The most cherished place of Polish hippie culture – Bieszczadzki National Park – has long been a haven for individuals looking for peaceful seclusion. It is comprised of 191 square kilometres of mild slopes, covered with pristine forests where over 200 rare species freely roam the sparsely-inhabited mountainous areas. Mystical, full of hiking trails of varied levels of difficulty, with its fog-wrapped peak of Tarnica (1362,2 metres above the sea level), Bieszczadzki National Park is the third-largest Polish protected area of this kind and the largest one as located in the mountains.
Hit the trails of Bieszczadzki National Park if you wonder where Polish alternative artists draw their inspiration from or where the political enemies of the communist regime would hide from oppression. This part of East Carpathia is perfect for the exploration of picturesque mountain trails and extensive Carpathian meadows-pastures called "poloniny", animal watching and the enjoyment at the charming Bieszczady villages. Stay at well-facilitated Ustrzyki Dolne and visit Cisna village, where, as the locals say, "the world has its end".
Bieszczadzki National Park was established in 1973 and it stretches along the Polish border with Slovakia and Ukraine, providing over 200 kilometres of hiking trails to its visitors. It is part of a supranational and UNESCO-protected "East Carpathian" Biosphere Reserve. With its informal capital in Ustrzyki Dolne, accessible via a road route of 250 kilometres in the East-southern direction from Krakow, the park is one of the most popular destinations in Poland for those who like their holiday spent not only in an active way, but also in the pristine and non-commercialised areas.
It seems obligatory to climb Tarnica during your trip to the Bieszczady mountains (with the alternative trails to Krzemieniec - 1,335 metres or Halicz - 1,333 metres), while beautifully-located Lake Solina, a man-made water reservoir at the San river, is where you may have a professional sailing course taken. Animal spotters will camera-hunt for the species inhabiting Bieszczadzki National Park, with the brown bear, wild boar, wolf, moose, deer or wildcat as the most represented ones of its fauna. The additional presence of nearly 100 bird species (such as golden eagle, pipit or the Ural owl) or numerous reptiles will make the park a real paradise for them, as combined with 900 vegetation species growing under the tall beechwood complexes, covering over 80% of the protected land. If you are lucky enough, you will see the extremely rare European bison in the wild, as Bieszczady are one of the few repopulation spots to this largest mammal of the continent.
Bieszczady National Park provides tourists with attractions all year round. Summers, springs or autumns (especially "Golden Polish Autumn" part of the year) give you an opportunity to wander around the vast poloninas of Bieszczady – the regional counterparts of pastoral Alpine meadows. The most breathtaking views await you at the major Carynska or Wietlinska poloninas of the park. Nordic Walking or fishing at the San river are other pastimes to consider, with the local Hucul horse stables also providing a bunch of horseback riding facilities. Throughout winters, Bieszczadzki National Park will give you a chance to use the ski lifts (e.g. in Ustrzyki Gorne) and equipment rental sites to use, in order to take advantage of the mild snow-covered hills there. Irrespective of the season, you will be also able discover the so-often unknown elements of Carpathian culture there. The UNESCO-inscribed wooden tserkvas of Bieszczady, the folklore surrounding its specific pastoral stockfarming traditions or the pioneering narrow-gauge railroad in Cisna village (an industrial monument of Bieszczady), complement the natural wonders of the region. The local predomination of campsites, shelters, refuges and chalets as accommodation spots, typically appeal to nature-lovers. The Bieszczady mountains are famous for the abundance in local legends - like the one of how the mountains were created due to a combat between the San river, a monstruous Bies creature and its insubordinate sidekicks called "Czady". This definitely explains the origins of the magical aura of the place.
Interested in traversing the mysterious Bieszczadzki National park? Contact us to have the trip you will never forget organised!