If you want to see a range of European wildlife Wild Poland will always come good. I have been with them six times before and always found them excellent.
– Colin, UK, Jan 2020
The best event to watch brown bears, wolves, bison and experience true wilderness
Join our top local guides in the wildest part of Polish Eastern Carpathians at the most picturesque time of the year. Go tracking large mammals, immerse in the dense forest, vast meadows and unspoiled landscapes. Experience the natural silence and see the unparalleled nature.
We will spend this week in one of the wildest parts of Poland, the unscathed and undiscovered Bieszczady Mts that belong to the lowest mountain ranges of Eastern Carpathians (max. 1346 m/4416 feet). Scarcely populated and largely forested these mountains are now teeming with wildlife and have become the most important Polish refuge for Brown Bears, Wolves, Lynx and even Wild Cats. Moreover, there is a large herd of wild European Bison living here as well as plenty of Beavers and we will aim to see them all.
Early autumn also offers some birdwatching opportunities and we will provide short trips for the season’s best – Woodpeckers and Ural Owl. Other resident birds include Nutcrackers or Crossbills and you may see them on a daily basis.
For those that like to hike, the ridges reach well above the tree line and present a fantastic scenery. If you’d rather stay on (comparatively) flat, the open river valleys are still rich in wildflowers, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles and offer equally good views.
We provide quality accommodation and food at a comfortable hotel and most importantly – quality wildlife guiding by our staff. Our experienced and enthusiastic nature guides will point out all the wildlife and wildflowers around as well as keep you informed about the region’s history and ethnic diversity.
Finally, we will also point out a few options for self guided walks so you can see the pristine Carpathian forest at your own pace and have some private time.
What’s most important.. we don’t use any hides or artificial feeding or other ways of altering wildlife behaviour. Instead, we offer an unscathed nature and real wildlife experience.
See real wildlife in a respectful way
How it works
Join us in Kraków by 11:00 and transfer to the Bieszczady Mts.
Wildlife watching in the Bieszczady Mts – do it yourself or join our guided trips.
Transfer to Kraków, finish by 15:00.
The basic price includes the transfer and half board accommodation
The festival starts and ends in Kraków. Participants arrive at Kraków at their own expense, preferably the day before the festival (a few hotel suggestions below).
We meet at 11:00 in the morning 17 September 2023 downtown Kraków in front of the Sheraton Grand Hotel › and transfer to our hotel in the Bieszczady Mts. If you arrive by train or a car – contact us for detailed directions.
Our hotel is a comfortable 3-star venue, beautifully located in the forest, 2.5 km (30 mins walk) from the small town of Czarna. A perfect location for our daily outings and self exploration, with Wolves and Bears visiting right behind the hotel at night.
On the last day, we transfer you back to Kraków. We plan to arrive by 15:00. Basic participation costs include the transfer, accommodation, plentiful breakfasts and 3-course dinners. If you feel like watching wildlife on your own – it’s all you pay for. You will even receive a detailed map of the area and suggestions for self guided walks to help your personal exploration.
Wildlife watching trips are optional; charged on the spot
On the grounds of our lodge we will run the Festival Office where you will be able to find out and subscribe to our guided wildlife watching trips on a daily basis. We will offer at least 3–4 different trips each day according to current wildlife situation and weather. These trips include transportation, guiding and all entry fees.
The trips will be priced according to their length and driving distance. A typical trip is 3-5 hrs long and costs PLN 150–250 (ca. €40–60). There is no limit to the number of people taking part in a festival but our guided trips always run in small groups, 3–12 persons, usually max. 7 persons.
This way you compose your own itinerary on the spot and are charged for the trips you choose, separately. Only debit or credit cards are accepted (Visa and MasterCard), so no cash is needed. All trips start and finish at the lodge.
A variety of reasonably priced trips will be offered
Below is a small selection of trips from our previous festivals. The exact trips offered may differ from these. We may also offer additional short trips according to current wildlife situation and your suggestions, even for single species or a historical tour of wooden villages. Many trips will take place at dawn and dusk of course ? for best wildlife activity, leaving enough time in the day to rest.
Dawn & dusk patrol, 4-6hrs
A drive and a walk at the best time of day for large mammals at some of our favourite sites – the wildest and most remote. We run this trip daily and each year it brings us some Bison, Wolves and Brown Bear sightings. But there is so much more to see!
Undiscovered Forest, 2-4hrs
A slow walk off trails in the pristine Carpathian forest that will change your view of Nature. Travel back in time and experience the Forest from a different perspective. Learn to read Nature and become one with it.
A drive around various habitats with short walks to find, Black, White-backed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Nutcrackers, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Great Grey Shrikes and a lot more.
Pygmy Owl, 1-2hrs
A short but thrilling dawn or dusk trip trying to spot Europe’s smallest owl. The Pygmy Owl – a starling size dangerous predator. Tawny Owls are also common in the area and we may see them, too.
Verdant river valley, 6hrs
Reasonably flat, scenic walk in the river valley along the border with Ukraine. We will be looking at all the abundant birds, frogs and snakes. Wildflowers are also plentiful and evidence of former villages, small wooden churches as well as obvious wolves and bears activity add a unique taste to our walks here.
