Eastern Poland is famous amongst nature lovers for it’s amazing National Parks: Białowieski, Bibrza, Narew and Wigierski National Park. The largest of them is The Biebrza National Park, protecting the Biebrza Valley, Central Europe’s largest area of natural bog. The slowly meandering Biebrza river is one of the very few European rivers, which throughout the passage of time has kept all of its natural quality. It is a really unspoilt wildlife sanctuary and a paradise for both, ornithologists and birds. Every year in spring it floods the surrounding areas, creating a refuge and feeding grounds for many thousands of migrating birds. This time of year birdwatchers flock to Biebrza to glimpse the 270 or so bird species (over half of all species recorded in Poland) that call the park home. The fauna of Biebrza National Park is rich and diverse, and features mammals such as wolves, wild boar, foxes, roe deer, otters and beavers. The king of the park, however, is the elk: about half of the country’s population, around 600 animals, live within the park’s borders.
Narew National Park is just as interesting as Biebrza, but yet not so widely known. Narew protects an unusual stretch of the Narew River that’s nicknamed the ‘Polish Amazon’, where the river splits into dozens of channels that spread out across the valley, forming a constellation of swampy islets in between. What makes the river unique, is the labarynth of the hundreds of backwaters and channels created by the river. Just like Biebrza, Narew also floods every spring, covering surronding meadows with water for many weeks. This is the best season to watch many rare migrating birds. This wonderful wilderness is an important birds refuge and excellent birding hotspot. Rafting and kayaking are top activities, especially during the spring, but can be organised during most of the year.
Białowieża is the last, most natural lowland forest in the whole Europe. A pearl among the woodlands of the Old Continent! Central part of the forest is protectet as the Białowieski National Park, declared by UNESCO a World Biosphere Reserve. It is the oldest National Park in Poland and one of the first in Europe. The most well known attraction and the emblem of the Park is Bison, the biggest European land mammal. At present, the Polish part of Białowieża Forest comprises the largest free-living population of European bison in the world (around 500). So your chances of meeting them in their natural habitat are quite good, especially in winter, when they often leave the forest looking for food. Failing that, go to the closed breeding centre for the bison created by the Park. It has a wonderful viewing enclosures for bison, deer, Polish horses and wolves. Enjoy!