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Zakopane blog — the ultimate zakopane travel guide: how to get & what to do in zakopane poland.

zakopane travel blog

Coming to the quaint Warsaw is to recall the old days, explore its old quarters, castles, churches and buildings, the streets seem to still be imprinted with fascist shoes… But going to Zakopane, it is to forget all the hardships in life. Let’s experience Zakopane tourism through the sharing below about the beautiful Polish tourist town, the hidden gem of Poland. So, what to do in Zakopane and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Zakopane town (Zakopane Poland) for the first-time? Let’s check out our Zakopane blog with the fullest Zakopane travel guide (Zakopane guide) from how to get to Zakopane from krakow, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and things to do in Zakopane as well as suggested Zakopane itinerary 3 days 2 nights to find out the answer!

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zakopane travel blog

Zakopane is a popular travel destination in Poland, not only because it is a small charming, gentle mountain town in the south of Poland with the Tatra Mountains covered with snow all year round on the peaks. Here, in addition to the unique features bearing the image of the mountainous region with the beauty of traditional wooden cottages, there are also vibrant and colorful street lights, shops, cafes and even a walking street similar in other big cities.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane blog: Overview of Zakopane Town (Zakopane Poland)

zakopane travel blog

The town of Zakopane is located in the Southern Poland, 100km from Krakow and 500km from Warsaw. This place is known as the winter palace of Poland. The first impression when visiting Zakopane Poland is the beauty of this land, like a fairy in a fairy tale. Located near the Tatra Mountains between Poland and Slovakia, in addition to awe-inspiring natural landscapes, the old town here is also very attractive with lovely wooden houses surrounded by a garden full of trees and flowers.

zakopane travel blog

This famous Polish tourist destination is the highest place in Poland with an altitude of 1,130m above sea level. The town’s highest peak is Mt. Swinica is 2,301 meters. You also can climb to Mount Rysy, the highest peak of Poland at 2,500 meters. Zakopane Poland was discovered in the 16th century and once belonged to the Austrian Empire. It was not until later that it returned to Poland and was the ideal summer and winter resort town of many Polish royal dynasties.

zakopane travel blog

Located in a narrow valley between the Tatra Mountains and the Gubałówka Hill, Zakopane is blessed with numerous streams, valleys and majestic mountains. Due to it is located close to the border of Slovakia and shares the Tatra mountains, it is not surprising that someone will say that you will have the opportunity to go to Slovakia as well. Because “standing on this mountain, looking at that mountain” is real. As long as you stand on the edge of Tatra mountains on this side, you can zoom over to other mountains in the territory of Slovakia. It’s great, right?!

zakopane travel blog

The average annual temperature in Zakopane is 2 degrees Celsius, the highest in summer is about 25 degrees Celsius. At the peaks of Tatra mountains you will see snow that never melts even in summer. You can take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain to watch the ice melt, enjoy the cool breezes and zoom out into the distance with the majestic scenery in front of you.

zakopane travel blog

Where is the Tatra Mountains?

The Tatras are a mountain range located on the border of Slovakia and the beautiful country of Poland. Tatras has an extremely poetic and romantic beauty, but perhaps this place is still unknown to many tourists, especially Asian visitors. Along with the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Dinaric Alps, Tatras is also known as one of the most majestic mountain ranges in Europe today. Tatra is famous for its tall rocky mountains, green grasslands and large clear blue lakes. The Tatra Mountains are often likened to the Alps in Central Europe.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane guide: When is the best season to visit Zakopane?

zakopane travel blog

You can visit Zakopane all year round but the best time to come is still summer and autumn. If you like snow, you can go in winter but the temperature is so cold that the lakes freeze, not as beautiful as the summer and autumn scenes.

But a wonderful thing of winter is that visitors can ski here. Instead of going to Switzerland, Austria, France to ski with expensive prices, Zakopane offers extremely cheap prices for visitors who want to learn to ski and experience other winter activities and sports.

zakopane travel blog

I highly recommend you to travel in the summer, the best time to visit Zakopane is in early June or late August. At this time, tourists come here less and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery without having to crowded with many local guests.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane travel guide: How to get to Zakopane from Krakow?

zakopane travel blog

You can also book a Flixbus to go from Krakow airport directly to Zakopane town or take a day trip from here. I find the price of the day tour is also very affordable (€27), so if you is afraid to go on your own, you can book a day tour for convenience. With this tour, I think you can only go to a few places, but it is difficult to go all tourist attractions in Zakopane. During my visit, I stayed in Zakopane for 3 days and 2 nights, but the feeling was still not satisfied.

zakopane travel blog

If you depart from the center of Krakow you can take a bus or train with many trips a day. However, in my opinion, taking the bus is less tiring because it only takes about 2-2.5 hours, while the train will take 3-4 hours (costs €4-7). You can buy tickets on the websites of Flixbus or Polish bus companies such as Polski Bus, Szwagropol. You can also go to Krakow Central Bus Station and buy at the ticket counter or buy directly from the driver.

zakopane travel blog

In my travel experience, you should not book tickets online in advance. Sometimes buying Flixbus online tickets are more expensive than buying regular tickets. Just go to the Krakow central bus station right near the railway station/Galeria shopping center, choose to buy a ticket to Zakopane for only €5 at the ticket counter. The price is always fixed. Normally, the departure platforms to Zakopane is number 18, 19.

zakopane travel blog

Another thing to note is that traveling to Zakopane Poland on weekdays is usually less crowded than weekends. Poles come here on the weekends very crowded. That’s why I recommend you depart from the first departure point at Krakow bus station rather than pick up at the stops along the way. On the day I went, almost visitors who picked up the bus at the bus stops along the way had to stand during the trip because there were not enough seats.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane blog: Where to stay in Zakopane Poland?

You can refer to this hotel: Przy Szlaku Zakopane centrum pokoje & apartamenty ( Agoda.com or Booking.com ) . The room rate is around €40 a night, but the room fills up very quickly. Rated 9.8 on Booking.com.

zakopane travel blog

I was introduced to this place, but by the time I needed to book, the room was already full, so I booked at Hotel PRL RZEMIEŚLNIK  ( Agoda.com or Booking.com ) . This hotel is also quite close to the center of Zakopane (450m away) for €23/night for 2 people. The hotel has a nice view, next to the supermarket and just a few hundred meters from the main road of Zakopane. In return, from here to the bus station is more than 1km. Overall, I think it’s pretty good place to stay.

zakopane travel blog

Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

  • Aries Hotel & Spa Zakopane ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Mercure Kasprowy Zakopane ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Bambi Zakopane ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Hotel Aquarion ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Grand Hotel Stamary ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Belvedere Hotel ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )

zakopane travel blog

Check out more top and best hotels in Zakopane Poland on Agoda.com or Booking.com .

Zakopane blog: Things to do in Zakopane, what to do in Zakopane Poland

zakopane travel blog

Lake Morskie Oko

zakopane travel blog

The most prominent place when it comes to Zakopane Poland tourism is the Lake Morskie Oko (The Eye of the Sea).

The Eye of the Sea (Morskie Oko) is the largest and fourth deepest lake in the Tatra Mountains and is located deep in the Tatra National Park. The peaks surrounding the lake are about 1,000 meters above the lake’s surface; one of them is Rysy mountain (2,499 meters), the highest peak in the Polish Tatras. This lake is called the Eye of the Sea because the water is always clear and blue like the blue eye in the sky — the eye of the sea. In addition, the name is also derived from an old legend, according to which the lake is connected to the sea through an underground passage.

zakopane travel blog

Lake Morskie Oko has 2 rivers flowing in and one branch flowing out. To get here, you will need about 2 hours to walk or ride a horse-drawn carriage (cars are prohibited to protect the environment).

How to get there: If you rent a car, just make your way to the Tatra national park entrance gate and find the parking lot, then hike 9km for about 2 hours or rent a horse cart to reach the lake.

If you take the bus, go to the Zakopane bus station or the small bus stop at the beginning of Krupowski street and pay attention to the minibuses with the Morskie Oko sign in front, then come to ask for the price. If they say 10zl, get on. It will take about 1 hour to reach Tatra national park gate from the center. At the park gate, you need to pay a fee of 5zl to enter and then start hiking or riding a horse cart to the lake.

zakopane travel blog

Hiking time will take about 2 hours or riding a horse cart, you need to pay about €12 more when going and €7 when returning. Note: After riding the horse cart, you still need to walk for another 20 minutes to reach the lake. The trail to the lake is really steep like climbing to the top of a mountain. Therefore, if you intend to walk to this lake, you should think carefully and exercise first.

zakopane travel blog

Gubalowka Hill

zakopane travel blog

Gubałówka Hill with its peak Giewont is one of the most famous Zakopane tourist attractions. This is a winter sports center with lots of ski resorts. However, the summer is also very crowded with tourists because of the immense natural beauty. This is also one of the very unforgettable experiences when you come to Zakopane Poland.

In addition, in May every year here the town often organizes Wielki Festiwal Tatrzański (May Festival), you can listen to local folk music, enjoy food, play adventure sports…

zakopane travel blog

How to get there: You find the entrance gate right opposite Hyrczyk Euro Market to take funicular to the top of Mount Gubalowka. Just a short walk from the famous Krupowki street. From the church at the beginning of Krupowki Street (Address: Krupowki 1), you look over to the opposite side and you will see a signboard to go to Gubalowka Hill. Fares: €20/round trip.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane Town

zakopane travel blog

The famous Krupowki street in Zakopane is known as one of the 5 most poetic streets in Poland. Only pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages are allowed here. Both sides of the road are hundreds of years old wooden houses with unique architecture. It must be said that the architecture of the houses here is really impressive. Wherever you go, you will be amazed by the unique and strange architecture. I’ve been to more than 40 European cities, but this is probably one of the two places I’m most excited about right now. The architecture has not been seen anywhere in Europe.

zakopane travel blog

Some other places you can visit along to Krupowski street:

zakopane travel blog

  • Tatra Museum (Address: Krupówki 10, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland): In the town there are many museums, the oldest and most impressive museum is the Tatra museum, established in 1922.
  • Museum of Zakopane Style: Address: Kościeliska 18, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland
  • Old Church & Cemetery
  • Chapel of Jaszczurówka

zakopane travel blog

Take cable car to the top of Mount Kasprowy Wierch

zakopane travel blog

Mount Kasprowy Wierch is located in the western part of the Tatra Mountains with an altitude of 1,987 m. This place is famous for its rare flora ecosystem and wonderful natural scenery. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the cool breeze, panoramic views, watching the ice melt on the top of the mountain and the majestic mountains surrounding it.

zakopane travel blog

How to get there: Buy tickets at the cable car ticket counter to the top of the mountain. Usually in the summer, the number of tourists is very crowded, so you should buy tickets online in advance if you go in the peak season.

zakopane travel blog

You can purchase online up to 30 days in advance and at least 2 hours before the trip. However, if you go in the summer, you should buy a few days in advance. You only need to have the code on your phone, you may not need to print out.

You take a taxi or minibus from the center of Zakopane to Kuznice point to take the cable car. This place is quite close to the center of Zakopane, so you only need to pay 3 zl (€0.75) to get here.

I bought a round-trip ticket for €23 and you could stay for 1 hour and 40 minutes in the mountain. This is the price of tickets purchased online. If you buy directly, it only costs €18.5, but in return you will have to wait to buy tickets and wait for your turn to take the cable car. With online ticket, there will be a fixed visit time frame and just arrive at the time you chose. Tickets are 100% refunded if you cancel your tickets 24 hours before departure time. 80% refund if canceled before 2 hours of departure.

zakopane travel blog

My personal feeling is that this mountain is very beautiful. If you’ve been to Zakopane, you should definitely come here. Once you reach the top you can take a walk around the peaks and hike around area. From the Five Polish Ponds Valley Shelter you can looking down, also very beautiful. There are a lot of people who don’t take the cable car, but hike by themselves.

Ticket prices:

zakopane travel blog

Tatra National Park

zakopane travel blog

The Tatra Mountains form a natural border between Poland to the north and  Slovakia to the south. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the two countries have cooperated in efforts to protect the area. Like Poland, Slovakia also built an adjacent Tatra national park. And the entire area was recognized by a UNESCO Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. You can choose one of the following 4 valleys to explore nature at Tatra National Park:

  • Kościeliska
  • Chochołowska
  • Five lake valley
  • Or canoeing down the Dunajec River

The most popular in Zakopane are the 2 valleys Kościeliska and Chochołowska. These two places are on the same route. The minibus ticket for Kościeliska is 5zl (€1.2) and Chochołowska is 6zl (€1.4). The Kościeliska valley usually has more visitors while the Chochołowska valley is famous for its purple flowers blooming in March and April. If you don’t come on this occasion, you can skip it.

zakopane travel blog

If you have time, go to some famous mineral bathing spots in Zakopane such as Chocholow or Szaflary, Bukowina and Białka Tatrzańska. Tourists often frequent visit these mineral baths after a long day of hiking up the mountain.

zakopane travel blog

Experience nightlife in Zakopane is also unforgettable thing. There are many restaurants and bars here, mainly concentrated on Krupowki Street. These restaurants often have “live” bands playing traditional Polish music. There, you will see that Poles love to dance, from the old to the young, everyone can go on the floor to join in the fun.

Zakopane blog: Zakopane Poland travel itinerary

  • Day 1: Lake Morskie Oko — Krupowski street — spots in the center of Zakopane town.
  • Day 2: Choose to go to 1 of 2 valleys Chochołowska/ Kościeliska and take the cable car to 1 of 2 peaks.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane travel guide: What to eat?

Oscypek smoked cheese.

zakopane travel blog

When traveling to Zakopane Poland, you should try Oscypek – a sheep’s milk cheese that is a specialty in Tatra region and you’ll find stalls selling this food in Zakopane town and other mountain lodges. The recipe is strictly followed and dates back to the 14th century.

zakopane travel blog

Unlike the cost of traveling and staying in Zakopane which is quite cheap, the cost of eating at restaurants in Zakopane is not so cheap. The average price of a meal is around €8-12. You can consider a few of the restaurants I named below. In general, along Krupowski street are mostly restaurants and eateries.

  • Karczma Zapiecek
  • Gazdowo Kuznia
  • Cristina Restaurant and Pizzeria

zakopane travel blog

In addition, in the center of Zakopane town, there are many supermarkets such as Lidl, Biedronka, Carrefour Express, Abc market. In my opinion, Lidl and Biedronka (ladybug icon) are the cheapest. Both are centrally located near Krupowski Street.

Zakopane guide: Traveling cost

Mid-range self-sufficient Zakopane Poland travel costs refer to the following:

  • Hotel: €23/2 nights, shared
  • Transportation: €10/round trip from Krakow, €12/round trip to 4 places (Lake Morskie Oko, Kasprowy mountain cable car, 2 valleys), 2 way horse ride to Morskie Oko lake: €19, bike rental in Chocholowska valley €4,5.
  • Entrance tickets: €27 to all places
  • Meals: €25-30€/day

Total: €160 for a self-sufficient trip to Zakopane Poland for 3 days 2 nights.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane travel guide: Some travel tips before you go

  • Majestic nature and beautiful central street.
  • The cost of traveling to Zakopane Poland is quite cheap compared to other European countries (1/3 compared to Northern Europe, 1/2 compared to Western Europe).
  • The Poles are quite friendly but do not speak much English. Remember to exchange to Polish currency when buying a minibus ticket.
  • Zakopane is especially crowded on weekends. If possible, going on weekdays.
  • On the mount Kasprowy, the weather often changes every hour and minute. You should double check the temperature before coming here.
  • The road to Morskie Oko lake is very steep. You should prepare drinking water, some food and a good pair of sports shoes when you decide to hike.
  • For me personally, the 2 valleys are not very special because I went in July. If possible, go in March and April to see the flowers bloom.
  • Indeed, at first I was quite confused about Zakopane. It was only during a time when I accidentally learned about the border between Poland and Slovakia that I knew the Tatras mountain range and this town. In general, this Polish tourist destination is much more beautiful than I originally thought. Even though I have been to many countries in Europe so far, I am still extremely impressed with this place. For me personally, Zakopane absolutely deserves to be considered the HIDDEN GEM of Europe. I highly recommend you to come here if your travel preferences are more in terms of scenery and nature.

zakopane travel blog

Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains Tour from Kraków

Hopefully with the above Zakopane Poland travel sharing article, it will help you have the motivation to set out to discover this hidden gem of Poland.

zakopane travel blog

Happy traveling! Read more about Poland travel guide here .

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How to spend 48 hours in Zakopane – Poland

zakopane travel blog

If you’re planning a quick getaway spending 48 hours in Zakopane- Poland, is a fantastic choice. Nestled in the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is a picturesque resort town renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, this town has something for everyone and this blog will tell how to to make the most of your 48 hours in Zakopane.

After spending 5 nights in Krakow we felt like we needed a change of scenery from the city life.  We were recommended Zakopane so without any hesitation we booked a bus to the south region of Poland.  We could tell we made the right decision to escape from the city as we drove through beautiful scenery to  Zakopane.  It was a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by beautiful green hills and mountains.

Abit about Zakopane.

Zakopane has a population of 30,000 inhabitants.  The unusual location of the town, hidden between a gentle range of Gubałówka and the rocky Tatra summits was a decisive factor in its career as a tourism centre.  As early as the end of the 18th century Zakopane, a small and remote village started to attract the first summer holidaymakers and at present attracts over 3 million tourists.

How to get to Zakopane?

Getting to Zakopane is relatively convenient, with various transportation options available. If you’re coming from Krakow, the most common route is by bus or train.

Buses are frequent, providing a direct connection between Krakow and Zakopane in approximately two to three hours. Trains are also available, taking a bit longer but offering a scenic journey through the countryside.

Check car hire prices below.

If you prefer to fly , the closest airport is Krakow John Paul II International Airport. From there, you can take a shuttle bus or taxi to Zakopane, which is approximately a two hour drive away. Regardless of your choice, you’ll find it easy to reach this charming mountain town.

Book your flight to Krakow below.

Where to stay in Zakopane?

The resort town is located in the southern Poland, at the base of the Tatras Mountains.  It’s a popular departure point for winter sports and summertime mountain climbing and hiking.  Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka, reachable by cable car and funiculars are nearby ski destinations offering sweeping mountain views.  The town is also known for its turn-of-the-20th-century wooden chalets, symbols of Zakopane-style architecture.

Zakopane has a variety of accommodation  suiting all types of travellers.  Ranging from luxury hotels, chalets, lodges, apartments, cottages and guest houses.

We booked three nights at Szarotka Pension via Hostel World.  Prices range from 30 euros a night.  Szarotka Pension is located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains and is a short 15 minutes walk to the main centre of Zakopane.  Starting points of mountain routes are close by.  All rooms come with a double bed and a small bathroom with shower and toilet.  Buffett breakfast ia available for a small fee.  You can choose from a wide range of cold meat and cheese, cereal, toasts and jam, hot scrambled eggs and sausages.

Book your accomodation below.

Zakopane- Szarotka Pension

How to spend 48 hours in Zakopane?

Walk through the lush bialego valley.

Białego Valley (yellow trail) a family-friendly hike, is just a 3-minute walk from Szarotka Pension, nestled between Mount Krokiew and Sarnia Skała. The stream in the valley has carved deep ponds in soft lime rock, forming picturesque waterfalls where the rock is solid dolomite. With a 187-meter vertical drop per kilometer, it boasts the largest drop among Tatra mountain streams. This valley lies within the Stanisław Sokołowski Nature Reserve and is rich in diverse flora, including spruce, beech, and fir trees, along with Alpenrose, Edelweiss, Martagon Lilly, and yew trees. As for fauna, you may spot deer, occasional brown bears, lynx, and wolves.

The upper part of the valley offers steeper terrain. During our hike on the yellow route, rain interrupted us after about 20 minutes. With only one rain jacket and both camera bags, we decided to return to town and savor some local cuisine.

Bialego Valley- Zakopane

Hike to Morskie Oko

Take a local bus labeled “MORSKIE OKO” from the city center. The bus drops you off at the road entrance. From there, it’s about a two-hour walk to Morskie Oko. Many tourists prefer the journey by horse-drawn cart, often operated by the local Górale inhabitants. The walk is stunning, passing natural rivers, small waterfalls, and towering trees.

Morskie Oko, meaning “The Eye of the Sea,” sits at 1,393 meters (4,570 ft.) above sea level and ranks as one of the Tatras’ most popular destinations. It’s the largest and fourth-deepest lake in the Tatra Mountains, located within the Tatra National Park, Poland, in the Rybi Potok Valley. The lake nestles at the base of the Mięguszowiecki Summits, with surrounding peaks rising about 1,000 meters above the lake’s surface. Among them is Rysy, the highest peak in the Polish Tatras at 2,499 meters. Numerous high peaks encircle the lake, and you can explore trails leading to nearby Czarny Staw, Rysy Peak, and the incredibly beautiful Dolina Pieciu Stawow.

Winter at Morskie Oko

During winter, a brief part of the journey crosses an avalanche danger zone, and even in summer, the area can be chilly and rainy. Situated in front of Morskie Oko lake is the PTTK MORSKIE OKO Hostel , constructed in 1908 by Towarzystwo Tatrzańskie. This popular hostel tends to fill up rapidly due to its excellent location and panoramic views of the lake. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply seeking a tranquil spot for a lake photo without crowds, staying here is ideal. Families and individuals of all ages embark on the hike to Morskie Oko, and the hostel provides a kitchen and a bar where you can savor a traditional beer or a warm mulled wine before your return journey.

Morskie Oko- Zakopane

See the spectacular Czarny Staw Lakes

Czarny Staw, meaning Black Pond, is located just above Morskie Oko. Despite its name, the water here appears more bluish than black and lies at an altitude of 1583 meters (approximately 5200 ft.), just below the Polish Tatra Mountains’ highest peak, Rysy, which stands at 2500 meters (8200 ft.) above sea level.

The rocky edge nearby offers an incredibly beautiful vantage point overlooking the valley and Morskie Oko lake below. From this vantage point, you can follow another trail leading to the Rysy peak. To reach Czarny Staw, you’ll need to circle around Morskie Oko, which is a great idea for encountering fewer tourists and enjoying more expansive vistas. Midway, you’ll turn onto the trail to Czarny Staw and ascend the steep path to the top, following the small stream that flows out of Czarny Staw.

Although the entire hike takes no more than an hour one way, it’s not as easy as the paved road leading up to Morskie Oko lake. Along the way, you can appreciate rare alpine flora, including mountain pine. We found Czarny Staw to be a more enjoyable experience than Morskie Oko due to its fewer tourists and breathtaking views, complete with a picturesque waterfall.

Want to read more about incredible road trips through Australia? Visit our guides on  The Blue Mountains ,  Wilson’s Promontory ,  Margaret River Region,   Great Ocean Road ,  Western Australia,   ,  Tasmania  and  Byron Bay .

Czarny Staw Lake - Zakopane

Walk down Krapowki Street

Krupowki is the central the most representative street of Zakopane.  Krupowki street stretches over a kilometre in length.  The promenades lined with a wide selection of shops, restaurants, hotels and attracts thousands of visitors all year round.

This central attraction of Zakopane has an unrivalled atmosphere, especially at the height of the summer and winter seasons.  The street is always vibrant with life.  It is here that you can see portray artists, watch various types of street performers, hear the horses stamping on the pavement and smell the Zakopane cuisine specialities and grilled food.

Also I recommend trying the local cheese called ‘Oscypek’ which is sold on this street.

Krapowki Street

Best places to eat in Zakopane?

Highlander food is not very fancy but is something that you should try.  Because of the climate conditions and infertile ground, the main food consisted mainly of potatoes, flour,  cabbage, buttermilk, curd and animal fat.  The meat was eaten only for holidays and important familiy events and sheeps cheese  were usually intended for sale, they weren’t eaten daily.  Like any city the closer you eat to the city centre the more expensive the restaurants can be.  We eat at these two restaurants below that were walking distance to the city centre but were still reasonably cheap

Bąkowo zohylina wyźnio –   We were recommended this restaurant by our guest stay owners.  The restraunts is known for having very good traditional food within a cheap price.  We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.  We ordered a meat dish here which was under 10 euros each.

Bąkowo zohylina wyźnio

Dobra Kasza Nasza – GOOD OUR CROP in English serves healthy polish cuisine with vegetarian and vegan options.  We wanted to have a change of cuisine and try a more healthier option.  The prices were cheap and the food options healthy.  The unique feature about the food was that they add groats/barley to the traditional polish staple.  I ordered a main mean of broccoli and barley with a side of salad and all up cost about 5 euros.

Dobra Kasza Nasza

Other activities to do in Zakopane.

There are more activities you can do in Zakopane but unfortunatlly we ran out of time.  If you do get more time be sure to check out the blow out.

  • Gubałówka –   Majestic mountain offering hiking trails & a cablecar to the top, with panoramic views of the area.
  • Kasprowy Wierch –   Kasprowy Wierch or Kasprov vrch is a mountain in the Western Tatras. The mountain is also renowned as one of the most popular ski areas in Poland. Its peak is accessible by cablecar.
  • Tatra National Park-   Expansive, mountainous national park with lakes, caves, wildlife & miles of scenic hiking trails.
  • Giewont –   Popular with hikers, this mountain massif in Tatra National Park features 3 peaks & marked trails.
  • Rysy –   The highest peak in Poland, this popular hiking destination features alpine lakes & views in summer.

Check out some more tours below.

As our unforgettable 48 hours in Zakopane came to a close, we couldn’t help but reflect on the natural beauty, vibrant culture and warm hospitality this charming Polish town had offered us. Whether it was indulging in traditional highlander cuisine, trekking through breathtaking landscapes, or exploring the local markets, Zakopane had left an indelible mark on our hearts.

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog on Zakopane and if you want to read more about Poland check out our blog on Krakow HERE .

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Zakopane travel guide for hikers and travelers

Things to do in Zakopane

By Bartosz (Contact Me)

Places to visit in Europe Dec. 4, 2023 Poland Zakopane 2023 Places to visit in Europe

Zakopane city is one of the most popular travel destinations in Poland. Mainly because of the marvellous Tatra Mountains and their excellent hiking trails.

Tatras are the most breathtaking mountains in this part of Europe. But other attractions in Zakopane are also not to be missed.

In this post, we will include all the essential information you need to know about this mountain resort, including how-tos for hiking in the Tatra National Park.

Also, we'll list the best things to do in Zakopane beyond hiking. This guide contains our recommendations which we are excited to share. You'll also discover some dark secrets of Zakopane :o

places to visit in zakopane

The shopping street of Zakopane a central attraction © alexmu / Adobe Stock

Zakopane travel guide

Don't miss other valuable tatra mountains articles.

Make sure you read all helpful articles. You find them grouped them into three categories, Basic, Routes & Maps and Advanced.

  • Basics of Tatras
  • Slovakia vs. Poland
  • You Need a Map
  • Hiking Video Clips
  • Slovakia Hiking Routes
  • Poland Hiking Routes
  • Magnificent Lakes!
  • Rysy mountain
  • All About Zakopane
  • Before You Go Hiking
  • How to Avoid Mistakes
  • Find Accommodation
  • About Hiking in Tatras
  • About Tatra National Park
  • 5 day-hikes in Tatras
  • Most Popular Mountain
  • City & Mountains
  • About Western Tatras
  • Tatras Forum

Before we start, if you're not 100% sure you want to stay in Zakopane and thinking about other possibilities, have a look at this list of the most beautiful Tatra Mountains resorts .

A few words about Zakopane

things to do zakopane

Roads in Tatra mountains © zbg2 / Adobe Stock

The city is located in southern Poland. It belongs to the Malopolskie (lesser Poland) voivodeship. The closest major city near Zakopane is  Kraków .

Check out the best day trips from Kraków !

Zakopane is very close to Slovakia. You can pass the border on foot or by car - there is no physical border between Poland and Slovakia as they both belong to the Schengen Zone.

The best Zakopane attractions are scenic mountains, unique folklore, wooden huts and handcraft, well preserved local traditions and culture.

Zakopane city is one of the biggest Tatra Mountains resorts. It has neighbouring settlements also perfect for visiting and staying, but smaller and quieter:

  • Kościelisko - is 3 miles from Zakopane, close to Western Tatras. 
  • Murzasichle - a village bordering Zakopane - is one of the highest-located villages in Poland. Located close to the High Tatra side.
  • Małe Ciche - a small village counting 850 people located 5 miles from Zakopane and on the East side of the Tatras (High Tatras). Google Maps link to Małe Ciche village .

Places to stay in Zakopane

Stay here to be near ~3mi(kuźnice) or ~10mi(palenica białczańska) at starting location for routes:.

View of Zakopane in Poland

Zakopane city is one of the most popular touristic destinations in Poland. Mainly because of nearby marvel High Tatra Mountains. Tatras are the most breathtaking mountains in this part of the continent. But Zakopane also has a couple of own attractions that we shouldn't miss. It's a good place for people that want to stay close to shopping streets, restaurants and museums.

Zakopane Blue Hotel

Radisson Blu Hotel & Residences - check availability and prices

Hotel Crocus in Zakopane

Hotel Crocus - check availability and prices

Willa Rajka

Willa Rajka - check availability and prices

Tatra national park.

zakopane hike

Hiking trail in Tatras © Grigory Bruev / Adobe Stock

Zakopane is an attractive resort, but one of the best things to do in Zakopane is hiking.

The Tatra Mountains, also known as the Polish Alps , are the highest mountains in the central-eastern part of Europe but their total length is only 57 km.

Tatras are divided into three major groups: 

  • Western Tatras (highest peak Bystra 2248 m)
  • High Tatras (highest peak Gerlach 2655 m)
  • Bielskie Tatras (highest peak Hawrań 2152 m)

The mission of Tatra National Park: protect and help to understand the nature and culture of the Tatras, enabling to experience it by current and future generations.

The most significant advantage of the Tatras is that governors of the National Park protect nature but also maintain all the trails.

Advantages of hiking in Tatra Mountains:

  • Many paradise-like spots and viewpoints.
  • Excellent hiking paths, visible and colourful route marks and signposts.
  • Well-preserved unique nature.
  • Magnificent mountains.
  • World-class rescue service and online weather alerts.

zakopane things to do

View of Tatras from Swinica mountain near Zakopane © TTstudio / Adobe Stock

Camping or hiking in Tatra National Park after down is against the rules and may result in a fine. For more info check out  this article .

Beds in mountain huts are limited and require booking well in advance. Therefore it is often necessary to spend the night in Zakopane city. But on the bright side, the most spectacular viewpoints in Tatra Mountains are accessible within a day hike (including return time).

There are two national parks in Tatras:

🇵🇱 Tatra National Park of Poland (TPN).

🇸🇰 Tatra National Park of Slovakia (TANAP).

Check the differences between Polish and Slovak Tatra Mountains .

Zakopane popularity

Tourists in Zakopane

Hikers walking from Poroniec mountain to Rusionowa Polana © Piotr Szpakowski / Adobe Stock

Each year two million tourists visit Tatra National Park of Poland which is half the visits number of very popular Yosemite Park in the USA. One million travelers visit Tatra Mountains only in July and August !

In the past Zakopane was known for goat cheese production and wisest shepherds in the country. In 1899 the first rail track from Kraków to Zakopane was opened. Tourism has grown significantly since then.

In the near past access to Zakopane (and Poland) was restricted for most of the nations. The communist government at that time wasn't appealing to anyone, and international tourism almost didn't exist. Fortunately,  communism ended for good in 1989 .

In the 90s Poland still lacked the infrastructure, hotels and popularity to attract international tourism.

Luckily Poland has been in NATO and the European Union since 2004 and now has first-class infrastructure . Zakopane is finally ready for global tourism but still remains one of the hidden gems in Poland.

If you would like to visit the most interesting places in Zakopane with a guide, check out the below tour:

Zakopane travel essentials

what to do in zakopane

Tatra highlanders say that there are 10 months of winter in the mountains, and the rest of the year is summer.

This is a bit exaggerated but it's important to remember that the weather in Zakopane is unpredictable and it's good to come prepared.

I've divided the below Zakopane packing lists into summer and winter.

What to pack if you travel to Zakopane in the summer?

Here's a suggested packing list if you'd like to explore Zakopane attractions and hike to Morskie Oko:

  • Lightweight and breathable tops.
  • Shorts and comfortable pants for hiking or walking.
  • A swimsuit if you plan to visit thermal pools or lakes.
  • Light rain jacket or windbreaker for unexpected weather changes.
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals.
  • Casual clothing for strolling through the town or enjoying outdoor cafes.

Outdoor gear:

  • Daypack for hiking and exploring.
  • Sunhat and sunglasses for sun protection.
  • Sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Insect repellent.

Hiking essentials:

  • Comfortable sports shoes.
  • Hiking socks to prevent blisters.
  • Water bottle for staying hydrated.
  • Trail mix or energy bars for quick snacks.
  • Tatra Mountains hiking map .

Electronics:

  • Camera or smartphone for capturing beautiful moments.
  • Power bank to keep your devices charged.
  • Travel adapter if you're coming from a country with a different plug type.

Health and safety:

  • Basic first aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, and any necessary medications.
  • Personal identification and health insurance information.
  • Any prescription medications you may need.
  • Passport or ID.
  • Travel insurance details.

Toiletries:

  • Travel-sized toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, and shampoo.
  • Towel or quick-dry travel towel.
  • Wet wipes or hand sanitizer.

Clothing accessories:

  • Hat or cap for sun protection.
  • Lightweight scarf or shawl for cooler evenings.
  • Waterproof jacket.

Cash  - while credit cards are widely accepted, having some cash on hand can be useful for small purchases or places that may not accept cards, e.x. bus drivers. If you plan to get to the trailhead by a private bus, have cash with you.

Take these with you if you visit Zakopane in winter

Insulated clothing:

  • Thermal underwear to keep your body warm.
  • Insulated, waterproof jacket for protection against snow and wind.
  • Insulated pants or snow pants for outdoor activities.
  • Multiple layers, including sweaters and fleece jackets.

Winter accessories:

  • Warm gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the cold.
  • Scarf or neck gaiter to keep your neck warm.
  • Hat or beanie to cover your head and ears.
  • Thermal socks and/or waterproof boots to keep your feet dry and warm.
  • Sunglasses (snow reflects almost 80% of UV radiation).

Winter gear:

  • Snow boots with good traction for walking in snow and ice.
  • If you plan on hiking and/or skiing in Zakopane, you can easily rent all the necessary equipment on-site. If you will be hiking in the higher parts of Tatra Mountains, remember about  crampons and pickax  (available in rental shops in Zakopane and mountain huts as well).

