Imagine a place where you can breathe the fresh, unpolluted air and hear the birds singing in the morning. Surrounded by the lush green forests and unspoiled nature, you will feel the gentle touch of a wind on your skin. There is a place like this in Poland- it’s called Bialowieza Forest.
Considered as the greenest area of the country, Puszcza Bialowieska is also home to the biggest mammals in Europe- the bisons. The National Park is divided between Poland and Belarus, whereas the major part of it is in Belarus.
In this post, we are giving you everything you need to know before visiting Bialowieza Forest in Poland.
If you have any further questions or need help in planning your trip, be sure to join our Poland Travel Planning Facebook group. We will be happy to help!
How To Get To Bialowieza Forest?
Bialowieza Forest is located in northeastern part of Poland, close to the border with Belarus. It’s definitely a rural area that is not popular among foreign tourists.
The easiest way to get to Bialowieza Forest is by car. To get there, it will take about:
- 3,5h drive from Warsaw
- 7h drive from Krakow
- 1h 45min drive from Bialystok
- 5h drive from Łódź
- 5h 40 min drive from Gdansk
- 3h 45min drive from Lublin
- 6h drive from Rzeszow
From other big cities in Poland, the traveling time will be longer.
If you don’t have a car, you can alternatively take a bus to Hajnówka. Check out e-podroznik, it’s the best site in Poland to plan your journey by public transport.
What’s The Best Time To Visit Bialowieza Forest?
Although Bialowieza Forest is a place worth visiting all year round, the best would be late spring/ summer / early autumn (May- October).
Why? You can be sure all the tourists attractions are open. Hiking and biking would be possible because of the sunny weather.
We’ve been to Bialowieza Forest in December as well and we had a great time. However, staying outdoor when it was freezing and snowy was not so pleasant.
What Are The Best Things To Do In Bialowieza Forest Poland?
See Bisons And Other Animals At European Bison Show Reserve
The main reason to visit Bialowieza Forest is to see the biggest mammals in Europe- bisons!
They are called the kings of Puszcza Bialowieska. Currently, there are about 800 bisons (żubr) living in the area.
You may not be lucky enough to see them in wild, so the best is to visit European Bison Show Reserve. Apart from the famous big mammals, you will also have a chance to see other animals there including wolves, boars, and more.
The reserve is obviously open-air, so be sure to dress wisely. It will take about 1 hour to walk around the park and see everything.
Learn About Bialowieza Forest At Nature and Forest Museum
Visiting this museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Bialowieza Forest!
You will have a chance to learn about this National Park and why it has been important to Poland throughout the ages.
Plus, there are many interesting information in the museum about animals living in the forest.
Even if you are not a museum fan, don’t miss visiting this place. The museum is interactive, so you can’t get bored there.
Have Fun At Hut of Baba Yaga
Having fun at Chatka Baby Jagi is one of the best things to do in Bialowieza forest with kids!
The colorful house is beautiful inside and out. There are some shows available – unfortunately only in Polish language.
There is a small playground available right next to the Baba Yaga hut, so it’s worth to take a short ride from Bialowieza to see this place.
Since Chatka Baby Jagi is surrounded by the bushes and forests, there are many mosquitos in the area. Make sure to pack a repellent!
Visit Bialowieża Pałac
It’s probably the hippest place in Bialowieza.
You can sit on the lovely swing or chair, take some insta-worthy photos and have a drink.
Bialowieza Pałac is a complex with beautiful garden, small cafe, and a playground for kids.
Take A Walk Around Hajnowka
To be honest, a walk around Hajnowka was a highlight of our trip to Bialowieza.
We had a chance to see the everyday life of local people, hear them speaking (they have a really strong accent but it can only be heard by native Poles), talking, and do the shopping.
Even though we wanted to buy some souvenirs in Hajnowka, we haven’t found any interesting thing to buy there.
The choice of souvenirs is definitely better in the European Bison Show Reserve area.
