Setting off for nature
As much as 55.3% of the area of the Małopolska region is under natural protection, including six national parks, 11 landscape parks, 10 protected landscape areas and 85 reserves. There are also 2,233 monuments of nature here. Two areas, namely the Babia Góra National Park and the Tatra National Park, have also been recognised as UNESCO biosphere reserves – places exceptional on a global scale, with unique natural values.
Such diversity of landscape must translate into a wealth of fauna and flora. Only in the national parks themselves, more than half of all plant and animal species found in Poland have been catalogued. Fragments of the primeval forest that have been preserved in Pieniny Mountains, the Babia Góra massif, the Tatra Mountains and the Beskid Sądecki mountain range are truly unique. These complexes are a refuge for the huge number of rare and endangered species listed in the Polish red books. Małopolska region is a place of living for all Polish large mammal predators: bear, wolf, lynx and wildcat; it is also here, and more specifically in the Tatras, that you can see alpine edelweiss and chamois – symbols of the environment unchanged by human activity.
The natural treasures of Małopolska can be admired by setting out on numerous hiking, cycling and horse-riding trails. However, we should remember that in national parks and reserves, where nature protection is a priority, certain rules apply. First of all, it is not allowed to leave the designated routes. Feeding animals or picking plants, even the inconspicuous-looking flowers, is forbidden as well. The rocks should also be left where they are. Nature dislikes noise and garbage. Let's respect these, not so demanding, requirements.