The landscape parks in Podlaskie are the pearls of its nature. The picturesque hills in the Suwałki District, the enthralling Knyszyn Primaeval Forest or the stunning “Polish Amazon” – the Narew River Valley are definite must-see points on the holiday map of Poland.
PRIMAEVAL FOREST LANDSCAPE PARK
THE FOREST OF THE “SACRED PINE”
Stretching to the north and east of Białystok, the Knyszyn Primaeval Forest might as well be taken for Siberian taiga. The forest is dominated by centuries-old, towering pines. Sometimes called “sacred trees”, many of them feature shrines and crosses attached by the locals many years ago. The grounds of these spell-binding woods pulsate with bursting springs, which let out subterranean mineral waters. This is also home to the picturesque Hills of St. John.
The Forest of the “To do” list:
1. Take a walk along the wooden footbridge in the Krzemianka Reserve. This enthralling forest trail runs through the area of a prehistoric flint mine.
2. Find the Wierszalin Wilderness near the village of Grzybowszczyzna, which 100 years ago was declared a new capital of the world by the charismatic, self-proclaimed prophet Ilya.
3. Visit the Arboretum in Kopna Góra – a forest botanical garden with hundreds of plant species.
4. Explore Silvarium in Poczopek – educational nature and forest garden, highly recommended for families with children.
5. Stay a night in Supraśl – a charming town in the heart of the primaeval forest. Famous for its favourable woodland micro-climate, the town dazzles with amazing ambience and beautiful wooden architecture. Supraśl is also home to Poland’s only Museum of Icons, which is housed in a 500- year-old Orthodox monastery. Be sure to watch a play at the award-winning Wierszalin Theatre and feel its magical atmosphere.
SUWAŁKI LANDSCAPE PARK
Established in 1976, Poland’s oldest landscape park covers the area of the Suwałki Lakeland, which was formed by a Scandinavian glacier thousands of years ago. The breathtaking post-glacial landform features a multitude of lakes, with Lake Hańcza, the deepest lake in Poland, hills and mysterious boulder fields. If you love the Bieszczady Mountains – you will certainly fall in love with the Suwałki District!
The Suwałki Landscape Park has been named one of the “new wonders of Poland” by the National Geographic Traveler magazine. It is an absolute “must see”.
“To do” list:
1. Win the Crown of the Suwałki District by climbing the picturesque Castle Hill (228 MASL) and the region’s highest Cisowa Hill (256 MASL).
2. Visit the Bachanowo boulder field formed by a glacier thousands years ago.
3. See the historic Old Believers Orthodox church in Wodziłki, one of three such temples in Poland.
4. Get up at dawn and go to the “Master Thaddeus” viewing point in Smolniki.
5. Discover the history of the brave Yotvingians at the Memorial Chamber in Szurpiły.
6. Visit the Centre for Contemporary Art in Suwałki, which displays works of Andrzej Strumiłło , a world-renown artist connected with Suwałki for a long time.
You can find detailed information on tourist routes, interesting places, and where to eat and sleep in the Suwałki District at the Suwałki Tourist Organisation website.Lista.
ŁOMŻA LANDSCAPE PARK OF THE NAREW RIVER VALLEY
THE “POLISH AMAZON”
Backwaters of one of the region’s most beautiful rivers – the Narew, nicknamed the “Polish Amazon” – are best visited in early spring. This 16-kilometre-long stretch of the meandering river accompanied by vast backwaters is an unforgettable view.
The Narew and its surroundings are home to several hundreds of waterfowl and animal species – a paradise for ornithologists and nature photographers. Here you can trace beavers, watch ruffs, geese and duck, and, with a bit of luck, meet a majestic elk.
“To do” list:
1. Explore the wilderness of the Narew Valley by bike or on foot.
2. Learn more about the nature of the region at the Museum of Nature in Drozdowo. The Museum offers a wealth of knowledgeable attractions, such as puzzles, animal footprints and information boards.