Bieszczady National Park is the third largest national park in Poland with an area of 292.02 km², located in the south-east of the country. It includes the highlands of the Polish part of the Bieszczady mountain range with the highest peak Tarnica (1346 m).
The park was founded in 1973, and in 1992 it and the surrounding areas became part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
In the Bieszczady Park, animal species such as brown bear, wolf, wild boar, beaver, lynx, as well as a large population of bison (about 100 individuals) are protected. The most popular pastime of tourists in the park is equestrian tourism. In addition to hiking on the terrain on horses of the Hutsul breed, in winter guests are offered “skiring” – skiing attached to a horse-drawn sled.
It currently covers an area of 292 square kilometers, covering the highest areas of the Bieszczady massif. The highest point of the national park is Mount Tarnica, whose height is 1346 meters above sea level. In 1992, the park and its surroundings became part of the “Eastern Carpathian Biosphere Reserve”, which includes neighboring areas of Slovakia and Ukraine.
Forests occupy about 80% of the total area of the park. About 780 species of plants, 250 species of mosses, more than 1000 species of fungi and 500 species of lichens grow here. Bieszczady National Park inhabited by about 230 species of animals, among which there are moose, beavers, otters, foxes, wolves, wild boars, deer, bison, brown bears. The park is rich in interesting species of birds, including eagles and owls.
How to get to Bieszczady National Park
It is most convenient to start a trip through the park from the town of Ustiszki Dolne, which is located 420 km from Warsaw. The journey by car will take about 6 hours along the S7 highway. You will have to get by public transport much longer – at least 8-9 hours. First by train to Krakow, and from there by direct bus to Ustishki Dolne.
Bus from Krakow – Sanok (Markos company), then from Sanok to Bieszczady National Park
Nature of Bieszczady National Park
These mountains are part of the Eastern Carpathians, but, in addition to the picturesque ridges, visitors to the park can enjoy walks through the endless Carpathian mountain forests, small valleys with abandoned ancient villages, along clean streams and rivers. The wooded part occupies 80% of the park. The water network here has a specific structure in the form of a grid, all reservoirs are fed by groundwater, meltwater and rainwater. On the “lower floor” meadows and pastures predominate – the result of human activity, there are also high peatlands. The “second floor” is occupied by forests, mainly beech forests. Due to the extremely low population of the park, wild animals feel at home here, there are large populations of moose, beavers, deer, wild boars. At night, you can hear the whine of owls, and during the day eagles soar over the Bieszczady National Park.
Tourists offered only 70% of the park for visiting, and independent walks are not allowed, you can wander around Bieszczady only accompanied by a licensed guide-guide. There are a total of eight hiking trails:
- Połonina Wetlińska is the easiest route (3 hours).
- Rozsypaniec – Krzemień – middle way (4 hours). It will be of particular interest to researchers of river and swamp inhabitants.
- Suche Rzeki-Smerek – medium difficulty (5 hours). It is accompanied by a lecture on the structure of local mountains.
- Ustrzyki Górne-Szeroki Wierch is a medium-duty route (6 hours).
- Ustrzyki Górne-Wołosate is a challenging track for experienced walkers (8 hours).
- Wielka Rawka – medium difficulty (4 hours) with a visit to the place where the borders of Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine converge.
- Bukowe Berdo – historical and natural history trail (5 hours).
- Połonina Caryńska is the most popular (3 hours). It’s with a walk along it that you should start getting acquainted with the park. It has 35 stops, including observation decks, bridges over streams, an abandoned village, low peatlands and other natural attractions.
Any horseback ride through the Bieszczady National Park starts from the centers in Wołosatem or Tarnawie Niżnej. There is an opportunity to learn horseback riding followed by horseback riding along one of the park’s 65 special trails. For tourists who afraid of horses, not horseback excursions offered, but a walk in sleds. Horse trails do not enter the mountains, riders enjoy beautiful views of the landscapes of the Bieszczady valleys.