Augustów is all about being outside. The city's perch on Lake Necko and its flat terrain make it ideal for biking (there are 281km of bike routes). One of the most enjoyable, family-friendly pedals is to head out along the shoreline of the lake, where a bike trail follows the edge for a few kilometres. Most places to stay have bikes for guests. There are also rental agencies.

There's also swimming – though water temps in summer rarely rise above a bracing 20°C – at the City Beach (Plaża Miejska), north of the centre along the southern shore of Lake Necko.

Kayaking & Sailing

Kayaking is one of the most popular pursuits in Augustów, whether it be a couple of hours of paddling in Lake Necko or a multiday kayaking expedition along the region's lakes and rivers. Numerous local operators, including many hotels and hostels, offer package tours that run anywhere from a day to two weeks, depending on the river and the operator. Alternatively, kayaks can be hired to head out on your own.

The Czarna Hańcza River is the most popular kayaking destination in the region. The traditional route normally starts at Lake Wigry and follows the river downstream through the Augustów Forest to the Augustów Canal. The trip takes six to eight days, depending on how fast you paddle. Various shorter trips are also available. There are over 340km of mapped kayak routes in the area.

Other rivers used for kayaking trips include the Rospuda (four to six days) and the Biebrza (seven to 10 days); some companies also offer trips to rivers in neighbouring Lithuania (seven days).

Sailboats can be rented from 120zł per day. Proof of skills will be required. The lakes offer ideal conditions.

Boat Excursions

Large tour boats ply the waters on various itineraries from late spring through early autumn. For a more intimate journey, walk along ul Rybacka on the southern shore of the Netta River (which links the lake to the Augustów Canal) to find various private operators offering custom trips for up to eight people at prices starting at about 25zł per person.