A great way to enjoy the city and it's surrounding areas in the summer is of course by boat. There are plenty of options however, so choosing the best one for you can prove a little bewildering. In today's article we'll look into the various services on offer, together with some useful user opinions.
Private boat rental
One rather flush option for those who really value a lengthy boat trip is to book a tour with cruzeo.pl. The newly formed boat rental company even organise river trips to places as far away as Berlin and Gdansk! Recently Gazeta Wyborcza journalist Edyta Bryła embarked on this trip and you can read about it here. If those journeys sound a bit too much for you, it is of course possible to book a shorter trip a little closer to home.
Recently Marta Papiernik, who runs the International Kindergarten Bright Beginners, used cruzeo's services and seemed to be more than satisfied with her trip:
"As a way to say thank you to our students and their parents for the past ten amazing months, we decided to organise a cruise along the Odra River. We appreciate their support and involvement in our community, so the cruise was an ideal way for us to give something back.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather that afternoon as we set sail in three of cruzeo's boats down a rather quiet and less traveled section of the Odra. The greenery and sounds of birds chirping set a calm mood for everyone on board. As it was the children's first time on a boat, the captain was kind enough to let each of them take turns sitting in his seat while he showed them how to steer the boat. While most children preferred to stay up to for the riverside views, a lot of them also enjoyed exploring the inside of the cabin. For me, it was quite exciting to witness the children experiencing something brand new to them – so I would definetely reccommend the service to any parent looking to introduce their child to the world of boating."
A more modest alternative can be found via gondole.eu, who run a 'water tram' in the warmer months. You can jump on board the boat at Purkyniego 9 (between Tumski bridge and the national museum) and Kładka Zwierzyniecka (behind the zoo), as well as Wyspa Słodowa. A thirty minute cruise costs 15zl and a one hour cruise 25zl. The whole boat, which can accomodate 12 people, can also be rented at a cost of 270zl per hour.
For more info, see this post by former Wroclaw Uncut contributor Jackie-Foster Fagan, who wrote about her boat trip with Gondole.eu for her blog 'Morning Kawa'.
A second company offering cruises for small groups are Tara, whose boat is pictured above. For a 50 minute cruise, prices range from 20zl for 1 person to as little as 6 people for 70zl. Children under the age of three can board free of charge. The service comes recommended by Wroclaw Expats member Daisy Kosmider:
"The crew at Tara will give you a really nice boatcruise. Family friendly and you can even get a chance to take the wheel for a while if you wish. They have a smaller boat so tailored cruises are affordable. You will find them by the Barbarka bar."
Yet another option comes in the shape of Żegluga Pasażerska FLIS, who have a couple of boats in their fleet. Their 50 minute day cruise costs 15zl per person (12zl for concessions). They also do a 60 minute evening cruise on another boat, which costs 22zl per person. Wroclaw Expats poster Tatsiana Rudkova recently used the service:
"Went on a sober boat trip two days ago using a ticket purchased through groupon that cost 25 zl for 4 persons (on the "Kaczuszka" boat departing from Przystan Piaskowa). The trip lasted around 40 minutes. General impression: it was a nice leisure activity and an option to see usual places from an unusual angle."
Kayaks and Peddle Boats
Gondole.eu also offer kayak rental via their two docking points at Purkyniego 9 and Kładka Zwierzyniecka. Two person kayaks cost 15zl per hour, while a three person family kayak can be rented for 19zl per hour. Three person rowing boats are available too, priced at 25zl per hour.
An anonymous Wroclaw Expats member gave us their opinion of the experience, which you can read below:
"You can rent one kayak for 2 persons for 15zl for one hour. In other countries I have already done this 5 times (sometimes the whole afternoon). It was the 3rd for my girlfriend I think. So we are not complete beginners but not exactly regulars either 🙂 It is generally nice, we were kayaking for about 2 hours.
