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Bialowieza Forest options

I'm hoping to go to Poland next spring or summer and looking for some tips for the Bialowieza part of the trip that I'm already planning in my head. (The trip will probably also include the expected- Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk- with the forest as the Nature portion of the trip). So here are the questions:

There is a weekend tour in July that comes highly rated, or I can go on my own whenever it fits in the plans. Is a tour recommended? I see there is transit to the area from Warsaw, but it's not an easy trip. Or give up going alone and do the tour? The July tour is 3 nights. There is also a tour group that goes any weekend for 2 nights, leaving in the afternoon after the second night. Is this enough time? There are also very long day tours from Warsaw. Has anyone done one of these?

Or is it fine to go without a tour and arrange guides when I get there (I assume staying in the town of the same name)? Is transit doable, or the hassle so great that a car may be worth the cost? (I'd be travelling alone, and have done so before so I'm not concerned about going solo, but that usually means it's a little more expensive).

Finally, time of year to the forest and Poland in general. I'd be looking at end of May or mid-July. I assume July is busier with more options for activities (outdoor concerts and such?) and May is cooler and less crowded, but does it matter much for Poland, considering most of my time will be spent in cities? Previous trips to Europe have been in October/November so I've never had to deal with summer crowds and heat.

Thanks for helping me plan way sooner than I need to!

Posted by
141 posts

Hi, KC!
I went to Białowieża in July 2009 with my language class (I was in Lublin). It's an amazing place. Our trip was organized by our school, so I can't speak to going alone. My sense, though, is that a tour will probably be a lot less hassle. I was going to recommend the hotel we stayed in, in case you decided to go solo - only to learn it burned down in 2010! I think you'd be fine going on a weekend/2 night tour. I think that was how long we stayed, although we might have only stayed one night. I know it took most of the day to get there, and we had dinner at the hotel. The next day we took a guided tour in the morning through the forest and spent the afternoon at a zoo/park where we saw the bison and other animals. I definitely felt like I saw enough during that time. I wouldn't do it as a long day trip. You mentioned that you've travelled alone before. If you're like me, you probably don't mind doing that. Still, I think a tour would be the best way to go, at least for this part of the trip.

I spent a total of three summers in Lublin. Sometimes it was cold and rainy and I wore jeans and a cardigan sweater. Sometimes it was so hot that you were sweaty just from walking out the door. I haven't been in Poland since 2010, but I know heat waves throughout Europe seem to be more frequent and hotter than in the past. You could luck out and have great weather - or not. I remember May being pleasant; a little cool/cold at night, but everyone is excited because SPRING IS FINALLY HERE. All that being said, I just found the video I took at Białowieża and I'm in jeans and a jacket - and that was August. So - basically, I am no help here, other than to say the weather will be what it will be, go when you want, pack something for cool weather and something for hot, and enjoy!

Posted by
253 posts

Thanks, Allison. I haven't checked on car rental costs to compare, but I'll look more carefully at those tours. It would certainly be easier and less stressful.