Indoor clothing:

  • Casual and comfortable clothing for indoor activities and evenings.
  • Slippers or indoor shoes for added warmth in accommodations.
  • Backpack for day trips and carrying essentials.
  • Hand warmers for additional warmth on extremely cold days.
  • Winter trekking poles for stability in snowy conditions.
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing winter landscapes.
  • Power bank to keep your devices charged in the cold.
  • First aid kit with cold and flu remedies.
  • Lip balm and moisturizer to combat dry winter air.
  • Any necessary prescription medications.

Places to stay in Zakopane - suburbs

Find perfect accommodation between city center and mountains.

zakopane suburb

It's kind of best of both worlds. On the one hand, you might be closer to the mountains and on the other hand still have nearby aqua parks, museums, bars and restaurants. Plenty to do in case of bad weather.

Best time to visit Zakopane

hikes in zakopane

If you want to mainly explore attractions in Zakopane, it's best to come in May . The days are long, there's quite a lot of sun and there are not that many travellers and hikers yet. Prices are also a bit lower than in the high season.

But hiking in Tatra Mountains in May isn't very easy. There's still snow and ice on the trails in higher parts of the Tatras. Some trails are closed until June 15th. The weather may be harsh and windy.

If you'd like to explore Tatra Mountains (especially hike in High Tatras ), come in September or October . Autumn in the mountains is stunning, there are fewer hikers and the trails are still open. There might be snowfall but the snow melts quickly. There's no thunderstorm or avalanche risk in Tatra Mountains in September or October.

Best places to stay in Zakopane

hikes from zakopane

Here are my recommendations for places to stay in Zakopane. I've checked the ratings, reviews, and location on booking.com and read about the amenities each hotel offers.

Have a look at the below:

Aries Hotel & SPA Zakopane  - lovely 5-star hotel located in Zakopane center., just a 5-minute walk from Krupówki Street. There is an indoor pool and wellness center. Guests appreciate the location, tasty breakfast and beautiful interior.

Willa Leluja   - great option if you're looking for an apartment with a kitchen. It's located close to Krupówki Street (1 km). Besides location, guests appraise amazing mountain views from balconies and the cleanliness and spaciousness of the apartments.

Hostel 1902   - nice budget-friendly accommodation. The hostel is located on Krupówki Street - it's ideal for those who want to stay close to the main tourist attractions in Zakopane. Guests are happy with the professional and helpful staff, comfortable beds and cleanliness of the hostel.

Shepherds - the Highland Folklore in Zakopane 

Shepherds in Zakopane

Shepherds in Zakopane © Adam Olszowski / Adobe Stock

They are considered the wisest men in south Poland. Tatra Highlanders are able to predict the weather and are always eager to share truths about life.

They say that native citizens of Zakopane have rooted the desire to live as shepherds driven by generations of tradition. Many valleys in Tatra National Park are available for shepherds to sustain local traditions and culture. They are famous for producing the tasty and one of the cleanest cheeses called oscypek .

Working in Tatra Mountains is difficult and the weather doesn't spoil Tatra Highlanders. Fortunately,  they are rewarded with excellent cheese and breathtaking mountains to admire.

The shepherding tradition in Zakopane is very old . Farming wasn't possible due to bad grounds and lack of proper space.

Zakopane Highlanders have very characteristic and colourful outfits. They play, dance and sing during their festivals. I highly recommend checking if there are any traditional Tatra Highlanders festivals  during your visit - it's one of the most unique things to do in Zakopane. 

Zakopane local outfits

Traditional outfit of Zakopane citzens © Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Interestingly, Zakopane folklore is very present and vivid. Many locals wear their colourful outfits every day for their own pride or rich traditions and to promote their unique cultural identity.

Before you go for hikes in Zakopane

zakopane hiking trails

There are many hikes in Zakopane to choose from.

For the start, consider simple walks in the beautiful valleys like:

  • Chocholowska Valley
  • Kościeliska Valley
  • Gąsienicowa Valley
  • slightly more challenging  Valley of Five Lakes

If you want to hike the tops of the mountains, the most famous peaks are:

  • Kasprowy Wierch
  • Red Peaks (Czerwone Wierchy)
  • Kościelec (also known as the Polish Matterhorn)

You may also visit scenic Tatra Mountains lakes:

  • Morskie Oko lake
  • Black Gąsienicowe lake
  • Strbske Pleso and Popradske Pleso if you climb down from Rysy to Slovakia

What I like about all these places in Tatra Mountains is that they're fairly easily available - all these are day hikes from Zakopane.

I recommend planning loop hikes which is also quite easy as there are lots of trails to choose from. If that can't be done you may return the same way or hike from the North to the South (Slovakia), and return to Poland by taxi or bus.

✅ Before heading into the mountains,  you need to have a hiking map .

During all our trips to the Tatra mountains, we always had a map, and it was a big help every single time. We don't rely only on electronic devices - they can't be 100% trusted in the mountains.

✅  Tatra Mountains weather guide  - "proper preparation prevents poor performance".

✅  Practical information on hiking in Poland  - good to know before you hit the trail.

✅ Tatra Mountains huts - if you wish to sleep in the mountains.

Hikes from Zakopane - trailheads

hike zakopane

Here are the most popular trailheads in Zakopane:

⛰️ Chochołowska Valley parking - also is known as Witów Siwa Polana

The entrance is located in Western Tatras. It is the best starting point for easy hiking to the Chochołowska Polana and mountain shelter. This trailhead is a bit less popular than Kościeliska Valley entry.

Chocholowska Valley trailhead - Google Maps .

⛰️  Kiry - also known as Kościeliska Valley Parking

Located in Western Tatras, it's one of the most popular entries on this side of the mountains. Great for hiking the Kościeliska Valley and Czerwone Wierchy (Red Peaks). Kiry is a small settlement right next to Zakopane.

Kiry trailhead - Google Maps .

⛰️  Dolina Strążyska (Strążyska Valley)

An interesting starting point for exploring Western Tatras. It's slightly less popular than the other trailheads.

Strążyska Valley trailhead - Google Maps .

⛰️  Kuźnice

Kuźnice is a Zakopane district surrounded by National Park forests. There's a cable car to the famous Kasprowy Wierch mountain in Western Tatras. It's the preferred trailhead for Kasprowy Wierch, Giewont, Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy and Kościelec Mountain.

You cannot drive into Kuźnice . You can get there by bus from Zakopane center or leave the car at the parking on Bronisława Czecha Street ( Google Maps link ) or Karłowicza Street ( Google Maps link ) and walk to the trailhead/cable car.

Kasprowy Wierch cable car - Google Maps .

⛰️  Zakopane Cyrhla

In Toporowa Cyrhla you can hike through beautiful forests into the astonishing Hala Gąsienicowa, Murowaniec mountain shelter or Nosal mountain. The advantage of these trails is that there are fewer hikers.

Zakopane Cyrhla - Google Maps .

⛰️  Palenica Białczańska - also known as Morskie Oko parking

It's the most famous and main entry to the High Tatras - it's the best starting point for the Morskie Oko and Rysy hikes. It has the biggest parking with 450 parking places. Also, Łysa Polana and Wierch Poroniec parking are backup parking in case Palenica Białczańska is full.

If you will be traveling by car, you need to buy a Morskie Oko parking ticket in advance . You may purchase it here .

Palenica Białczańska - Google Maps .

Most popular hikes from Zakopane

Kasprowy wierch in western tatras.

Cable Car Kasprowy

The Cable car of Kasprowy Wierch mountain © kosmos111 / Adobe Stock

Kasprowy Wierch (6519ft / 1987m) is the most visited mountain in Polish Tatra National Park because it is accessible via cable car. The lift's lower station is in Kuźnice. It is a thrilling experience and the views are breathtaking .

If for some reason you can't hike in the mountains I highly recommend using the cable car to get to the top of Kasprowy. You can check the prices and buy the ticket here .

Bear in mind that it's not allowed to drive to Kuźnice . You can get there by bus from Zakopane center or leave the car at the parking on Bronisława Czecha Street ( Google Maps link ) or Karłowicza Street ( Google Maps link ) and walk to the trailhead/cable car.

Read more about Kasprowy Wierch mountain in this article .

Morskie Oko lake in High Tatras

morskie oko lake

Morskie Oko lake one of the most beautiful places in Tatra © shaiith / Adobe Stock

Morskie Oko lake is the most famous place in Tatra Mountains. Many travellers consider it also one of the most unique places in Poland. This beautiful postglacial lake is surrounded by the High Tatras - the landscape is amazing!

Morskie Oko hike is easy and suitable for all kinds of hikers, including families traveling with baby in a pram.

If you travel by car, remember to purchase a ticket to Morskie Oko parking in advance (you may do it here ).

Read the full hiking guide to Morskie Oko .

Rysy - the highest mountain in Poland

Peak of the Rysy mountain

Rysy peak © kabat / Adobe Stock

Rysy mountain is the highest peak and one of the more popular hikes in Poland. The route is considered difficult and steep and includes a few exposure points.  It is still doable for inexperienced people in the summertime but it is challenging. I recommend getting prepared before such a hike in High Tatras.

The route to the Rysy from Zakopane goes via Morskie Oko - one of the most beautiful places in Tatra Mountains. If you don't feel ready to hike the very steep slope of Rysy you can just stay at Morskie Oko or Czarny Staw Pod Rysami (Black Pond Under Rysy - 1583 m) and enjoy the surrounding mountains and nature.

Read the full hiking guide to Rysy .

Five Lakes Valley - moon-like scenery in High Tatras

joanna and her sister in valley of five ponds

On the picture Joanna with her sister in the view of Five Lakes Valley near Zawrat

I love Joanna's (co-founder) description of this place: "It's like a moon surface but on earth". So you don't have to wait for Elon Musk's space travel agency - you can do a 1-day hike from Zakopane in the High Tatras to the Valley of Five Ponds 😉

For me, hiking there is one of the best things to do in Zakopane. Absolutely go there!

Read the full hiking guide to Five Lakes Valley .

Red Peaks (Czerwone Wierchy) - the most beautiful hike in Western Tatras

Red Peaks_Czerwone Wierchy_Tatra mountains

Hiking Red Peaks at the end of September

Red Peaks hike is quite long but the amazing views of Western Tatras reward all the efforts. The route includes 4 mountains , each one above 2000 metres. You'll hike on a breathtaking ridge and admire the Tatra Mountains in their full glory. 

If you would like to make the hike easier, you may get to Kasprowy Wierch by cable car and start off from there.

Read the full hiking guide to Red Peaks .

Tatra Mountains in Slovakia

Krivan Slovakia

Krivan Mountain in High Tatras

To be honest, we like the Slovak Tatra Mountains even more than the Polish. We even travel to Slovak Tatras more often.  In this article, we explain why .

If you have more time and would like to go hiking in Slovakia's Tatra Mountains, check out the below articles:

→  Bystra Lavka - exciting hike in Štrbské Pleso

→  Krivan - demanding but scenic hike in High Tatras

→  Strbske Pleso and Popradske Pleso - the most beautiful lakes in Tatra Mountains

→  8 most spectacular hikes in High Tatras

→  Tatranská Lomnica - great base for High Tatras hiking

→  6 easy hikes in High Tatras - suitable also for beginners and families with kids

→ Beautiful hikes in Western Tatras

Non-hiking things to do in Zakopane

cloudy day in tatra mountains

Bad weather in Tatras © Kazick / Adobe Stock

Some people say your vacations can be as good or random as the weather you will get.

In Tatras, the weather tends to be very unpredictable. If you are interested, check out our article about the weather in the Tatra mountains .

It is essential to prepare for rainy weather, no matter if you're planning to enjoy Zakopane attractions and only try the Morskie Oko hike or you're going to spend a whole week hiking in Tatra Mountains.

Krupówki street

Krupowki street in Zakopane

Krupowki street in Zakopane © Andrey Shevchenko / Adobe Stock

Busiest and prettiest place in Zakopane. A vibrant street in the center, it is the best place for buying souvenirs and for shopping in general. There are also lots of restaurants and pubs where you may sample traditional Highlander food (or sushi or Mexican cuisine, everything really) and try Polish vodka.

Also, many historic and tourist attractions are located on Krupówki Street, e.x.:

  • Church st. Family built from Tatra rocks in 1876
  • Tatra Museum functioning since 1888
  • Art Gallery of Zamoysky
  • Lovely pond with a wooden bridge

Google Maps Link to Krupówki

If you would like to explore Krupówki Street along with other interesting things to do in Zakopane with a guide, check out the below tour:

Visit Krupówki Street, Gubałówka Mountain, The Great Krokiew ski jump, Na Peksowym Brzysku historic necropolis and Chochołów open air museum - all in just a single tour

The Tatra Museum in Zakopane

The museum opened in 1888 and functions until today. You will find there exhibitions presenting the history, culture, nature and ethnography of Tatra Mountains. 

The address: Krupówki 10 Street

Google Maps Redirect link.

  • Cheap entry
  • Perfect in case of rain
  • No english descriptions

The Gallery of 20th Century Art at Oksza Villa

Located in a beautiful villa built in the traditional Tatra Highlander style, it's a perfect place for art enthusiasts (Joanna loved it!).

You will find there pieces of art created by Polish artists fascinated with Tatra Mountains and Highlander Folklore. Eye-catching photos, paintings, sculptures, handicrafts - a visit to this art gallery is one of the most interesting things to do in Zakopane. 

Address: Zamoyskiego 25 Street

Google Maps link .

Klub Vavavoom

things to do in zakopane.

Located close to Krupówki Street. Klub Vavavoom is one of the main places to visit in Zakopane if you're looking for nightlife attractions.

Guests praise the ambience, music and friendly bartenders who prepare a wide selection of drinks and cocktails.

Google Maps link to Klub Vavavoom .

Zakopane water parks

waterpark.png

If you would like to relax and try some relaxing things to do in Zakopane, you might be interested in the below options:

CHOCHOLOW THERMAL BATHS

The biggest waterpark in southern Poland. It offers numerous indoor and outdoor pools with hot thermal water (there are about 30 pools!), many different kinds of saunas, slides, a kid's zone, SPA facilities, a sports centre, restaurants and a pool bar.

We especially liked the spacious infrared sauna with big windows from which we admired the panoramic view of the Tatra mountains.

If you would like to visit this modern water park and not waste time in lines, you can get a full-access ticket in advance here .

BIAŁKA TATRZANSKA THERMAL BATHS

It's a smaller waterpark than Chocholow Thermal Baths but also a fun place to visit. It offers a few thermal pools with a beautiful mountain view and several saunas, outdoor and indoor.

Bialka Tatrzanska Thermal Baths are divided into the quiet and loud zone. The latter offers water attractions: waterslides, a kid's fun zone, outdoor pools, waterfalls, etc.

You can get a skip-the-line ticket along with hotel pick-up here .

Crocus flower in Polish mountains

Alpinarium is a mountain botanical garden. This outstanding place is home to about 600 types of mountain plants. There are also endangered species and plants which grow nowhere else.

It’s a very nice place to let our hair down after the hustle and bustle of Krupówki street. Visiting the Alpinarium will also be one of the best things to do in Zakopane for nature admirers.

Link to the location in Google maps .

Zakopane city park

Zakopane city park

The playground in the park is excellent for children. Also on the terrain of the park, there is a beautiful traditional wooden Jutrzenka Villa. I like this park and go for a stroll there whenever I don't hike in the mountains.

Link to the location in Google maps.

View from Gubalowka mountain zakopane

Gubałówka (3674ft / 1120m) is a popular mountain situated in the north part of Zakopane. There are a few different ways to get to Gubałówka mountain:

  • hike from Krupówki Street (nice and easy hike, takes about 1 hour to walk to Gubałówka. Link to the hike .)
  • take a funicular - the lower station is close to Krupówki Street. You may buy a Gubałówka funicular ticket here .
  • drive there by car.

The views from Gubałówka Mountain are stunning - you get to admire a panorama of the Tatra mountains and the entire Zakopane.

On Gubałówka there are souvenir shops, restaurants, a gravity slide, a toboggan run, a rope park, an amusement arcade - you name it! Visiting Gubałówka is one of the most fun things to do in Zakopane.

The Great Krokiew ski jump

zakopane attractions

The biggest ski jump in Poland. You may walk up or ride up in a chair lift. Great view from the top and observatory. You can slide down in the pontoon if you're up for a bit of adrenaline 🙂

The entry is paid and once you're inside you can buy a ticket to the slide. They only accept cash (there's a cash machine nearby). There are lots of small shops and food stands at the foot of the ski jump. Paid parking is also available.

Google Maps link to Wielka Krokiew ski jump .

Chochołów open-air museum

zakopane-wood-huts.jpg

Wooden huts © bnorbert3 / Adobe Stock

Chochołów is a living and functioning village that is also an open-air museum of settlements and folklore.

It is located 12 miles from Zakopane but definitely worth a visit. The huts were built in the XIX century in the traditional Tatra Highlander style and are well-preserved and used up to date.

You can visit this unique open-air museum together with Chochołów thermal baths.

Link Chochołów in Google Maps .

Parrot house in Zakopane

parrot in parrot house zakopane

© Alinsa / Adobe Stock

Zakopane has its own "parrotarium" (Papugarnia Egoztyczne Zakopane). It's one of the most interesting family things to do in Zakopane - kids love this place! And it is a unique occasion to take a selfie with a parrot on your arm - the parrots are used to the presence of people and are very curious, especially if you have food 😉 (you can buy parrot food on site).

Parrot House Zakopane features over 100 birds and it's the biggest attraction of this type in southern Poland.

