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Grand Tour of Eastern Poland

10 days in the prime nature and little known historical sites

Grand Tour of Eastern Poland

10 days in the prime nature and little known historical sites

Grand Tour of Eastern Poland

10 days in the prime nature and little known historical sites

Experience the real Poland off the beaten trails

Go hiking and kayaking in the most picturesque outdoors and top National Parks. Immerse in the traditional Polish countryside with its fascinating history. Leave your Lonely Planet behind and visit the real Poland with passionate local guides.

This tour starts in Warsaw – Poland’s capital and the largest city with an amazing mixture of historical sites and post-communist architecture. We will begin our journey through the unscathed eastern territories of Poland with two days kayaking one of the most beautiful Polish rivers (Czarna Hańcza) gently meandering through the pristine and completely undiscovered Augustów Forest. We will also take a hike through the countryside and forest, talk to locals and have home-made lunch served at a riverside.

Later we will travel through the Europe’s largest marshes of the Biebrza River, Poland’s biggest National Park, experience the vast open spaces filled with bird calls and silence and visit a little known historical town of Tykocin. We will also enter the famous Białowieża Forest – the last remaining primeval forest in the lowland Europe and world’s last refuge for European Bison. A Man and Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the tranquil corner of Poland and Belarus.

On our way to Carpathians we will also stop at a medieval town of Kazimierz Dolny and go hiking in the traditional countryside of the Vistula River valley. Finally we will spend three nights in the wildest part of Poland, the unspoiled Bieszczady Mts. Scarcely populated and largely forested these mountains are now teeming with wildlife and have become the most important Polish refuge for Brown Bears, Wolves and Lynx.

We will finish at Kraków, the most alluring city with Poland’s best preserved old town and the largest medieval market square in Europe.

We will eat at local cafeterias and guesthouses whenever possible to try the traditional home made food. In addition, we will visit a good variety of Polish groceries, restaurants and cafes as lunches and a few dinners are not included. We think this combination gives a lot more personal and real-life experience.

Our local guides are experienced and contagiously passionate about Polish nature and culture. Our customers say they are a wealth of knowledge and fun but best to check it out yourselves.

Duration

10 days, 9 nights
Start: Warsaw
End: Kraków

Board & lodging

9 nights guesthouse/hotel
All breakfasts, 6 dinners included

Transport

Minibus

Activities

Walking, kayaking, hiking in the mountains

Small groups

5-11 persons
Minimum age: 15 yrs

Price

5850 PLN per person
Deposit: 500 PLN
Single room: +500 PLN

Experience the real Poland off the beaten trails

What our customers say

Day by day itinerary

Participants arrive at Warsaw and accommodate at their own expense before the tour.

Warsaw is a modern, vibrant city with a dramatic history. With a day or two to spend you can visit some of its world’s top class museums (Warsaw Uprising, History of Polish Jews), join a free guided tour (Free walking tours, Orange Umbrella), attend a live Chopin’s music concert at the Royal Łazienki Park (May to September on Sundays), go up to the 30th floor of the communist Palace of Culture and Science or just drink in to the atmosphere of the city at the numerous cafes and restaurants.

Day 1: Pickup at Warsaw, transfer to Wigry NP, canoeing on the Czarna Hańcza River

We will pick you up at your hotel in Warsaw in the morning and transfer north east to the Wigry National Park, near the border with Lithuania.

This area has been named the green lungs of Poland for the vast forests, picturesque lakeland and hardly any pollution. We will travel through the small fields dotted with Stork and Deer, have lunch at a Polish cafeteria and accommodate at a cosy, family run guesthouse in the Wigry National Park. It is still undiscovered by mass tourism and you will get a chance to see and experience the genuine Polish countryside.

After a short break, we will spend the rest of the day kayaking one of the most beautiful Polish lowland rivers – Czarna Hańcza. It is slowly meandering through the forest, fields and meadows so you can truly relax and recharge. The crystal clear water is also perfect for a wild swim.

