Poland's Longest River
The longest river in Poland, the Vistula (or 'Wisla' in Polish) winds its way all the distance from the Beskidy mountains of the south to the Bay of Gdansk on Poland's northern coast - covering the whole stretch of this large country. 1,047 kilometres (678 miles) long and draining an area of 194,424 km (75,067 sq. miles), the Vistula is a vital source of life and transport and beauty in Poland.
Whilst the historic records of the Vistula tend to be unreliable, we do know that the origin of the river's name is probably Indo-European - though obviously the title 'Wisla' is a Polonized version. Previously the Vistula used to be connected to the Dnieper River, and through it to the Black Sea, where it was part of the 'Amber Road' - an ancient river trade route from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea.
Today, the Wisla is part of the landscape of many of Poland's most important cities - such as Krakow and Warsaw - and whilst in past times this mighty river was a great source of recreation for Poles young and old, we wouldn't recommend bathing in it today - the communist era has rendered it polluted and dangerous to swim in. However, if you want to discover some of the Vistula's scenery up close, why not take a Vistula cruise in Krakow or check out the Vistula River Museum in Gdansk?