Address:  Droga do Olczy 11, Zakopane

Opening hours: every day 10:00 am. to 7:00 pm.

  • Free parking
  • Ability to make a selfie with parrots
  • Great for families
  • Parrots can sit on your arm
  • Maybe too many visitors during high season

Traditional Tatra Mountains buildings

mountain hut in polish mountains

Modern wooden huts © shaiith / Adobe Stock

Traditional Tatra Mountains buildings are wooden and beautifully ornamented - they reflect the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the Tatra region. These buildings are designed to withstand the harsh mountain environment

Typical characteristics of these houses are:

  • Gable roofs - steeply pitched gable roofs are a common feature, designed to shed heavy snowfall during the winter months.
  • Decorative woodwork - Tatra Highlander artisans are skilful - they create unique wood carvings and decorative elements. These carvings often present traditional folk motifs, geometric patterns, or scenes from nature.
  • Balconies and verandas - to make Tatra buildings even more beautiful 🙂
  • Colorful facades - the most popular colors are red, green, and blue.
  • High windows
  • Stone foundations - to provide stability in the mountainous terrain, many buildings have stone foundations. I like this element - it adds an authentic touch to the architecture.

Accommodation in Zakopane

Houses of Zakopane © Milan / Adobe Stock

How to get to Zakopane?

travel poland

If you're planning to travel by plane, the closest airport in Poland will be Kraków Airport (full name: John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice). It's located 110 km from Zakopane.

Booking.com offers cheap flight booking services - you may compare flights from 500+ airlines to destinations around the world.

You can check deals on flights here:

If you'd like to travel a lot and visit multiple places, the most convenient and fast way to travel is to rent a car. When we need to rent a car we always use  Rentalcars.com  and are happy with them, never had any issues with this company.

You may check deals on car rentals in Poland here:

If you prefer public transportation you may take a bus from Kraków Airport, e.x. Flixbus. They offer direct shuttles to Zakopane. You can check the prices and timetable here .

If you have more time, it would be a good idea to visit Krakow city , spend there a few days and then head into the mountains.

Here's a 5-day itinerary including Krakow and Zakopane .

BUSES FROM KRAKÓW TO ZAKOPANE

If you prefer to travel to Zakopane from Krakow by bus you have a few carriers to choose from: Flixbus, Szwagropol, Majer Bus or Maxbus Zakopane . 

You can get a direct shuttle from Kraków Central Bus Station.  Here  you will check the timetable and prices.

Central Bus Station in Kraków is located on Bosacka 18 Street, right next to the main train station. Here's a   Google Maps link .

TRAINS FROM KRAKÓW TO ZAKOPANE

Kraków Main Station is on Pawia Street (here's a  Google Maps link ). Direct trains go to Zakopane from Kraków. You will check the timetable and book your train tickets  here .

Trains in Poland are good for traveling between the cities. If you want to discover  beautiful nature in Poland , villages and National Parks, it's best to  travel by car .

Buses in Zakopane

best things to do in zakopane

To get to the trailheads it's best to travel by private buses which shuttle from the central station in Zakopane center on Kościuszki 23 Street ( Google Maps link ).

In 2023 central bus station is undergoing a renovation and buses temporarily shuttle from Aleja 3 Maja Street ( Google Maps link ).

To find a bus which will take you to your preferred trailhead simply look at the tables at the front window.

In the summer, buses start to shuttle at 6 AM and are very frequent. It's worth mentioning that drivers usually don't depart strictly according to the timetable - they wait until the bus is full and then depart (buses fill up very quickly).

There are lots of shuttles to the trailheads so you just come to the bus station, choose the right bus and shortly you'll be on your way.

You may buy the ticket at bus driver's - cash only .

If you're planning on travelling in Zakopane with public transportation , check the timetable here .

There are a few ways to purchase public bus tickets in Zakopane:

  • at the bus vending machine (cash only)
  • mPay mobile app
  • Tourist Information Center on  Chramcówki 35 Street
  • ticket vending machines

The vending machines are located in several places:

  • Zakopane central bus station
  • Aleje 3 Maja Górne
  • Aleje 3 Maja Dolne
  • Jana Pawła II roundabout near Kuźnice, right next to the Tatra National Park information office.

Zakopane dark secrets

Smog in autumn and winter

smog in zakopane

Winter smog in Zakopane © Irina84 / Adobe Stock

Lots of Zakopane citizens use coal and wood for central heating. Additionally, the location of Zakopane makes it difficult to naturally ventilate the city, which results in high air pollution during the cold months.

The level of dust in the wintertime sometimes is record-high and can reach PM10 over 400 µg multiple times - where 200 µg is considered very high.

The problem doesn't exist in warm months .

If you happen to visit Zakopane in winter, it's best to keep checking the air quality with one of the online air monitors (e.x. this one ). Zakopane has multiple measuring devices installed.

Halny wind (Foehn wind)

The halny in Tatra mountains - fen wind

Halny wind in Tatra mountains - © burasek79 / Adobe Stock

It is a very strong wind blowing into the valleys dry and warm air. It can be very sudden and cause a lot of infrastructure damage.

"Halny" is also influencing the people's mood. Because of rapid atmospheric pressure changes people with cardiovascular and heart issues may experience difficulties.

This strong wind also influences the mood, people become nervous and grumpy. Suicide rate rises! Also, it's reported that animals act strangely during that time.

Halny wind occurs most often in autumn and early spring.

Traffic jams

zakpane traffic

© Henryk Sadura / Adobe Stock

A lot of travelers come to Zakopane by car as it's the most convenient way to travel in Poland. This may result in 1 - 2 hours delays when travelling out of or to Kraków.

Be sure to check Traffic intensity on Google Maps in Zakopane  before hitting the road.

Insider travel tip: to avoid traffic jams, consider renting an electric scooter. There are scooter rental shops in Zakopane center.

Is Zakopane worth visiting?

zakopane city

Zakopane city might not be your best travel destination if:

📌 You're vegan or on a diet. Traditional Tatra Highlander food tends to be meaty and high in calories . Pork knuckle, roasted sausages, bigos (a hearty dish made with a variety of meats and sauerkraut), sauerkraut soup (it always contains a greasy type of meat) - these are examples of typical food served in the majority of restaurants in Zakopane. However, there are a few restaurants in Zakopane which offer vegan and/or vegetarian food - see below.

📌 Crowds  make you angry. Zakopane is popular among Poles and international travellers alike.

📌 You're bothered by  unpredictable weather and packing additional clothing. Traveling to Zakopane is a bit demanding when it comes to windproof jackets, waterproof boots, gaiters, etc.

📌 You'd like to eat out a lot but travel on a budget. Zakopane restaurants and pubs (especially in the center) are pricey.

Vegan restaurants in Zakopane?

zakopane vegan

Here's a list of our favourite restaurants in Zakopane which offer vegan and vegetarian meals. We haven't found a 100% vegan restaurant in Zakopane.

🌮 Las - vegetarian & vegan bistro in Zakopane. The food is very good and moderately priced. Here's a link to Google Maps .

🌮 STRH Bistro Art Cafe - located on Krupowki street. They have a terrace with a beautiful view of the mountains. Here's a link to Google Maps .

🌮 Bar Górski - budget-friendly eatery with vegan options. Good value for money. Here's a link to Google Maps .

🌮 Eco-Cafe Zieleń - a cafe which offers cakes made from organic ingredients. Gluten-free, sugar-free or vegan options available. Here's a link to Google Maps .

Traditional Polish food tour

attractions in zakopane

If you're not on a diet and would like to enjoy Zakopane attractions to the fullest, consider going on a food tour.

It's a fantastic option for foodies . You will discover traditional Polish food and beverages and learn about Polish traditions.

This tour includes also sightseeing - check it out:

Other fantastic hikes in Poland

babia gora trails

Polish mountains are very diversified and cover large areas in southern parts of the country.

There are 3 mountain chains in Poland:

  • Świętokrzyskie Mountains
  • Carpathian Mountains
  • Sudety Mountains

Each of them is divided into mountain ranges. Have a look at the best hikes in Poland, outside Tatra Mountains:

⛰️  13 easy hikes in Poland (great also for hiking with kids)

⛰️  Gorce Mountains - perfect for hiking near Krakow

⛰️  Beskid Wyspowy - mountain getaway, also an ideal option for hiking near Krakow

⛰️ Żywiec Beskidy Mountains - another fine destination for hiking near Krakow

⛰️  Silesian Beskidy Mountains - a splendid option for hiking near Katowice

⛰️ Bieszczady - the wildest mountains in Poland

⛰️ Babia Góra National Park

⛰️  Nature in Poland - the best places to visit

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  • Questions & Answers

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DISCOVER ZAKOPANE com:

a website created by the inhabitants of Zakopane

practical information on the town of Zakopane and the region (since 2003)

airport transfers, accommodation, attractions and much more

ZAKOPANE POLAND

Zakopane snowmobile tours

  • Snowmobile tours

Sleigh ride in the Chocholowska Valley

  • Sleigh rides

Zakopane apartment at Krupowki street

  • Recommended accommodation

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  • Skiing and snowboarding

ZAKOPANE POLAND TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS

Zakopane Krupowki promenade

WHEN TO VISIT ZAKOPANE?

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HOW TO GET TO ZAKOPANE?

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WHERE TO STAY IN ZAKOPANE

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ZAKOPANE SKI SEASON

Chocholow Village

VICINITY OF ZAKOPANE

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TATRA NATIONAL PARK

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USEFUL INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS WITH DOGS

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CYCLING IN AND NEAR ZAKOPANE

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ZAKOPANE THINGS TO DO:

snowmobile tour in Zakopane

  • snowmobile tour is an unforgettable attraction for everyone

SNOWMOBILE TOURS

sleigh ride in the Tatra National Park

  • sleigh rides in the Chocholowska Valley in the Tatra National Park

SLEIGH RIDE

ski jumping World Cup in Zakopane

  • the largest and most important sport event in Zakopane

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP

Kasprowy Wierch cable car

  • Kasprowy Wierch cable car - for skiers and tourists

KASPROWY WIERCH IN PHOTOS

Termy Chocholowskie

  • there are 6 baths with thermal water in the vicinity of Zakopane

THERMAL BATHS NEAR ZAKOPANE

Dunajec Gorge rafting

  • rafting through the spectacular Dunajec Gorge

DUNAJEC GORGE RAFTING

day trips from Zakopane

  • Day Trips from Zakopane to Krakow, Auschwitz, Wieliczka, Slovak Tatras...

DAY TRIPS FROM ZAKOPANE

Festival of Highland Folklore in Zakopane

  • Festival of Highland Folklore is the most important cultural event organized in Zakopane

ZAKOPANE FOLKLOR FESTIVAL

Barbara - reflection in ski goggles

DISCOVER ZAKOPANE BLOG - latest posts:

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ZAKOPANE POLAND - WORTH TO KNOW before arrival

Zakopane

  • The wooden sign ZAKOPANE is a popular place for the souvenir photo - it is located in the park Równia Krupowa, near the intersection of Kościuszki and 3go Maja streets.

Church Holidays

Most of the shops, some restaurants and activities like sleigh rides and rafting are closed on the Christmas Day, Easter Day and Corpus Christi

Dzien dobry!

Local people (especially older ones) like to be greeted with Dzien Dobry (jayn DOH-bry = Good Morning)

Zacopane? Zakopan?

The correct name of our town is ZAKOPANE ( zakopane in Polish means buried..) not Zacopane, Zakopan, etc.

What does Podhale mean?

Podhale is a historical and geographical region located at the northern foot of the Tatra Mountains.

What is Giewont?

Giewont (1894 m above sea level) is a Tatra peak - one of the symbols of Zakopane.

Oscypek? Oszczypek?

Oscypek is a smoked sheep's milk cheese with a small amount of cow's milk (both names are correct).

My favorite hotels in Zakopane and vicinity:

Zakopane - aries hotel & spa.

Beautiful hotel, fantastic SPA, extraordinary breakfast. The location is quiet but very close to walk to Krupowki Promenade and main attractions of Zakopane.

Zakopane hotel Aries

GRAND HOTEL STAMARY

Very convenient location between the bus and train station, and Krupowki promenade. Most rooms have balconies with a view of the Tatra Mountains, two-level Wellness & SPA (600 m2) with physiotherapy treatments, restaurant serving old Polish dishes, a playroom for children.

Zakopane hotel Grand Stamary

HOTEL AQUARION

Hotel Nosalowy Dwor

HOTEL NOSALOWY DWOR

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Ultimate Summer Travel Guide to the Best Things to do in Zakopane, Poland

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Home » Ultimate Summer Travel Guide to the Best Things to do in Zakopane, Poland

A summer trip to the beautiful town of Zakopane, in Poland , is essential to enjoy the quiet charm of the place.

It is quaint and peaceful without the tourist crowds of winter.

The town of Zakopane has got it all! There are tonnes of wonderful wooden mountain villas and manors dating back to the 19th century.

There are many wonderful walking trails and hikes from the town as well, which allow for beautiful views of the majestic Tatra mountains.

This is the place where you will spend an amazing summer holiday for sure!

zakopane travel blog

Now, let’s find out what are the best things to do in Zakopane in summer.

Where is Zakopane?

Zakopane is a small and beautiful resort town located at the base of Tatry Mountains in Southern Poland the highest part of the majestic Carpathian Range of Central/Eastern Europe.

The town is situated in a perfect location for both the winter skiing season and of course for the summer mountain relaxation and hiking getaways.

Things to Do in Zakopane Poland in the Summer

Below you will find a list of the best places to visit in Zakopane, Poland, during the beautiful warmer months.

1. Take a Stroll on Krupowki Street

Krupowki street in Zakopane Poland

The streets are filled with stalls selling local Polish dishes and many souvenir shops.

The scenic beauty of the place is absolutely breathtaking, with beautiful surrounding houses.

Moreover, you can even catch some of the local highland music in the evening Kapela Góralska.

If you are wondering what to do in Zakopane in summer that will leave a lasting pleasant memory, there are two unique things you should not miss.

Holidays to Zakopane are not complete without a horse and carriage ride.

You can enjoy carriage rides from the street to the town’s outskirts or in the Tatra National Park.

It is one of the must-have experiences in Poland; be sure not to miss it!

zakopane travel blog

There are many wonderful places to eat, with several traditional restaurants having waiters in traditional Tatra clothes and big open grills.

Some of the unique local cuisines can be found nowhere else in Poland.

From fresh trout delicacies, a variety of grilled meats, tasty Pierogi dumplings, Kwaśnica soup, Naleśniki rolls, and Pierniki cookies.

So many dishes and treat to try!

2. Ride the Cable Cars at Mt. Kasprowy Wierch

Zakopane with Kids, in Poland

This mountain is a very popular ski spot and the breathtaking view from its summit is unparalleled.

You can easily reach the summit with the cable car, which is one of the oldest in Europe.

The scenic route up to the top is truly a sight to behold.

There are a lot of great tracks for walking and taking in the wonderful sights.

You can even watch the wonderful Hala Gasienicowa or the observatory from your cable car.

The mountaintop has several souvenir and food shops, and wonderful observation decks to bask in the glorious view.

3. Hike to Morskie Oko

zakopane travel blog

The beautiful lake of Morskie Oko is the largest lake in the Tatras, and offers a wonderful experience.

The lake has inspired many artists and once you see it, you will understand why.

Often called a “fish lake”, you can easily spot the fish in the perfectly clear waters.

To reach the lake, you can take a bus from Zakopane to Palenica Bialczanska.

From there, you have two options for getting to the Morskie Oko:

Hiking to Morskie Oko:

The 8 km (5 miles) hike from Palenica Bialczanska to Morskie Oko will take you around 1.5-2 hours one way. Although it is a fairly long walk, it is classed as an easy walk.

zakopane travel blog

The walking track winds up the mountain at not a very steep incline. The road is pretty smooth and it is good for baby strollers as well.

Horse Cart to Morskie Oko:

If you choose to go on a horse cart, the trip will take you about 40 minutes up and around 20 minutes to return.

The cost per person may vary slightly between one-way or return, so please check with the driver, before hopping on.

Please note, the horsecart ride doesn’t go all the way up and you will still need to walk part of the way to get to the lake.

As you make your way up the trail, make sure to keep your eyes open and your camera ready to take photos of spectacular views.

One of the points of interest for you should include Mickiewicz’s Falls.

You will need a minute or two here to absorb the beautiful mountain scenery.

Try to head out to the lake on a beautiful sunny day.

Whilst we had good weather on the hike, it quickly turned cloudy and you really need the sun to get the pop of color on the water.

Here is our photo of the lake on a cloudy day (see the photo under the sub-heading to see what it will be like on a clear sunny day – big difference huh!)

zakopane travel blog

Further up from Morskie Oko is Czarny Staw, which means Black Pond.

This hike is more strenuous and does not have a paved road – so make sure to take a baby carrier with you, if you wish to tackle this bit of the hike with your baby.

Despite that, it is a wonderful experience!

The surrounding pine trees and the views make it a hike to remember.

Once you reach the pond, you’ll find that it is pretty isolated and beautiful, perfect for relaxing and leaving behind all the worries of the world.

4. Catch the Funicular to Mt. Gubalowka

zakopane travel blog

The mountain overlooks the town of Zakopane and has some of the most amazing views of the surroundings.

You can truly take in enchanting vistas from the mountain peak.

The sunset and night views from the mountain are truly wondrous.

You can take a Funicular to the top of Gubałowka mountain and enjoy a nice walk around the summit.

zakopane travel blog

There are a lot of food and souvenir shops at the top for a hearty Polish meal.

