Weekend in Podlasie. 10 places everyone should see.
Podlasie is often called „the green lungs of Poland”. It is a land of wonderful landscapes with forests, wildernesses, four national parks, lakes and rivers. At the same time it is a region, in which diverse cultures have survived and traditional architecture consisting wooden houses and churches has been preserved. Here, time seems to pass a lot mpore slowly than in other parts of Poland. Together, we shall discover the greatest attractions of the podlaskie region.
The podlaskie region is located in the north-east part of Poland. Geographic and historical conditions made Podlasie become a place of coexistence of various nations and cultures. This is where a specific cultural landscape has developed, which is characterized with the diversity of beliefs and the richness of customs. What should you see in podlasie? Here are 10 greatest attractions.
The Białowieża Wilderness: Poland’s green treasure
The Bialowieza Wilderness is an incredible, pristine forest complex, located at the border between Poland and Belarus. This is the place, where some of the last and the largest fragments of the primitive foresst of European lowlands are preserved. At the same time it is one of the cleanest areas in our country. This beautiful attraction of Podlasie, known as Poland’s green treasure, is actually delightful at any time of year.
The most iconic part of the Białowieża Wilderness is, of course, the European Bison. It’s worth visiting the European Bison exhibitory reserve, which is located by the road from Białowieża to Hajnówka. Since 2010, the area of the Białowieża Wilderness is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Supraśl: the health spa town in Podlasie.
This small town, located in the surroundings of the Knyszyńska Wilderness, has been connecting culture, history and nature for more than 500 years. Supraśl has maintained its unique atmosphere, so it’s worth taking a walk down its streets. One of the town’s most important monuments is the Monastery of the Haunting of the Holy Mother of God and St. John the Theologian. At the area of this Monastery you can visit the famous Icon Museum. It is also worth checking out the Weavers’ House from the early 19th century – these are true treasures of wooden architecture.
Fans of culture should also go to the Wierszalin Theatre, which is located in the early 20th century wooden building. Because of ecological values, which include clean air and rich deposits of mud (sedimentary rocks with medical values) Supraśl gained the status of a health spa.
The Land of Open Windows
The Land of Open Windows is actually a trail leading through the villages of Trześcianka, Soce and Puchły. The incredible atmosphere of this place is created by ornamented houses. Around the windows and in the corners of the buildings, wooden ornaments are placed, and the windows stand out with vivid colors. Additional charm of this place obviously comes from the citizens themselves, who sit on the benches in front of the houses.
The ancient achitecture, gorgeous churches, monumental chapels, a dialect that can still be hard today… and a calmer lifestyle. The Land of Open Windows looks like time stands still here.
Kruszyniany – the Tatar village.
Travelling to the village of Kruszyniany means discovering charming villages lost between the meadows, forests and elevations. The biggest attraction of this area are the famous Tatar Trails. One of these trails – the green one – runs through the towns of Sokółka, Bochoniki, Stara Kamionka, Wierzchlesie, Talkowszczyzna, Nowa Świdziałówka, and Nietupa, and it ends in the village of Kruszyniany.
In the last part of the trail, Kruszyniany, you can see the mizar (a tatar cemetery) and the 18th century wooden mosque – the oldest Muslim Sanctuary in Poland. You should also visit Jurta Tatarska – an agrotourism farm, where we will have a chance to not only get familiar with local customs, but also try the real Tatar cuisine.
Tykocin – the stork village and the pearl of baroque.
An interesting place on the map of Podlasie attractions is Tykocin. It is a historical, 600 year old village, with a royal past. (In the old times, Polish kings and princes used to come here). This town, which is wonderfully located upon the river of Narew, has maintained its incredible atmosphere and natural beauty. Tykocin is located at the route of the Podlasie stork trail, which runs from the Białowieża National Park all the way to the Narew National Park. The town has even been hailed as the European Stork Village.
