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An ancient, untamed enclave in the Polish east, Białowieza is a fairytale forest hosting a colourful cast of creatures Words: Nicky Trup



To travel the country roads from Warsaw to Białowieza is to head deep into Poland’s far east. By the roadside, the regimented rows of snowtopped pines are interrupted by dramatically lit-up onion-domed churches — here Orthodox is the main religion, Lithuanian restaurants abound, and those whose ears are attuned to the difference might hear Belarusian being spoken.

Białowieza is Europe’s largest stretch of primeval forest, straddling the border with Belarus. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s billed as the continent’s answer to the Amazon for its age and biodiversity. But while it’s home to plenty of fascinating creatures, the star of the show is undoubtedly the bison.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Walk this way: Lofty passes through volcanic lunar landscapes; ancient pilgrim pathways strewn with churches and ruins; sumptuous forested trails opening out onto vineyards. a rambler’s reward is culture, ambience and wild scenery on the walking routes through Italy, France and Spain