Bialowieza National Park is located in the north east of Poland in the Podlaskie voivodeship and covers an area of around 105 sq km. The park is part of the Białowieża Forest, which straddles the border between Belarus and Poland.
Bialowieza National Park is well-known for two reasons. Firstly, it is home to Europe’s largest land mammal, the European bison and secondly, the park shelters a sizeable chunk of original lowland primeval forest; which has remained undisturbed for hundreds of years. The forest has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.
The park is called the “last untouched wilderness of Europe" and has an inner zone consisting of old-growth forest which has been living without much human intervention for over 800 years.
Białowieża Forest is the last remnant of the primeval forest which once covered most of Europe and several species of fauna, which were once native in forests throughout Europe, but which have now been mostly eradicated can still be found there.
In addition to European bison, the area is also home to wolves, Red Deer, Lynx, Wild Boar, Elk and Roe Deer.
The inner zone of the Białowieża National Park is completely preserved and protected by a fence, with tourists only allowed inside with guides.
Inside, the forest lives, breathes and decays as it has for thousands of years. Outside of the inner-sanctuary several more km of forest are semi-preserved although sadly there are many reports of thinning and cutting of trees, supposedly due to disease, but more likely due to corruption and the market demand for large trees.
The town of Białowieża is on the edge of the forest and is located in the Polish part of the reserve. Here you will find the Nature and Forest Museum.
This museum features exhibitions relating to the park’s flora and fauna, the park’s history, and the archaeology and ethnography of the region. The viewing tower provides terrific views, and just north of the museum you will find a grove of 250-year-old oaks.
The number of bison in the world is estimated at 5,000, half of which live in Central Europe. In Poland, three quarters of the local population of these great mammals live in the wild. You can come across them not only in Bialowieza Forest, but also in the Bieszczady Mountains, in Masuria and in West Pomerania.
If you’re staying in the capital, we highly recommend the Bialowieza National Park private tour from Warsaw. Meet the driver in your accommodation in Warsaw, relax onboard an air-conditioned Mercedes vehicle and head to the Bialowieza Forest. Once there, join a 3-hour guided tour with a local guide.