The tickets for the Gubalowka Cable Railway will sting you from 14 PLN (around $4 USD) for one way, or 22 PLN (approx $6 USD) for a return ticket.

Children under 4 years old can travel for free and there are no additional fees for prams or pushchairs as well.

The ride takes about 3.5 minutes, and it covers around 1298 meters whilst climbing 300 meters up to the top of Zakopane for more fun family-friendly activities!

Some of the best summer fun activities at the top of Gubalowka include the famous Gravitational Slide (Tobogganing) and the Rope Line Adventure Park.

zakopane travel blog

Here is where both, young and older kids can challenge themselves to new heights, whilst giving you a bit of a break too!

If you are traveling with kids, this list of things to do in Zakopane that is specifically geared toward families and kids will be for you!

5. Enjoy the Breathtaking Sights at Mt. Giewont

Giewont-and-Little-Giewont-peaks-seen-from-south-slope

Mt. Giewont is one of the most popular summer hiking spots.

And, when you feel the chilly winds under the warm summer sun, it makes for a truly wonderful experience.

The hike is not easy, but the view is totally worth it. Some parts of the hike are through rope climbing.

The massif consists of three peaks- Small, Great, and Long Giewont. The Great Giewont is also a religious site for pilgrims.

On its summit, there is a 15-meter steel cross from 1901.

In Polish Folklore, Giewont is a sleeping knight who will awaken if Poland is ever in danger.

The mountain is a symbol of Polish identity and spirit. You can see the resemblance to the knight in its silhouette.

6. Try the Oscypek Cheese

Oscypek Cheese Zakopane Poland

A trip to Zakopane would not be complete if you don’t experience the wonderful Oscypek cheese.

Oscypek or Oszczypek is a smoked cheese made from salted sheep’s milk.

Cow’s milk is also added to it as indicated by the protected recipe. It is exclusively manufactured in the Tatra Mountain region of Poland.

We really loved both the traditional sheet as well as the goats Oscypek that is used for grilling purposes – add a bit of jam and you will be in food heaven!

7. Other Activities

zakopane travel blog

There are a lot of wonderful museums in Zakopane to experience the history of Poland and the unique culture of the Tatra mountains.

And if you are interested more in the traditional Highlander culture and architecture, then you will love checking out the amazing wooden churches.

These are filled to the brim with regional character and unique charm.

A lot of adventure sports are present near the town as well, such as rafting on the Dunajec River, various hikes, mountain gliding, and gravitational slide are some of the most popular summer things you can do in Zakopane.

Tip: If you would like to check out the beautiful countryside of Zakopane, take a ride on Gubalowka and go Water Rafting on Dunajec, you can go on this Dunajec River Gorge and Zakopane full day trip from Zakopane if you like.

How to Reach Zakopane?

Zakopane is located about a 2 to 2.5-hour drive South of Krakow and there are a number of ways to get there, including taking public transport such as a bus or a train ride.

Alternatively, you can choose to drive there directly or take a day tour.

Here are the best ways of getting to Zakopane:

We always choose to drive for ourselves and this is, in our opinion, the best way to get to Zakopane.

zakopane travel blog

This way you can enjoy the amazing Highlander drive and check out the surrounding towns on the way. 

Our preferred car rental place is   Auto Europe .

Here you can quickly compare car rental prices across all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, and Europcar.   Click to see prices for car rentals .

This is a great way of getting to Zakopane, if you are on a budget, but still, want to check out the road on the way.

Once in Zakopane, there are buses available to move around between the attractions as well.

This is the least expensive way to travel and you will still get from Krakow to Zakopane within 2.5 hours.

Alternatively, you might prefer to simply book an affordable  visit Zakopane on a day trip  from Krakow tour and chill out whilst the tour guide does all the work. Sounds good? I know it does!

A holiday in Zakopane is an experience you will remember forever!

It is just this kind of place, filled with fun, relaxation, generous Highlander culture, and spectacular scenery! We loved it and we hope that you will enjoy Zakopane just as much as we did!

Over to you:

There you have it; our list of the best things to do in Zakopane, Poland.

  • So, when are you planning to visit?
  • Which of the attractions caught your eye the most?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer:  Thanks to Made in Zakopane and PKL Kasprowy Wierch for organizing our tickets for both Kasrpowy Wierch and Gubalowka Cable Railway.

Photo of author

Jolene Ejmont

2 thoughts on “ultimate summer travel guide to the best things to do in zakopane, poland”.

Great article, very interesting and helpful. Also – great pictures 🙂

Thank you 🙂

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20 Things to do in Zakopane Poland For a Fantastic Holiday

Looking for the best things to do in Zakopane in summer and winter? You are in the right place.

I have visited Zakopane during both seasons, and I cannot pick a favourite. Hence I decided to share a combined guide to help you if you are wondering what to do in Zakopane.

While Krakow may be the most popular destination in Poland, close to this city lies the winter capital, Zakopane.

Nestling at the foot of the majestic Tatra Mountain Range, this enchanting city is one of the best places that should be on your itinerary.

From hiking to funicular rides to museums to delicious Polish food, there are plenty of Zakopane things to do, something for every kind of traveler.

Without much ado, keep scrolling further to know everything in this ultimate list of things to do in Zakopane.

ZAKOPANE ATTRACTS MAP

Top things to do in zakopane in summer and winter, taste local cheese oscypeck.

One of the unmissable things to do in Zakopane is to try the local special delicacy, Oscypek .

This delicious salted cheese, made of smoked sheep’s and goat’s milk from the highlands of the mountains around, is the proud invention of this gorgeous town. 

places to visit in Zakopane

Although you can find Oscypek is various cities in Poland, you should try it here, in its city of origin!

The history of Oscypek dates back to the 14th century.

It is a part of the staple food of the locals, and you can try them with cranberries, bacon, sausages and or just the cheese itself, as a snack or breakfast too.

poland zakopane weather

If you love cheese like me, you will fall in love with Oscypek, which tastes smoky with a tinge of salt, and is carved into various designs and sold in small shops and carts on the streets of Zakopane.

LEARN HOW THE CHEESE IS MADE

If you want to know how Oscypek is prepared, then even better than just getting to taste, right? 

All you have to do is get a bit outside the town where you will find many wooden houses amidst the fields where you can visit to watch how the cheese is traditionally prepared and designed on moulds.

activities to do in poland

I’d highly recommend joining a guided local cheese-making tour because learning about the cheese culture is one of the best things to do in Zakopane.

Also, try this guided food tour in Zakopane to taste other local delicacies with the experts.

STROLL ON ZAKOPANE’S MOST FAMOUS STREET

One of the top things to do in Zakopane is strolling on its main street Krupowki, which is the heart of the town.

This pedestrians-only street stretches for over a kilometre, beginning at the starting point of the Gubalowka funicular ride station.

Whether you are here in Zakopane in winter or in Zakopane in summer, you will find this street bustling with locals and tourists shopping, dining at many amazing restaurants and bars or unwinding in those adorable cafes. 

things to do in Zakopane

Local band performances and musical events will entertain you at night in the bars and restaurants.

Krupowki is the best place for people-watching and soaking in the charm of this town.

Try some of the best sausages, soups and bread on this street. You can witness musical performances by the local artists.

If you are in Poland for Christmas, you will find an additional Christmas market with decorated wooden chalets, Christmas trees, carols, food shops, rides, and more.

The street will be transformed into an enchanting Yuletide paradise. 

Krupówki street in Zakopane during Christmas is magical

Among the local souvenirs you should buy are Tatra handicrafts, wooden toys, glass products decorated with hand-made paintings, and winter/summer clothes.

As mentioned earlier, Krupówki street is where you should also try Oscypek, which comes in all shapes and sizes.

Recommended: Krakow: Zakopane Day Trip with Hot Springs and Hotel Pickup

CHECK OUT THE UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE

Zakopane is famous for its wooden houses and buildings that have tiered architecture.

One of the unique things to do in Zakopane is to notice these cute houses with patios decorated with flower pots. 

As you wander through the town, you will notice that many homes, restaurants, and even churches are built in this unique style of Zakopane wooden architecture.

things to do in Zakopane

The history of these wooden buildings date back to the early 19th-century, as Stanislaw Witkiewicz, a renowned Polish architect is credited with the creation of this style and is the trademark style in the Podhale region. 

Zakopane style houses and villas are especially sought throughout Poland and also in Europe, and I’s recommend you to stay in one such wooden chalet.

TAKE A CABLE CAR RIDE

One of the most beautiful things to do in Zakopane is to admire the panoramic bird views of the town surrounded by the magnificent Tatra. 

You shouldn’t miss any chance to enjoy these splendid views, and one of them involves taking a cable car ride to the top of Mount Kasprowy Wierch.

Recommended: Zakopane Full-Day Trip from Krakow with Cable Car Ride

Did you know? Kasprowy Wierch is home to the highest ski resort in Poland.

things to do in Zakopane

Whether you are visiting Zakopane during the peak winter season or you are in Zakopane in summer, you should take a ride to Mount Kasprowy and spend some time as both seasons are ideal and offer different experiences.

If you are wondering what to do in Zakopane with kids, this trip will best for them.

things to do in Zakopane

In winter, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on Mount Kasprowy.

The Gasienicowa and Goryczkowa, the two popular ski runs, are the only alpine-style slopes in the country, ideal for an advanced skier.

Since the funicular ride to Gubalowka is among the top Zakopane attractions, you can alternatively head to Kasprowy if you prefer fewer crowds. However, I’d recommend giving both a try if you have time!

GET TO THE TOP OF GUBALOWKA MOUNTAINS

Just a five-minute funicular ride from the centre will take you to one of the top things to do in Zakopane – visiting Gubalowka Mountain.

zakopane travel blog

As much as the place, this super short ride to the top is a beautiful ascend as you see the dense forests below and the mountain peaks around on your way up to the top.

things to do in Zakopane

Located at over 1100 meters, Gubałówka offers dramatic views of the town and the surrounding Tatra mountains. It is a part of the Tatra National Park. 

You can check out the decked terrace, where you will find many cafes and restaurants to buy some food and drink for the company as you sit to soak in the blissful views.

mountains tatry

Since it is a popular attraction, expect to encounter a lot of street food, from sausages to soups. Take a walk amidst the market to check out handicrafts and souvenirs.

Many trails for hikers start from Gubalowka, ideal to enjoy the outdoors in summer. In winter, you can ski or rent a snowboard.

zakopane travel blog

If you plan to visit Zakopane from Krakow as a day trip, I’d recommend you book this epic guided tour that involves a cable car ride to the top of Gubalowka Mountain . 

This excellent private tour is worth every penny, as you can also visit Chocholow village and relax in the thermal pools on your way back. 

Recommended: Kraków: Zakopane Tour with Thermal Pool

TRY TASTY POLISH DELICACIES AND DRINKS

Unlike the other regions of Poland, the cuisine of the Tatra region is known for its copious amounts of calories, especially large fat content. 

This is one of the reasons why Oscypek cheese is a staple food.

Consuming high-calorie foods is a tradition dating to the 14th century when farmers around the mountains had to endure the harsh weather and work long hours outdoors.

Some of the delicious food of Tatra has been passed on to many generations in Zakopane, so you can throw your diet out of the window (it’s a holiday, after all!) and indulge in the tasty delicacies.

Polish dumplings

Poland is known for its ultimate soups, and Zakopane is no exception. Try two specialities, Zurek – the traditional Polish soup and Kwaśnica, made of meat, served with mashed potatoes or bread.

Also, try the different types of cakes and special potato dumplings served with sour cream.

The restaurants on Krupówki street are awesome, but they are catered towards tourists. For a more authentic experience, try these Polish delicacies in one of the milk bars.

Join this beer tasting tour in Zakopane for an absolute fun experience.

LEARN ZAKOPANE’S HERITAGE ON A WALKING TOUR

The best way to experience and explore the city’s culture, traditions and history is by signing up for a walking tour. What better than a local to get you through the heart of Zakopane? 

zakopane travel blog

Whether it is the rich ancient history of Zakopane or the culture and traditions of people in the Tatra mountains or learning about cheese, skiing, or pretty wooden huts, one of the best things to do in Zakopane is joining a guided walking tour.

RELAX IN THE THERMAL SPAS

One of the perks of traveling in the mountains is the many beautiful natural hot springs rich in minerals that you can enjoy.

Imagine being surrounded by surreal views in pretty villages and unwinding in one of the thermal baths – your idea of holiday bliss? 

If you are nodding with me, then one of the items on the list of must things to do in Zakopane should be thermal baths hopping .

best ski resort in poland

Among the most famous thermal spas in Zakopane is Terma Bukowina, located in Bukowina Tatrzańska village, which is around 25 minutes from Zakopane 

Other lovely thermal spas are in Chocholow, Szaflary, and Białka Tatrzańska – one of the enchanting villages in the Tatra mountains.

How about combining a day of skiing and thermal baths? Book this tour which gives you access to both at reasonable prices.

Recommended: From Krakow: Zakopane Tour and Hot Springs with Hotel Pickup

PLAN A TRIP TO THE NEARBY POST-CARD PERFECT VILLAGES

One of the best things about the gorgeous mountains is the valleys that are home to secluded enchanting villages, away from the crowds of travelers.

If you want to get glimpses of the rugged life in the mountains and the Polish villages, you should plan a drive or a trip to nearby villages in the Tatra mountains. 

things to do in Zakopane

The rolling hills, greenery everywhere, streams, forests and winding roads – these landscapes will enchant you with their ethereal beauty.

Among the most beautiful villages, check out Zab, which is known for its excellent location overlooking the majestic Gorce, Tatra and the Babia Gora Mountain Ranges.

poland zakopane skiing

The views from Male Ciche, a quaint village surrounded by astoundingly beautiful landscapes, will make you fall in love with Poland again.

Less than 15 minutes from Zakopane, this village is also home to an advanced ski jump if you are visiting in winter.

zakopane travel blog

CHECK OUT A HILLTOP FAIRY TALE CASTLE

Just an hour drive away from Zakopane lies the tiny hamlet of Niedzica, one of the villages on the mountains of Tatra.

It is home to a 14th-century medieval castle sitting atop a hill on the banks of the River Dunajec, one of the beautiful Poland castles.

Niedzica castle

While the town itself is a perfect getaway to enjoy a stroll in the town, one of the best things to do in Zakopane is visit this stone castle.

ATTEND THE HIGHLAND FOLKLORE FESTIVAL

Zakopane is known in Europe for the Highland Folklore Festival, which is held before the spring every year, usually in February. 

Initially, a casual, local tradition of gathering the main folk groups from the highland mountains of Tatra to conserve the culture eventually made it into an incredible folklore festival, one of the unique kinds in Poland and Europe. 

zakopane travel blog

Now, not only Polish but folk artists from all over the world gather every year to appreciate and celebrate the rich culture of Tatra Highlanders.

You can participate in competitions like singing folk songs or in costume contests.

The event is one of the best things to do in Zakopane for fantastic fun involving singing and dancing.

Plan a trip to witness this international festival, where you can also explore art exhibitions and galleries.

Recommended: From Krakow: Zakopane and Tatra Mountains Full-Day Tour

HEAD TO AQUA PARK

If you are wondering about the fun things to do in Zakopane with your kids, then you should head to Aqua Park Zakopane.

Located in the city centre, you will have ultimate fun in this park, equipped with many rides, thermal pools, bowling and other games for an activity-filled day. 

One of the many lovely things about Aqua Park is its awesome location overlooking the mountains and valleys.

For the best use of your time and to involve more exciting activities, I’d highly recommend this epic day tour from Krakow to Zakopane. 

Along with free pickup and exploring Zakopane town, it also combines a walk to Bachledka Treetop after spending some time in the Aqua Park.

VISIT THE MUSEUMS

One of the things to do in Zakopane in Poland is to check out the few museums, the townhouses. 

The Tatra Museum, right on Krupówki street, is a must-visit if you are a museum lover – it is the best museum showcasing the history, culture and traditions of the Polish Tatra region.

zakopane travel blog

Visit Villa Koliba, the first building built in the traditional wooden Zakopane style of architecture, which is a monument as well as a museum housing the artefacts related to this unique architecture. 

Recommended: From Krakow: Zakopane Tour with Gubalowka Funicular & Museum

ADMIRE THE WOODEN CHURCHES

While you are in Zakopane, check out the unique churches in the city.

Unlike anywhere in Poland or Europe, where the churches are made of sandstone or bricks, Zakopane has medieval wooden churches in line with the town’s architectural style.

zakopane travel blog

The Fatima Sanctuary in Krzeptówki is the main church and also stop by Jaszczurówka Church.

Recommended: From Krakow: Zakopane & Tatra Mountains Tour

THINGS TO DO IN ZAKOPANE IN NATURE

If you are a nature lover or enjoy mountains , hiking and cycling Zakopane is one of the best places in Poland to be. These are the best things to do in Zakopane Poland for outdoor activities.

ENJOY SKIING IN THE MOUNTAINS

One of the best things to do in Zakopane winter is to go skiing. Many people looking for skiing in Europe lean towards the Alps of Switzerland or France or other countries which are more expensive and commercialized. 

But one of the best things about Skiing in Poland is that the day passes come at a fraction of the price that you would pay anywhere in the Alps.

Not just the cost, the crowds are fewer, and you get to enjoy winter activities in stunning locations, topped with awesome food and drinks.

things to do in Zakopane

Zakopane is the top destination when it comes to skiing. You will find many locals on holidays and weekends on these slopes. 

