Warsaw is the nearest transport hub to Białowieża. From there, you have three options: car, bus and train. The first is by far the most convenient. But the others are also relatively easy. Either way, take time to admire the view once you cross the border into Podlaskie Province. You’ll see none of the megafarms of western Europe. It’s all small scale here – a mosaic of scenic forest-agriculture landscapes, with ample room for wild nature. Read about the three transport options below.
Whether you’re hiring a car or driving from further afield, most car journeys to Białowieża will begin in Warsaw. GPS will generally give three options for the route. Any of these will be fine. But the quickest option is usually Warsaw – Brok – Bielsk Podlaski – Hajnówka – Białowieża. This takes you up the S8 expressway till Brok. You then turn off on to country roads for the rest of the way to Białowieża. Without stops, the 200 km journey will take around 3.5 hours.
The easiest public transport option is the direct bus travelling between Warsaw West Railway Station and Białowieża. Last time I checked, it leaves Białowieża for Warsaw at 4:51am, before travelling the opposite direction at 15:00. The journey takes 4h 20 mins. Its benefit over the train is the lack of changes. Still, I always found this bus a rather uncomfortable ride. Check the latest bus times at e-podrożnik.
This is the more comfortable public transport option. But it won’t take you straight to Białowieża Village: the closest you can get by train is Hajnówka, the main town just outside the forest. There are three trains per day from Warsaw East to Hajnówka (with one, easy change-over on the way). The train times can be found at https://rozklad-pkp.pl.
To get to Białowieża Village, you’ll have to find a bus or taxi to take you the last stretch of the journey. Buses run regularly from Hajnówka to Białowieża and the journey takes around 30 mins. You can find bus timetables at e-podrożnik. Bear in mind that buses don’t leave from the railway station, so check the map on e-podroznik for the exact location of the bus stop. Also, be careful because the last train arrives in Hajnowka at 20:00, while the last bus leaves Hajnowka for Białowieża at 18:00. If you’re arriving on the evening train, make sure you have a taxi or shuttle bus planned so you don’t end up stranded.
Read my brief tourist guide for ideas on what to do once you get to Białowieża.