Before at other places we were always in shallow and fairly steady water, with no big ships around. Here it is different, you partially go on a big river which has some current and deepness. So some caution is good, especially for first timers who likely won't go on in straight line and change direction slowly. One aspect I didn't like was that we had to look around to see where the big ships and motorboats were comimg from. Some of them also made waves on the river for a few seconds. Our kajak also had no foot holder, which was new for me.
It starts from the National Museum, and they told us we should go east from there. I think it's something good to try out, we will go more. On the right side is a smaller channel with shallow water, which is more quiet."
Another place you can pick up a kayak is at the rental place nearby the zoo (Zygmunta Wróblewskiego 1), run by Żegluga Pasażerska Wroclaw. Kayaks for 1,2 or 3 people can be rented a a price of 15zl per hour. The peddle boats for two people cost 30zl for every 60 minutes, while the 4 person peddle boats are 10zl more. You can also rent 3 person rowing boats for 30zl per hour. If you fancy the lazy option, motorised boats are also available for between 90-110zl per hour.
At the time of writing one company seem to enjoy a monopoly when it comes to tourist cruises on a large boat. The service is run by Żegluga Pasażerska, who run various cruises, all of which are detailed below:
A route of the steamboat “Nereida” voyage
START: Kardynalska Harbour (The Sand Island- Wyspa Piasek) – National Museum – the Peace Bridge (Most Pokoju) – Provincial Office – the Grunwaldzki Bridge – Jaz Szczytniki – Zoo Harbour (Stop to go to the ZOO) – Gas Pipeline in the direction of Opatowicka Island – return Kardynalska Harbour at the Sand Island.
Route of the Goplana boat:
START: Zwierzyniecka Harbour (at the Zwierzyniecki Bridge at Wroblewska Street 1)- the Zwierzyniecki Bridge – the Szczytnicki Bridge – Footbridge Franka Gateway (Kladka Brama Franka) – the Warsaw Bridge – the Railway Bridge – E.Leclerc Harbour at the Trzebnicki Bridge (possibility to go in and go out) – Return Zwierzyniecka Harbour.
Route of the Wiktoria steamboat:
START: ZOO Harbour (behind the terrarium, next to the head office)- Gas Pipeline in the direction of Opatowicka Island – Jaz Szczytniki – the Pressure Tower- National Museum – Ostrow Tumski – Kardynalska Harbour – (possibility to go in and go out) – return to the ZOO Harbour
Route of the Driada boat:
START: the Centennial Hall Harbour (200m from the Raclawice Panorama) – the Peace Bridge (Most Pokoju) – National Museum – the Provincial Office – the Grunwaldzki Bridge – the Pressure Tower – the Sczytniki Lock- the Zwierzyniecka Harbour – (stop, possibility to go in and go out) – return Ostrow Tumski – the Centennial Hall Harbour.
Route of the Gucio small boat:
START: the Kardynalska Harbour (on the Sand Island -Wyspa Piasek ) – the Tumski Bridge – the Mill Bridge – Klara’s Passage (Przejscie Klary)- the Plaza Hotel -Malt Island – the Sand Lock – the Sand Bridge – National Museum – the Peace Bridge – Return Kardynalska Harbour
Return jounreys on the Nereida, Wiktoria and Goplana cruises cost 20zl (15zl for concessions), while one way journeys costing 15zl for everyone. A family ticket, which allows two adults and two children to travel, can be bought for 60zl. Last but not least, it is also possible to purchase day tickets for 25zl (20zl for concessions). The return trip takes about 50 minutes.
Meanwhile on the Driada, return trips cost 2zl more per person, with the exception of the family ticket (68zl) and the all day ticket, which costs the same as on the other cruises. For this journey the cruise there and back takes 50-55 minutes.
In addition, the company have a small boat called the Gucio, which sails on a shorter 40 minute round trip. Tickets for that 25zl for everyone, while night cruises are available too – also costing 25zl.
Should you wish to rent any of the boats privately for a party, the cost per hour can be anything from 360zl to 1400zl per hour. The price list can be seen here.