Switch to desktop


Narew Narew

The Narew is one of the largest of the right bank tributaries of the Vistula. It flows out of swamps in the Belorussian part of the forest of Białowieża. It is 484 km longs, of which 160 are in Mazovia. It is typically lowland river, of very small drop and gentle current. The construction of a water step in Dębe caused a build up of the lower section of the river, near its confluence with Bug. That is how Zalew Zegrzyński was created. The higher level of water is maintained over a distance of several dozen kilometres, up to Pułtusk. The water level of this river is renowned for being unstable. When the snow thaws in April, Narew may carry 2.5 times more water than usual. That is why in spring it overflows in many places.

Must sees

In its Mazovian flow the Narew traverses regions famous for their vivid Kurpie folklore. Many villages have preserved wooden cottages with typical ornaments. On feasts and holidays the village dwellers, especially women, are keen to boast their traditional costumes. Some interesting towns also lie along the Narew. The richly decorated interiors of the Bernardine church of Ostrołęka dazzle the visitor, while Pułtusk offers a walk across the longest market place in Europe.

The riverside meadows and forests are oases for bird life. The scarps are populated by Swallows, the sandbanks attract the Little Tern, while the riparian forests are shelter to the common Sandpiper and the Hoopoe.

Before you set off…

The river is regulated in several places, yet it has mostly preserved its natural character, hence the frequent shoals. When the water is low rocks appear in the riverbed, some of them quite large. The route markings are helpful, but you should mostly rely on your own instinct and experience.

The river is part of a popular trail leading from the Masuria Lakeland to the capital. It is definitely worth a try. It will appeal most to captains of low draught units.
Though yachts and canoes are a common sight in peak season, the river still lacks tourist infrastructure. The only authentic riverside campsites are in Pułtusk and Ostrołęka.

Route: Nowogród – Serock

We present the whole Mazovian course of Narew, up to the mouth of Pisa in Nowogród. It takes about a week to travel the distance by canoe, and three days by motor yacht.

0,0 km Nowogród

NarewThe small town is nicely situated on the left bank, opposite the mouth of the Pisa. On the green scarp which falls to the water glisten the lightning rods which are meant to protect the building of the Kurpie open air folk museum, one of the most interesting sites of this kind in Poland. Over thirty homes have been brought here from Puszcza Zielona, the oldest of which are over two hundred years old. We can see typical Kurpie houses with decorative gables and window heads, characteristic granaries with porticoes, as well as a forge, an oil mill, a windmill and a watermill. The cottages and farm buildings are equipped with authentic utensils. The exhibition includes items related to the traditional occupations of Kurpie folk, forest apiculture and fishery. The inn serves local specialties, such as juniper ale. At the foot of the museum is a convenient spot to stop.

A few metres down the river, among bushes near a road bridge, is a World War II bunker. A memory plate and a monument commemorate the fierce fights of the defensive war of 1939.

8.0 km Czartoria

On the left bank you can admire an exemplary Narew landscape: vast dry meadows with branchy junipers and twisted pines.

On hot days, herds of cows walk into the river shallows and reluctantly give way to the passing tourists.

14.0 km mouth of Ruż

Here the Narew valley reverberates with bird sounds. Herons often fly low above your head, while in the morning and in the evening you get to hear the call of cranes.

19.0 km mouth of Szkwa

If you lean out of the canoe you will see elongated small lakes along the river. Past the mouth, on the left you reach an islet which grows from year to year, gradually creating an oxbow lake.

28.5 km mouth of Rozłoga

You reach the mouth of the Rozłoga. Here the Narew turns to the south west, and you soon reach Ostrołęka.

30.0 km Wojciechowice

These are the outskirts of Ostrołęka. On the left bank there is an industrial district, which sometimes gives off unpleasant smells. The river is often blocked by dredgers, which ensure water intake for the facilities.

33.0 km Ostrołęka

Narew the riverThe left bank of the river before the road bridge was turned into a convenient cement quay. Nevertheless watch out for rocks and water plants. The riverside campsite of the municipal centre of sports and recreation includes a boatbuilding workshop and a restaurant. A gas station is only a few minutes away. Though you will find all you need by the river, a walk to the well-kept centre is worth the while.

