As we promised in the post summarizing 2015, this year we want to see Poland. We keep our word, and with this post about the Elbląg Canal, we begin a series of posts entitled “The Elbląg Canal”. Ready for Poland 2016 :)
First up goes one of the Seven Wonders of Poland, the Elbląg Canal and its surroundings, which we visited over the May weekend. We invite you to join the coverage.
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The Elblag Canal, the Elblag Canal! Is there anything to do there?
When we told friends that we were planning to go on a cruise on the Elblag Canal over the weekend, some of them reacted positively, some of them were surprised (You? going so close?), and some even wanted to dissuade us from the idea. These were people who, as if through a fog, remember how n years ago, when they were little, they swam the entire canal and were ghastly bored….
Undaunted by these stories, we made the decision that we had to see for ourselves, so let’s go! :) The only thing we didn’t like was the weather forecast. The weekend promised to be disastrous, some 11-15 degrees C, cloudy, rainy…. Not very dream weather for a boat cruise. Ok, it would be worse if they announced storms :-P
We left in the direction of Elblag on Friday after work. We had about 350 kilometers to drive, so by design we didn’t plan anything else for the day. We had an overnight stay near Buczyniec, in the village of Karczemka, but about that another time :) We wanted to spend the night in this area, because it was from Buczyniec that our cruise towards Elblag began.
Of course, there are also cruises in the other direction (Elblag -> Buczyniec). All crossings on the route between Elblag and Buczyniec are so-called grass ship cruises, because in the traction of the cruise there are 5 slipways on which the ship is transported on grass, not water. In addition, Ostróda-Elbląg Shipping offers other cruises, which you can read about here.
The unique Elbląg Canal
Why exactly this cruise? Because the Elbląg Canal is uniquely positioned in the world – the slipway system is the only one of its kind in the world fully powered by water energy! Despite appearances, it is a very popular attraction, including among tourists from other countries. It should also be mentioned that the Elbląg Canal underwent a revitalization, which was completed in 2015. Its purpose was to rebuild the slipways and reinforce the banks. Now the channel is experiencing its second youth :)
As we mentioned, we set off from the slipway in Buczynec. We had some free time before the cruise, so we drove the car up to other slipways to see up close how the mechanism works and how the ships are pulled up or lowered using the elevators.
Not every slipway will be reached by car, some have to be walked almost 2 km, but the walk is very pleasant, there is a path along the canal and also a bike trail.
In Buczyniec itself, by the slipway, where you can buy or pick up cruise tickets, there is the Elbląg Canal History Chamber. Here you can learn more about the history and origins of the canal, which date back to the 14th century! There is also information about the people involved in the construction of the Canal and how the slipways work.
Elbląg Canal route
The cruise route can be divided into two parts: the first one, where we “sail” through the canal and slipways, and the second one, when the ship goes through Lake Druzhno – a great place from the ornithological point of view! The whole thing takes about. 4.5 hours.
Note, the ship does not stop anywhere along the way, there are no stops, so if you decide to cruise, all this time you are on the ship. Seats can be taken on the upper deck or below. From the upper one, of course, there are better views, but you have to be careful of the weather conditions (it can be very windy, and with a lot of sun, you need decent protection from it).
You can go downstairs and take comfortable seats at the tables. There is also a bar here, where you can buy something to drink and eat.
The first ramp, of course, is Buczyniec, where a height difference of 20.6 meters is overcome. The second is the Kąty slipway – 18.9 meters, another Olesnica slipway – 24.2 meters (the highest), Deer slipway – 22 meters, and the last Całuny slipway – 13.8 meters.
|Slope||Level difference||Length of the ramp|
|Buczyniec||20,6 m||490 m|
|Angles||18,9 m||404 m|
|Olesnica||24,2 m||479 m|
|Deer||22 m||433 m|
|Shrouds||13,8 m||352 m|
It takes some time to overcome each slipway, and during the course various interesting facts about the canal and each slipway are played from loudspeakers (including the history of how slipways work). Additional attractions are provided by a very nice ship’s staff headed by the captain, who patiently answer all questions, puzzle and make time pleasant for passengers :)
After passing all the slipways, the ship sails a short distance and arrives at Lake Druzhno, located within the “Lake Druzhno” reserve. We were setting our sights more on a grass cruise, but crossing the lake was a very nice end to the cruise. Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated, it was colder and blew hard, so only the daredevils stayed on the mountain :)
The lake is shallow (more than 1 m deep) and overgrown, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen so many different species of birds in their natural habitat (there are about 200 species here).
After arriving at the marina in Elblag, a bus was waiting for us to take us back to Buczyniec.
How do we evaluate this cruise?
It was a very nice break for us after many trips, where one wants to see as much as possible in a hurry and runs between places. Here we had time to look around at the surrounding nature.
If anyone is looking for the power of attractions, adrenaline spikes and dizzying speed then they may be disappointed. Keep in mind that the cruise lasts 4 hours and is a leisurely, slow cruise. Attractions here include slipways, passing other ships and the beautiful nature that surrounds us. It is worth to stop, sit for a while and admire the surrounding nature, and these 4 hours are a perfect opportunity to do so :)
On the cruise you can bring your own food, a book, playing cards and spend the time pleasantly. In fact, everything is limited to what expectations and hopes we have for this type of attraction.
We knew in advance what the cruise was about, how many inclines there were and how long it lasted, and so our attitude was also different than when we visit, for example, European capitals, where the bar is also set at an appropriate level. Of course, the cruise itself we highly recommend :)
For those interested, here’s a link to the canal cruise offer: click!
Let us know in the comments what your opinions are on this cruise! :)
More photos in the gallery, of course:
Zobacz galerię wszystkich zdjęć >>>
Frequently asked questions about the Elbląg Canal:
- ✔️ Ile kosztuje rejs Kanałem Elbląskim?
Obecnie, w cenniku na 2020 rok, cena za osobę dorosłą to 110 zł. Dzieci do lat 4 podróżują za 20 zł, a bilet ulgowy kosztuje 85 zł. Mowa tutaj o naszej trasie, czyli statkiem po trawie Buczyniec – Elbląg.
- ✔️ Co łączy Kanał Elbląski?
Kanał Elbląski w przypadku naszej trasy statkiem po trawie, łączy Buczyniec z Elblągiem.
- ✔️ Jak dojechać do stacji Buczyniec?
Start rejsu ze wsi Buczyniec tak na prawdę zaczyna się od Pochylni Buczyniec, która znajduje się przy drodze numer 526 pomiędzy wsią Dulity i Kąty. Można tam dojechać z drogi S7 korzystając ze zjazdu “Marzewo”.
- ✔️ Ile trwa rejs po Kanale Elbląskim?
Rejs po Kanale Elbląskim pomiędzy Buczyńcem i Elblągiem trwa około 4,5 godziny.