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Dunajec castle in Niedzica on lake Czorsztyn, PolandDolny Slask, or Lower Silesia, is a region located in the heart of Europe, in the southwest of Poland, in the valley of the Oder River, at the foothills of the Sudeten Mountains. It is a land of opportunities, attracting visitors with its picturesque scenery and abundant wildlife, as well as numerous historic sites and health resorts. The landmark of Lower Silesia is its capital, Wrocław. The city‘s population exceeds 600,000 and the town is said to be one of the trendiest in Poland these days. Aspiring to be a European metropolis, it is a major economic, administrative, cultural and educational centre. 

The Sudetes are old, not very high but extraordinarily scenic and interesting. Though the highest peak reaches 1,603 m above sea level, you can see examples of the Alpine nature, postglacial lakes, waterfalls, gorges, cliffs and valleys. It is a perfect place for trekkers or cyclists. The network of marked hiking and cycling trails has been expanded recently. The trails will take you to the most interesting spots on the Polish and Czech sides of the mountain range. They are part of a Euroregional hiking and cycling system covering the territories of Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. Along the trails, there are viewing, educational and camping sites. There are also mountain huts where you can stop for refreshment or stay for the night. The area is full of both modest accommodation places and 4-star hotels. Towns at the foothills offer a wide variety of hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars, etc. In summer the mountains are a venue for cultural events like the Mountain Films Festival, concerts, or bike marathons. The Sudetes are a beautiful and mysterious region with places marked by imposing creative thoughts of the last centuries. It is a region with breathtaking landscapes and rich wildlife, attracting thousands of Polish and international tourists every year. You can find here numerous caves, old mines, tunnels and underground labyrinths. Former military or industrial sites are tourist attractions now – either accessible for everyone or only with one of our instructors. During your stay in the Sudetes, you can practice mountain sports, go sightseeing, relax surrounded by delightful views, have fun and experience the cultures, cuisines and traditions of the three countries of the Euro region: Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany

Wroclaw
Main Square. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Wroclaw
The capital of Lower Silesia is one of Poland’s oldest and most beautiful cities. It is located at the foothills of the Sudetes, on the Oder River. The river cuts the town with its tributaries and canals, flowing around 12 islands and under 112 bridges of the city. Wrocław’s turbulent history is written in its walls. The isle of Ostrów Tumski reminds us of early medieval times. It is one of the most delightful and best-preserved examples of the European sacral architecture. The Town Hall is counted among the most splendid Gothic buildings of Central Europe. In Wrocław there is also the biggest in Poland Baroque chamber. It is Aula Leopoldina in the 17th century University. Wrocław’s theatres, cinemas, opera, musical theatre, philharmonic, museums, galleries and clubs offer a continuous string of artistic events. Wrocław is famous for its international music festivals: Wratislavia Cantans - Music and Arts, Jazz nad Odrą Festival, the Old Masters Music Days, the Actor Song Festival, the International All Saints Day Jazz Sessions, One Actor Theatre Meetings, or the Dialog Festival. The Hala Ludowa is a venue for internationally renowned monumental opera performances. You can’t miss another cultural attraction of Wrocław, the Panorama Racławicka. It is a rotunda that houses a panoramic painting (120x15 m) depicting the Battle of Racławice (between Poland and Russia) on 4 April 1794. Wrocław is the fourth biggest city of Poland with its population of around 650.00*0. It is one of the major university cities. Higher education schools include one of the best Polish universities and technical university. The city is situated not far from tourist and health resorts and it is easy to get to the towns in the valley of Kłodzko and within the Sudeten and Karkonosze Mountains. Wrocław is also a major transport centre – there are three international roads, 2 large train stations, 2 river harbours, an international airport, all of which connect the city with the world.

