Białowieża National Park
Earth : Europe : Central Europe : Poland : Podlachia : Białowieża National Park
Bialowieza is the last remains of the primeval forest which once covered most of Europe at the end of the last ice age, which has never been completely deforested. It contains several species of fauna which were once native in forests throughout Europe, but which have now been mostly eradicated. It is for example the only place where European Bison, (German: Wisent, Polish: Żubr) still remain free and living in the forest as they once did throughout Europe. Wolves, Lynx, Red Deer, Wild Boar, Elk (same as Moose in N. America), and Roe Deer are among its other inhabitants.
Hopefully plans in the future will include returning reverse-bred versions of the extinct Tarpan Horse and Aurochs, which can be found living in other smaller nature parks and zoos in Europe.
The inner-most sanctuary of Bialowieza is completely preserved and protected by a fence, with tourists only allowed inside with guides (ie. from Nature Tours "Pygmy Owl" Arek Szymura ). Inside, the forest lives, breathes and decays as it has for thousands of years. Outside of the inner-sanctuary several more kilometers of forest are semi-preserved although sadly there are many reports of thinning and cutting of trees, supposedly due to disease, but more likely due to corruption and the market demand for large trees. Several extra kilometers of forest protection boundary could be added to this as a buffer.
The town of Białowieża is on the edge of the forest and is located in the Polish part of the reserve. The administration of the Belarusian part of Bialowieza Reserve is based in Kameniuky Town that can be reached by bus and by car.
Polish State Railways  have train connections from Warsaw via Bialystok. The train takes two and a half hours and runs every two hours. It is also possible to take a train to Hajnówka which is closer to the forest, but the trains are slower and less frequent. The forest can be reached by both places by bus.
There is a direct bus from Białystok run by VoyagerTrans . The schedules can be found on their website, with several trips per day. Tickets are purchased from the driver and cost approximately 14zł each way.
There is a single daily direct bus service from Warsaw to Białowieża village operated by Veolia Transport . The bus departs from the Warszawa Zachodnia (Warsaw West) station at 14:20 and arrives in Białowieża at 19:20. The only return bus leaves at 05:00 and arrives in Warszawa at 09:25.
There are extensive waymarked bike trails in the National Park. Several trails lie very close to the Poland-Belarus border so it is advisable to carry ID in case you are stopped by border police.
Bikes can be rented in Białowieża village from a number of locations.
There are many accommodation options in Bialowieza village. From agroturism offers to cheap hostels or even more comfortable hotels are found. There's even a YHA youth-hostel there, yet it has been shut down as of April 2013. There are plenty of Bed and Breakfast starting from 50 zl.