The Great Masurian Lake district (Kraina Wielkich Jezior Mazurskich), east of Olsztyn, is a verdant land of rolling hills dotted with countless lakes, healthy little farms, scattered tracts of forest and small towns. The district is centred on Lake Śniardwy (114 sq km), Poland’s largest lake, and Lake Mamry and its adjacent waters (an additional 104 sq km). Over 15% of the area is covered by water and another 30% by forest.
The lakes are well connected by rivers and canals to form an extensive system of waterways. The whole area has become a prime destination for yachters and canoeists, and is also popular among anglers, hikers, bikers and nature-lovers.
The main lakeside centres are Giżycko, Mikołajki and Węgorzewo. All the lake towns burst into frenetic life in July and August, take it easy in June and September, and retire for a long snooze the rest of the year.