The place has not always been that tranquil. The city and its vicinity saw many battles. On February 16th 1807 the French defeated the Russians in the battle of Ostrołęka. To commemorate it, the name of the city was carved on the Parisian Arc de Triomphe. Another war episode in the town’s history was the November Uprising. The defeat the Polish army suffered from the Russians on May 26 1831 is considered the beginning of the end of the national insurgency. Each year the anniversary of the battle is marked by a colourful reenactment of the event.

The market square of Ostrołęka takes its name after general Józef Bem, a hero of the 1831 battle of Ostrołęka. A bust of the official marks the centre of the square. In the south-eastern flank of the square stands the classicist city hall, built in 1824. In the former post office (dating back to 1828) is the Museum of Kurpie Culture, with an interesting ethnographic exhibition and a lighted model of the course of the 1831 battle.

The most interesting monument of Ostrołęka is the post-Bernardine monastery. The temple was constructed between 1666 and 1696. The single nave building is flanked by a cloister with three small towers. The rich baroque interior is complemented by an interesting polychrome from the second half of the 18th century.

34.0 km new road bridge in Ostrołęka

The construction resembles a gigantic whale rib hung over the water. This interesting architectural design was based on the Seville bridge built before the 1992EXPO.

35.0 km mouth of Omulew

Omulew is also an interesting canoe route over one hundred kilometres long.

36.0 km railway bridge on the Ostrołęka – Szczytno route

Here you have to watch out for unmarked rocks under the bridge.

39.0 km Dzbenin

Before the island, by the left bank, an enormous glacier erratic sticks out of the water. It is a pink granite of 12 m of circumference, called the stone of Batory. A pair of sharp eyes will spot the letter B engraved on its surface. Legend has it that king Stefan Batory was wounded by a deer when hunting in the nearby woods, and this was supposed to be the spot where he had the wound dressed by his physician. Another version accounts that the king followed a giant deer into the forest and lost his way. He eventually managed to find his retinue by the boulder. Be careful, as the riverbed hides more stones than expected. Three kilometers below Dzbenin begins a stretch of nice camp sites on the left bank. Stopping closer to Ostrołęka is not a good idea due to the water pollution.

51.0 km Kruszewo

In the middle of the river there is an island, with unmarked rocks next to it.

60.0 km Dyszobaba

The local shoals were a threat to many generations of sailors who headed to Masuria. The vast stretch of water was narrowed by spurs on the right bank, yet it still happens to get shallow. The shoal pattern is unstable, so don’t rely too much on the navigation signs. Luckily the bottom is sandy. After the shoals Narew takes a sharp curve.

64.0 km Różan

You will know it by the characteristic outline of the tall road bridge on the Ciechanów – Ostrów Mazowiecka route. In the Middle Ages the place was an important port. It was renowned for the trade of cereals and forestry products. The town was razed to the ground during World War II, so the neo-Gothic church designed by Stefan Szyller stands out among the contemporary buildings. In the side chapels parts of the old Gothic temple have been preserved.

69.0 km Dzbądz

The straight leg ends with a sharp turn right. After the bend is a village, nicely situated directly by the  river.

79.0 km Lubiel Nowy

A summer resort on the left bank of the river. The wooden church from 1890 is worth a visit. Inside you can contemplate 18th century paintings of saints, a baptismal font and a rococo organ, originally from an earlier temple.

80.0 km

This is the place where the water current is the strongest along the entire route. During the next 5 kilometres you also have to watch out for rocks.

97.0 km mouth of Orzyc

The river flows out of the swamps of the Mława hills and traverses the Kurpie Flatland. To the left stretches an area of thick woods.

99.0 km Zambski Kościelne

The contour of the massive 19th century church towers over the area of densely built summer homes.

117.0 km Pułtusk

The most charming town along the way. Not without some exaggeration it is referred to as the Venice of Mazovia. In the 14th century Pułtusk was a large fortified settlement. During the next two centuries the city profited from trade and craftsmanship, simultaneously becoming an important centre of artistic, intellectual and spiritual life. In the mid 19th century the later writer and poet Wiktor Gomulicki frequented a school in Pułtusk. A vivid account of the town aspect and ambience is depicted in his novel Wspomnienia niebieskiego mundurka (The diary of the blue uniform).