Tonight and tomorrow, dinner at our guesthouse is included and local freshwater fish are often an option.

Hotel: Pensjonat Wigierski or similar

Meals included: dinner

Day 2: Hiking and canoeing in the Augustów Forest and Wigry NP

This morning we will take a few hrs hike through the countryside and in the Augustów Forest on the trails few other people have walked before: seeing various local crops, a few villages, a river valley and the boreal forest where Black Woodpeckers or Nutcrackers are likely birds.

After home made lunch served at a riverside by local farmers (option) and a wild swim (a must) 😉 we will continue our leisure kayaking trip along the most picturesque stretch of the unspoiled Czarna Hańcza River.

Hotel: Pensjonat Wigierski or similar

Meals included: breakfast, dinner

Day 3: Hiking in the Biebrza Marshes NP, visiting Tykocin

Today we will take a full day journey through the Biebrza Marshes National Park. We will go birdwatching, see a tremendous variety of habitats, pristine landscapes, traditional villages as well as WWI Russian military forts.

At lunch time we will offer a gentle hike in the National Park in the middle of the vast marshland where seeing Elk (Moose) or White-tailed Eagle is likely. Afterwards we will pay a visit at a small town of Tykocin, once a Royal residence and an important stronghold of Kingdom of Poland with a vibrant Jewish community and now called the ‘Pearl of Baroque’ for its well preserved architecture.

In the evening we will transfer to the Narew National Park and stay at a modest family-run guesthouse in a small village right at the edge of the Park. Resting in the garden, with the vast reed bed in front of us, Storks nest and a sky full of stars above our head you can travel back in time and feel like a Polish farmer after a long days work.

Tonight a traditional home made dinner cooked by Eugene’s wife is included.

Hotel: Eugene’s guesthouse or similar

Meals included: breakfast, dinner

Day 4: Hiking in the Primeval Bialowieza Forest, search for Bison

After an optional early morning walk at the edge of the marsh and a hearty breakfast served by Eugene’s family we will transfer towards the Białowieża Forest. It is a scenic journey through the traditional countryside and we will visit a few colourful Ruthenian villages on the way. Time has stopped here and the stunning wooden architecture reminds us of the turbulent history. We will take a walk through one of the villages and have a chance to chat to elderly locals. It is not rare that we are invited to see the garden, inside of the house or are given some fresh pastry or fruit.

We shall arrive at Białowieża Forest at lunch time. Białowieża Forest is the last remaining primeval forest in the lowland Europe. It covers an area of over 1500 km2 in the tranquil corner of Poland and Belarus. Saved from logging, this forest became home for hundreds of rare species of birds, insects or mushrooms. Most importantly, it became world’s last refuge for European Bison– the largest land mammal on our continent. Centuries old trees grow here together in a tremendous variety of habitats making it recognised by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site now visited by many from all over the world.

After lunch in the middle of the forest, we will check in at our guesthouse and spend the rest of this afternoon exploring the forest on foot at one of our favourite sites. We will take a short walk through a variety of habitats to get a feeling of the forest, immerse in the wilderness and have a chance to spot some birds and other wildlife. After dinner at a Polish restaurant we will invite you for a drive in search of Bison and other large mammals at dusk. It is the best time of day for mammal activity and species seen include Bison, Deer, Elk or Boar.

Hotel: Dworek Gawra or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 5: Dawn hike in the UNESCO core area, visiting Kazimierz Dolny

This early morning we will invite you for a walk through the only accessible part of the Strict Protection Area of the National Park in Białowieża, the UNESCO World Heritage Site core zone. This trip takes you back in time a few thousand years, when most of Europe was covered with a similar forest. We will take on a local National Park guide, a passionate naturalist that will explain this ecosystem’s complexity. It’s a trip that may change your view of nature and a highlight of the tour to many of our previous customers.