Białowieza Ancient Wood
Białowieża Primaeval Forest is an ancient virginal forest straddling the border between Belarus and Poland, located 70 km north of Brest. It is the only remaining part of the immense forest which once spread across the European Plain.This UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve lies in south-western Belarus, and near the town of Białowieża in the Podlachian Voivodeship (62 km south-east of Białystok and 190 km north-east of Warsaw) in Poland. On the Polish side it is partly protected as Białowieski National Park, and occupies over 100 km². On the Belarusian side the Biosphere Reserve occupies 1,771 km²; the core area covers 157 km²; the buffer zone - 714 km²; and the transition zone - 900 km²; with the National Park and World Heritage Site comprising 876 km². The border dividing 2 countries runs across the forest and it is closed for big animals and tourists as well, for the time being. On the Polish side, in the Białowieża National Park, one finds the Białowieska Glade, originally built for the tsars of Russia — the last private owners of the forest (from 1888 to 1917) when the whole forest was within the Russian Empire. The Glade is equipped with a hotel, restaurant and parking areas. Guided tours into the strictly controlled areas of the park can be arranged by horse drawn carriage. Approximately 100.00*0 tourists visit the Polish part of the Forest annually. The village of Białowieża lies on the edge of the forest. The Bialowieza Forest transcends the boundaries of Poland... and time. Trees, plants and animals live here as they lived for thousands of years: amongst unspoilt, thick backwoods, unchartered marshes and pristine forest meadows. Man is only a guest here, but the forest readily reveals its secrets, especially to those who enter on foot. You may have a chance to hear the "tooting" of the black grouse or see their magnificent plumage, watch their masterly choreographed pairing dance, a spectacle to be long remembered. The Bialowieza Forest is also a natural habitat of the bison. This "king of the forest" has the size and weight to match the name: over 1 thousand kilograms. A lot of weight to put on by eating grass only...

Biebrza National Park
Tis is a national park in Podlasie Voivodeship, northeastern Poland, situated along the Biebrza River.The largest of Poland’s 23 National Parks, was created on September 9, 1993. Its total area is 592,23 km², of which forests cover 155,47 km², fields and meadows - 181,82 km² and the famous Biebrza River Marshes - 254,94 km². Marshes are the most precious part of the park. Biebrza National Park protects vast and untouched by civilization peatbogs with unique variety of several species of plants, birds and animals. The Biebrza as well as the Narew River valleys are very important centres of birds’ nesting, feeding and resting. In 1995 the park was designated as a wetland site of worldwide significance and is under the protection of the Ramsar Convention. The most important part of the Park is Czerwone Bagno (Red Marsh) which is under strict protection. In places wet leafy forests are visible, composed mostly of alder, birch and ash-trees. In the middle of the Biebrza valley - where the Red Quagmire reserve is located - spreads an old, dwarf, marshy coniferous forest of pine trees. The marshes are dotted with sandy hillocks, known as grzedy, forming long chains of elevations. The marshlands are home to elk which managed to survive here the times of World War II, and the river with its tributaries and wild canals became a sanctuary for beaver. Both species, after being exterminated by men, were reintroduced into the Biebrza habitat

Polish MountainsBieszczady
For most western tourists anything in Poland outside of Krakow and Warsaw, with perhaps Gdansk and Wroclaw thrown in for good measure, is still pretty much a terra incognita. Even for the Poles themselves, many areas along their country’s eastern frontier with Ukraine are little known, and therefore pleasantly devoid of the trappings of mass tourism. However, for those of us who seek to discover something more authentic than the touristy charms of Poland’s former and present capital, there is hardly a better place to discover the “Wild East” without actually venturing into Ukraine or other former Soviet republics. The flora of this remote region includes all the typical East Carpathian species such as the Dacian Violet, Carpathian Beech and the Hungarian Violet, all of which can not be seen further west, while the fauna is exceedingly original, since it consists not only of the spectacular antlered red mountain deer, specimens of which can be seen further west, but also of lynx, bears, beavers, wolves and European bison, thus preserving the delicate balance between the carnivores and herbivores that has been destroyed in most of the rest of Europe. Finally perhaps the most obvious attraction, advertised in all local travel brochures, are the distinctive mountain meadows, or poloniny, which offer distant views into Slovakia and far into Ukraine. These meadows are natural, and have not been created by forest clearing - the microclimate here which combines dry winds blowing from the Hungarian plains with the icy eastern winds that dominate during the exceedingly harsh winters has lowered the forest line to 1100 meters, some 500 meters lower than in the Tatra Mountains further west. This unusually low forest line speaks volumes about the strong continental influence on the regional climate, with the nearest seacoast more than 600 miles away

