Kampinos National Park begins just outside Warsaw’s northwestern administrative boundary and is known locally as Puszcza Kampinoska. It stretches west for around 40km and is one of the largest National parks in Poland.
Created in 1959, Kampinos National Park covers just over 385 km² of which 46.38 km² is strictly protected and it was added to UNESCO’s list of biosphere reserves in January 2000.
Forests account for around 70% of the park’s area, and the most common tree is the pine followed by oak.
Kampinos is very popular with Warsaw’s hikers and cyclists, who take advantage of its 300km of marked walking and cycling trails. The eastern part of the park is favoured by walkers as it’s accessible by public transport; the western part is less visited. The park is visited by 1 million tourists each year.
There’s around 1245 species of plants within the park, of which 69 are protected.
The park includes Europe’s largest area of inland sand dunes, mostly pine tree covered and up to 30m high. Other parts of the park are barely accessible peat bogs that shelter much of its animal life. According to biologists, there are 16,000 species of animals, of which the most numerous are insects and birds. Numerous animals have been reintroduced into the park including moose, beaver and lynx and today, 83 species of animal in the park are regarded as endangered.
Tourists are welcome on the Park’s walking, cycling, horseback and skiing trails. In addition to half day and one day hikes, there are two long trails that traverse the entire length of the park, both starting from Dziekanów Leśny on the eastern edge of the park. The red trail (54km) ends in Brochów, and the green one (51km) in Żelazowa Wola.
Bivouac sites designated for camping are the only accommodation options within the park’s boundaries, but there are hotels close by in Czosnów, Laski, Leszno, Tułowice and Zaborów.
Many important events have taken place in Kampinos National Park and reminders of Poland’s turbulent past are numerous including tombs of insurrectionists from the 1863 anti-Russian uprising, war cemeteries from Polish German war of 1939 and tombs of members of anti-German resistance (1944–45).
A great way to explore Kampinos is on a bicycle. Check out this cycle tour of the park via Tripadvisor – Click here.