Tykocin is sometimes also called „the pearl of baroque”. And not for nothing, because its icon are the impressive buildings representing baroque style. You should pay special attention to the Royal Castle, built way back in the times of Zygmunt August, and the church by the calling o the Holy Trinity. There are also tourists trails and cycling trails running through the town – a great opportunity for active tourists.
Kasztelik – the Crown of Podlasie
This small, yet impressive castle is proof, that thanks to passion, determination, and hard work you create something really special. Kasztelik – the Crown of Podlasie is the work of Jerzy Korowicki , the owner of this area. The man began building the miniature castle in the early 21st century.
The Crown of Podlasie is created from rocks, which were hewn and machined by hand, and it gained additional charm thanks to metal and iron ornaments (balustrades, stairs) At the top of the 15-meter tower, the flag of Poland waves proudly. Right next to the castle, the owner has dug a moat and and built a rocky bridge. You don’t need to buy entrance tickets, but it would be good to donate a symbolic amount of money to a small chest located next ot the entrance, in order to support this incredible costruction. Kasztelik is located in Olendry, not far from the town of Siemiatycze.
The most beutiful orthodox churches in Podlasie.
The incredible beauty of Podlasie is created by its cultural and religious diversity. For centuries, this place was home for people of Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia, as well as Jews. You are guaranteed to be impressed by local orthodox churches – some of them stand out with just their color – blue or green. Which orthodox churches in Podlasie should you see? One of the most beautiful orthodox temples in this region is arguably the Orthodox Church by the calling of the Mother of God in Puchły, which was probably built in the 16th century. For the orthodox people living in Podlasie, this is an important center of the Mary cult.
You should also visit the Orthodox church of the Lifting of the Divine Cross in Narew, which stands out thanks to its blue color. You also shouldn’t miss the wooden, green-painted Orthodox church of St. Michael Archangel in Trześcianka. The village itself is considered the casual „capital” of the Land of Open Windows.
The Narwiański National Park: the „Polish Amazon”
The Narwiański National Park is a protected area, consisting of 6810 hectares of surface, and covering the pool of the Narew river. This place is referred to as the „Polish Amazon” and considered one of Europe’s last natural, regularly flooded river valleys. At the same time it is a tru paradise for ornithologists – this is the home for more than 200 species of birds, including 28 threatened ones in the scale of Europe, or the whole world.
At the area of the park you can find walking trails, water trails, cycling trails and educational paths. A great opportunity to get familiar with the natural values of the park is riding a kayak or crossing local bridges and riding a ferry on the lines across the valley of Narew between Waniewo and Śliwno.
Białystok: in the capital of Podlasie
Białystok is the largest city of the podlasie region, and at the same time it capital. It is a great place for a weekend trip. What should you see in Białstok? A fantastic place to start is the 18th century Branicki Palace, known as the „Versal of Podlasie”. This is one of the better preserved magnat residences of the Saxon age. Not far from here, at the very center of the city, you can find the extensive planty, designed in a naturalistic style. Białystok itself is famous for its green areas – parks, forests and other green areas cover nearly one-third of the city’s surface.
While visiting Białystok, you should also pay attention to sanctuaries. The most characteristic one is the St. Roch church, which is the most interesting example of modernism in Polish sacral architecture. It was built on a hill, and its 83-meter tower can be seen from every part of the city. You can also explore the city by following trails, which were created in the surface – that way, you can discover the Jewish Białystok, the industrial Białystok, the multicultural Białystok and the wooden Białystok.
Suwalszczyzna: Podlasie for active tourists
Suwalszczyzna is often called the „Polish Switzerland” Althoug we can’t find high mountain peaks here, we are guaranteed to see fantastic landscape, lakes, bays, rivers and peace and quiet. This unique part of Podlasie is famous for being a perfect place to relax while being surrounded by nature.
In Suwalszczyzna there are also attractions for fans of an active vacation. Kayaking trips down the trail leading from Wigry through Czarna Hańcza and the Augustów Channel are the most popular activity among tourists and local people. Another incrediblev place is lake Hańcza – a true paradise for scuba divers.