in Poland—at 2 metres (7 ft) below sea level—is at Raczki Elbląskie, near Elbląg in the Vistula Delta.
With almost ten thousand closed bodies of water covering more than one hectare (2.47 acres) each, Poland has one of the highest numbers of lakes in the world. In Europe, only Finland has a greater density of lakes. The largest lakes, covering more than 100 square kilometers (38.6 square miles), are Lake Śniardwy and Lake Mamry in Masuria, as well as Lake Łebsko and Lake Drawsko in Pomerania. In addition to the lake districts in the north (in Masuria, Pomerania, Kashubia, Lubuskie, and Greater Poland), there is also a large number of mountain lakes in the Tatras, of which the Morskie Oko is the largest in area. The lake with the greatest depth—of more than 100 metres (328 ft)—is Lake Hańcza in the Wigry Lake District, east of Masuria in Podlaskie Voivodship.
Poland is the most important breeding ground for European migratory birds. Out of all of the migratory birds who come to Europe for the summer, one quarter breed in Poland, particularly in the lake districts and the wetlands along the Biebrza, the Narew, and the Warta, which are part of nature reserves or national parks. In Masuria, there are villages in which storks out number people.
The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country. The climate is oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and continental as one moves south and east. Summers are generally warm, with average temperatures between 20 °C (68°F) and 27 °C (80°F). Winters are cold, with average temperatures around 3 °C (37°F) in the northwest and –8 °C (17°F) in the northeast. Precipitation falls throughout the year, although, especially in the east; winter is drier than summer. The warmest region in Poland is Lesser Poland located in Southern Poland where temperatures in the summer average between 23°C (73°F) and 30°C (86°F) but can go as high as 32°C (89°F) to 38°C (100°F) on some days in the warmest month of the year July. The warmest city in Poland is Tarnów. The city is located in Lesser Poland; it is the hottest place in Poland all year round. The average temperatures being 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer and 4 °C (39°F) in the winter. Tarnów also has the longest summer in Poland spreading from mid May to mid September. Also it has the shortest winter in Poland which often lasts from January to March, less than the regular three-month winter. The coldest region of Poland is in the Northeast in the Podlachian Voivodeship near the border of Belarus. The climate is efficient due to cold fronts which come from Scandinavia and Siberia. The average temperature in the winter in Podlachian ranges from -15 °C (5 °F) to -4 °C ( 24,°F).
Further information about Poland and our walking holidays there...