A quick guide to Wigry National Park
Nested in the northeastern corner of Poland, Podlaskie Voivodeship up by Lithuania, lies Wigry National Park. The park’s largest lake, Lake Wigry, has a thrilling depth of 73 metres, and on some of its shores grows a very rare orchid. The park spans different types of landscapes, and tourists are welcome to use them actively, from mountain biking and kayaking in summer to skiing and ice fishing in winter. During your visit, you may see a wide array of birds, beavers, wild boar, lynxes, elks and wolves. Historical, manmade sights consist of the important monastery and several sites that commemorate local victims of World Wars 1 & 2.
Ønsker du at læse lidt om Nationalparken Wigry på dansk, skal du ned under billederne.
Wigry National Park
The area enchants visitors with its wildlife, beautiful, clear lakes and scenic landscape. The Park is open for active tourism – there are over 250 km of bike and hiking trails, horse riding trails and lakes and rivers available for water sports and fishing.
Numerous lakes and small water basins are remnants of the glaciation periods. They have various shapes, areas and depth. There are 42 lakes in the Park, the largest being Lake Wigry with a size of 2,187 ha and up to 73 meters in depth. Particularly interesting are small dystrophic lakes situated within the forests, surrounded by peat moss communities, called “suchary”. The main river of the Park is the Czarna Hancza, which is also a well-known canoeing route.
Almost 1,000 species of vascular plants (including about 60 protected species), over 200 species of bryophyte and liverworts, as well as 300 species of lichens have been found in the Park. Forests, which cover most of the Park area, represent almost all types of forest communities found in northeast Poland. Peatbogs with shrubby birch, rare species of liverworts, common and great sundews, cranberry, crowberry and Saxifraga hirculus are also very interesting.
Among mammals, the most representative species is the beaver which lives along river and lake banks. At present, its population is estimated at about 250 animals. Large predators are represented by wolves and lynxes. Raptors, e.g. sea eagle, common buzzard, lesser spotted eagle, black kite, red kite, marsh harrier, are particularly interesting among the avian fauna. On the Park’s waters, we can see swans, many species of ducks, grebes, coot, black-headed gull, and less frequently, red-crested pochard, and goosander. Fish are represented by 32 species, e.g. European white-fish, European smelt, bream, tench, pike, eel, lake trout and catfish. About 1,500 species of invertebrates have been found in the Park, including rare and protected species of butterflies, beetles, hymenopterans and dipterans.
Bicycle trip around Lake Wigry
Length: 53 kilometres (about 4-6 hours)
Route: Krzywe – Leszczewek – Stary Folwark – Magdalenowo – Wigry – Rosochaty
Róg – Mikołajewo – Piaski – Czerwony Krzyż – Jastrzęby – Zakąty – Krusznik –
Bryzgiel – Powały – Binduga – Gawrych Ruda – Słupie – Kładki – Łąkowa Droga
– Bindasowa Droga – Krzywe.
Cycling around the most beautiful of lakes in the Suwałki region, you will be enjouing breath-taking views over the post-Camaldolese monastery complex in Wigry – one of the best-known monuments in the Region. You will also see fabulous bays and charming small lakes. The observation towers in Stary Folwark, Krusznik, Bryzgiel and Gawrych Ruda offer particularly beautiful views.
The route runs through forests, agricultural landscapes and marshy valleys. For those interested in wildlife, the most interesting part of the trip is a ride across the Valley of Czarna Hańcza River. This is a strictly protected sanctuary, but you can discover its beauty thanks to 700 meters of wooden footbridges, that allow you to admire the valley without harming the valuable habitat.
15 sights of special interest:
- Krzywe: the Headquarters of Wigry National Park, bicycle rental (20 bicycles), tourist information centre, Natural and Ethnographic exhibition, car park.
- Leszczewek: A war cemetery from 1914-1915 and a grave of Polish soldiers from 1920. The evidence of turbulent times at the beginning of 20th century.
- Stary Folwark: The Wigry Museum, a restaurant and a bar with local cuisine.
- Wigry: A village located on the peninsula of Lake Wigry, eighteenth-century Camaldolese Monastery, which is the most valuable monument in the Suwałki Region. Do try “Pierogi Wigierskie”, which are homemade fruit dumplings, a certified regional dish.
- Czerwony Folwark: Exhibits “History and traditions of fishing on Lake Wigry”.