Carpathian Forest experience, 4-5hrs
A fantastic early morning walk in a pristine Carpathian forest. Good chances to see and hear Red Deer roaring, the rare Black Woodpeckers, Nutcracker or even a Pygmy Owl. And there are Wolves and Bears in the area, too.
Owls & forest at night, 4 hrs
Join one of our crazy guides for a night walk through the forest to experience the primeval call. Chances of seeing and hearing Tengmalm’s, Tawny and Ural Owls, Red Deer roaring, other nocturnal mammals and… your heart beat.
Night drive, 2-3 hrs
Isn’t it smart to go our when mammals are actually most active? Join this easy drive for an unforgettable experience of forest at night with chances of sporting some of the most elusive mammals.
Hiking the treeless ridges, 6–8 hrs
A full day trekking along the Połoniny – beautiful subalpine meadows atop the long ridges typical to this area. Stunning, dramatic views of the forested Carpathians and chances to mix with locals.
Ethnographic tour, 6-8 hrs
Join us for a journey into the past. The land of tranquil wooden villages that once blossomed all around the Carpathians. Visit an open-air ethnographic museum in Sanok, Poland’s number one museum of this kind, for a ca. 2 hrs guided tour with a local guide.
Reports from previous Carpathian festivals and adventures
You should bring the following necessary items:
- waterproof above-ankle trekking boots,
- waterproof outer layer,
- warm hat & gloves (for chilly dawns and dusks),
You may consider bringing the following useful items:
- walking stick,
- scope on a sturdy tripod,
- thermo flask/cup,
- small torch/headlamp.
I don't know any Polish. Can I easily communicate in English?
Yes, the Festival language is English and all our guides speak it well. What we cannot guarantee, however, is that all the hotel staff are fluent. Therefore our staff will be there to assist you in a rare case that you may require help.
Can I join your trips without booking accommodation? (I will be in Bieszczady in these dates and have my own accommodation)
Yes, the Festival is open to other visitors who just ‘come by’ so you can visit our festival office and join any of the trips with enough spaces available.
Can I book some of the trips in advance?
No, unfortunately not. The detailed daily programme strongly depends on the current wildlife situation and weather. Therefore we will only offer trips on the spot and only for 1-2 days in advance.
We don’t have a fixed plan. We will try to repeat any trips which continue gathering interest – so that everyone has a chance to participate.
Eating & drinking
Polish food is very good, usually made from fresh produce. We are certainly meat eaters, not shunning from the fatty cuts. Pork and poultry are most popular. Soups are also a very Polish dish and while we do like our broth and borsch, many other soups are a full meal in itself.
Breakfasts tend to be hearty and often consist of fried or scrambled eggs, boiled or fried sausage, cold cuts, cheese, tomatoes and bread. A sweet version consisting of cheese/jam filled pancakes or racuchy (pancakes with apples) is also quite common.
Lunches are not included but you can use the hotel restaurant or a few groceries approx. 30 minutes walk from our venue. Polish cuisine offers a large variety of hearty meals from pierogi (dumplings) to soups and groceries are well supplied. Additionally we will also offer packed lunches (paid extra) to take with you on a trip. These will be prepared by the restaurant of our venue and consist of two sandwiches, a piece of fruit, chocolate bar and a small bottle of water.
Dinners are a substantial 3-course meal of a warm soup, main dish and a dessert served back at our hotel.
Vegetarians & vegans
These days vegetarians are usually well catered for, but please let us know at the time of booking. However, it can be difficult for vegans, as dairy produce and eggs occur in the vast majority of meals. Therefore we recommend that you bring some supplementary items.
Travel & medical insurance
We (Wild Poland) are fully insured tour operator as required by Polish and European law. However, all participants must additionally be covered by personal travel and medical insurance, preferably from the time of booking. This should cover you fully against the cost of cancellation by you, lost baggage, medical care and repatriation.
We do not provide or check personal travel insurance policies. See our booking conditions › for more details.
Payments & currency - card or cash?
Poland’s currency is PLN, also abbreviated as ‘zł.’ and generally EUR are not accepted.
At Wild Poland we accept card payments only and charge in PLN – both for booking your place online at this website and for paying for the trips you choose on the spot. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any cash.
Cards are now widely accepted at restaurants, groceries etc. but you may wish to have some PLN in cash to pay for your drinks, souvenirs etc. There is a cash machine in the nearby town of Czarna.
How is my money protected?
First of all, we are a registered tour operator in Poland. All holidays by Wild Poland are protected by the Mazovian Province and our AXA tour operator insurance. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the Province executives guarantee to refund any money you have paid to us for any future booking.
Secondly – you get 100% money back guarantee with Wild Poland. By booking, you will be asked to pay a small deposit to confirm your place. It allows us to book the hotels etc. in your name. In a rare case that we have to cancel the departure because of insufficient number of participants, you will be refunded the full deposit amount. Small differences in the refunded amount may occur because of varying exchange rates.
Finally, we use Poland’s leading online payments gateway called PayU ›. Any critical credit card details are only entered at their secure pages and we have no access to, nor do we withhold any credit card details.
100% Money Back Guarantee with Wild Poland
By booking, you will be asked to pay a small deposit to confirm your place. In a rare case that we have to cancel the departure because of insufficient number of participants, you will be refunded the full deposit amount.
When booking a guaranteed tour within 30 days of departure you will be asked for a full payment instead of just the deposit.