Bieszczady National Park protects the highest areas in the Polish part of the Eastern Carpathians. These comprise two montane ecosystems – subalpine forests and grasslands. Natural deciduous and mixed forests occupy nearly 80% of the Park. The areas subject to strict conservation laws account for approx. 63% of the area.
Beyond the tree line ranging in altitude from 1150 to 1250 metres, we can encounter Eastern Carpathian montane grasslands, or połonina, not to be seen anywhere else in Poland. Nearly 90% of these meadows are subject to strict conservation laws. They are home to a number of extremely rare plant species, such as Aconitum bucovinense, Viola dacica, Cirsium waldsteinii and Melampyrum herbichii. In early spring one can admire spring snowflakes, flowering in large numbers in areas along mountain streams and rivers.
During hiking trips, in the valleys of the Bieszczady you can still encounter relics of houses, ruined water wells, wild orchards or rows of roadside trees, and other traces of villages, once densely populated, yet abandoned since 1944-1947, when people living here were forcefully relocated.
Within the Park there are several natural history thematic paths, mainly delineated along the existing hiking trails. The particularly noteworthy are the Bukowe Berdo, Połonina Caryńska as well as Połonina Wetlińska nature paths. A great attraction for tourists is also the Chatka Puchatka hostel, on top of Mount Połonina Wetlińska, at the altitude of 1228 metres.
Other attractions here include tours by Ecomeleks cars. These are electrical, environment-friendly vehicles which do not produce fumes or noise startling for animals. The tour starts in Ustrzyki Górne, at the car park, and ends in Wołosate. During the journey travellers can listen to stories related to the Bieszczady and can admire the surrounding nature.
And how people in love with Bieszczady talk about this region? Watch video.
Places worth seeing nearby:
- Mounts: Połonina Caryńska, Połonina Wetlińska, Połonina Bukowska
- Tserkov of Archangel Michael in Smolnik (UNESCO)
- Bison Enclosure in Muczne
- Open-air Museum of Charcoal Firing
- Nature reserve "Sine Wiry"
- Cisna and the surroundings
- Observation Tower in Muczne
- Starry-Sky Park "Bieszczady"
Main photo: K. Preuss