Bieszczady Mountains are my favorite in Poland! They hide this wild ambiance to feel out of the planet. Perfect place to forget about concerns, worries or job and find inner peace. Just you and nature. If you plan to visit Poland I hardly recommend putting it on your bucket list. Stunning views and solitary paths will surely make you want to come back! I chose few places you must see in Bieszczady mountains, most beautiful and unique.
Połonina is an accumulation of grasslands above border of the forest. This is a name typical for the Eastern Carpathians or Alps, but in Poland everyone associates it with Bieszczady Mountains. Hike on those bare peaks is the biggest attraction. This is what the vast majority come for – mountains trekking. The highest peak is Tarnica 1346 m. Crowd of hikers and organized groups appear here almost every day. Ustrzyki Gorne – the village that offers accommodation is the best starting point. Due to the fact that it is the final part of the Main Beskid Trail: Połonina Wetlińska – Brzegi Górne – Połonina Caryńska – Ustrzyki Gorne – Szeroki Wierch – Halicz – Rozpypaniec – Wołosate, as well as a section of the border route to Rawki.
Instead of climbing Tarnica I would prefer to go to Polonina Caryńska or Wetlinska, which are less touristy. Can be crowded as well, but not as the highest peak, where big groups tend to appear. To climb Połonina Caryńska you have a choice of different trails, each with various difficulty. For hikers Polonina is practically accessible from each side, due to the red, main trail and the green trail from the Wyżniańskie Pass. Entrance, as for each of the połonina initially led through the forest, but when you reach it you will have more than 4 km breathtaking views. The ridge consists of four tops, three of which are on the hiking trails. Połonina Caryńska took its name most likely from the word “tara”, which means in Romanian field. Alternatively from a word “car”, which can be translated as a place lying above the cultivated land.
Wetlinska Połonina over Wetlina village is another one that is magical. Not only for the view, but also for the unique building that is on it. It’s called Chatka Puchatka translated to Winnie the Pooh Cottage – the highest situated hut in Bieszczady (1228 m n.p.m). Overnight travelers stop mainly because of the unforgettable sunrises and sunsets that you can admire from here. To this day there is no running water, it must be brought from a nearby source. Conditions in the hut are very strict.
Through Połonina Wetlińska runs main hiking route – red trail. To the right (east) runs to Berehowa Gorne, then to Połonina Caryńska and further to Ustrzyki Górne, then to Tarnica and finish running in Wołosate. On the left (west) main route runs through Roh, Orłowicz Pass, Smerek, Okrąglik and Cisna to Komańcza. The trail from Cisna passes through Smerek – the peak of this Połonina, which has fallen into my memory due to the steep approach.
My favorite trail in Bieszczady goes to Rawki. Peaks Mała and Wielka Rawka are on the border trail, in the western part of the mountains. Wielka Rawka is famous for its splendid panorama, including Połonina Wetlińska, Połonina Caryńska, Tarnica and Halicz, as well as the Bukovske Vrchy and the Jasło Range in the west.
The bar and restaurant Siekierezada located in Cisna used to have the best ambiance in the whole area. People which run away from the world to become kind of a hermit, artists or poets were spending time here drinking alcohol and chatting. Now the place is a bit commercialized, due to amount of tourists, but still you can admire the original wooden decor with the walls wraps, ghosts masks on the walls and axes in the tables, you may drink good beer or wine. The main trail crosses here from Komańcza, through Chryszczata and the Żebrak Pass (about 8 hours), runs through the whole Bieszczady, ending in Wołosate. It is here that many travelers begin their adventure with a mountain trek, ending with the highest peak of Tarnica.
3. Duszatyńskie Lakes
This is a unique reserve called Zięzło, in which there are 2, and in the past 3 landslide lakes. After prolonged precipitation, water slime layers slipped from the slopes of the rock layers and the soil along with the forest. It fell to the Olchowat stream, dividing it and forming a flow of water resulting in the formation of lakes. You can still see the roots and stumps of tree trunks damaged by the landslide and flooded by the water stream. Above the reservoirs you can clearly see traces of a powerful landslide gutter. Interestingly, the gases arising from the decay of wood and the remnants of vegetation in the depths of the lake cause explosions! In the winter you can see them as fountains of water in the places where the ice cover bursts!
The locals regard this place as enchanted. The cause of the landslide they associate with the action of the devil, who with anger threw a fiery ball, making havoc. Another legend causes the landslide to occur in the fall of the meteorite. During the cataclysm in 1907, the terrified residents of the nearby Duszatyń village, suspected the end of the world! They packed their belongings and fled to nearby villages, where the churches were struck with bells for fear. According to some, this tremor of the earth, caused by the landslides, caused the bells to ring in the nearby temples.
4. Zalew Soliński
Those who prefer to watch mountains from the valleys and do not like to climb probably come to enjoy lake next to Solińska dam. Leisure resorts like Polanczyk and Solina are all well-known. In addition to the beach, the lake also offers sailing, cruises and a variety of water sports. The biggest attraction is the dam, which you can not only walk through but also visit inside.
5. Wooden churches trail
Wooden Orthodox Churches in the Bieszczady Mountains are one of the most characteristic and recognizable symbols of the region. Trail is also a great way to take a break from mountain hikes and get to know some history.
Once upon a time there was a busy trade route surrounded by early medieval fortifications. It was linking Hungary with Przemyśl and then to Kiev and Byzantium. Orthodox churches serving mainly Orthodox settlements in these areas since XV-XVI century. The role was fulfilled until 1951 when, under the agreement on the change of borders between Poland and the Soviet Union. The territories on which the described objects were transferred to Poland, and the former inhabitants (also within the “Wisła” campaign) were displaced. Initially abandoned churches were neglected and devastated and then taken over by Catholic churches. The most interesting and valuable are the Orthodox churches in Smolnik, Chmiel, Turzyn or Równia but there are many, many more!