The Noteć route surrounds you with the wealth of nature and hydrotechnics. On the second day, the longest section without a lock is just over 9 km. All locks are true monuments of technology from the years 1906-1914 and almost all of them share the same parameters. They are manually-operated, single-chamber locks with dimensions: length – 57.4 m, width – 9.6 m. Only the lock no. 11 in Kostkowo is different by the fact that it is an earth (fascine-turf) lock. Only the heads are made of concrete and wall reinforcements are wooden, therefore it is a little bit narrower (8.8 m wide).
It takes about 25 min to pass through one lock. The locks are regularly maintained so you should check whether any of them is under repair before sailing. All the up-to-date information concerning locks is available on the website of the National Water Management Holding “Wody Polskie”.
The Noteć is a calm river with a rather lazy current that accelerates over the section from the mouth of the Gwda to Krzyż – this section is called the Swift Noteć (PL: Noteć Bystry). Slow current causes aquatic vegetation to thrive, thus making sailing more difficult in some places.
The Noteć is surrounded by nature. There are four areas included in the “Natura 2000” network of protected areas: the mouth of the Noteć, the Noteć Valley, the Noteć forest, and the Lower Noteć Valley. Extensive meadows are especially valuable. There are patches of xerothermic grasslands near Santok – with orchids, pasqueflowers and primroses, between Wieleń and Bydgoszcz you can find many flooded peat bogs, reed beds and enclaves of bushes and trees, and in the Lower Noteć Valley we can marvel over the largest area of inland dunes in Poland and numerous remnants of oxbow lakes and canals.
On the Lower Noteć, which is part of the E70, 105 dykes were made as part of the regulation works at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, eliminating the river bends and making the river itself about 30 km shorter. The Noteć basin is one of the areas with the lowest average annual precipitation and is often affected by hydrological drought.
In Nakło nad Notecią, there is a modern “Powiat Nakielski” marina, built in 2014 and equipped with a water equipment rental facility as well as a hotel and workshops of the inland navigation school, where you can conduct small repairs of your watercraft. The owners of the marina have been awarded the prestigious “Friendly Shore Award” in recognition of their contribution to attracting tourists to the Noteć.
Those who wish to enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the Noteć can board the “Władysław Łokietek” or “Jadwiga” cruise ships. Occasionally, similar cruises are also organised from other marinas. There are also other vessels, such as yachts or catamarans, that can take 8-12 people for a cruise down the Noteć.
Other towns along the Noteć also offer a number of amazing places. In Miasteczko Krajeńskie (84 km), which is only approx. 5 km away from the river, there is a grave of Michał Drzymała, a Polish hero who fought against the Germanisation of Poles, while in Ujście nad Narwią (106 km), literally named after the mouth of the Gwda – “the mouth of a river” is “ujście” in Polish, there is a large glassworks, a river harbour for water sports afficionados, and a… “Marina” marina with a tourist equipment rental as well as a mooring pier.
In Czarnków (132 km), there are several mooring spots, including a modern marina opened in 2011, where you can rent canoes, bikes, and other tourist equipment. Czarnków itself is also worth a visit, especially on the last weekend of August, when the town is usually visited by at least a hundred pairs of twins celebrating the “Dzień Spieczonego Bliźniaka” twin festiwal. You can also explore the local Museum of the Czarnków Land (PL: Muzeum Ziemi Czarnkowskiej).
In Drawsko (174 km) there is a marina opened in 2011 with a very mysterious name “Yndzel”, referring to the former name of the peninsula in Drawsko. Apart from standard services, we can book rooms with a terrace on grass-covered rooves. The area around Drawsko is also a paradise for mushroom foragers.
In Drezdenko, you can visit the Franciszek Graś Museum of the Drawsko and Notecka Forest (PL: Muzeum Puszczy Drawskiej i Noteckiej) with exhibitions presenting the history of the town and its culture revolving around hunting, agriculture, homesteading and beekeeping. You can also stroll through the World Cultures Park (PL: Park Kultur Świata) and spot the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx of Giza, or the Sydney Opera House – they might be smaller than their original counterparts but at least their easier to take in!
Our adventure ends in Santok. The 300-metre-long wharf is located right at the mouth of the Noteć, where it flows into the Warta. The wharf is aptly combined with recreation and entertainment facilities, the boardwalk, places to relax and barbeque, roofed stage and access to toilets and showers – especially for our water afficionados. Once you are in Santok, visit the local Santok Museum (PL: Muzeum Grodu Santok) and the medieval gord on the other side of the Warta, easily accessible thanks to the ferry crossing.