Nature: Polish National Parks

Warsaw – Częstochowa & Ojcowski National Park (1) – Kraków & Pieniński National Park (2) – Zakopane & Tatrzański National Park (2) – Lublin (1) – Białowieża & Białowieski National Park (2) – Warsaw (1)

There are 23 National Parks in Poland. One of them, the Białowieża Forest was classified by UNESCO as Poland’s first and only Natural World Heritage Site. A further 5 Parks UNESCO has classified as International Biosphere Reserves. The flora and fauna protected in these parks ranks them among the most precious natural sites in Poland and even in Europe.

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DAY 1 – arrival in Warsaw. Panoramic city tour: drive along the Royal Route, linking the Old Town with Łazienki Park and Palace passing Warsaw’s most prestigious historic buildings, palaces and embassies. Lunch at a restaurant in the Old Town. Departure for Częstochowa. Dinner and overnight in Częstochowa.

DAY 2 – visit to Jasna Góra Monastery, one of the most important pilgrimage centre in Poland. Time for lunch at a local inn. Excursion to Ojcowski National Park. The most attractive sights are the spectacular isolated rocks such as Hercules’ club, Deotyma Needle which are similar to the rocks in Turkish Cappadoccia or Arizona. The Park has approximately 400 caves. One of the most interesting is Łokietek Cave (320 m). The ruins of the Gothic castle in Ojców and the Renaissance residence in Pieskowa Skała are major attractions within the park. Walk through the park and then along the Eagles’ Nests Track – a group of Medieval fortresses. Lunch at a local inn in Ojców. This area gives a great opportunity for active tourism such as hiking, biking and horse riding. Dinner and overnight in Kraków.

DAY 3 – morning city tour, including a visit to Wawel Castle. Time for lunch. Excursion to Wieliczka. Visit to the salt mine. Dinner and overnight in Kraków.

DAY 4 – departure for Zakopane. En route stop in Wadowice, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. Then rafting through Pieniny Mountains on Dunajec Gorge. Pieniński National Park is located in the Pieniny Mountains in Southern Poland at the border with the Slovak Republic. The main attraction is rafting with wooden rafts on Dunajec River Gorge through the limestone rocks. This is one of the most amazing views in Poland. Arrival in Zakopane. Time for lunch. Cable car to Kasprowy hill. A walk along crowded Krupówki Street – Zakopane’s main shopping and entertainment area. Dinner and overnight in Zakopane.

DAY 5 – Poland’s only alpine mountain range – set within the Tatra National Park, the Tatra range forms part of the Western Carpathians bordering the Slovak Republic. The Tatra National Park was granted the status of UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve of world-wide importance in 1993. Walk through the picturesque Kościeliska and Chochołowska Valleys, a great area for hiking. The 300 km of well-marked tourist trails are graded to denote different levels of difficulty. Hikers may rest at the old shepherds shelters along the route. Farewell dinner with folk entertainment at a local inn in Zakopane.

DAY 6 – departure for Lublin. En route stop in Dębno. Visit to famous Baroque palace in Baranów Sandomierski. Arrival in Lublin. Walk through the Old Town. Dinner and overnight in Lublin.

DAY 7 – visit to Lublin Castle’s 14th century Chapel with Byzantine frescoes, one of the most precious examples of Medieval art in Poland and Europe. Departure for Białowieża Forest. En route stop in Kozłówka Palace with an exhibition of Socialist Realist painting and sculpture. Drive to Grabarka – country’s most important centre of orthodox pilgrimage. Lunch in Siemiatycze. Dinner and overnight in Białowieża.

DAY 8 – Białowieża National Park, the European Bisons’ Kingdom and the last primeval forest in lowland Europe. Walk through Białowieża Forest. Visit to the bison reserve – the symbol of the park. Lunch at a local inn. The park is abundant in animal life, with more than 12 000 species. Many of them are under protection. One of the most beautiful groups of ancient oaks named after the kings of Poland and Lithuania grows in the Old Białowieża Glade. These oaks are more than 400 years old. Dinner and overnight in Białowieża.

DAY 9 – departure for Warsaw. Free time to explore the city and for shopping Dinner by individual arrangement. Overnight in Warsaw.

DAY 10 – transfer to the airport. Departure.

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