Stretched more or less from Kraśnik to Lviv Roztocze is a land of gentle hills, green forests, and meadows, among which are also architectural treasures – historic temples of various rites. The Roztocze National Park covers only a small, but very picturesque part of this beautiful land.
The park was established in 1974 and protects the most valuable natural areas of the middle part of the Roztocze range. The beautiful forests occupy 90% of its current size. The heart of the park is Zwierzyniec – the former estate of the Zamoyski family.
Jan Zamoyski established a private zoo called Zwierzyniec (game reserve) where breeding and hunting of forest animals, took place. Today it is a popular summer resort and the seat of the administration of the Roztoczański National Park, which breeds a Polish horse in Zwierzyniec and in nearby Florianka – a descendant of the extinct forest tarpan horse.
What to see?
The most popular among tourists is the western part of Roztocze-Zwierzyniec and the Roztocze National Park. Zwierzyniec is a picturesque town situated in the Lublin Province, 30 km from Zamość and about 95 km from Lublin. Zwierzyniec is a great place to relax, away from large cities, in the bosom of nature.
You can spend a pleasant time in the park, admiring the 18th-century Church on the Water, a few rather unusual monuments, as well as the local brewery.
The Church of St. John of Nepomuk is one of the most characteristic monuments of Zwierzyniec and the whole Roztocze. Due to its picturesque location, it is also the most photographed object in the region.
Opposite the Church on the Water, a few hundred meters away is the Zwierzyniec brewery famous for its local beer. In addition to drinking beer in the summer, you can also watch a movie screening in an outdoor cinema. The brewery can be visited from May to September.
On a small hill, it’s worth seeing the Plenipotent’s Villa. This beautiful building is a historic villa of the administrators (plenipotentiaries) of the Zamoyski Estate. A beautifully decorated wooden structure in the Swiss style is currently the seat of the administration of the Roztocze National Park.
Right behind the villa, you will find the gate to the National Park, and more precisely, the path to Bukowa Góra. Before entering, tickets must be purchased at the Park’s Education and Museum Center.
The center has a permanent nature exhibition enriched with multimedia and other temporary exhibitions, also thematically related to RPN. Many educational, walking, and cycling paths start here. Besides, there is a rich library with a reading room and tourist information, where you can arrange a guide necessary for groups of more than ten people.
The most popular nature and educational path to Bukowa Góra lead through beech forests. The trail is about 2.5 km long and takes about an hour to reach Bukowa Góra, probably the best viewing point in the area.
Next, we go along the asphalt road to Echo Ponds, where from the observation tower, you can watch Polish horses grazing in reserve. Unfortunately, according to the Roztoczański National Park, the ponds are drying up, so it’s worth hurrying to see them. Echo ponds in Zwierzyniec – an ideal place for swimming and walking.
RPN also runs a stable horse (polish pony) farm in Florianka, several kilometers away. It is worth visiting this place, where next to the ponies, we will also meet a large herd of sheep, performing in the park the functions of natural mowers, shearing mid-forest meadows, and valleys.
A visit to Florianka is also an opportunity to visit the museum Forest Chamber in a historic forester’s lodge from 1830 and a walk along the dendrological path, presenting many species of trees and shrubs.
While on a trip to Roztocze, you cannot miss the opportunity to break your tongue over the famous poem about the beetle, which sounds “W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie” (‘In Szczebrzeszyn, a beetle buzzes in the reed’)
It’s probably the only town with a monument of a beetle, which became the symbol of the city. Originates in a Polish tongue-twister, impossible to pronounce for the foreigner. Besides, there are several historic churches, museum of an ancient craft, and Jewish cemetery.
The park can be crossed using many exciting hiking trails, paths, and cycle routes. For someone who wants livelier days adventurous canoe trip on the Wieprz River is a great option.
If you seek calmness, well-being, family atmosphere, or an undisturbed stay in the bosom of nature with a gurgling stream directly, then the natural wonders of Roztocze Natural Park are waiting for you.