Białowieża Forest is a big forest that spans across the border between Poland and Belarus. It is known to be the only leftover primeval forest in Europe and home of its biggest bison population.
We stayed on the Polish side of the forest for 5 days. We were also planning to cross over to the Belarusian side through the newly-opened bike-only border crossing, but unfortunately the Belarusian border guards didn’t want to let us pass with a dog.
The forest was impressive, but at the same time a bit disappointing.
It was amazing to cycle through it. It is so big that it is possible to cycle around for a whole day without meeting a single person, the birds being the only noise that you hear. It was particularly nice in the hot summer weather.
We knew that the Polish government is planning to log large parts of the forest, which is the reason for many petitions being shared online recently and local activists patrolling on bikes to document any illegal logging. When visiting the forest, we found out that most parts of the forest are actually already used for logging, so they look like any average highly-maintained artificial forest. The trees in those parts that are protected also didn’t look more than a couple of decades old. What we expected was an ancient forest with huge trees several metres wide, a forest like we had never seen before, but what we found was nature reserves not any different from the ones that you can find all over Europe.
Here are some impressions from the forest: