Nature that enthrals
Podlaskie is a paradise for tourists. It is a place that hums with the purest energy derived straight from wild nature. Slightly more than an hour’s drive from Warsaw, a different world unfolds, allowing you to breathe deeply and feel part of nature.
A sanctuary for wild nature
Podlaskie is a sanctuary for wild nature. The region boasts the oldest primaeval forest in Europe, imposing wild river marshes, and some of the most beautiful lakes in Poland in four unique national parks: Białowieża National Park, Biebrza National Park, Narew National Park, Wigry National Park. Jointly they cover an area of 900 km2.
The oldest and most famous is Białowieża National Park – a place which makes a trip back to prehistory possible. In the park, visitors can experience what a true deciduous primaeval forest, which covered most of Europe hundreds of years ago, is like. In addition to wolves and lynxes, the forest has the largest population of European bison (also known as wisent) living in the wild. The European bison has become a symbol of the park, and indeed the whole region.
Biebrza National Park – the largest Polish national park – is known for its marshes, swamps and peat bogs. The pristine character of the Biebrza Valley means it has become a perfect breeding and nesting ground for hundreds of bird species, including ruffs, cranes, and greater spotted eagles. The virgin nature of the Biebrza Valley can be admired thanks to a network of charming tourist trails.
Narew National Park is called ’the Polish Amazonia’. It is famous for its unique system of swamps, marshes, channels and old riverbeds of the river Narew. The few rivers in the world that are similar to the Narew include: the Amazon in South America, the Okavango in Africa, the Saskatchewan in Canada and the Ob in Siberia.
Lake Wigry, one of the largest and most impressive Polish lakes, is at the heart of Wigry National Park. It is surrounded by dozens of smaller but equally enchanting lakes, which are a reminder of the postglacial character of the region. Thanks to them, the park is a Mecca for fans of water tourism: sailors and canoeists.
Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”, is a practice that originated in Japan, where as early as the 1980s walking in the woods was promoted to prevent and treat diseases of affluence. It has been gaining popularity worldwide ever since. Is there a better place for this sort of therapy than walks in the extensive
woodlands of the region, such as Białowieska, Augustowska and Knyszyńska Forests?
Enthusiasts of more active forms of leisure will also have plenty to choose from. The longest stretch of the Green Velo Eastern Bicycle Route is in Podlaskie. The project links five voivodeships of Eastern Poland. Nearly 600 km of the route is in Podlaskie Voivodeship, allowing you to discover uniquely beautiful places and gain unforgettable experiences.
Lake Wigry, the Czarna Hańcza River, and the Augustowski Canal are magnets for fans of water sports. When in the region, you should definitely try sailing on Lake Wigry, one of the most bewitching Polish lakes, canoeing down the Czarna Hańcza, one of the cleanest Polish rivers, and going down the Augustowski Canal, a marvel of engineering located in Augustowska Forest.
The Podlaskie Voivodeship was for centuries a frontier country, a meeting place for different cultures, nationalities and religions. This heritage has been preserved to this day. It is reflected in the architecture, religious beliefs, unique cuisine, and traditions handed down from generation to generation. Important Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Muslim and Judaist religious sites can be found in the region, including the former Camaldolese monastery by Lake Wigry, the Holy Mountain of Grabarka – a key site for Eastern Orthodox believers, the oldest Polish mosque in Kruszyniany, and the second largest Great Synagogue in Poland, located in Tykocin.