On The Trails of Nature - Polish National Parks
Arrival in Warsaw. Meeting with the guide. Transfer to Bialystok and accommodation at the hotel. Welcome dinner.
Transfer to Bialowieza. A visit to the Bialowieski National Park – the oldest in Poland, established in 1947. It is relatively flat, partly swampy, covered with oaks, hornbeams, spruce and pines. The park is a home for the uncontested king of the forest – European Bison – the largest mammal on the continent. A visit to the Nature Museum and Botanical Park in Bialowieza. Return to Bialowieza and dinner at the hotel.
Day 3Transfer to Osowiec – to embark on boats for a ride on the Biebrza River. The Biebrzanski National Park protects Europe's largest national expanse of lowmoor peat bogs in the Biebrza Valley. The greatest attraction of the park are the splendid, open highmoor landscapes and uncommonly rich wildlife with elks, beavers, wolves and rare bird species.A guided walk through the valley. Drive to Drozdowo to visit the Natural History Museum of the region. Return to Białowieza and dinner at the hotel.
A whole-day tour of the multicultural region of Podlasie. The vicinity bears hardly any traces of the 21st century. Nature is the most important ruler here and people don't try to force any significant changes. A visit to Kruszyniany and Bohoniki – where you will see examples of Tartars' cultural heritage – wooden mosques and cemeteries. Drive to Tykocin to see the 17th century baroque synagogue and visit the Museum of Jewish Culture. Next, drive to Choroszcz where in the Branickis Palace on an isle surrounded by park you will visit the Museum of Court Interiors. Transfer to Kazimierz Dolny check-in at the hotel, dinner.
A short tour of the town situated picturesquely on the Vistula river. Romantic cobbled market square with a wooden well, two richly decorated houses with beautiful attics and finally the Upper Castle with the watch-tower. Departure for Kraków. En route stop in Baranow Sandomierski to visit one of the most beautiful mannerist residence in Poland. Tourists are tempted by the beauty of the arcaded courtyard designed by the same architect who supervised the 16th century reconstruction of Wawel Castle in Krakow. Check-in at the hotel in Krakow and dinner accompanied by live folk performance.
A guided sightseeing tour of the city of Krakow to admire the most spectacular landmarks, among them: the Main Market Square with the Cloth Hall, St. Mary's church, Collegium Maius of Jagiellonian University, the Wawel Hill with the Cathedral and the renaissance Royal Castle. Next we will pay a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine – the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. You will be taken on a two-mile walk along the underground tourist route by the professional guide dressed in official miner's attire. You will admire beautifully preserved caverns, chambers, chapels, illuminated sculptures, have a rest in the subterranean restaurant, post office and sports arena. Lunch at "Halit Inn" in Wieliczka. In the afternoon (about 5 p.m.) return to Krakow and time for extended individual exploration.
Trip to the Ojcowski National Park – the smallest of all Polish national parks. Within its area it preserves numerous limestone caves, scenic ravines, rocky passes and spectacular rock formations with the famous "Hercules's Club". Its carstic landscape features many streams and gullies. A visit to a limestone cave, as well as sightseeing the "Pieskowa Skała" Castle – the best preserved example of medieval bordering fortresses known as "The Trail of the Eagles' Nests". Afternoon departure for Zakopane, arrival (after approx. three hours), check in at the hotel.
Sightseeing of the town with its unique style of wooden architecture, known as the "Style of Zakopane". Huts, cottages, chapels built of rounded timber, churches with campaniles and tiny ridge turrets – all covered with shingle. A visit to the Museum of Zakopane Style to get acquainted with traditional folklore. Lunch in a genuine highlander's inn. A funicular-ride to the Gubałówka Peak to admire the panoramas of the Tatra Mountains. An afternoon trip to Chochołów – a highlanders' village where you can see the uniquely preserved original system of architectural construction with a certain repeated pattern. A visit to a traditional woodcarving workshop with the possibility to buy some exhibits. Evening dinner with traditional highlanders' music concert of violins and cello. Return to the hotel.
Day 9A half-day trip to "Morskie Oko" Lake to admire the beauty of nature and breathtaking panoramas of the Tatra Mountains National Park. It is created by jagged granite ridges, post-glacial hollows nestling mountain lakes, scenic valleys, forested slopes and rushing mountain streams. Transfer to Niedzica – medieval castle seated on a lake and near a dam. Sightseeing of the medieval bordering fortress which is said to be haunted by the female ghost of the former owner. Overnight accommodation in historic interiors of the medieval castle.
Excursion to the Pieniny National Park with steep cliffs, rich flora and abundance of wildlife. The Dunajec Gorge is the main attraction which provides extraordinary and unforgettable experience. The Dunajec is one of those rare in Europe really wild rivers. You will admire the raft trip through the gorge accompanied by local highlanders dressed in colourful costumes. The clothes they wear, their songs and folk art reveal Slovakian, Hungarian and even Walachian influences. Dinner a timber inn. Transfer to the hotel.