Poland's Topography, Nature & Climate

Poland offers a large variety of interesting landscapes. One of them is the more than 500 km long coastline in the north at the Baltic Sea - long, white sandy beaches (though no tropical temperatures) with two long spits. The north-east of Poland is famous for the marvellous Masurian lake district with rolling hills, large forests and countless large and small lakes - all formed during the last ice age. Another interesting area is the Białowieża National Park near the large city of Białystok. This national park is home to Europe's last bisons and also famous for its pristine forests - a rarity in Europe. Large parts of the National Park belong to →Belarus. However, there are 21 more national parks waiting to be explored in Poland. Nowadays, one quarter of Poland is covered by forests

The south-east of Poland is partially characterized by pristine nature and is rather sparsely populated. Hills and mountains, some forests here, some fields there - not spectacular but incredibly beautiful. At least in my opinion, the middle of Poland is not really appealing - it's just plain flat land stretching over hundreds of kilometres with no larger area that doesn't have a small town and countless villages. However, the wide area along the southern border of the country is very interesting - it starts in the west with the Karkonosze as the highest and most spectacular part of the Sudetes. Far more east lies the only alpine region of Poland (and the entire Eastern Europe actually) - the Tatry Wysokie (=High Tatras), which Poland is sharing with its souther neighbour →Slovakia. The sharing includes Polands highest peak - the 2499 m high Rysy, which can be climbed all the way to the summit without entering Polish territory once (hence entering from the south). Although it's an alpine landscape, alpine experience isn't really needed to clim the Rysy. However, people suffering acrophobia might better not take the trip. The effort to climb the mountain will be rewarded with a great view and - a view on the tiny Lenin memorial on the top.

Since Poland is not as densely populated as most parts of Western Europe, it's simpler to find (almost) untouched nature. There are more forests, some of them almost pristine then elsewhere and rivers are less regulated then west of Poland - there are many superb hiking areas around the country. As far as the climate is concerned - to the east, the climate gets rather continental, with a longer and colder winter season then in the west but mild summers with precipitation peaks during the warm months. All in all, every season is fine to travel the country, but it can get a bit dull in winter when moving around the cities only.




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