There are many slopes for ski activities, and whether you are a beginner with no experience or a seasoned skier, there are slopes and practices for every experience level. 

The main Zakopane ski jump is Wielka Krokiew , which is a popular stadium too, and travelers can use the ski as well.

The ride to the top of Wielka is adventurous and as you ascend in the chair lift, you will witness the gorgeous snow-capped landscapes and valleys below.

zakopane travel blog

If you are an experienced ski person and love to challenge yourself, one of the top things to do in Zakopane for you will be to try skiing at Krasprowy Wierch, which has some of the longest descents that you can have an adventure on.

For a ski trip with a post-card perfect village experience, head to Bialka Tatrzanska village, which has over 15 ski lifts, many amazing hotels overlooking the valleys.

Recommended: Zakopane & Tatra Mountains Private Full-Day Tour from Krakow

TRY MOUNTAIN BIKING IN TATRA NATIONAL PARK

One of the top places to visit in Zakopane is Tatra National Park, a UNESCO Heritage site, a Biosphere spanning across Slovakia and Poland.

zakopane travel blog

Located in the Tatra mountains, this renowned national park is home to many glacial lakes, plenty of well-marked hiking trails, and mountain biking paths.

You will be many nature lovers and trekkers during summer and winter. 

Rent a mountain bike and enjoy the stunning vistas in the national park, one of the best things to do in the Tatra mountains.

There are many designated biking trails(you can only bike on these), including the famous one leading to the Siwa Polana meadow, gorgeous Chcocholowska Valley.

zakopane travel blog

For trails outside the park, I’d recommend going to the village of Bialka Tatrzanska , especially if you are here in summer for sweeping views of the valley with majestic Tatra in the backdrop.

Recommended: Tatra Mountains and Zakopane Full-Day Trip from Krakow

HIKE TO THE BEAUTIFUL LAKES

Tatra National Park is home to many beautiful lakes.

One of the fantastic things to do in Zakopane in summer if you want to experience the wild is to plan these hikes.

If you are keen on a relatively easier day hike, choose the gorgeous Lake Morskie Oko . Nicknamed the ‘Eye of the Sea’, this spectacular mountain lake is the largest in the Tatras.

things to do in Zakopane

You will need 2 to 3 hours to reach the lake, and to get to the starting point, and you should take the shuttle. This blue-green alpine lake is very popular among hikers and nature lovers. 

Start the Morskie Oko hike as early as possible in the morning to get ahead of the crowds that increase in the afternoon.

zakopane travel blog

The other popular lake and an easy hike are Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy Lake, famously known as Emerald Lake.

Most hikers stop here for a picnic thanks to its amazing location for panoramic views. You can follow the trail to hike further up.

The hike starts from Kuźnice and ends in the same town. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete. You can reach the starting point by shuttle in Kuźnice.

Recommended: From Krakow: Morskie Oko and Zakopane Day Trip

GO ON HIKING TRIPS

Apart from the hikes to the lakes, there are many other trails along the Tatra National Park valleys. 

One of the beautiful things to do in Zakopane is to go on these multi-day hikes or day hikes by basing yourself in the town.

poland mountains zakopane

If you are a seasoned hiker, you can plan a climb to the Rysy Mountain , the tallest peak in Poland, on the border of Slovakia.

For others looking for easy, moderate trails, I’d suggest Strążyska Valley, easily accessible from Zakopane. 

Poland Zakopane

You can go all the way up to Mount Giewont following the trail to end in Kuźnice town, which will take 8 to 9 hours in total.

GO QUAD-BIKING IN THE TATRAS

If you are looking for one of the quirky things to do in Zakopane, try a Quad-biking adventure in the Tatra mountains to get your adrenaline up and running.

zakopane travel blog

This epic quad bike tour will take you through Gubałówka passing through forests, rolling hills, and valleys.

This is one of the best trails to enjoy the view of the Tatra and the surrounding fantastic landscapes. Book this tour here.

FAQs ABOUT THINGS TO DO IN ZAKOPANE

When to visit zakopane.

One of the top things that you need to know about Zakopane is it is a popular winter destination, receiving thousands during the months of October to March. 

Whether you want to travel to Zakopane during summer or winter is a tough choice to make, because both seasons offer unique experiences that cannot be compared. If possible, you should visit Zakopane during both seasons. 

I was here at the onset of winter, and I loved everything about Zakopane in winter.

Poland in winter is one of the awesome places to be.

If you are looking for a ski holiday in a winter wonderland, wanting to experience snow and snow sports, you should visit Zakopane in winter. 

best places to visit in poland in summer

January and the start of February are usually the coldest days with layers of snow blanketing the town and the mountains and temperatures in the negative.

If you want to hike, enjoy the trails, blooms, and the sunny outdoors, summer may be the best time for you.

Zakopane weather is consistent. July is usually the hottest month in this town, with temperatures hovering around 15°C to 18°C and 7 to 7.5 hours of sunshine.

HOW TO REACH ZAKOPANE?

Zakopane is close to Krakow, Poland’s most visited city and one of the best cities in Europe.

The nearest International airports to Zakopane are Krakow and Katowice. And there are regular flights to Zakopane from most of the cities.

If you want the cheapest option, take the buses from Krakow to Zakopane that leaves from Krakow’s main bus station Dworzec Autobusowy. You can directly buy the tickets at the station. 

zakopane ski resort

However, if you are traveling during the peak season, I’d recommend buying a day or two in advance.

The journey takes you through the amazing countryside of Polland and takes about 2 hours to reach Zakopane from Krakow.

If you want a more comfortable option, you can choose the trains. About 2 to 3 trains from Krakow to Zakopane are available, which takes around 3 hours.

FROM WARSAW – There are a few weekly trains from Warsaw to Zakopane, as well as buses every day, which takes about 3 to 4 hours.

WHERE TO STAY?

The area close to the city centre and many ski resorts and cottages secluded in the mountains are some of the best places to stay in Zakopane.

You have plenty of types of hotels in Zakopane – villas, apartments, hotels, and home stays in all budget ranges.

best ski resort poland

But I’d highly recommend you to stay in one of the Zakopane style wooden houses , which has excellent amenities, spectacular views of the Polish Tatra, and more.

This is the signature style element of this ski resort town, so don’t miss a chance to indulge in this experience.

Here are the wooden chalets you should check out:

Tatra Wood House – Perfect views and secluded; Wooden chalets with excellent locations are BIAŁY PUCH , Domek Góralski – Górski Hyr , and Arcychata Zakopane

If you are looking for a budget stay, check either of these apartments – Willa Cztery Strony Świata , and Villa Słonecznego Wzgórza

The best hotels in medium-range are – Villa Adamo&SPA , and Willa Jarosta

That’s it about all the fantastic things to do in Zakopane. Have a fabulous trip. Check out more posts on Poland for your trip, below.

MORE POLAND POSTS FOR YOUR TRAVEL PLAN

  • 30 Free Things To Do in Krakow, Poland
  • How to Spend 3 Days in Warsaw
  • 45 Things About Poland No One Tells You
  • 20 Day Trips From Warsaw You can Plan
  • 15 Pretty Day Trips You can Plan From Wroclaw
  • 25 Best Things to do in Gdansk

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Planning Your Zakopane Trip: How Many Days Do You Need?

Lukasz

When planning a trip to Zakopane, Poland, it’s my opinion that 4 to 5 days is the best amount of time to fully experience everything this beautiful area has to offer. I find that this allows you to enjoy a variety of activities and take in the breathtaking scenery without feeling rushed. In this article, I will share with you a detailed itinerary that proves the ideal duration for a trip to Zakopane is 4 to 5 days.

zakopane travel blog

If you are planning to stay only for 2 or 3 days in Zakopane, check out my other article here: Weekend in Zakopane: How to Spend 2 or 3 Days in the Mountains

Day 1: Arrival and Thermal Baths

Let’s say you choose my favorite place for accommodation. Upon arrival, you will be accommodated in Szaflary , a resort located in a quiet and attractive place.

zakopane travel blog

The rooms are equipped with bathroom, TV, internet access. There is a guarded parking lot. The resort offers full board in the form of breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper and additional attrctions such as the organization of a bonfire or disco on the premises.

↳ Make sure to check out my guide to ALL attractions in Zakopane , so you don't overlook anything interesting : 66 Best Attractions in Zakopane 2023 – What to Do – Interesting Places

My suggestion is to start your stay with lunch at the pension and a 2.5-hour visit to the thermal bath in Szaflary. The Hot Springs of Szaflary will provide you with a relaxing start to your trip.

↳ Book the accommodation in this amazing resort by clicking here!

Day 2: Exploring Zakopane

For the first full day of your trip you will head to Zakopane. A visit to the center of Zakopane is essential for first-time visitors to fully experience the charm and atmosphere of this popular mountain resort. The main pedestrian area, Krupówki , showcases the region’s unique architecture and offers a variety of local shops, restaurants and cafes. Exploring the heart of Zakopane helps visitors immerse themselves in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the town’s history and traditions.

  • If you are not sure how to get around, you may want to read this article: Travel Like a Local – Tips for Getting Around Zakopane

There you can choose from various activities in Zakopane. Please note that you will not be able to do all of them, so choose two of them:

  • Stroll along Krupówki , the city’s main pedestrian street, and admire the region’s characteristic architecture.
  • Explore the Kościeliska Valley, a picturesque 7.5 km hike that takes about 5 hours.
  • Visit Morskie Oko , one of the main attractions of Zakopane, with an 8 km route leading to this popular Tatra lake. The walk takes about 7 hours.
  • Take a cable car ride to Gubałówka or Kasprowy Wierch for stunning mountain views.

Krupówki Street is a Must

zakopane travel blog

This vibrant street is the heart and soul of Zakopane, and is one of the most famous streets in all of Poland . It may only stretch a little over half a mile (or about 1 kilometer if you prefer), but what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in character. No matter what time of year it is, it’s always bustling with life and energy. You’ve got street performers putting on shows for the passing tourists, and talented portrait artists drawing up a storm.

If you are short on time, sometimes it is good to organize a stroll by professionals. You can do this by hiring local guides who will take you on a walking tour through Zakopane Old Town.

↳ Check availability and book Krupówki Tour with the best guide by clicking here!

Day 3: Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Pieniny

Pieniny, a stunning mountain range near Zakopane, offers visitors breathtaking scenery and an unforgettable experience. One of the main attractions of the Pieniny is the Dunajec Gorge. The pristine waters of the Dunajec River carve their way through the rocky terrain , creating awe-inspiring views. Rafting or kayaking down the river allows visitors to truly appreciate the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.

The Pieniny Mountains also offer numerous hiking and biking trails for all levels, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Exploring the trails will lead you to many hidden gems, such as charming traditional villages, historic castles and captivating viewpoints.

So on your third day, choose from these exciting options:

  • Take a trip to Niedzica Castle, Czorsztyn , and the historic church in Dębno . These sites offer a mix of history, architecture and stunning views.
  • Visit the Miniature Park in Niedzica , which showcases the most important monuments of the Podtatrze region.
  • Enjoy a rafting trip down the Dunajec Gorge, offering breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush.

Czorsztyn Castle, perched on a hill overlooking Lake Czorsztyn , is a dramatic 14th century fortress with a fascinating history. The castle once served as an important defensive stronghold against invading forces and has even hosted Hungarian and Polish royalty. As you explore the castle ruins, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. These picturesque scenes, combined with the castle’s storied past, make it an irresistible destination.

zakopane travel blog

Niedzica Castle, sometimes called the „Castle on the Lake” , is a majestic 14th century fortress perched on a cliff overlooking the picturesque Czorsztyn Lake. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Niedzica Castle is its connection with the legend of the lost treasure of the Incas. According to the legend, an Inca princess brought the treasure to the castle in the 18th century and it remains hidden within the walls. As you explore this beautifully preserved castle, you can’t help but feel the sense of mystery and wonder that surrounds the story.

The Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Dębno is a remarkable example of a wooden Gothic church from the 15th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the church is known for its exquisite wooden architecture and beautifully preserved polychrome murals decorating the interir. Entering the church is like entering a living museum. The atmosphere of reverence and the scent of aged wood evoke a deep sense of awe. You can read more about UNESCO sites in Poland in this article .

Day 4: Hot Springs and Evening Fun

zakopane travel blog

After a few days of exploring Zakopane’s picturesque landscapes and engaging in various activities, taking a break to relax in the local hot springs is a fantastic way to rejuvenate and recharge. The hot springs, or „ termy ” in Polish, offer several benefits and create a soothing experience for visitors.

  • Muscle relaxation: Participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, or snowboarding can take a toll on your muscles. Soaking in the warm, mineral-rich waters of the hot springs helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness, providing much-needed relief after days of physical exertion.
  • Stress relief: The soothing atmosphere of the hot springs, combined with the therapeutic effects of the warm water, can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. As you immerse yourself in the soothing waters, you’ll find it easier to unwind and leave your worries and anxieties behind.
  • Improved circulation: The warm waters of hot springs help dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow and promoting better circulation. Improved circulation can help alleviate fatigue and promote overall well-being.
  • Skin benefits: The mineral-rich waters of hot springs can nourish your skin. Minerals such as sulfur, calcium, and magnesium can help cleanse and detoxify, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

  • Read more about hot springs near Zakopane: Discover the Healing Powers of Hot Springs in Zakopane, Poland

Day 5: Farewell and departure

Enjoy your last breakfast at the resort before checking out at 11 am, taking with you fond memories of your unforgettable 5-day adventure in Zakopane and Pieniny.

As you can see, spending 4 to 5 days in Zakopane allows you to enjoy a variety of activities, explore the stunning scenery and immerse yourself in the local culture. With so much to see and do, it’s clear that a 3-5 day trip is the perfect way to make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Poland.

  • https://www.visitzakopane.pl/blog/2021/03/zakopane-jak-zaplanowac-pobyt/

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10 Best things to do in Zakopane, Poland

Best things to do in Zakopane krupowka

Zakopane is a charming town located in the southern part of Poland, nestled at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those interested in traditional Polish culture. Visiting Krakow while staying in Zakopane can be a great idea if you’re interested in exploring different facets of Poland.

Where to stay

During our stay in Zakopane, we chose a homestay called Willa u Bachledów – undoubtedly the friendliest host I ever met, great studio apartment with a balcony and mountain view, easy access to secure private parking, and close to the local food store with fresh bakery every morning and bus stop to get into town.  Totally recommend!

Best things to do in Zakopane accommodation

Kasprowy Wierch cable car

You can reach Kasprowy Wierch (1987m) by foot if you have the strength for an over 3-hour hike. The hike starts in Kuznice, at the lower station of the cable car. The total elevation is around 1000m, so this is by no means an easy hike. If you are not into mountain walks so much, there is an easy solution – a fantastic, modern cable car that will take you all the way up in a matter of minutes.

Best things to do in Zakopane kasprowy wierch

The route is actually divided between two cable car lines, you would have to change cars in the middle. The views along the way are simply breathtaking with lots of nice photo opportunities. Make sure to take a good place when you board. As a nice touch, all the way up there was a recording playing, telling us about the area and what we were seeing along the way.

Best things to do in Zakopane kasprowy wierch

Tickets and opening hours

Best things to do in Zakopane kasprowy wierch

Kasprowy Wierch – what’s it like up there?

Once you get all the way up, you can expect it to be much colder and windier. With a return ticket, you are allowed to stay for 2 hours before taking a ride back. The upper station has a café, restrooms, and gift shop. The view is spectacular and, weather permitting, you can take some beautiful photos. However, the weather can change pretty quickly. In a matter of minutes, everything was covered with fog and we could hardly find the way back to the station.

Best things to do in Zakopane kasprowy wierch

We noticed a very cool hiking path along the ridge of the mountain. If you enjoy such hikes, this may be a great way to spend a few hours.

Best things to do in Zakopane Giewont

Giewont hike

Best things to do in Zakopane giewont

The trail is quite busy in summer with lots of hikers and families taking this trip. You walk through the forests and along the river. Sadly, we couldn’t reach the summit on that day due to some health issues. However, it seems like a nice way to spend one unforgettable day in the Tatra mountains.

Best things to do in Zakopane gubalowka

Usually, people go to Gubalowka from the center of Zakopane via a funicular train or a larger chairlift to Polana Szymoszkowa. As we were planning a little picnic on top of the mountain, the upper station seemed like the best option with lots of free space and a stunning view of the High Tatras and the whole Zakopane panorama.

Best things to do in Zakopane gubalowka

Krupowki Street and wooden architecture

Krupowki Street lies in the heart of Zakopane. The place is crowded at almost all times. You will find lots of restaurants, souvenir shops, pubs and nightclubs here. When you think about it, it’s no different from any other pedestrian walking street in any other European city. However, there is a special vibe in Zakopane – the log buildings are unique and create a special atmosphere. Zakopane has its own architectural style. You can spend hours walking around town and admiring the houses, wooden frames, and decorations, small details carved in wood.

Best things to do in Zakopane krupowka

Morskie Oko

A day trip to Morskie Oko from Zakopane is a must if you are after beautiful scenery. The best part is – you don’t need to hike a lot to reach Morskie Oko from the parking lot. Here is a piece of advice though – in order to make sure you find a parking slot, be there as early as possible. The parking is not too big and gets filled quickly. We passed the Morskie Oko parking lot around 11 AM and it was already full, cars were turned around, and had to look for parking slots way far from the trailhead.