Relax At Hajnowka Water Park
Don’t be fooled by the name- it’s hard to call the small swimming pool a “water park”.
Even though the name is very exaggerated, visiting Hajnowka Water Park may be a good idea on a cold, rainy day.
Currently, there are only 2 slides within the pool area. There are also some water massages (jaccuzzi-like) available.
After relaxing in the water park, cross the street and have lunch at Baboushka restaurant. It’s one of the best places to try local food in Hajnowka!
Take A Draisine Ride
Draisines (drezyny) are the types of hand-lever rail trolleys. They are operating on the closed railway line from Białowieża to Hajnówka (through Białowieża forest).
The starting point for each ride is Bialowieza Towarowa. Currently, there are 3 routes available:
1. Green Route (35min both ways)
Białowieża Towarowa – Białowieża Pałac – Białowieża Towarowa
It’s the shortest route and arguably the best one. You will have a chance to take a draisine ride without getting bored of riding too long.
2. Orange Route (1h both ways)
Białowieża Towarowa – Grudki – Białowieża Towarowa
This route is definitely more challenging, as you will have to be strong enough to go up the hills.
3. Red Route (2h both ways)
Białowieża Towarowa – Miejsce Mocy – Białowieża Towarowa
If you don’t have a great, it’s a great chance to visit Miejsce Mocy (Place of Power).
It’s believed that this place has some magical energy that will make you feel better.
4. [not regular] Blue Route
It’s actually a green route but operating at night.
See the current timetable of Bialowieza Draisines here.
Try Local Food of Bialowieza Forest
The food from Bialowieza Forest (and Podlasie region in general) is pretty unique. It has a strong Belarusian and Ukrainian influence.
Check out the table below to see what to eat in Bialowieza Forest. Be sure to try the famous Żubr (bison) beer, too!
|Pielmieni||Dumplings with meat and lots of garlic.|
|Mrowisko||Sweet cake made of deep fried pastry, honey, and dried cranberries.|
|Kartacze||Minced meat wrapped in potato dough.|
|Babka ziemniaczana||Potatoes mixed with onion, eggs, and different kinds of meat, all baked together in a crock.|
|Marcinek hajnowski||Multi-layered cake made of cream mixed with sugar and lemon juice and thin, creamy dough.|
|Slonina po hajnowsku||Thinly sliced lard with onion and red pepper.|
Take A Day Trip To The Land of Open Shutters
The land of Open Shutters (Kraina Otwartych Okiennic) is located about 1 hour drive from Bialowieza. It’s becoming more and more popular.
The area consists of three villages: Soce, Trzescianka, and Puchly.
It’s famous for the unique wooden houses that window shutters are painted with colorful folk decorations.
The population of the villages is mainly Orthodox (in contrary to other parts of Poland where most are Catholics). Local people of the Land of Open Shutters have a unique dialect, influenced by the Belarusian language.
Walk Through The Żebra Żubra Trail
It’s the best hiking route of Bialowieza Forest. You will have a chance to walk in the national park. If you are lucky, you may even spot some bisons!
The best part of Żebra Żubra is that you will walk on the renovated wooden bridge that is stroller- and wheelchair-friendly.
The route is 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) long, so it will take less than one hour to walk through it.
At the end of Żebra Żubra you will find the European Bison Show Reserve. You can walk back the same way or take a carriage back to your car.
Ride A Bike Through The Bialowieza Forest
Biking is VERY POPULAR in Bialowieza Forest area. Most of the area is flat and fully adjusted to bikes.
Many hotels and guests houses have bikes for rent available, so take a chance and try some cycling in Puszcza Bialowieska. You will have a chance to watch the wildlife and breathe the fresh, unpolluted air.
Where To Stay In Bialowieza Forest?
If you want to experience accommodation in folk style, eat traditional homemade breakfast in the morning, check out Sioło Budy or Białowieskie Sioło.
For a luxury and comfortable stay, check out two best hotels in the area: Hotel Białowieski or Hotel Żubrówka.
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