The landscape of Poland

Poland`s landscape is very varied. The south of the country is bounded by mountain ranges which, the further north you travel, gradually turn into areas punctuated by hills and low-lying ancient forests. Northern Poland, an area of great natural beauty, has been shaped by a succession of glaciers that moved southwards from Scandinavia. National parks and reserves have been established in many areas. The central regions of the country, consisting of lowlands, merge into picturesque lakelands and coastal plains.


The Tatra Mountains are the highest in Central Europe. Though covering a small area, they provide breathtaking alpine scenery. The High Tatras are mainly granite, with jagged, rocky peaks. At 2,499 m (8,200 ft) above see level, Rysy is the highest peak in Poland. The western Tatras consisting of sedimentary rock and crystalline shale, are inhabited by such rare animals as brown bears, marmots and chamois.


The lakelands that cover much of northern Poland consist of picturesque moraine woodland and thousands of lakes. Largest and most scenic are the Great Mazurian Lakes, in a district known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes. Abounding in forests, marshes and peat bogs, they are a haven for many birds species: the largest concentration of storks in Europe, swans, grebes, cranes and cormorants.


The apparent monotony of the lowlands is broken by elevations, meandering rivers, marshes and peat bogs. Most of the land is under cultivation, but there are also extensive forests. Białowieża Forest shelters bison. Moose can be seen in the marshes and storks in the lakes.


The sandy beaches of Poland`s Baltic coast are among the finest in Europe. They are situated by sand dunes or cliffs, and were it not for river estuaries, it would be possible to walk along them for the entire length of the coast. Narrow sandy spits formed by the coastal currents and known as “mierzeje” are a characteristic feature of the shoreline.

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