Warsaw - Official Tourist Portal of the Capital City of Warsaw - Home Page
Award: European Best Destination 2023

Cruises on the Vistula

Do you know that in the past the Vistula was a main communication and transport route? Wooden boats transported goods and sand to Warsaw, and grain was transported to Gdańsk. Today that is all history, but you can go on a cruise and see the city from the river, hear about old traditions or simply relax. There are many options to do just that in the summer season. These include traditional flat-bottomed boats, a historic boat that can accommodate several dozen people on board, as well as comfortable catamarans and gondolas. If you are looking for something more exciting, rent a motorboat or a yacht. You can also hire kayaks. All these vessels moor in many places, mainly on the left bank of the Vistula. In most cases, you can book and pay for your trip online.

A free ferry

Forget about the hustle and bustle of the big city and take advantage of free ferries running between the banks of the Vistula River. In this way, you will avoid using Warsaw’s bridges and during a short ride you will feel pleasantly cool and taste the holiday atmosphere. You can also take a bicycle on board.

  • „Wilga” – will take you from the area of the Multimedia Fountain Park to the Rusałka beach. You can admire the most beautiful panorama of Warsaw’s Old Town from there. You will find a seasonal bar in the neighborhood and also the Warsaw Zoo nearby.
  • „Pliszka”- moored in the neighborhood of the Poniatowski Bridge. It will take you to the most popular of Warsaw’s beaches – Poniatówka. On the way, you will see the construction of PGE Narodowy stadium.
  • „Słonka”, starting from the jetty at the entrance to the Czerniakowski Port, reaches a secluded beach in the vicinity of Saska Kępa district. You can take a break from the hustle and bustle there and then set out to explore this unique part of Warsaw.

You can use these ferries from May to September, as long as the water level in the Vistula allows. They run back and forth every day during the holiday months, and on weekends and holidays outside this time. 

For those interested in a trip outside the center of Warsaw, there are free crossings across the Vistula river on the northern and southern edges of the city, operating from May to August:

  • „Dudek” – a ferry running between the marina in Las Młociński and Nowodwory, a housing estate in the Białołęka district. On its premises there is the church of St. Jacob – the oldest original Gothic monument within the current city limits and …. the highest utility pole in Poland, the height of which is 127 meters.
  • „Inna Bajka” – a boat departing on weekends from the largest Warsaw beach located in the Zawady housing estate in the Wilanów district. It reaches the Romantyczna Beach in the Wawer district, a perfect place for recreation awarded with the Architectural Award of the President of Warsaw.

A cosy catamaran, a gondola or a cruise boat

Every day, from the floating barge Wynurzenie moored by the Bulwar gen. G. S. Pattona near Copernicus Science Centre Planetarium, you can set sail on a sightseeing cruise on one of the Po Wiśle boats. You can check the cruise times on the website. During the hour-long cruise, you will see the panorama of the Old and New Town, the entrance to the Czerniakowski Port, as well as the unique Gruba Kaśka water supply station. On the way, you will enjoy the sun, drink tea, coffee – all included in the price. During evening cruises you will admire the sunset, the colourfully illuminated bridges and the famous PGE Narodowy Stadium. It’s a good way to start your evening fun.

On summer Sundays, you can also take a cruise on the distinctive glass InfoBarka with two decks and a sunny terrace that even hosts live concerts. The catamaran for more than a dozen passengers berths at the Nowa Fala marina (at the Copernicus Science Center).

From the marina on the right bank of the Vistula, near the Śląsko-Dąbrowski Bridge, you will take a romantic cruise in a traditional, comfortable, covered, wooden gondola from the Aquatica fleet. Sit on a comfortable sofa and see the Vistula boulevards, Warsaw’s Old Town and the magnificent Copernicus Science Center from the river’s perspective. Airy curtains add to the atmosphere of the expedition. If you want to eat a meal on board or have a drink, please report this when booking the boat.

If you want to feel the spirit of history, go on a cruise on a beautiful replica of the oldest vessel of the white fleet – the restored 19th-century Loewentin steamboat from 1892. Up to 80 people can fit on its four decks. During the 1.5-hour cruise you will listen to interesting facts about Warsaw, order a drink or eat grilled snacks. You can also eat in even more comfortable conditions in one of the two exclusive cabins finished with natural wood. The boat runs on weekends. The cruise begins and ends at Barka Warszawska on bulwar Jana Karskiego at the foot of the Royal Castle. The route is set each time by the captain (it normally runs between the Gdański and Łazienkowski bridges).

You can also rent these and other vessels by booking a group dinner cruise. You choose the start and end point of the cruise yourself.

If you want to be a captain but you don’t have the right qualifications, rent a smaller vessel: a RT5 motorboat, accommodating 10 people, or a five-person GAMMA boat. They both moor at the WIR barge on bulwar Bohdana Grzymały-Siedleckiego. There are tables on both of them, so bring your own lunch and have a picnic on the river. The echosounder will help you avoid the sandbanks. Just in case, you will receive two fuel tanks, as well as an oar, boat hook and an anchor. Please arrive 10 minutes early to learn about the vessel and the echosounder, and the rules for navigating the route. Then set off on an exhilarating adventure.

