Discover the Queen of Polish Rivers – The Vistula

Warsaw is the only European capital with a wild river bank. On Warsaw’s right bank of the Vistula is a nature reserve and habitat for many species of birds threatened with extinction like cormorants, kingfishers and herons. In 2016 The Guardian placed the Vistula’s beaches in Warsaw among the ten best urban beaches in the world.

The Vistula (Polish: Wisła) was mentioned over 2000 years ago as Viscla (Latin) by the Roman author Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder. It`s the longest river in Poland, at 1,047 kilometres (651 miles) in length. It flows through many Polish cities including Kraków, Warsaw, Płock, Toruń and Gdańsk, where it flows into the Baltic Sea. It’s closely bound with Polish history and culture. Sometimes Polish people use the term “Land of Vistula” (Kraj nad Wisłą) as synonymous with Poland. It`s often called “the queen of Polish rivers”.

Over the last years the river banks have become extremely popular because of renovation of its promenade. It`s one of the best public spaces in the city with numerous attractions where everyone will find something for themselves. It`s popular for jogging and biking. There is an outdoor gym under the Świętokrzyski Bridge, attractions for children such as the Copernicus Science Center as well as popular bars and clubs creating the most vibrant nightlife scene in Warsaw.

What`s really special about the river in Warsaw is the right bank on Praga side. It`s a narrow stripe of greenary covering the whole city. It`s never been regulated and developed. It has a status of a nature reserve, there are many protected animals and birds living here. Natural sand beaches are very popular in summertime. The Poniatówka Beach is the best place to hang out in the evening on a blanket and watching sunset above the Old Town. There is a restaurant with a bar, playground, volleyball court, kayaks, free beach chairs and books rental and water trams transporting people between beaches and banks.

Photo: Piotr Ważyński