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Pure relaxation on a walk along the river Vistula

We enjoyed some truly relaxing walks along the Vistula, the sun in our faces, and just unwound.

The river Vistula

The Vistula, in Polish the Wisla, is the longest river in Poland. It is 1047 km long and it runs through Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland. 
The Vistula has its source Slesian Beskids, a mountain range in Poland and the Czech Republic. Around the middle of its length, it runs through Krakow and also passes Warsaw. Near Gdansk, it finally flows into the Baltic Sea.


river Vistula

Like many other rivers in Europe, the Vistula is at risk for flooding. During a high water period in Mai 2010, a large area was flooded. 
In September 2012, however, the Vistula carried only little water and artefacts from centuries ago were revealed that used to be covered by the waters of the river. Marble remains from the castle and the Villa Regia were found in Warsaw. The discoveries show the emblem of the Wasa family of the 17th century.

The Vistula and Krakow

The Vistula runs through Krakow for round about 30 Km. Canals have been built to regulate the flow of the river and to enable bigger ships to pass through ship locks. These regulations are also for flood prevention. Only a few ships sail the Vistula in Krakow. They mainly carry tourists. I was surprised that little boat tours, that are so popular in other cities, are hardly ever offered anywhere in Krakow. Isn’t a cruise on a boat with coffee and cake predestines to attract visitors?

river Vistula

On a walk along the Vistula impressions rich in variety can be gathered. Sacred buildings, industrial plants, bridges in many different shapes. All that can be enjoyed from the green embankments or from one of the restaurant ships.

We only walked along a short stretch of the Vistula. But it was the most popular one that can be found on many postcards. For exploring the entire trail along the riverside one of the many bike hiring stations could come in handy.

Vistula and Wawel

Right behind the Debniki Bridge lies a sharp river bend after which the visitor gets a view of the hill with the Wawel, the cathedral and the castle. Between the 11th and the 16th century, this used to be the hub of the political and cultural life in Krakow. The king and his royal household and personnel resided in the castle. The dragon cave of Smok Wawelski, now also open to the public, lies beneath it. In front of it: A metal dragon that breathes actual fire!

walk along Vistula

After passing the next bridge, we saw the Michael’s Church. A very beautiful church.

We went onwards on the very pleasantly laid out riverside walk. Another sharp turn later, we came across the Krakowska bridge and into the Jewish District Kazimierz, which adjoins to the embankment. The first few restaurants put their tables out on the riverside walk. They are always packed, the food seems to be that good. Restaurant ships pass the Vistula. We ate a good meal at a reasonable price on one of them.

But on we go to a very interesting bridge across the Vistula.

Father Ojca Bernatka Bridge

This fascinating bridge, which crosses the Vistula since September 2010, enthused me. The Father Ojca Bernatka Bridge is split in the middle. One side belongs to the cyclists, the other one is used by pedestrians.

Vistula bridge

A little art exhibition can be found between the two parts of the bridge.

Vistula bridge art
bridge art Vistula

It is also a bridge for lovebirds. All over the bridge they hung their padlocks with their names and dates engraved. I like this bridge a lot.

Vistula art

There are two more bridges to pass.
People are sunbathing at the embankment, cyclists and skates rush past. We finally reached the shopping mall Kazimierz. One of the biggest shopping facilities of the whole town was built on the former grounds of the city’s slaughterhouses. Parts of the slaughter houses were integrated into the new building. We cross the mall. Just on the other side of it is where our AirBnB apartment is.


Do you wish to read a lot more about Krakow? Head over to Barbara’s Blog Barbaralicious where you find a splendid article that helped me a great deal to prepare my trip.


  1. Sage on 5. October 2019 at 3:15

    I love riverwalks, but have never been to Poland to get to experience the views along the Vistula River. How gorgeous! I especially love the tightrope artist art incorporated into the bridge!

  2. Mirela | The Travel Bunny on 4. October 2019 at 9:19

    Haven’t been to Poland yet, and as the only stories about Krakow came from a bachelor’s party, I never imagined it could be a tranquil destination, too. This walk seems like a great way to spend the afternoon. Love the bridge photos!

  3. Bernie Jackson on 3. October 2019 at 18:44

    The river looks so tranquil, which I guess is helped by using the canals to regulate the water flow. And, as you point out, how strange that there aren’t more river trips to make the most of the sights. The sight of the acrobats on the bridge is beautiful; that’s a vivid and powerful imagination that brought them into being.

  4. Travel with Mei and Kerstin on 3. October 2019 at 16:54

    Strolling along Vistula in Krakow definitely looks like a relaxing and cool activity! We’ve never been to Poland, so we might consider traveling there someday. The Father Ojca Bernatka Bridge looks really awesome, and it’s good that there are two trails, one for pedestrians and one for cyclists. We tend to get run over by cyclists when exploring cities that have lots of cyclists! haha… Thanks for sharing this post and inspiring us to visit Krakow!

  5. Yukti on 3. October 2019 at 16:14

    Good to know that The Vistula, is the longest river in Poland. Krakow is beautiful and strolling across the longest river would be the most beautiful thing to do here. The little art exhibition on the two parts of bridge too look very interesting.

  6. Jim on 3. October 2019 at 15:40

    I’ve never been to Poland but you make it look really appealing! I love a nice walk over a river or stream, and this looks like a great spot for a walkabout. The Father Ojca Bernatka bridge looks really interesting…I love those sculptures!

  7. Wildish Wander on 2. October 2019 at 19:07

    OH, I absolutely love “lovebird” bridges as you call them. There’s just something special about them! Not to mention that bridge is pretty spectacular on its own already.

  8. Tania on 2. October 2019 at 14:50

    I haven’t been to Poland but it looks amazing. It would be lovely to cruise the Vistula. I would certainly be keen to do that, as I always like to take a cruise down the rivers in cities I visit, as it’s a beautiful experience.

  9. Danik on 30. September 2019 at 11:11

    I done this walk (and run) many times in Krakow. Think I been to the city five times now. It was great at first but the centre has now got tooooooo touristy. However I use Krakow as a base to get to the other nearby towns and nature sights as southern Poland is amazing. I love running alongside this river in the Fall, early in the morning, no one about and seeing the castle glowing in the sunrise. :)

  10. Susanne Jungbluth on 30. September 2019 at 8:12

    No, there were too many kids standing around.

  11. Wendy on 30. September 2019 at 2:28

    Walking along the river Vistula sounds like a beautiful walk. I think my favorite part would be going past the castle and seeing the fire breathing dragon. Can you get pictures of it breathing fire?

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