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Introducing Giżycko

Positioned on the northern shore of Lake Niegocin, Giżycko (ghee-zhits-ko) is the largest sailing centre in the lakes, and the focal point of the seasonal tourist trade. It’s not an aesthetically pleasing town, with a lake frontage more tacky than tasteful, but it’s one of the few Masurian towns with a buzz and its huge fortress is worth at least an hour of your time.

The town started life under the Teutonic Knights but was destroyed on numerous occasions by Lithuanians, Poles, Swedes, Tatars, Russians and Germans in turn. Today it’s essentially a transport hub and provisions base for the holiday homes and water-sports centres that have grown up outside the town, and for the hordes of lake-bound holidaymakers who arrive en masse in the short summer season.