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Bieszczady Mountains, in other words the Polish Western

Bieszczady Mountains, in other words the Polish Western

About the region

Located on the southeastern edge of Poland, the Bieszczady Mountains are one of the wildest, and for many, most beautiful corners of Central Europe.


These mountains are not high (the highest peak, Tarnica, measures 1,346 meters), but they are charmingly beautiful.

The highest part of the Bieszczady Mountains is under the protection of a national park. The summits are occupied by the mountain pastures, or vast meadows once used for grazing sheep. The slopes and valleys are covered with a natural, primeval alder-beech forest. Its selected parts of it have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



Ready for a trip?

Forstest in the Bieszczady Mountains look most spectacular in autumn, when they literally explode with orange, brown and red leaves.

Their hosts are numerous wild animals: stag and roe, wild boar, wolves, bears and lynx hiding in more remote corners. Usually they live their lives and do not seek human contact – but you will definitely see traces of some of them!

The Bieszczady Mountains are all about encounters – man with wildlife and man with himself.



Today, tourism is growing in the central part of the Bieszczady Mountains. However, the region remains a dream destination for tourists following their own paths.

You can hike, bike, ride a horse and even go pontooning on the river or sailing.


What can you do here?


This was not always the case – until World War II, the Bieszczady Mountains were densely populated. In 1947, the Communist authorities brutally expelled the local ethnic groups of Boykos and Lemkos, who professed Greek Catholicism or Orthodoxy and spoke a language similar to Ukrainian.

For almost 20 years, the local valleys were completely deserted. The forest took away fields, house sites and Orthodox churches.

In the post-war years, the Bieszczady Mountains began to attract dreamers and outsiders. They hired themselves out to herd cows and sheep on local farms, burn charcoal, and build the first roads. With a backpack on their shoulders, they searched for places to live away from the world.

The Bieszczady Mountains became the setting for Polish Westerns – films with such intriguing titles as Ranczo Teksas and Baza ludzi umarłych were shot here.



Worth seeing - our list

Jagoda and Maciej's recommendations

“What I like the most is to wander aimlessly in the Bieszczady Mountains meadows,” says Jagoda. On her days off, she takes her dogs and goes hiking along the San River – either in the upper section or lower down near the former village of Tworylne.

In spring and summer, the meadows are brimming with greenery and wild herbs, which she uses to create her own pesto. A discerning eye will spot fruit trees planted by former homesteaders next to houses that no longer exist, fragments of foundations, and recognize from plants the places where sheep were once kept in pens.

Hiking in the Bieszczady Mountains is an exercise in imagination – and living in harmony with nature.




Check Jagoda and Maciej’s story

Recommendations from Mr. Kazimierz

Mr. Kazimierz raves about climbing the pass over the village of Terka in autumn.

As the sun rises over Mount Otryt, a thick mist settles over the valley. Occasionally there are individual bison that seem to be grazing untouched on the fallow meadows. These impressive scenes are only granted to a few people, since most of us are still asleep at this time.


Check Mr Kazimierz’s story

How to get there?

For a trip to the Bieszczady Mountains, a private car will be best. It takes 4-5 hours to drive here from Kraków (10 from Vienna).

It is a great destination for RV and tent camping enthusiasts. In the Bieszczady Mountains there are designated parking places, parking lots, and around Lake Solina you will find campgrounds.

Remember that overnight stays in the wild in the national park are prohibited!

It is a little more difficult for those who would like to get to the Bieszczady Mountains by public transportation. Trains stop in the town of Sanok (70 km from the main part of the mountains). In the summer you can go further by bus (they run from the train station in Sanok).

Where to stay?

Chata Magoda – an atmospheric guesthouse in original regional cottages in close proximity to the National Park run by Jagoda and Maciej – the heroes of our story. Food on site.

Smolnik Klimaty – a beautiful, historic Lemko cottage in a desolate part of the Bieszczady Mountains turned into a guesthouse. Food on site.

Przystanek Cisna – for many an iconic guesthouse in one of the most famous Bieszczady villages. Vegetarian Cuisine. (Website in Polish)

Shelter under Wysoka Połonina – an intimate shelter in Wetlina run by descendants of some of the first settlers in the Bieszczady Mountains. A campground on the adjacent meadow. Food on site. (Website in Polish)