Best things to do in Zakopane Morskie oko

The reason why Morskie Oko is so popular among visitors is perhaps that it is the largest and fourth deepest lake in the Tatra Mountains. What makes this lake so special is the scenery of 1000m peaks rising above the lake and leaving a reflection in its waters. Some hiking trails are leading all the way up, but it is totally fine to enjoy the lake without much effort. In fact, you can even hire a horse carriage, as the road leading to the lake is paved.

Best things to do in Zakopane wieliczka-salt-mine

Wieliczka salt mine

Tatra mountains are known for their unpredictable weather, so if you wake up with rain and thunderstorms outside, you have other options. Visiting Wieliczka salt mine on a rainy day is a perfect escape from bad weather. Discover saline lakes and beautiful underground chambers in one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines.

Drive time from Zakopane is around 2 hours. The salt mine can only be visited by a tour guide. There are many tours available throughout the day, English tours are every hour. Other languages offered: German, French, Spanish, Russian, and Italian. The tour price is 25 USD and best to pre-book in advance on the official website .

Best things to do in Zakopane day trip to krakow

Day trip to Krakow

A day trip to Krakow is another great option for a rainy day in the mountains. Although Krakow deserves a trip of its own, you can still experience some of its beauty on a short day visit. Some of the most memorable things to see and do, include:

St Mary’s Basilica. 14th-century brick Gothic church located on the main square, known for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss.

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory . Known by most people from the Steven Spielberg movie “Schindler’s List”, this museum is a vivid reminder to the dark past Poland was facing during WWII.

Predne Solisko from Strbske Pleso

Day trip to Slovakia

Slovakia is a popular day trip destination for Zakopane visitors. There are many good reasons for that, such as delicious food, cheap prices, and great mountain attractions. One of the closest villages worth visiting is Tatranská Lomnica . One of the best things to do here is take a cable car to Lomnicky Peak – the second-highest peak of the High Tatras.

Moreover, you might enjoy visiting Belianska Cave – a stalactite cave with lakes, waterfalls & seasonal music shows (only guided tours available).

When it comes to hot springs, one of my favorites is a little-known place in Vrbov with really hot water (around 60 degrees C). This thermal spa is a little hard to find, but you will not regret visiting it. It’s not a typical water park full of slides and screaming children, but rather a place for “old people” with very healthy and healing waters.

If you are interested in reading more about different Slovakia attractions, have a look at these blog posts I wrote in previous years.

Best things to do in Zakopane Aqua park

Thermal Spas

A dream of every hiker or skier – at the end of the day, just to lay in hot thermal water and relax. Luckily, there is no shortage of amazing water parks in and around Zakopane. We managed to visit Zakopane Aquapark during our visit. The view from the outdoor thermal pool is fantastic, especially if the skies are clear and you can see the sunset over the Tatra mountains. The water temperature is just right to keep you warm.

Other thermal Spas around Zakopane

If Zakopane Aqua Park looks too small and old, consider visiting Chochołowskie Termy (30min by car), Termy Bukovina (20 min), Terma Bania (35min), or Termy Gorący Potok (20min). All of them are great for relaxing after a long day of exploring the Zakopane area.

Polish food is rather fatty at times and the portions are very generous. Keep that in mind when ordering, as we ended up leaving a lot of food behind due to being unable to eat it all. When it comes to traditional tastes, there are undoubtedly lots of pork variations, lamb and calf, and some chicken and fish can also be found. One of the traditional dishes is called pierogi – huge fried dumplings with various fillings (meat, cheese, etc). These are really delicious but also quite heavy for the stomach.

Pierogi with meat served with sour cream

Best things to do in Zakopane pierogi

While walking on Krupowki street, I ordered pork ribs, which I couldn’t finish due to a very generous size

Best things to do in Zakopane ribs

Chicken fillet under cheese cover

Best things to do in Zakopane chicken

Grilled goat cheese

Best things to do in Zakopane goat cheese

Grilled baby salmon

Best things to do in Zakopane baby salmon

Mushroom noodle soup served in a white bread

Best things to do in Zakopane bread soup

Traditional apple pie (warm) served with ice cream and whipped cream

Have you ever been to Zakopane?

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Best things to do in Zakopane

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5 Responses

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Loving all 10 of these attractions in Zakopane, Poland look and sound awesome. Would definitely want to hike here!

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The views at the top of the cable car look incredible! Adding to my list of places to see!

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The mountains around Zakopane look great. I’m also a big fan of pirogis too (both the sweet and savory types)! I ate them pretty much nonstop in Krakow.

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This is such a good selection of spots… and I especially like that Gubalowka was discovered by accident! Some of my best travel moments are found at place I accidentally stumbled upon that I never planned for!

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I love a good pierogi! Thanks for putting together this awesome list!

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20 Best Things To Do In Zakopane, Poland in 2024 (Summer & Winter)!

Not sure what to do in Zakopane, Poland? Worry not. Today, we’ll be revealing some of the best things to do in Zakopane, both in winter and summer.

Known as the winter capital of Poland, Zakopane is a winter wonderland that is also filled with things to do year-round. We were blessed with the chance to visit Zakopane in both seasons and enjoy everything it has to offer.

From the breathtaking hikes in Tatra National Park to the relaxing thermal baths in Zakopane , visitors won’t have a single dull moment here.

That is why we have written this guide on the 20 best things to do in Zakopane so you don’t miss anything and can enjoy this lovely Polish mountain town like we did!

Planning A Trip To Zakopane Last Minute?

Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!

Our recommended transfer from Krakow to Zakopane:

  • Bus From Krakow To Zakopane (SUPER cheap!)

Our recommended tours to Zakopane :

  • From Krakow: Zakopane and Thermal Springs Tour with Hotel Pickup (SUPER Unique Experience!)
  • From Krakow: Zakopane and Dunajec River Rafting Tour
  • From Krakow: Morskie Oko and Zakopane Day Trip (Incredible hike!)

Our recommended places to stay in Zakopane:

  • Domki Javorina (Gorgeous traditional chalet!!!)
  • Villa Nova (Amazing value-for-money!)
  • Top Hostel Pokoje Gościnne (Ideal for backpackers)

Zakopane Attractions Map

The map above highlights most of the attractions in Zakopane we will be discussing below. Because some of these activities will require a tour company (such as sleighing or river rafting), we were not able to include them in the map above.

Don’t worry though, we will give you the essential information below to guarantee you have a perfect visit to Zakopane!

Don’t forget to click on the star name to the name of the map so you can save it to your own mobile device!

What To Do In Zakopane, Poland (All Year Round)?

1. go hiking in zakopane & explore the tatras.

Hiking In Zakopane

It doesn’t matter if you are visiting Zakopane in the summer, in the winter, or in the middle of a global disaster, the best thing to do in Zakopane is to go hiking .

Surrounding the southern edges of Zakopane is the Tatra Mountain Range, or simply the Tatras. The Tatras act as a natural boundary, separating the country of Poland and Slovakia . In Zakopane, visitors have easy access to the  Tatra National Park of Poland, a UNESCO recognized site .

As the most-visited national park in Poland , the Tatra National Park is stunning in every way. Gorgeous alpine peaks, some covered in crystal-white snow in the winter, dot the expansive park. The park is home to many incredible rock formations and jagged edges , offering hikers picturesque landscapes.

Here travelers will also find caves, lakes, waterfalls, streams, and diverse fauna and flora . Whichever hiking trail you decide to do in Zakopane, you will be rewarded well!

2. Discover Morskie Oko, Zakopane’s Most Beautiful Hike

Morski Oko Lake Zakopane Poland

If there is one hike in Zakopane you must do, it is the  hike to the Morskie Oko Lake . Known as the “Eye of the Sea” in English, Morskie Oko is the fourth-biggest lake in the Tatra Mountains and one of the best things to see in Zakopane.

Though its size is incredible, the real beauty of Morskie Oko lies in the crystal-clear lake water and the lush scenery around it.

Bless your eyes with the views of the serene lake and the gorgeous Swiss Pines . Breathe the refreshing mountain air, so fresh that it leaves you with a hint of sweetness. This is what visiting Zakopane is about!

To get from Zakopane to Morskie Oko, you must first get to  Palenica Białczańska , the furthest point a motorized vehicle can go. From Palenica Białczańska, it is a 2-hour hike to Morskie Oko Lake. Its moderate incline and well-paved road allow travelers with kids and elders to enjoy this hike too!

Morskie Oko Bus

If you find the hiking trail to be too tough for you, there are horse-drawn carts operated by the local  Gorals . It is an excellent way to give back to the local communities!

Morskie Oko in the winter is still a popular tourist attraction in Zakopane. That is because the Morskie Oko Lake tends to freeze in the winter, so visitors can walk or on the frozen lake ! Whether you are visiting in the winter or the summer, Morskie Oko is a must-see in Zakopane.

3. Check Out The Caves In Tatra National Park

Caves In Zakopane

When we visited Zakopane, we only had one mission in mind: go hiking. So when we found out that there are around 650 intricate caves in Tatra National Park , we were pleasantly surprised. Though most of them are closed off to the public (for good reasons), several are available for the public to visit.

The ones we highly recommend are  Jaskinia Mylna and Jaskinia Mroźna .

Jaskinia Mylna  is considered the most interesting cave in the Tatra National Park of Poland. Crawling on rocks and dodging puddles of water, this cave in Zakopane will test you, but it will also leave you with an everlasting impression!

Because of the nature of the cave, the temperature inside is often the same as the temperature on the outside, making it an excellent winter attraction in Zakopane. It is also open all year round.

However, there is completely no light inside the cave, so visitors must bring their own light source. It is also recommended to travel in pairs or groups in case something unfortunate occurs.

Cave-Walls-Zakopane

There is no one guarding or working at the Jaskinia Mylna. Additionally, you can get a guided tour of Jaskinia Mylna in Zakopane.

It takes about 45 minutes to go through Jasinia Mylna.

On the contrary,  Jaskinia Mroźna  is a cave that can only be visited from the beginning of May to the end of October. It is the only cave that requires an admission fee (5 PLN) and takes about 30 minutes to get through. Here visitors will find stalactites, stalagmites, dripstones, and even lime milk.

📢 Update: Jaskinia Mroźna is now officially permanently closed. It is believed to be structural instability that has caused this attraction in Zakopane to close.

To get to the caves, you must get to the  Kościeliska Valley Entrance . From that, it is a short hike to the caves. 

4. Explore The Five Polish Lakes Valley

Five Lakes Valley Hike Zakopane Poland

The Five (Polish) Lakes Valley hike in the Tatra National Park in Poland is one of the tougher hikes in Zakopane. However, hikers are well rewarded with some of the most breathtaking geological features, such as the Wielki Staw, the biggest post-glacial natural lake in the region.

From the Wielki Staw flows the Roztoka which eventually flows off the dramatic cliffs, forming the ~70-meter-tall Wielka Siklawa Waterfall . 

There are many ways to get to the Five Lakes Valley in Zakopane. Most of these hiking routes will be open in the warmer seasons, but you must check with local advisories if you are visiting in winter.

The most popular route is starting at Palenica Białczańska (the same starting point as the Morskie Oko hike), and then taking the green trail when you reach the  Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza waterfall . You can return the same way you came or take a small detour and visit the Morskie Oko Lake if you haven’t seen it already. 

The duration of the hike is around 5 to 6 hours out-and-back without a stop at Morskie Oko. 

5. Admire the Stunning Views At Giewont Mountain

Giewont Mountain Zakopane in Summer

Located at 1,895 meters above sea level, Giewont is one of the highest mountain peaks in the Western Tatras.

Starting at  Strążyska Valley Parking No.1 , hikers can embark on an out-and-back journey to the top of Giewont, which will take approximately 5.5 hours . Alternatively, if you are looking for a change of scenery, you can descend towards Kuznice where you can catch a bus back to Zakopane. 

The views at Giewont are considered some of the best in Zakopane , especially after you have struggled for a few hours to get there! The last 100 meters or so of the hike involves a narrow pathway with chains . In the peak summer season, it could cause serious traffic jams! 

In the winter, proper precautions must be taken if you want to attempt this hike. Crampons, hiking poles, proper insulation, and more. We recommend you to hire one of the local guides in Zakopane if you wish to do the Giewont hike in the winter. 

6. Hike Or Take The Cable Car to Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car

One of the best things to do in Zakopane (for non-hikers) is to take the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch peak. Built in 1935 to 1936, the Kasprowy Wierch is one of the oldest cable cars in Europe .

Located on the border between Slovakia and Poland , visitors can have one foot in Poland and one foot in Slovakia at the same time at Kasprowy Wierch. If you wish, you could cross the border legally this way as both countries are in the Schengen area!

At 1,987 meters high, Kasprowy Wierch offers jaw-dropping views of the surrounding area during the warmer months. In winter, Kasprowy Wierch is one of the main winter ski areas.

To take the Kasprowy Wierch cable car, visitors must first arrive at Kuznice, where the lower station of the cable car is located. Here you can purchase a ticket for the cable car directly from the ticketing counter.

Alternatively, you can purchase your tickets in advance at one of the ticket machines throughout Zakopane or  online here ! However, that means you have to go on that date, even if the weather isn’t optimal.

During peak season, there is usually a long queue to purchase your ticket at the cable car station in Kuznice. 

7. Soothe Your Aching Limbs In the Thermal Baths Of Zakopane

Chocholowskie Thermal Baths In Zakopane

After some exhausting hikes in Zakopane, it is time to soothe your aching limbs. Luckily, there are several thermal baths in Zakopane (or near it). Our favorite is the  Chochołowskie Thermal Baths  in Chochołowskie.

As one of the biggest thermal baths in Poland, Chochołowskie Thermal Baths’ 3000 square meters space offers a total of 30 thermal pools with varying characteristics.

Here guests will find geysers, a man-made river, artificial waves, a sandy beach, tube slides, an outdoor water playground (only in the summer), and many other incredible amenities. Visitors can easily spend an entire day here, jumping from pool to pool, jacuzzi to jacuzzi.

However, the Chochołowskie Thermal Baths are located 20 to 30 minutes away from Zakopane (driving or public transport). If you wish to spend a day at the Chochołowskie Thermal Spas, you might want to consider spending a night there.

If you don’t want to travel far, you can visit the  Aqua Park  in Zakopane instead. Not as extravagant as the Chochołowskie Thermal Baths (in our opinion), it has everything you need to rejuvenate your body!

Jacuzzis, pools, salt cave, sauna rooms, gym, there are enough amenities for you to spend an entire day here as well!

8. Sample Some Local Oscypek (Polish Smoked Cheese)

Oscypek Polish Smoked Cheese Zakopane

Cheese in weird shapes? Count me in!

Oscypek, or commonly known as smoked Polish cheese , is a type of cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland.

Made by someone called a “baca” , or a sheep shepherd in the nearby mountains, the Oscypek is a high-quality cheese that should not be missed on your Zakopane visit. Oscypek is usually served with cranberry jam on the side or eaten alone.

As you stroll down the charming streets of Zakopane, you will inevitably stumble upon many Oscypek street vendors. They might not look like your typical cheese but don’t hesitate to try them. Its smoky flavors and top-notch ingredients offer a unique taste!

9. Visit Gubalowka Hill For Stunning Panoramic Views

Gubalowka Funicular Zakopane

Want a vantage point that doesn’t require little effort and no cable car? Check out Gubalowka Hill!

At only 1,126 meters tall, Gubalowka is an easily accessible location with great views of Zakopane and the surrounding areas.

There are two easy ways to get to Gubalowka, either through a 1-hour hiking trail or the convenient funicular . The trail for Gubalowka starts in Zakopane, allowing you to get to the top and come back down in around 1.5 hours! Alternatively, visitors can take the Gubalowka Funicular  here !

During the summer, visitors can stroll around the hill of Gubalowka, admire the views, and soak in the sun. During winter, Gubalowka is one of the most popular skiing areas in Zakopane.

10. Stroll Down Krupowki Street (Zakopane’s Main Street)

Krupowki Street Zakopane Main Street

Like many other big cities in Poland such as  Krakow  and  Warsaw , Zakopane also has its own historic center . This time around, Zakopane’s historic center is concentrated on Krupówki Street, otherwise known as Zakopane’s Main Street.

If you want to find action, there is no better place to do so than at Krupowki Street. Lined with the town’s top restaurants, bars, clubs, and shopping options , Krupowki Street is one of the best places to visit in Zakopane.

Visitors looking for modern amenities will find restaurants such as McDonald’s and shops like H&M. But please don’t eat at McDonald’s and give Polish food a try! Bigos and Zurek are two of our favorite Polish dishes.

Visitors will also find several tour agencies around that area, perfect for anyone that might want to do a treacherous winter hike or book a tour!

11. Visit The Muzeum Oscypka Zakopane

Muzeum Oscypka Zakopane Winter Activities

If you fall in love with Oscypek (Polish smoked cheese) the first time you try it, why not learn more about it at the Muzeum Oscypka Zakopane?

At Muzeum Oscypka Zakopane, visitors will get a presentation by a traditional “baca”, or sheep shepherd from the mountains. With this presentation, guests will have a better understanding of the history of the traditional Oscypek .

The presentation lasts for about 1.5 hours. During that time, you will also have the opportunity to make your own small Oscypek and take it home with you! If you are looking for a family activity in Zakopane for kids , then don’t skip this museum!

📖 Note:  The presentation from the “baca” is in Polish, but there is a host that will translate it for any English-speaking visitors.

