Białowieża Forest is the last primary compact forest complex. It is one of the most important natural treasures not only in Poland, but also in Europe. Therefore, in 1979 Białowieża Forest was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Forest is located approx. 260 km to the east of Warsaw and approx. 70 km to the south-west of Białystok. Its most precious parts are protected within Białowieża National Park. The forest is inhabited by a wide variety of species, some of which grow to unusual sizes. The predominant forest types are: a broadleaved and coniferous forests, and in humid locations, alder swamp forests and riparian forests. A typical element of the forest landscape is a large number of old fallen tree trunks. The forest landscape is formed best in a separated part of the National Park, to which the access is possible only when accompanied by a licensed guide. Visiting Orłówka is a must during each trip to Białowieża.
European bison is the symbol of Białowieża Forest. This biggest wild animal in Europe is a close cousin of the American bison. The area of Białowieża Forest is inhabited by a live few hundred of bison, gathering in smaller or larger herds. The weight of an adult male can reach 900 kilograms with the height at withers up to 180 cm. Not without a reason bison is called “the King of the Forest”. It is a huge and dignified animal and meeting it is always an important experience for a nature admirer. It is easiest to meet a bison in winter, when the animals gather in bigger groups. Tracks are easily visible on the snow and the lack of leaves on trees makes the search and observation of bison even easier.
When is the best time to visit Białowieża Forest? Every season is good. In spring the nature wakes up. Hundreds of flowers, fresh greenness of trees and moderate temperature is great for hiking. In summer, the forest turns into really wild, dense and mysterious woods. This is a perfect time for long bicycle trips through the forest. Autumn provides a dream colours for photographers, and in the winter, it is worth to run dozens of kilometres on cross-country skis in search of a bison.
A part of the National Park is a separate show reserve presenting European bison. The show reserve is located near Białowieża by the road towards Hajnówka. It is worth to visit the show reserve to closely observe the animals which are very difficult to meet in the forest. Apart from the bison, you can see wolves, elks, deer, and wild boars there. Another interesting animal which you can find there is called żubroń, a hybrid of domestic cattle and European bison. A visit in the show reserve may be advised to guests who do not have much time for individual walks and would like to see the King of the Forest with their own eyes.
Another place worth visiting is the Palace Park in Białowieża, the part of the National Park being a garden landscaping from the end of 19th century. The Park was used as Tsar’s hunting mansion. The oldest building preserved is a hunting cottage from 1845.
The town of Białowieża is the best accommodation centre for tourists coming to Białowieża Forest.