This is the only route connected to the IWW E70, where most of the attractions are already on the German side. It offers truly unique experiences thanks to the boat lift in Niederfinow, which is the only facility of its kind in this part of Europe. And once you reach the Havel-Oder Canal – just 30 km from Oranienburg and the former German Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen – it is certainly worth learning about the tragic history of this place.
We start our trip in Gorzów Wielkopolski, one of the cities with its “face” turned in the right direction, i.e. towards the river, and with several marinas, harbours, and mooring spots. There are many places in Gorzów Wielkopolski that are worth visiting on their own, such as the Gorzów Cathedral or the Jan Dekert Lubuskie Museum. The local harbour in Gorzów houses the oldest – and still functioning! – icebreaker “Kuna”, which was built in 1884 and can be boarded for a cruise down the Warta. From the river, you can see the entire promenade of Gorzów, including the Dominanta observation tower, which in 2007 received the anti-award “Makabryła” given each year to the worst-looking buildings in Poland. Was it well-deserved? You decide.
On our way to Kostrzyn, we will be surrounded by the unique Ujście Warty National Park, and 2 km in front of Kostrzyn, we will pass the Lubusz ferry crossing. The Warta is wide here, although you need to watch out for spurs which are often invisible to the naked eye and can reach 20-25 metres into the riverbed.
The remains of the Kostrzyn fortress look impressive. On the Polish side of the Oder, there are no convenient spots to moor or to spend the night, so we recommend a rest at the Kienitz marina at 632 km of the river. The Hohensaaten lock (i.e. the start of the Havel-Oder waterway 667) is only 35 km from here and the Niederfinow boat lift – only about 16 km.
Niederfinow is the largest and oldest boat lift in Germany, built between 1927 and 1934, which is soon to be replaced by a larger one that has been under construction for many years. Unfortunately, its opening date is constantly being postponed and as of today – the lift will have been finished by 2025. It lifts ships “together with the basin” to a heigh of 36 metres in just 5 minutes. The entire crossing takes only about 20 minutes but – if possible – it is definitely worth staying longer to take a look at the whole facility.
Our next stop is at the marina in Marienwerder on the Havel-Oder Canal. It is only 23 km from Niederfinow and you will even get the chance to meet many Poles here.
And since we have already come this far, we suggest you consider sailing another 30 km towards Berlin to stop in Oranienburg and visit the former German Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen. About 200 000 prisoners were held in the camp, among them Polish intelligentsia, mainly from Cracow, prisoners transferred from the Pawiak prison and the Polish youth – the total number of victims from Sachsenhausen is unknown until this very day.