PultuskMost of the town lies on the right bank of the river. Above the tops of the riverside trees we can notice a tiled roofed tower with a flag flying on top. If you head in its direction you will enter a comfortable port at the foot of the former castle of the Płock bishops. The building has always been closely related to water – it was erected on an artificial embankment surrounded by the river, which was what remained of an ancient settlement. The 14th century Gothic building has been destroyed and reconstructed several times. The contemporary two storey building shaped like a polygonal horseshoe, is a post-war reconstruction of a classicist form from the first half of the 19th century. It presently serves as a hotel and conference centre, which is also responsible for the riverside campsite. You might want a nice meal in one of the riverside restaurants and then go on a gondola or motorboat trip. Probably the most extravagant water units are the local duck and swan shaped paddle boats.

Though the sports and recreational facilities of the castle may hold you back, it would be a great mistake to abandon the idea of visiting the town altogether.

The most important monuments of Pułtusk are grouped around a 400 m long rectangular market place, which is often referred to as the longest in Europe. Among the buildings which surround it there are a few classic houses from the first half of the 19th century. Take a closer look at number 29. On the turn of 1806 and 1807 it served as Napoleon’s quarters. The south side of the marketplace is occupied by the small round church of St. Mary Magdalene, or Magdalenka, as the local folk call it. The Renaissance temple, erected in the first half of the 16th century is a rare example of a detached church designed on a central plan. The city hall situated in the middle of the marketplace consists of a eight-storey Gothic tower and classicist building constructed by its side after the Second World War. Inside the tower is a regional museum. The archaeological and ethnographical findings are worth seeing. Remember to take a glance at a sample Pułtusk meteor. In 1868 over 9 tonnes of stone material, containing a lot of iron, fell on the fields close to the town. Pieces of it can be found in any respectful geological collection in the world.  

The north flank of the marketplace is closed by the characteristic silhouette of the classicist bell tower of the collegiate church. When the construction of a lavish bishop’s residence was planned in the 15th century, it was necessary to build an equally splendid church. The Gothic triple-nave temple of the Annunciation and St. Mathew was constructed in 1443. In the mid 16th century architect Jan Baptysta of Venice, hired by Bishop Andrzej Noskowski, added a side chapel in Renaissance style and reconstructed the vaulting of the main nave, giving it the characteristic shape of circles connected with beams. The imposing vaulting is covered with Renaissance paintings. The side naves have preserved the Gothic rib vault. Most of the interior is in baroque style, including the fifteen side altars, the stalls, the pulpit and eight tombstones founded by bishop Ludwik Załuski for his family members.

Outside the church, right of the entrance, is a stone the shape of which resembles a human head. One of the legends tells the tale of a thief, who wanted to get out of the church with his loot, and was imprisoned for ever. According to another version the stone mask is the head of a pagan deity.

After leaving the harbour you will pass a footbridge and a road bridge on the Pułtusk-Wyszków route. This is the place the flow of the Narew becomes wider and wider – a visible influence of the Dębe dam. There are many quaint islands and islets in the river. If the draught of your unit is larger and you are not familiar with these waters, better stick to the water track.

132.0 km Stawinoga

NarewThe waterlogged river valley echos with bird calls clucks and quacks. You traverse the Nadbużański landscape park. The largest area of this kind in Poland also comprises fragments of the Narew valley. In order to protect the nesting sites of many bird species, a reserve was created on the left bank (‘Stawinoga’) and the islands down the river were established a protected area known under the name of ‘Dzierżenińska Kępa’.

135.5 km Dzierżenin

On the high right bank we can clearly discern the red silhouette of the neo-Gothic church.

139.0 km Wierzbica

The road bridge on the Serock – Wyszków route. Past it extends the wide water of the Zegrze Reservoir. The first buildings of Serock stretch along the right bank.

141.0 km Serock

A good place to end the trip is the town beach. Be sure to take a walk around the nice townlet. (see the description of Zalew Zegrzyński). You can also continue your journey onto Warsaw.

Useful tips


Ostrołęka: Miejski Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji, Stanica Wodna, ul. Witosa 1; ul. Wioślarska 1, tel. (29) 760 68 68; boatbuilding workshop, restaurant.

Pułtusk: Dom Polonii, Stanica Wodna i Kasztel, ul. Szkolna 11, tel. (23) 692 90 01; equipment rental, gondola and boat rides, accommodation, restaurant and bar

Pułtusk: Oddział PTTK Wodny „Pełta”, ul. Solna 9; seasonal canoe rental, motorboat cruises

Check out their services

Pułtusk: KEJA, Stare Miasto 41, tel. 602 592 212, 500 208 114,; canoe rental, canoe trips, including night trips

Realizzazione CMS

2011 © MROT. All rights reserved.

Top Desktop version