- Piaski: A picturesque bay, one of the most beautiful views over Lake Wigry, with a beautiful natural beach under a canopy of pine trees. Ideal for a rest and a swim.
- Czerwony Krzyż: A village near Lake Wigry’s Krzyżańska Bay. Founded in the 18th century, its name comes from a larch-wood cross, which stands by the road to Wysoki Most since 1726. In 1944, the Nazis executed most of the villagers because they had helped the Home Army. A cross on the high shore of the bay commemorates the wretched fate of the inhabitants of Czerwony Krzyż.
- Krusznik: The highest observation tower in Wigry National Park, from which we may admire the beauty of Lake Wigry and Krowa Island. On the shore of the lake, peat bogs grow with various plants, such as a very rare kind of orchid, the Liparis loeselii. At the foot of the observation tower, Lake Mulaczysko lies delightfully surrounded by morainic hills.
- Bryzgiel: An observation platform that offers picturesque views over the southern part of Lake Wigry. When you stand on the platform, you have Ordonów Island to your left and Ostrów Island to your left. It is a great place for birdwatching.
- Bartny Dół: A stop on Wigierska Narrow Gauge Railway and an observation point over Lake Wigry. The name of the village comes from wild beehives. Holes cut in tree trunks served to keep bees. During the summer season, locals sell honey and other regional products here.
- Binduga and Powały: Mid-forest clearings on the southern shore of Lake Wigry, where the Wigierska Narrow Gauge Railway makes a stop. A good place for a longer stopover during a trip. Fabulous views from the high shore of Lake Wigry.
- Płociczno: Wigierska Narrow Gauge Railway, the Railway Museum, and a restaurant with local cuisine.
- Gawrych Ruda: The tourist complex “U Jawora” that boasts a beach, a shop and the hotel and restaurant “Nad Wigrami”.
- Słupie: “Lakes” educational path, Suchar Wielki, the biggest dystrophic lake in Wigry National Park.
- Czarna Hańcza Valley: Almost 700 meters of footbridges, leading across a beautiful, strictly protected river valley. Many rare plant species grow here. In the open space of peatbog grows an acute sedge and forms characteristic tussocks. The whole valley is a home for elks, but wolves regularly come to visit.
Wigry Nationalpark på dansk
Oppe i Polens nordøstlige hjørne, op mod Litauen, ligger Wigry Nationalpark. Parken dækker byder på storslåede landskaber med marskland, skove og søer. Nogle af parkens 42 søer er brunvandede, hvilket er et sjældent syn i Danmark. Betegnelsen lyder ikke appetitlig, men det brune vand har typisk en meget lav forekomst af nærings- og affaldsstoffer. Så på trods af farven er vandet meget rent. På det dybeste sted er der 73 meter ned til bunden af nationalparkens største sø, Wigry. Visse steder på dens bredder vokser den meget sjældne orkide, Liparis Ioeselii. Under et besøg i nationalparken møder man et rigt fugleliv, og muligvis også bævere, bambier, egern, vildsvin, losser, elge og ulve. Parken er især stolt af sin bæverbestand, der i 2018 vurderes til at bestå af 250 eksemplarer.
Man er velkommen til at være en aktiv turist og cykle, vandre og ro i kano eller kajak – med respekt for naturen og på de rigtige steder, selvfølgelig. Et besøg i nationalparken byder også på historiske, menneskeskabte seværdigheder. Man kan blandt andet nyde udsigten til det smukke, gamle kloster, en af regionens stoltheder. Mindre betagende er de adskillige referencer til Første og Anden Verdenskrig, der også findes undervejs på parkens 53 kilometer lange rute. Dér findes en kirkegård fra 1914-1915, og polske soldater ligger begravet på et gravsted fra 1920. Landsbyen Czerwony Krzyż, der oversættes Røde Kors, blev grundlagt i 1726. Da rejste indbyggerne et rødligt lærketræskors, og opkaldte landsbyen efter det. Korset står der endnu. I 1944 henrettede nazi-soldater de fleste beboere i den lille landsby.
Tourist Information Centre of Wigry National Park
Krzywe 82, 16-402 Suwałki, Poland
tel: (+ 48) 87 56 32 562
The centre is open on weekdays 7:00-15:00, in the summer season also on Saturdays and Sundays 9:00-16:00