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Winter Wonderland Itinerary

Day 1

On your arrival to Warsaw you will be collected by Bozena and transfer by minibus to the Bialowieza Forest.  The journey will last three hours.  As we leave busy Warsaw and head east, we will enter the most rural part of Poland which has a long and diverse historical past with influences coming from different cultures and religions. You will be introduced to some aspects of it as we travel past picturesque churches, roadside crosses and wooden settlements.  An evening meal will await us at a comfortable guest house on the outskirts of the Bialowieza National Park, where we will spend our first three nights.


Days 2-3

We will spend two days in the Bialowieza Forest, where we will visit both the National Park and the managed part of the forest.   Our guide, is a former forester, a retired lecturer from the local forestry college and a qualified guide for the Bialowieza National Park.  He will introduce us to various aspects of the forest, its structure, history and management.

We will start our visit with an early morning walk in the Strict Nature Reserve, where entry is by permit only and with an accompanied guide. Walking through this truly magnificent multi-species and multi-layered forest, where trees attain gigantic sizes of up to 50 m in height, 2 m in diameter and an age of up to 500 years, and where dead standing and lying trunks are in various stages of decomposition, gives you a feeling of being taken back to ancient times. In its snowy cover, the forest will look even more spectacular and dramatic.

In the Bialowieza Forest, we will study tracks and signs of various animals including Wolf, Lynx and Wild Boar.  The most memorable experience, however, will be an encounter with the emperor of the forest, the European Bison.  The bisons congregate in bigger groups in winter, so our chances of seeing them is much greater than in spring. For those most dedicated, there will be an optional, early morning or late evening opportunity to see more animals by waiting in high seats strategically placed in the forest.  

There will be some ornithological highlights too.  We will search for various species of woodpeckers, owls and birds of prey.   Three-toed, White-backed, Grey-headed, Great Spotted, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Green and Black Woodpeckers all breed, and most of them overwinter here.   At dusk, we might undertake a trip in search of owls, with chances to see Eagle and Pygmy Owls.  There are a number of other bird species that are typically associated with old forest in winter, and Hazel Grouse, Hawfinch and Nutcracker could enrich our bird list.  Rough-legged Buzzard, Golden and White-tailed Eagle could be seen soaring high in the sky at any time.

The eastern part of Poland is famous for its cold, prolonged and white winters. Mulled red wine will help us to keep the cold at bay.  In our lodge, run by a local couple, we will enjoy homemade evening meals by a log fire, accompanied by fine wines and Polish vodka (in various forms!).   

We will also have an evening bonfire where we will barbeque our own sausages/kebabs. The dishes for the night will also include traditional local cuisine such as wild boar pate and “Gypsy” soup.  


Day 4

We will travel today to Biebrza Marshes and do some birding en route.  As we pass though the baroque town of Tykocin, we will learn about the history of Jews and visit the Synagogue Museum.  However, this activity is totally optional. We will also stop for a delicious meal in an upmarket restaurant.  Here, we will have traditional Polish cuisine, which will consist of several dishes.  We will also have the opportunity to taste a traditional Polish vodka/honey liqueur based on a 100 year-old recipe and the restaurant’s own brewed beer.   


Day 5

At Biebrza Marshes we will spend a full day tracking through a white countryside of the “Red Marshes” Strict Nature Reserve and Grzedy Sanctuary.  The former was founded as a refuge for Elk and now it is also a good area to track Wolves and Wild Boars.  The highlight of our visit will be close encounters with majestic Elks.  In winter, they are guaranteed to be seen from distances of 10 metres!  The Biebrza Marshes are also home to 600 Beavers and, in winter, there is always a chance to see them on the frozen river!


Day 6

After breakfast, we will travel back to Warsaw to take our return flight to Britain. If time allows, we will explore the old part of the city.

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Biebrza marshes

Bialowieza forest

Bialowieza forest

lynx

Kuwasy

Bialowieza forest

Biebrza marshes