We will get back for the usual hearty breakfast and after a short break we will head south for a small mediaeval town of Kazimierz Dolny, beautifully located in the verdant Vistula River valley. Once a Royal residence with a rich history the town had lost its political importance centuries ago and became a bohemian post now famous among Poles for the folk music, Jewish culture or independent movie festivals held here at summertime each year.

We will take a scenic route along the eastern frontier and drive via the famous Grabarka holy hill of thousands of crosses, the most revered pilgrimage site in the Polish Orthodox Church.

Having arrived at Kazimierz in the afternoon you will have some free time and our guide will take you for a short orientation walk into town before heading for dinner at a small Polish restaurant.

Hotel: Hotel Spichlerz or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 6: Hiking in the countryside, free afternoon in Kazimierz Dolny

This day is generally free but in the morning our guide will offer a gentle hike in the countryside, pleasantly undulating through the fertile fruit fields and picturesque loess gorges with breathtaking landscapes. The usual chance to experience the real Poland, chat to locals working in the fields or visit a local village cafe or pub.

In the afternoon you can explore the Kazimierz beautiful old town with atmospheric restaurants and cafes, flea market, numerous art galleries, the famous Jewish monument, ruins of the Medieval Royal castle and the picturesque riverside hills. Tonight we will not book a restaurant for our group dinner as there are many options in the town.

Hotel: Hotel Spichlerz or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 7: Transfer to Bieszczady Mts via Zamość and Przemyśl historical towns

We will transfer further south through the unscathed Polish countryside to reach Bieszczady Mountains in the afternoon.

It will be another intensive day of sightseeing as we will firstly visit Zamość – an ideal Renaissance town recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Later we will stop at Zwierzyniec – known for a small traditional brewery, lunch at Roztocze National Park and possibly watch Polish ponies – the descendants of Eurasian Wild Horse and visit Przemyśl  – one of the oldest Polish towns in the foothills of the Carptahians.

Being part of Eastern Carpathian range, very remote and completely depopulated after World War II, Bieszczady Mts are now Poland’s wildest area. They are home to European Bison, Brown Bear, Wolves and Lynx in great numbers and offer fantastic wildlife watching and hiking trails.

We will stay at a family-run guesthouse in a small village near the border with Ukraine. A perfect location for daily outings, complete silence and skies full of stars.

Hotel: Arnika guesthouse or similar

Meals included: breakfast, dinner

Days 8/9: Hiking in the Bieszczady Mts, Eastern Carpathians

We will spend one of the days in the San River Valley near the border with Ukraine, birdwatching and hoping to track some Wolves and Bears. Wildflowers are plentiful, wildlife abundant and evidence of former villages and small wooden churches add a unique taste to our walks here.

On the second day we plan to go hiking up above the tree line along some of the most picturesque ridges in the whole Bieszczady Mts.

Hotel: Arnika guesthouse or similar

Meals included: breakfast, dinner

Day 10: Transfer to Kraków

After our last hearty breakfast in the wild Bieszczady Mts we will take on our last scenic drive through the traditional countryside of small fields dotted with Stork and Deer, towards Kraków, Poland’s cultural gem and undoubtedly the most charming city.

The tour ends when we arrive at Kraków. Participants book a hotel there and flights home at their own expense. We will drop you off at a hotel of your choice or the KRK airport. Alternatively we can transfer you back to Warsaw.

Hotel: none

Meals included: breakfast

Want to extend your tour and see Kraków? With Poland’s best preserved medieval old town, Renaissance Royal Castle and the beautifully kept Jewish quarter, Kraków offers manifold delights. You can join one of the free guided tours (free walking tours, cracow free tours), visit some of Kraków’s numerous museums (Muzeum Krakowa, Schindler’s Factory), art galleries or just wander around the old town and the historical Jewish quarter.

We also recommend to visit Wieliczka Salt Mines ›. It is the size of Kraków itself, just well over a 100m underground. A few hours guided tour takes you 800 steps down the medieval mines and through several breathtaking chambers where you can see a subterranean salt lake, a concert hall, a 400 years old chapel and dozens of unbelievable salt carvings.

