Vistula or Wisła River

The Vistula or Wisła River is Poland's longest river carving its way across the country for 1,050 Km or 650 miles, navigating through a landscape of meadows, forests, past castles and medieval towns and cities.

The Wisła (Polish) or Vistula rises in the Beskid Mountains deep down in the south of Poland, its source is at Barania Góra near to the Czech and Slovak borders. Travelling the full length of the country, south to north through the old historic city of Craków (Kraków) and on into the wide European plains of the middle of Poland, past or through other towns and cities such as: Kraków, Sandomierz, Warszawa, Płock, Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Świecie, Grudziądz, Tczew and Gdańsk, eventually arriving at the Baltic Sea (In times past this was known as ‘Mare Suebicum') via the Vistula Lagoon.

The lagoon is a labyrinth of sandbars, dunes spits and beaches with water meadows constantly changing due to the material within the river itself after its meandering journey and mans intervention. In order to keep the navigation for vessels clear the estuary requires dredging. Some 250 species of waterfowl, about 60 of which breed in the area, can be spotted in this wildlife haven.

There is evidence that people have been living along the Vistula for 2,000 years and the river has been an important trade route extending from the Black Sea to the Baltic, linking with the Dnieper River in neighbouring Ukraine, but once part of a larger Poland. This trade route was known as the Amber Road due to amber being transported from northern Europe to Greece and Egypt.


The Vistula is only navigable from the Baltic Sea to Bydgoszcz except for small river vessels along other parts of the rivers course but the future may see more of the waterway opened up to traffic. There are three different stretches of the river: the upper reaches, from its sources to the city of Sandomierz; the central reaches, from Sandomierz to the mouth of rivers Narew (a tributary of the Vistula river) and Bug; and lower reaches, from the mouth of the Narew through to the Vistula's delta on the Baltic Sea.

The Vistula has it's own museum at Tczew not very far from the city of Gdansk, near the northern end of this great river. There are a number of exhibitions and many artefacts to help you understand the history.

The queen of Polish rivers. Wilde, huge and… dense with fish.

Vistula or Wisła River - Polska - Poland Travel Guide

Tatra Mountains in southern Poland