A traditional Vistula boat

You can go on a Taxi Wisła cruise from almost anywhere on the Warsaw stretch of the river. Call us and make an appointment to see for yourself what boats were used to transport goods, animals and sand by the river in the past. The 12-meter bull-type vessel the Olęder – as the medieval settlers of the Netherlands were called – has a sun and rain roof and a large open deck where you can laze around during the cruise. You can also decide at what stops you want to get off. Or maybe you want to cross the river? That’s also possible. For early risers, there is even a possibility of a cruise up the river and eating (your own) breakfast on a natural beach at sunrise.

A punt, a flat-bottomed boat designed along the lines of a traditional Vistula boat, will take you on an hour and a half cruise from the Nowa Fala marina, Cypel Czerniakowski or Port Czerniakowski. The 3-metre width of the boat means that tables can be set up – when booking a boat, decide whether you want to order brunch or dinner from the organiser. During evening cruises (up the river) awaits you an unforgettable view of the Warsaw skyline against the setting sun.

You will set off on an hour-long cruise on a traditional Vistula Galar vessel from the marina near the Mermaid statue and the Copernicus Science Center Metro Station. The wooden boat, modelled on 18th-century Galars, has a deck divided into two parts – closed and open, while its flat-bottomed structure means you can sail in the lowest water levels and get direct access to the beaches. On the way, you will see the Old Town, stop at one of the Vistula islets, and in good weather even raise a spritsail – typical for Warsaw section of the river. You will also listen to stories about the Vistula and Warsaw.

Adrenaline rush

Do you know that you only need an ID card or a passport to go on a motorboat cruise – a polyethylene boat with a 13-horsepower engine, designed for recreation and rescue? If you haven’t done it before, you will have to learn some rules about the water – you will learn who you have to give way, what to do if you run aground and in what position the engine lock lever should be when shifting gear. When booking a boat for the hour, remember that you will go down the river three times faster than against the current. You will pick up the boat near the Słonka ferry port on the Bulwar Flotylli Wiślanej at 511 km of the Vistula at Płyta Desantu.

You can order a group speedboat cruise from the Nowa Fala marina at Bulwar Pattona (near the Copernicus Science Center) or at Cypel Czerniakowski by the Miami Wars bar. In addition to the helmsman provided by the organiser, up to 9 people will fit on board, and the cruise itself will take 1 or 2 hours. You will be delighted by the unforgettable view of the Warsaw skyline on one of the evening cruises, during which the main attraction is the view of the setting sun. If you feel like it, you can go on a 1.5-hour cruise up the river with brunch or dinner served on board, and on special request, you can also go further in the direction of Anny Jagiellonki bridge or to the Zegrze Reservoir.

For active people

Almost everyone has heard of Omega – the most popular Polish sailing yacht constructed in occupied Warsaw in 1942. Used for sailing training of Home Army soldiers, during the Warsaw Uprising it was used to transport equipment and soldiers across the Vistula River. After the war, it was still used for training purposes. It took part in multi-day cruises and canoeing trips, and is still a very popular regatta class.
You can charter it exclusively with a skipper.

The only thing you need is to be an adult or to have a certificate from your legal guardian. You can reach places by canoe that are inaccessible to others, you will visit canals, the port with its old ramps, locks, you will visit islands and various river nooks on the right bank of the Vistula*. Choose the route you are interested in: 1.5-2 hours for beginners or parents with children, or a full day for experienced kayakers looking for a challenge. Go to the starting point, collect a 1 or 2-person kayak and hit the water.

If you like picturesque views, head down the river. Just outside the city, the river almost flows into the Kampinos National Park and continues through many smaller nature reserves. Numerous islands are a real paradise for birds that nest here or find a safe haven while migrating. You can also go south – against the current. Clean water and the wide riverbed near Otwock attract many campings.

A particularly interesting river near Warsaw is the Świder with a strong current, numerous narrow meanders and fallen tree branches.

You can order kayaks for these and many other routes at: kajakwstolicy.pl or nakajak.com.

* please note that mooring is prohibited for safety reasons and to protect the natural habitats of nesting birds. Such places include some of the wild beaches, Zawadowskie Islands and Ławice Kiełpińskie reserves and Warsaw section of the Natura 2000 Vistula protected area.

Take Warsaw Tourist Lines to Serock

If you like long, lazy trips, take a day cruise to Serock. The Zefir runs on weekends and takes over 100 passengers, each of whom has a guaranteed covered seat with access to a table. During the cruise, you will feast your eyes on nature and see the ruins of the old bridge from 1897, blown up by retreating Russian troops in 1915. You can buy grilled food and drinks on board. Your final destination is the picturesque Zegrze Reservoir, on which Serock is located, full of motorboats, sailboats and canoes in the summer. During the 2-hour break, you can sunbathe on the local beach, take a walk along the shore or visit the charming town, even in high season, which exudes tranquillity. The boat departs from the marina in Żerań at the beginning of the canal at 9.00 and returns at 18.00.