Biebrzanski National Park is a national park in Podlasie Voivodeship, northeastern Poland, situated along the Biebrza River.The largest of Poland’s 23 National Parks, was created on September 9, 1993. Its total area is 592,23 km², of which forests cover 155,47 km², fields and meadows - 181,82 km² and the famous Biebrza River Marshes - 254,94 km². Marshes are the most precious part of the park. Biebrza National Park protects vast and untouched by civilization peat bogs with unique variety of several species of plants, birds and animals. The Biebrza as well as the Narew River valleys are very important centers of birds’ nesting, feeding and resting. In 1995 the park was designated as a wetland site of worldwide significance and is under the protection of the Ramsar Convention. The most important part of the Park is Czerwone Bagno (Red Marsh) which is under strict protection. In places wet leafy forests are visible, composed mostly of alder, birch and ash-trees. In the middle of the Biebrza valley - where the Red Quagmire reserve is located - spreads an old, dwarf, marshy coniferous forest of pine trees. The marshes are dotted with sandy hillocks, known as grzedy, forming long chains of elevations. The marshlands are home to elk which managed to survive here the times of World War II, and the river with its tributaries and wild canals became a sanctuary for beaver. Both species, after being exterminated by men, were reintroduced into the Biebrza habitat.

Warsaw, PloandWarsaw
In full The Capital City of Warsaw is the capital of Poland and its largest city. It is located on the Vistula river roughly 370 kilometers (229.9 mi) from both the Baltic Sea coast and the Carpathian Mountains. Its population as of 2006 was estimated at 1,700,536, with a metropolitan area of approximately 2,900,000 to 3,000,000 people. The city area amounts to 516.9 square kilometers (199.6 sq mi), with an agglomeration of 6,100.43 square kilometers (2,355.4 sq mi) (Warsaw Metro Area - Obszar Metropolitalny Warszawy). Warsaw is the 7th biggest city in the European Union.

The city, also the capital of the Masovian Voivodeship, is home to many industries, including manufacturing, steel, electrical engineering, and automotive; it features 66 institutions of higher learning, including Warsaw University, Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw School of Economics, Agriculture University and a Medical Academy. Warsaw is home to over 30 theatres, including the National Theatre and Opera and the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Warsaw is internationally notable for giving its name to the Warsaw Pact, Warsaw Convention and the Treaty of Warsaw.

Cracow/Krakow
View of the Market Square.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Cracow
Cracow; in full Royal Capital City of Kraków is one of the oldest and largest cities of Poland, with a 2004 population of 780,000 (1.4 million, counting adjacent communities). This historic city is situated on the Vistula River (Wisła) at the foot of Wawel Hill in Lesser Poland region (Małopolska). It is the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (Województwo małopolskie) since 1999; previously, it was the capital of Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading scientific, cultural and artistic centers of the country, the former residence of the Polish kings and a national capital, considered by many to remain the spiritual heart of Poland due to its history of more than a thousand years. Kraków is also a major centre of local and international tourism, attracting seven million visitors per year. The city is regarded by many to be the cultural capital of Poland. In 1978, UNESCO placed Kraków on the list of World Heritage Sites. In the same year, on October 16, 1978, Kraków's archbishop, Karol Wojtyla, was elevated to the papacy as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.Kraków's population has quadrupled since the end of the war. Off shoring of IT work from other nations in recent years has become important to the economy of Kraków and Poland in general. The city is the key center for this kind of business activity. There are about 20 large multinational companies in Kraków, including centers serving IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Google and Sabre Holdings, along with British and German-based firms.
Bieszczady

