While Warsaw is an interesting city with all monuments, parks, old town etc. , it also has more than few attractions just outside that can be covered as day trips. Kampinos National Park is one such destination right on the outskirts of Warsaw. It is also known as ‘Lungs of Warsaw’ as it is widely believed that air blowing into the city is filtered and cleaned by the lush vegetation of the forest. This trip can be done in half a day or full day depending on what all one wants to explore in the forest.
How to Get There
Our AirBnB was close to Central station in Warsaw. Though the city is big, things do revolve around the centre quite a lot, at least for tourist. From Central, take the Tram no. M1 to Mlociny, which is an important transportation hub. Transfer to bus no. 708 heading to Skibińskiego and get down at last stop. For alternate routes either us Google Maps or Warsaw Travel Planner . From there, park gate is a short walk away with adequate signage.
What to Do & See
Entry to the park is free. We planned it as half day hike and headed to Palmiry Cemetery inside the forest. The main path to the cemetery is used by both cars & hikers. The path is uneven but the views are awesome. The vegetation is in full blow and there are tall trees all around you. While we were huffing & puffing our way in, we realized that why is it called Lungs of Warsaw. The air was crisp and absolutely pure. With smell of forest in our breath, we soldiered on. It’s a 3.8 km meandering hike to Palmiry Mueseum & Cemetery from the forest gate.
Entry to the museum is also free and the attendants there are very helpful. Museum largely has World War exhibits and takes the visitor through struggle of Polish people who fought against enemies while hiding out in Kampinos forest. The place has a nice covered seating area where visitors can take a breather even in rains. Return journey till park gate can be done by tracing your steps back or taking one of the many paths through forest. We took the same route back though.
- Carry your own food & water as there is nothing available inside the National Park
- Right footwear is essential. While the hike is easy, but the path has gravel & is uneven in stretches and full of puddles and depressions.
- Be respectful in both cemetery & museum.
This is in off-beat day trip. Not everyone would enjoy it but it is a good break and change from typical sightseeing trip. For us, it was a decision well taken.