Mazovia is an enchanting European region you’ve probably never heard of

Mazovia, once a country in its own right, is a place for wild nature, romance and history

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun,
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run…”


These words by John Keats occur to me as I amble along the forest track towards to the Bug River (pronounced “Boog”), a perfect early morning spot to sit and listen to the sounds of nature in a meditative mood as the fast-flowing stream rushes by. Birds chirp with sounds I do not recognise – there are no kookaburras here – and the trees murmur their own gentle percussive language. The strange scent of the forest is nothing like eucalyptus, it’s more caressing. Where am I, exactly? What am I doing here, 12,000 kilometres from home?

I’m in magical Mazovia, the European country you’ve never heard of. This is, in fact, an area surrounding Poland’s capital. Warsaw is its centre. Mazovia is now the name of a province which at different times was a country, a kingdom, a duchy and eventually integrated with greater Warsaw, from where you can reach most parts of Mazovia by car within two hours.

As I discover, Mazovia is a place for wild nature, romance, history and more “civilised” activities such as visiting cultural sites and museums, trying local food and wine, and seeing quaint villages with old castles, palaces and monuments. It is both like much of Europe, and also very different from it.


Pułtusk is 90 minutes by car from Warsaw. This is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in Mazovia. Its uniqueness is its location – in the valley of the Narew River, on the edge of the Biala Forest. It is often referred to as the Venice of Mazovia. In Pultusk there is an historic castle dating back to the 14th century, destroyed and rebuilt several times and now a hotel well worth a stay.

Mazowsze Ensemble

Mazowsze Ensemble is a top attraction when you want to explore the special culture of the region (which is the biggest province in Poland), but also for the entire country. Start off at the National Folklore Centre in Karolin, and make time to attend a traditional Mazovian, if you can.

Modlin Fortress

This is an extraordinary place – one of the largest and best-preserved fortress complexes in Poland, embracing the longest defensive barracks building in Europe and the second longest in the world world, at over two kilometres long. It lies at the confluence of three rivers: the Vistula, the Narew and the Wkra, where Napoleon Bonaparte ordered fortifications to be built.

Kampinoski National Park

Kampinoski National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in Poland for green landscape and one of the few national parks in the world located close to a city. One of the most popular trails in the park begins in the village of Granica that is also one of the most beautifully situated forest villages.  The open-air Museum of Kampinos Architecture and the observation tower are unique attractions in the area.

Wkra River

Wkra River is a great destination for people who want to experience nature and do something active and fun. You can start a day with a nice stroll around local forests, then, for example, enjoy a canoe, kayak or packraft cruise and end up at Modlin Fortress, which is located nearby. This is a fun, active experience that is a favourite among couples and families.

Dwórzno Vineyard

Dwórzno Vineyard is a very popular option for those who love wine (who doesn’t?). Vintaged here are Mazovia red or white grape and fruit wines from raspberries, blackcurrants and even Kamczatka berries – the Dwórzno Vineyard indeed hides many surprises. You can meet the family behind the vineyard during a weekly tour combined with wine tasting, and there are jazz picnics, a two-day Wine Festival, and the “make your own batch of wine” program to partake in.

Where to Stay

Somianka is a great place to base yourself for exploring magical Mazovia. Rent a dacha, a small private house, and enjoy the peace and quiet amid the trees.

Getting there

Warsaw is an excellent choice for a stopover on the way to or from anywhere in Europe or the UK.

One stop flights from Australia are available on Emirates and Qatar Airways. There are others with two stops, for example Etihad, Singapore, LOT Polish Airlines and Turkish. Australians do not require a visa for Poland.

Car Rental

Renting a suitable car or motorhome is remarkably cheap in Poland. A Toyota Corolla costs less than AUD 200 for a week, including insurance. You’ll need an International Driving Permit.

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