Finally, an hour away from Kraków lies Oświęcim, the site of WWII Auschwitz-Birkenau nazi concentration camp. You can join the deeply moving guided tour, a reminder of the unimaginable World War II acts of barbarity and a great lesson for our future generations.

Read a report from one of the previous tours

This tour is the perfect introduction to Poland for first time visitors, or those of us who have Polish heritage. Our guide was very professional, went out of his way to ensure our comfort and was full of interesting facts, stories and jokes.

 – Mark Kosiewski, USA, Aug 2017

Key information

Board & lodging

We will spend 9 nights at comfortable family run guesthouses or locally-owned hotels, depending on availability and distance to the best sites at a given time. All accommodation is based on twin-share, with private facilities. Additional single room suplement rate applies if you travel alone. We do not offer twin rooms to share for single travellers. Please note that some of our guesthouses host dogs and cats and may not be suitable if you have a severe allergy.

All the venues serve gorgeous traditional Polish food. Breakfasts (all included) are a hearty continental treat that can set you up for the day. Six (6) dinners are also included – we will dine at our guesthouse serving real home made meals.

All lunches and three (3) dinners are not included and we will visit a good variety of Polish groceries, restaurants and cafes. We think this mixture gives a lot more personal and real-life experience.

Transport

Our professional driver and tour leader will pick you up at your hotel in Warsaw with a comfortable minibus that will accompany us for the rest of the tour.

Fitness level - is this tour for me?

Previous kayaking experience and ability to swim are necessary to join this tour as we will spend two days on water.

This tour can be intensive and requires basic fitness to walk for several hours a day. On average, we will walk between 2–12 km a day, divided between 2–3 walks, at a moderate speed of 3–4 km/h. Days 1-5 are generally flat so altitudes are not a problem. It gets hilly on days 6-7 and quite steep on days 8-9 (ca. 600m difference in altitude). Most of the time we will walk on decent tracks but we may walk short distances off trails on uneven terrain where you are likely to get your boots wet and muddy.

Tour leader - an experienced local guide

You will be accompanied by an English speaking Wild Poland guide, an experienced naturalist throughout this tour. We may take on additional local guides for a visit in the National Park (entrance tickets also included).

Joining & departure

The tour starts in Warsaw. Participants arrive in Warsaw and accommodate there at their own expense. We will pick you up at your hotel in Warsaw on day 1, no later than 08:00.

The tour ends on day 10 at ca. 16:00 when we arrive at Kraków. Participants book a hotel there and flights home at their own expense. We will drop you off at a hotel of your choice or the KRK airport. Alternatively we can transfer you back to Warsaw. If you fly home from KRK on this day your flight mustn’t depart before 19:00. Please let us know your travel arrangements to make sure you will be on time for your flight.

What to bring - essential luggage & clothing

It is important that your outer clothing is in relatively dark colours: green, brown, black etc. Please avoid bright colours like white, yellow, blue but also bright green or pale sand brown. This includes a hat and gloves as well! A pale hat sticks out and can be seen in a long distance.

You should bring the following necessary items:

  • above-ankle waterproof trekking boots,
  • gaiters,
  • waterproof jacket & trousers,
  • sunhat,
  • binoculars.

You may consider bringing the following useful items:

  • dry bag, gloves and sandals for kayaking,
  • swim suit,
  • walking stick,
  • thermo flask/cup,
  • small torch/headlamp
  • insect repellent.

Common questions

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) are also quite common.

For lunches we will visit local groceries and eat in the field or stop at farmers’ or cafes serving traditional Polish meals.

Dinners are usually a substantial 3-course meal served back at our guesthouse. Three (3) dinners are not included and we will visit a variety of Polish restaurants where you can order a la carte. We think this mixture gives a lot more personal and real-life experience.

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.

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.

Dates, prices & booking

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.

4 – 13 Aug 2021

SPACES
available

PRICE
5850 PLN

SINGLE
+500 PLN

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