Why camping in the wild in Poland is easy
Poland is one of the best places in Europe to camp in the wild. Reasons? First of all: in general it is legal to do so. If you get familiar with a few basic rules (see paragraphs below) and exceptions from the general rule, you will be bullet proof.
Poland is pretty flat
Second of all: geography. Poland is pretty flat and it is very easy to find a suitable place to pitch your tent.
No fences around lakes
Also, it is illegal to block the access to the lakes. One cannot simply buy a land with a lake front and surround it with a fence.
Of course, it does happen sometimes. Especially in the very popular areas like The Great Lakes in Mazury. But most of the time you should enjoy the wilderness of Polish lakesides without trepassing.
Also, unlike countries like Italy, where every piece of land seems to be private and fenced, orchards, fields or forests in Poland are fully accessable to everybody.
Wilderness of Poland
Also, even though Poland has good infrastructure and living in the city you can expect more or less the same level of service as in Western Europe, this country is pretty wild. Parts like Mazury, Podlasie, Bieszczady or even western parts of the country are not developed and there is very few towns or big cities in the area. Light pollution there is very small so it is also perfect for star gazing.
Where you cannot camp in Poland
In general it is not allowed to camp:
- in forests
- on Baltic beaches or dunes
- national parks and nature reserves
Unless – there is a designated area for camping.
Camping in forest in Poland
Going by the book, if you would like to spend a night in the forest, you should first ask a local forestry office for their permission. They can grant their permission or address you to the closest designated camping site. However, from my personal experience, it is more than sure that nobody will give to you any material information on this subject, even if you e-mail them.
Neverthless, Polish national forestry office created a website Czas w Las where you find a map of places in the woods that are suitable for camping.
Fine for sleeping in wild in Poland
Beside, it is worth to know that camping is not allowed in the forests mostly due to the fire hazard. If you are on your way through the woods and just need a one night stop to get some rest and you are not planning to make a fire, nobody should fine you. Just remember that this rule do not apply to national park or reserves (especially so called Ostoja zwierzyny). The rules in such places are much more rigorous and you are very likely to be fined.
Places like Tatry National Park are especially strict about it. The rangers take their work very seriously and will even track down people who post about their inapropriate behaviour online.
The fine for camping in the wild may go up to few hundred zloty. And in the national parks it can be more, since camping in the wild might be connected with making a damage to the protected species.
Typical picnic zone at the lake
Camping in wild in Poland – where to go
If you are looking for a place where you could camp for a few nights, semi-wild camping sites at Rezerwat Jeziora Nidzkiego (close to Karwica and Ruciane Nida) might be the best place. You can camp there on a high banks of the lake. There are always some people camping there and you should pay a small fee (PLN 2 = EURO 0,5) for each night. I believe you can pay for it at the Forestry in Karwica.
If you are always on the move, biking around Mazury Warmia, Suwalszczyzna, Kaszuby, Drawsko or Podlasie will give you plenty of opportunities to camp in beautiful places. We recommend going along rivers like Bug or Łyna. We absolutely adore biking in Kaszuby and Mazury.
If you follow the bike trails like Green Velo, or recently created kayaking routes (like Łyna route) you will find on their way facilitated stops.
How to find a camping spot
If you like planning in advance, check Google Maps to get an idea about the area. You will find there many good places marked as camping or picnic zones. They usually have some basic infrastructure like wooden tables and benches, a place to make a fire. Sometimes toi toi or even electric plugs.
Camping site close to Karwica / Binduga at Rezerwat Jezioro Nidzkie
When to go camping in Poland
The best time to go camping in Poland is June and July. In August most of the nights the temperature drops below 15 degrees – so it is a nice temperature if you have decent sleeping bag.
In May you should expect more rain than in summer. Also the temperature at night very often drops below zero, especially during long weekend in the first weekend of May.