Most of people visit Bialowieza Forest in warm season. After all, winter is for skiing and drinking mulled wine in the mountains. However, if you are not a fan of crowds, visit the most famous Polish wilderness in winter. This time of year you can do all the same things as in summer plus these reserved only to winter.
Bialowieza Forest in winter – what to expect
As we mentioned in the beginning, Bialowieza is a summer season destination. So don’t expect crowds or parties in winter (actually in summer neither).
What you should expect is cold. In general Polish winter is not the most pleasant time of the year. However, if you are prepared for quite active holidays and bring warm clothes and shoes, you should be more than fine.
If you are traveling by car, avoid small roads, especially if it is snowing or was snowing. Otherwise what should be a 3 hours ride from Warsaw, will turn into a 5-6 hours nightmare.
Cross country skiing in Bialowieza
When the temperature drops below zero, the best way to explore the forest is on the skis. In my opinion cross country skiing is far easier to learn than regular skiing, plus it is much less contusive.
You can rent the skis at Bike Cafe at the entrance to the Bialowieza’s Palace Park (check the map). It costs around PLN 20 (5 euro). Just don’t forget to put on warm gloves.
Maybe it is not the most extreme sport of all, but if well-organized it will be great. During the sleigh ride in Bialowieza you go around the forest. So it is a great opportunity to learn about the wilderness and its unique ecosystem. What you need is: warm clothes, a good guide who will reveal the secrets of the forest to you. Last but not least – finish the sleigh ride with a bonfire.
Go for a long walk
Even though there might be plenty of snow around you, the most popular trails should be open and walkable.
Remember that if you would like to access the strict bioreserve, you need to be assisted by a guide. We also highly recommend taking a guided tour if you are interested in animal tracking or you dream about seeing Polish bison in wild.
It’s sauna time!
Sauna (or bania) is quite popular in North Eastern Poland. Long and cold winter nights seems less depressing if you light it up with some sauna time. Find accommodation with its own sauna, or ask your host if there is any in your area.
Try some local food and alcohol
If you are in Bialowieza, don’t be suprised to be asked if you want some alcohol in your tea. Eastern Poland is famous for its love to vodka, especially home made – which is called bimber.
Our favorite restaurant in the area is located in a small village Budy in the guest house Bialowieskie Siolo. They have excellent menu. Don’t go home without trying hałuszki.