The Great Masurian Lakes Plateau is an area of renowned beauty. It’s a landscape of gentle hills, cool lakes, rustic farmhouses, quiet villages, and swathes of tranquil forest.
In addition to these natural wonders, you can explore the vestiges of Teutonic, Prussian, German and Polish architectural legacies. The infamous ‘Wolf’s Lair’ – Hitler’s main headquarters – is one of the more surprising highlights. In the tiny hamlet of Gierloz there is the eerie sight of 18 hectares of a partially-destroyed Nazi complex. Hitler’s series of bunkers with eight-foot thick walls were designed to blend in with the landscape of idyllic forests and lakes.
The scenery is breathtaking and the cycling is superb as we twist and turn through the unspoiled ‘green lungs’ of Poland which are rich in blackberries, raspberries, wild strawberries and mushrooms. There are many black storks, eagles and snipes, and if you keep your eyes peeled you may even see lynx, elk, stag, wolf, fox or wild boar!
On the way to Mikolajki, we pass through the village of Gizycko and stop for a closer look at the 19th century Boyen Fortress, one of a network of 14 forts which comprise the Baltic Fort Route.
Turning our handlebars south for 50km of rivers, lakes, marshes and wildlife, we head for the Luknajno Reserve where Europe’s largest community of wild swans live. If you keep an eye out you may also see a ‘tarpan’ which is the cousin of the now extinct wild horse.
The land of 3000 lakes and the wildlife, built history, and warm people leave us with an indelible impression of the natural, historical, and cultural significance of a region which is virtually unknown. The Masurian Lakes Plateau does ‘indelible’ very well.