In terms of tourism, the area around Słupsk is one of the most interesting regions in Poland. Both Słupsk – a seven-hundred-year-old town, and other fascinating sites, combined with the vicinity of the sea, make it an increasingly-common popular destination for tourists.

Słupsk lies a short distance from the sea, and the sit on which it was founded is a crossing of the Słupia with an ancient route going from west to east along the the Baltic Sea coast. The town, population one hundred thousand, nurtures its historic sites, and especially the local Castle of the Dukes. It also makes every effort to foster local culinary traditions, and to be a significant cultural hub. It hosts music and theatre festivals and artistes’ meetings, and it has its own fair and sporting events. Having at its disposal the largest collection of Witkacy’s work in the world, the oldest operating lift in Europe, and a leaning tower, the Capital of the Słupsk Land has a good reason to advertise itself with the slogan, “Słupsk – more than you think”.

The Capital is matched by the entire region. Its greatest attractions (besides the beautiful Baltic beaches) are the shifting sands near Łeba, called “the Pomeranian desert” and the Checkered-House Land – the area of characteristic rural architecture connected with the Slovincian culture, once inhabiting this place. No less great are the water courses and hydrotechnical monuments of the Słupsk Land. Cutting through stunning landscapes and areas of protected nature, the canoe trails deliver not only experience of invigorating contact with nature, but also to learning about many interesting solutions used in water management and ways to obtain renewable energy from the force of the flowing river waters.

The Słupsk land is a place of diversity, as well as activities, culture, and water tourism. Its untouched nature and well-preserved historic buildings, great beaches and wonderful local cuisine  make it the dream holiday destination .

The Papal Canoe Trail

The Papal Canoe Trail

     “Through contact with nature you can rest truly and deeply...” are the words of Pope John Paul II, who was the canoeing patron of the route on the Słupia, and who, in 1964, as the Kraków Archbishop of Kraków, entered a canoe, and with a group of friends struggled with the river for eleven days.

The canoe trail, whose name refers to the most famous of Polish canoeists, Karol Wojtyła, covers most of the course of the Słupia. It was established as a result of the cooperation of the Local Governments of the ten Communes through which it runs and it not only commemorates a trip in the company of the Pope-to-be from nearly half a century ago, but also his approach to nature and active leisure, with which he was commonly associated.

The route runs from the Kashubia's Gowidlin to Słupsk, and contains 10 stops, the location of which reflects the probable places in which Karol Wojtyła and his thirteen friends camped in 1964. The route has been equipped with information boards for canoeists, and the local residents have also placed historic stones dedicated to John Paul II.

A trip down the Papal Canoe Trail may be treated like a pilgrimage, but it can also be satisfying without adding the spiritual dimension. In both cases you can see beautiful nature and wonderful landscapes, but also test yourself in fighting with the water. The Słupia, particularly in its upper course, has the character of a highland river in some sections, with all the consequences of this fact - a rapid current, and a great number of obstacles - such as shallows, boulders and tree trunks. Some of the route is even termed "the extreme Słupia". Those canoeists who are less confident in their skills can start the trip a little further downstream, where the current is calmer and you can even see small children in canoes. Journeying down the Papal Route you will see the historic, one-hundred-year old, yet still working hydroelectric power plants, which are open to visitors, watch the nature reserves along the way, with their natural peculiarities, and, with a little luck, see the white-tailed eagle. A week of rowing, which is the average time needed to cover the 133-km Papal Trail on the Słupia, is a considerable physical effort, but one that guarantees great rest of the kind that was recommended by Archbishop Karol Wojtyła.