Masuria as the Polish wonder of nature? No diggity! green fields with cowsgrazing in the meadows, red roof houses, azure lakes, white sailboats and original food every year attract many city dwellers. we explored the area in four days to inform you where to stay, where to eat and what to see in order to get to know Masuria better. Let’s read!
WHERE TO STAY?
Holidays in Poland have a lot of pros and cons. Some will say that Masuria is too far from home, too close to nature, generally boring and bombarded with mosquitoes, or, what worse – that there is a terribly slow internet connection. Others, in love with this region, will come back every year just to catch a breath in the shade of trees with a view over a lake. I was quite sceptical about that trip, but inspired with a post on TRAVELICIOUS blog, I decided to start planning a car trip. It all started with the search for charming accommodation. Time was flying and after a few calls Masuria appeared to be crowded this summer. Although 9/10 places had already been booked, we found something for us. We scored a bull’s eye, but more coming soon.
Meet one of the most magical places I had the opportunity to visit during my stay in Masuria. The house, located on a hill at the exit of Mikolajki, was built by the duo, Karolina and Marek. But this is not a usual story…
Karolina, after years of working in the gastronomy and hotel industry in France, and some episodes in Germany, returned to her family in Masuria. On a hill in the midst of apple and pear orchard, she discovered an old, dilapidated house that once served as the rectory. Karolina wanted to create an atmospheric, intimate guest house, connected with a small bistro and art gallery. She announced on a dating site that she was looking for a companion who would help her create a dreamy “Przechowalnia Marzeń”. That was how she met Mark – a carpenter who used to lead the nautical shop in Warsaw. He is the author of most of the wooden elements of the house.
Although the original plan was to move the old house further in the plot, which offers an impressive view over the Mikolajki harbour, it failed – the building was too old and it fell apart in the movement. Karolina and Marek have found a way for sucess. Joining forces they created a magical place: four rooms, each in a different style, refined in every detail, reflecting, as they the owners say, amateur love for design. The beautiful garden, full of apple and pear trees, fresh herbs and white tables, at which we started the day with excellent breakfasts served by the owners. Homemade jams produced from fruit and shrubs growing in the garden, eggs from the happy faucet, fragrant bread – the morning was definitely our favorite time of the day!
In Przechowalnia Marzeń you can select one of four double rooms, depending of course on the availability and preferred aesthetics prevailing in the interior.
THEATRE ROOM – chosen by us; characterised by a bright space with the view of the harbour, as well as unusual headboard beds made of the old rectory door.
HUNTING ROOM – the major role in this room is played by a headboard made of more than 100-year-old pine beams. Other noteworthy elements are white-painted antlers and spacious windows overlooking the orchard.
CONCRETE ROOM – chosen by us at the beginning, however, already booked. The most modern interior in the whole Przechowalnia Marzeń, full of wood-and-concrete connections and acute forms. Very minimalistic.
WHITE ROOM – decorated in an uncomplicated, Scandinavian style. The nature of the interior is emphasised by the chairs from the ’60s and wooden, white walls.
Preparing classic research of the tasty places to visit during our stay in Mikołajki, I was a little bit disappointed. Oh, how good that I was wrong! Below we present you a subjective list of the restaurants which we visited in Mikolajki & beyond it.
PRZECHOWALNIA MARZEŃ / MIKOŁAJKI / OS. NA GÓRCE 29
In addition to visitors, in their bistro Karolina and Marek accept anyone who is hungry and eager to begin his Masurian day in a green garden. Regular price for breakfast is 20 PLN (+ 5 PLN coffee / tea), and comprises: Swedish table with bread, meat, cheeses, vegetables, fruit, cereals, jams, dish breakfast heat (choose: scrambled eggs, semolina, fried eggs, sausages, and pancakes – depending on the availability of fresh products) and the mineral water. Every day, tasting scrambled eggs created by Mark, I was in foodie heaven! So delicious and homemade!
RESTAURACJA SIELAWA / MIKOŁAJKI / PL. WOLNOŚCI 13
The oldest restaurant in Mikołajki, with excellent views of the lake and a daily supply of fresh fish. We tried there: Fish Plate (75 PLN), the famous whitefish, perch and rainbow trout. Excellent flavor, various prices and interesting history behind whitefish – we like it!