For most western tourists anything in Poland outside of Krakow and Warsaw, with perhaps Gdansk and Wroclaw thrown in for good measure, is still pretty much a terra incognita. Even for the Poles themselves, many areas along their country’s eastern frontier with Ukraine are little known, and therefore pleasantly devoid of the trappings of mass tourism. However, for those of us who seek to discover something more authentic than the touristy charms of Poland’s former and present capital, there is hardly a better place to discover the “Wild East” without actually venturing into Ukraine or other former Soviet republics. The flora of this remote region includes all the typical East Carpathian species such as the Dacian Violet, Carpathian Beech and the Hungarian Violet, all of which can not be seen further west, while the fauna is exceedingly original, since it consists not only of the spectacular antlered red mountain deer, specimens of which can be seen further west, but also of lynx, bears, beavers, wolves and European bison, thus preserving the delicate balance between the carnivores and herbivores that has been destroyed in most of the rest of Europe. Finally perhaps the most obvious attraction, advertised in all local travel brochures, are the distinctive mountain meadows, or poloniny, which offer distant views into Slovakia and far into Ukraine. These meadows are natural, and have not been created by forest clearing - the microclimate here which combines dry winds blowing from the Hungarian plains with the icy eastern winds that dominate during the exceedingly harsh winters has lowered the forest line to 1100 meters, some 500 meters lower than in the Tatra Mountains further west. This unusually low forest line speaks volumes about the strong continental influence on the regional climate, with the nearest seacoast more than 600 miles away.
Pieniny

Poland MountainsPieniny National Park (Polish: Pieniński Park Narodowy) is a protected reserve of land in Lesser Poland, Poland, in the heart of Pieniny Mountains. Pieniny National Park is one of the smallest Polish National Parks in the Southernmost part of the country, by the border with Slovakia. The Pieniny mountain range is divided into three parts - Pieniny Spiskie, Małe Pieniny, and Pieniny Właściwe (where the park is located). Park’s area is 23.46 square kilometers, of which 13.11 km² are forested. One-third (7.5 km²) is strictly protected. The Pieniny mountains are mainly built from limestone and they create picturesque and impressive, almost perpendicular walls which go down towards the Dunajec River. The most famous peak - Trzy Korony (Three Crowns) is 982 meters above sea level high, however Pieniny’s highest peak - Wysoka - is 1050 meters above sea level and is not located on Park’s area.

Pieniny National Park is located in the Dunajec river basin, and the river occupies important position among factors that influence Pieniny’s look. Even though the Park is small in size, on its area thrive hundreds of species of plants, including 640 kinds of mushrooms. Sometimes, on the same rock, grow plants with opposite means of survival. Park’s meadows, which are the result of human activity, are some of the richest plant ecosystems of Poland (30 to 40 species of flowers for every square meter). So far around 6500 animal species have been proven to live in the Pieniny. It is supposed that the area is even more abundant - with up to 15 000 species. There are numerous birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians as well as mammals. The most important predator is the lynx. On the shores of the Dunajec the otter thrives. First permanent human settlements in the Pieniny mountains date back to 1257, when Polish princess Kinga was given nearby lands. In 1280 the princess founded a monastery at Stary Sącz, later the Czorsztyn castle was built. This castle belonged to Poland, on the southern side of the Dunajec valley, the Hungarians built their own, then called Dunajec (today it belongs to Poland and its name is Niedzica). The Dunajec valley in 1997 was flooded by water, as a result of construction of a river dam. There are 34 kilometres of tourists walkig paths in the park, from such peaks as Sokolica and Trzy Korony one can have excellent view on the Pieniny and the Tatra mountains as well as the Dunajec. Park’s main attraction is a river trip on wooden boats, very popular among all tourists.