Subject and purpose of work: The article explores the issue of protected areas in the Podlaskie Province with particular reference to Natura 2000 areas. Its purpose is to investigate the familiarity of those areas as well as the perception of their attractiveness among the inhabitants of the Podlaskie Province.
Materials and methods: Surveys conducted in the study involved 275 adult inhabitants of the Podlaskie Province. The selection of the research sample was accidental.
Results: The meaning of the Natura 2000 concept was widely known among the respondents. These areas were considered to be attractive to tourists and quite often visited by the respondents. The most popular were the Bialowieza, Augustow and Knyszyn Forests. Hiking, cycling and canoeing were held most often in those areas
Conclusions: Natura 2000 areas in the Podlasie Province constitute a valuable and popular tourist destination. What they need is proper tourism organization so as to give visitors an opportunity to get acquainted with their most important values, as well as ensure sustainable tourism and area protection.