BELLA ITALIA / MIKOŁAJKI / PL. HANDLOWY 11
The number one on the list of the best restaurants in Mikolajki by TripAdvisor? Well… When you arrive at the front of the building, it does not look too interesting … Colourful banners, stuffy indoor garden covered by tent (despite the heat), the cries of children and the general chaos. But the pizza served there was delicious! It was not a classic Italian thin-crust pie, but, of course, a Polish variation on it. Nevertheless, the whole thing was seasoned, crispy and fresh. Prices range from 18 to 39 PLN, and we opted for a version with salami and Mexican with hot peppers.
KRÓLICZA NORA / ZĘŁWĄGI 47
The real discovery of this trip. White house with a wooden porch and the view on beautiful, green landscape, hidden in the middle of the wild forest. Meet KRÓLICZA NORA – a restaurant know by those who received the secret (talking to locals is good!). The walls of the building are covered by reproductions of Banksy works, and the menu includes classics of Polish cuisine and a few dishes from the other parts of the world. We focused on the Francuska Fanaberia – de volaille with camembert cheese, garlic sauce and cranberries. Although the dish was not super tasty, it was worth to drive a few kilometres from Mikolajki to see that true places are still existing. Pay attention to the White Rabbit signs – it will lead you to the secret location.
Polish holidays without something sweet? No way! Looking for the second Kolorowa in several Masurian towns, we tested ice-creams and classic waffles with whipped cream and fruit! Our advice? The more shabby a cafe looks, the tastier the food will be! Promise!
OTHER PLACES WORTH RECOMMENDIATION:
- MIĘDZY WIERSZAMI / EŁK / UL. NADJEZIORNA 2G
- BAR PRZECINEK / MRĄGOWO / MAŁY RYNEK
- KARCZMA STARA KUŹNIA / FOLWARK PRZYKOP
- SŁONECZNY PORT / MIKOŁAJKI / MRĄGOWSKA 20
- DZIKA KACZKA / MIKOŁAJKI / FASZCZE 20
WHAT TO SEE?
Masuria, beside the beautiful nature and lakes, is primarily a historical area, where the remains of the partitions can be seen everywhere. Old architecture, wooden houses with chambers, centuries-old gardens, abandoned palaces – a true paradise for those with the soul of explorers! Before leaving, we did not create any list of places to see – every morning we just boarded the car and drove straight ahead, each time finding something unusual on your way. Although Masurian portals show hundreds of attractions worth seeing, we have gathered the most interesting ones for you!
MIKOŁAJKI HARBOUR, which is the must-see place in the town. The promenade next to lake is the place, where you can find delicious restaurants & pubs. After a hearty dinner, you can rent one of the colored water bikes to discover Mikolajki from a different perspective!
TEUTONIC CASTLE IN RYN with breathtaking indoor courtyard, which now is the hotel’s restaurant. The castle every few hours organises tourist tours (5 PLN).
GIŻYCKO HARBOUR and the beautiful panorama of the Niegocin lake.
RURAL BEACH IN ZĘŁWĄGI, for those, who dream of a silent holiday away from the tourists.
MRĄGOWO, in addition to being famous for its most popular country festival in Poland (this fact does not attract us to this place) is just a beautiful town full of colorful houses and a wooden pier, which are definitely worth seeing. From the pier to the amphitheater runs the water taxi!
Boyen FORTRESS IN GIŻYCKO, which is a strategic point of defence in the shape of a star, built in the nineteenth century. Once a place of stationing troops during World War I and a hospital, today a place of tourist trips and the location of one of the biggest hip-hop festivals in Poland. The grounds of the fortress are enormous and, unfortunately, to explore all of it, you have to reserve a whole day (which we unfortunately did not have). We recommend this for real, historical freaks!
So – you managed to meet our food & types in Masuria! We hope that you will come back here, before your trips to Warmia and Masuria. Be sure to share our discoveries with your friends. Take a look at our Instagram and fanpage. Also remember to tag all your foodie travels with #MYTUJEMY – then we certainly gonna find you!
Text & photos: Magda Stanek / Translation: Kasia Mrówczyńska