12. Enjoy Aqua Park Zakopane With Kids!

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Termy Zakopiańskie 💦 (@termyzakopianskie)

One of our favorite activities in Zakopane is to go to Aqua Park Zakopane, sometimes known as Termy Zakopiańskie. It is one of the biggest waterparks in Poland, and features a wide variety of attractions that cater to all ages.

For kids, they can enjoy any of the five water slides in the park, two of which are notably long at 166 and 106 meters respectively. The most popular feature of the park is the “Wild River”, a 40-meter-long and 1.3-meter-deep river that mimics a natural mountain stream. It is lots of fun for both kids and adults.

Talking about adults, they’ll certainly love the outdoor pool and outdoor thermal pools that offer stunning views of the Tatra Mountains.

Whether you want to relax or have fun with the kids, there is no better place to do so than at Aqua Park!

Things To Do In Zakopane In Summer

13. go dunajec river rafting.

Dunajec River Rafting Zakopane

There is no better summer activity in Zakopane than to go rafting in the Dunajec River . As a  UNESCO recognized site , the Dunajec River offers some of the best landscapes you can possibly have in Poland.

There are two types of rafting in Dunajec River:

  • white water rafting
  • rafting in a traditional Polish wooden boat

For active travelers, you might prefer to do white water rafting in the Dunajec River. Its low level allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and get a nice workout. If you are traveling to Zakopane with kids, they can also participate in white water rafting down the Dunajec River!

Though white water rafting is an option in the Dunajec River, the most popular way to visit it is to board a traditional wooden boat . These traditional boats were used to transport goods and passengers back in the days but nowadays have become rather obsolete.

On these wooden boats, there are raftsmen that will do all the rafting for you. Your job is to simply sit back, relax, listen to their tales, and let the dramatic landscapes take your breath away!

For rafting in the Dunajec River, you must go on a tour.

14. Go Camping In Zakopane

Camping In Zakopane

Camping is a popular thing to do in Zakopane in the summer. The perfect weather allows visitors to enjoy the beautiful nature of Zakopane comfortably. At night, the lack of light pollution allows the stars to shine brightly.

However, visitors must be aware that camping inside the Tatra National Park is strictly prohibited . Anyone looking to stay inside the park must stay at one of the eight mountain shelters . These shelters are open all year round and create the perfect mountain getaway!

As a result, you must stay in Zakopane or near Zakopane if you want to do camping. Though we didn’t camp ourselves when we visited Zakopane, we did quite a bit of research to see what the experience is like.

There are several campsites in Zakopane or within close proximity to it. If you want something simple and clean, we suggest  Camping Ustup , located right outside Zakopane on the way to Krakow. The campground is relatively small but guests will find a supermarket, gas station, and plenty of restaurants nearby!

Another popular campsite in Zakopane is  Camping Zakopane Willa Skoczek . Here guests will find little more than the basic amenities such as hot showers, toilets, a shared kitchenette, a charging station for electronic devices, and tents for rent. This campsite is considered one of the most picturesque campsites in Zakopane.

15. Try One Of The Harder Hikes In Zakopane

Hard Hikes In Zakopane Poland

Summer in Zakopane is the perfect time to attempt one of the tougher hikes in the region. During winter, many of these hikes are treacherous and pass by potentially dangerous avalanche zones.

However, in the summertime, instead of overwhelming snowfall, ice, and inclement weather, hikers will find incredible alpine peaks offering the best views of the Tatra Mountains .

One of the most challenging (and rewarding) hikes in Zakopane for the summer is the hike to Rysy . At 2,503 meters high, Rysy is the highest peak in all of Poland.

Though high, getting to Rysy is quite easy. From the Morskie Oko Lake, hikers can partake in an additional 2 to 2.5-hour trek to get to the peak of Rysy.

The whole out-and-back trail starting from Morskie Oko takes about an additional 3.5 hours. Near the peak of Rysy, hikers have to scramble and pull themselves up with chains! Keep in mind that with the Morskie Oko hike itself, the total combined duration with summiting Rysy is about 7 to 8 hours!

Another difficult hiking trail in Zakopane is the  Orla Perć . Known as the most difficult and dangerous trial in Poland , Orla Perć offers an adrenaline-pumping experience as hikers climb up jagged ridges, battle with metal chains, and avoid slick surfaces !

Things To Do In Zakopane In Winter

16. enjoy one of zakopane’s best winter activities and sports.

Winter In Zakopane

Winter in Poland is usually bleak and boring, but that is not the case in Zakopane. Winter in Zakopane brings an influx of international and national tourists, all looking to enjoy the best of what Zakopane has to offer.

With incredible mountains and slopes in the region, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are plenty of winter sports in Zakopane. 

17. Go Skiing Or Snowboarding On Zakopane’s Slopes!

Snowboarding And Skiing In Zakopane

Anyone looking for things to do in Zakopane in winter should consider taking advantage of the nearby slopes and go skiing or snowboarding . Zakopane is considered one of the cheapest and best places to go skiing and snowboarding in Europe!

From absolute beginners to professionals , Zakopane has a perfect piste for you. Most of the pistes are green (the easiest), but visitors will also find blue, red, and black pistes.

If you would like to learn skiing or snowboarding, you will likely find skiing and snowboarding instructors at the bottom of some of the lifts. However, they do tend to get booked out during the holiday seasons, so we recommend you to reserve a spot with your instructor if you intend on coming during those times!

The most popular skiing and snowboarding hotspots in Zakopane are  Kasprowy Wierch, Nosal and Gubałówka Hill . The ski resort of Zakopane features more than 20 pistes (on a good day) and over 50 lifts !

Generally, the best months to go skiing and snowboarding in Zakopane are from January to late March .

18. Go Ice Skating In The Town’s Center

Winter Sports In Zakopane

Don’t like skiing or snowboarding? Traveling to Zakopane with kids? Take them to ice skating! Zakopane has several ice skating rinks , and  Lodowisko “TAFLA”  is the best among them.

It is a great place for everyone in the family to spend an afternoon. Every ice skating rink in Zakopane offers skate rentals for cheap, so you can have some fun without spending too much money!

All ice skating rinks in Zakopane are outdoors.

When you are done, go relax with a glass of Polish mulled wine, or Grzaniec Galicyjski (pronounce this at your own risk). They are the perfect treat to warm you up when the temperature drops, especially when below freezing!

19. Hop On A Snowmobile

Things To Do In Zakopane In Winter

Want an exciting adventure through the Tatra Mountains? Visit places that aren’t reachable by foot in the winter? Then hop on a snowmobile tour !

Snowmobiles are a great way to explore the frozen landscapes in Zakopane . Admire the wonderful winter scenery as you speed your way through the thick snow. Breathe in the crispy mountain air that will wake you up like a shot of espresso!

We recommend going with  Snowdoo Adventure  tour company if you are interested in a snowmobile tour. They are the most experienced and oldest snowmobile company in Zakopane.

20. Enjoy A Sleigh Ride

Winter Sleighing In Zakopane

Another popular winter activity in Zakopane is to enjoy a sleigh ride . Similar to the snowmobile, it is an excellent way to traverse through the wintry landscapes and admire the stunning views.

In fact, it might be a better option for those that don’t prefer the extra adrenaline, as you have a driver that will ensure your safety.

There are two types of sleigh rides in Zakopane:

  • husky sleigh rides
  • horse sleigh rides

Where To Stay In Zakopane, Poland

If you are visiting Zakopane, you’ll most likely want to stay inside the town. The town has a wide variety of accommodations, from mountain lodges to historic chalet and hostels to apartments.

There are also plenty of places to stay on the perimeter or just outside Zakopane. Unless you are coming to Zakopane with a car, we don’t recommend you to stay in those areas.

Here are some of the accommodations we recommend:

Best Hostel In Zakopane –  Hostel 1902

Best Hostel In Zakopane

Traveling to Zakopane on a budget? Worry not.

Hostel 1902 is one of the most affordable hostels in Zakopane. Unlike most budget accommodations that can be unclean and badly equipped, Hostel 1902 is clean, has nice bathrooms, and is located in the center of Zakopane !

Guests are free to use the kitchen and are provided with their own individual locker , so safety is not a concern here. The balcony also offers some incredible views of the city!

If you don’t fancy shared dormitory rooms, Hostel 1902 also offers private rooms for a lower cost than most traditional hotels in Zakopane!

Best Hotel In Zakopane-  Aries Hotel & SPA Zakopane

Best Resort In Zakopane Poland

Though there are many hotels in Zakopane, none of them are as luxurious and charming as Aries Hotel & SPA Zakopane.

A 5-minute away from Zakopane Main Street, this 5-star hotel in Zakopane is within walking distance from the best attractions in Zakopane. Though if you are staying at the Aries Hotel & SPA Zakopane, you might not want to step out of your hotel!

Featuring traditional elements of a Polish mountain house , each room oozes rustic charm. Staying in Aries Hotel & SPA Zakopane is like stepping into a machine where guests can admire the unique architecture.

When you are not lounging in your cozy room, come enjoy the hotel’s incredible amenities. Relax your body in the jacuzzi or sauna . Go for a swim in their spacious indoor swimming pool . Or work up a sweat at the fitness center !

But don’t forget to replenish yourself with the buffet-style breakfast in the morning!

Can You Take A Day Trip To Zakopane From Krakow?

Cool Places In Krakow

It is definitely possible to take a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane, and in fact, many people do. From Krakow, it is only about a 2-hour drive to Zakopane.

For travelers that do not have their own vehicle, there are many Zakopane day tours from Krakow. Many will include a visit to one of the mountains where you can get sweeping views of the region, a visit to the geothermal bath, and some solo time around time.

If you are short on time, a day tour from Krakow to Zakopane is highly recommended.

However, if you can spend a few days in Zakopane, we would totally recommend that. That way, you can allocate days specifically for hiking, exploring the town, and enjoying the thermal baths.

Visiting Zakopane FAQs

How to get to zakopane.

Unfortunately, Zakopane does not have its own airport. So the best way to get there is to fly to Krakow’s airport, and then take a bus from Kraków Glowny station. The journey takes about 2 hours!

When is The Best Time to Visit Zakopane?

As you can see from our guide, Zakopane is an all-year-round destination. Visit in the summer and you can enjoy excellent hiking opportunities and incredible experiences in nature. Visit in the winter and you can explore the winter sports the Tatras Mountains are known for in the day and wind down with a cup of Polish mulled wine at night!

How Many Days To Spend In Zakopane?

We recommend to spend a minimum of two days in Zakopane. This will give you enough time to explore one of the town’s hiking trails, as well as time to discover the town and enjoy the thermal spas.

Is Zakopane Worth Visiting?

Zakopane is most definitely worth visiting. This beautiful ski town in Poland offers numerous attractions like winter sports, hiking, local markets, unique wooden architecture, and traditional cuisine, all at a very affordable price.

What Is Zakopane Known For?

Zakopane is referred to as the winter capital of Poland, and is known for its proximity to the Tatra Mountains, unique architecture known as “Zakopane Style”, rich folk culture, and Morskie Oko, one of the most beautiful lakes in the country.

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Things To Do In Zakopane Poland Pinterest

If you weren’t sure what to do in Zakopane, we hope you are now! We hope our guide has helped you plan your trip to Zakopane! Have a question? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at  no extra cost to you ! The money will help run this site! Thank you !

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9 Amazing Things To Do In Zakopane Poland

Shang & Keith

  • May 8, 2023
  • Destinations , Europe

9 Amazing Things To Do in Zakopane Poland You Won’t Regret!

Our post today will show you the 9 top things to do in Zakopane Poland, one of the most beautiful mountain towns we have ever been to.

During our day trip from Krakow to Zakopane, we had lots of fun exploring the outdoors, and all the beautiful views it has to offer. Trying to figure out what to see in Zakopane does not need to be a mystery, and we will spill the beans here today.

Let’s Zip Up & Visit Zakopane!

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famous zakopane sign

What's covered in this post

Why visit Zakopane: Background about Zakopane

Where is zakopane located, hiking in zakopane, feast on yummy polish food, check out one of the museums, visit a religious site, soak in thermal pools zakopane, something for the adventurous, check out the upside down house zakopane, walking street: krupowki street zakopane, day trips from zakopane, getting to zakopane, where to stay in zakopane, guided tour options, things to do in zakopane: verdict, logistics before visiting zakopane poland.

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about Zakopane. 

It is a mountain town located in southern Poland, about 1.5 hours by bus from the city of Krakow . Located among the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is widely known as the Winter Capital of Poland, and many holiday makers gather here to take part in outdoor activities like skiing and alpine hiking.

During the other seasons, Zakopane sees a steady stream of visitors who are looking for one of the best nature spots in Poland, savouring delicious regional cuisine and taking a break away from their hectic lives.

You can easily take a day trip to Zakopane, or plan a 2 to 3 days itinerary, since there are so many amazing things to do here. 

We had a few days here, and we are going to show you 9 things you should not miss while in Zakopane!

Related: Warsaw itinerary you can’t miss!

Zakopane is located in the southern part of Poland, in a region known as Podhale. As a mountain town, it is about 800 – 1000 meters above sea level and sits at the foot of the majestic Tatra Mountains. 

The distance of Zakopane from Krakow is 107 km. 

krakow to zakopane map

What to do in Zakopane

emerald lake zakopane

There is such a wide variety of hiking options in Zakopane that you will need to spend several days to complete them all. We highlight the best and most scenic hikes you can take here in Zakopane. Most of them belong to the Tatra National Park.

Emerald Lake (aka Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy Lake).  Moderately easy hike that takes 5 to 6 hours return, this brings you to a gorgeous cold mountain lake in the heart of the Tatras. Along the way, you can stop at Hala Gąsienicowa for a short break. If you fancy an overnight stay or a meal at a restaurant, head to Murowaniec Shelter. 

valley of the five lakes zakopane poland

Valley of the Five Lakes (Dolina Pięciu Stawów) . As the name suggests, you will be walking through the mountain valley to see the 5 lakes here. The journey takes about 2.5 hours and the first 4 lakes are easily sighted during the hike. The last one will require a bit of an effort to reach, but well worth it. Do not take the same way back, instead opting to take the blue trail towards Morskie Oko , the most famous lake in Zakopane. While it is really beautiful, we did not fancy it that much as it was super crowded, feeling very much like you are in the middle of a big city center. 

zakopane travel blog

Rysy Mountain. The highest peak in Poland, standing at 2499 metres tall, is on the top of the list of most adventure seekers who come to the Tatras Mountains. This is not a walk in the park, and there have been some casualties in the past. The hike is challenging, so beginners will certainly need to be in good shape and it is best to attempt it with someone experienced. The reward is great though, getting to the highest point in Poland.

Kasprowy Wierch cable car

Kasprowy Wierch. Considered one of the most iconic hikes in the region, it is suitable for both novices and experts alike. Located among the High Tatras, the hike takes you through different landscapes from forest to woodland and finally to the summit. The views here are amazing, and you can peer into Slovakia right on the border. The entire hike can be done in 5 to 6 hours, but you can shorten it by taking the cable car from Kuznice, the trailhead. 

zakopane travel blog

Strążyska Valley. We really enjoyed this hike for several reasons. Firstly, it is so easy! But you can quickly turn it into something more challenging by taking one of the trails to head up the mountains. From the entrance of the park, it is just a straightforward 45 minutes stroll to the mountain hut at the end of the valley, where delicious apple pie awaits you! Another reason we loved it is the views from the valley floor, where you can admire the imposing Giewont here. 

zakopane travel blog

Gubalowka . We are not entirely sure if you can actually hike up this mountain, but we know that you can take the funicular up, while you will find a lively village that has commanding views across Zakopane and the Tatras Mountains. 

There are lots of small shops and restaurants here, and it is easy to walk around and spend a couple of hours exploring this alpine village. Pay close attention as you wander around this area for there are several traditional Zakopane wooden houses to admire.

During winter, Gubalowka grants you access to ski slopes and snow rides, and a short 20 minutes walk takes you to the ski lift where you can make your descent. 

No trip to Zakopane will be complete without sampling the amazing food here. As Zakopane is located in the Podhale region, it has heavy influence from the region, and is also different from other parts of Poland for its highlander food. Look, we don’t know how to pronounce most of them, but they are nevertheless super tasty. Here’s what you should try out: 

Oscypek vendor

Oscypek cheese. You cannot come to Zakopane and not try Oscypek, as it is synonymous with this mountain town. Smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk, this is found only in Zakopane. You can easily recognise it by its distinct shapes and sizes, which follows a strict guideline. The taste is surprisingly mild, a bit like a mozzarella, but you can detect the smokiness behind it. There are lots of street vendors and shops selling it, but unfortunately, they are likely not made to specifications. The only way is to find a shop that has a certificate of authenticity. One more thing, they are only available from April to September.

zakopane travel blog

Traditional Polish food.  All over the restaurants in Zakopane, take your pick from roasted meats to fresh grilled trout, moskole to zurek. The choices are almost endless. Highlander food is typically made using ingredients from its surroundings, harvested fresh and prepared in a way that makes them look so appetising. Especially during the colder months, where you can dine in one of the taverns over mulled wine and several warm dishes. Make sure to try these out:

  • Kwaśnica Soup – Pickled cabbage and mainly pork, cooked for hours
  • Kluski śląskie – Potato dumplings
  • Hałuski – Potato noodles
  • Moskole – Potato pancakes
  • Pork knuckle in Góralski style – Marinated in beer

Although not known for its museums, that does not mean you should not visit one. 

In fact, checking them out gives you an insight into the unique culture and history of this region. Get to know more about local life, how it is like in the highlands and the traditions that are observed by the locals. 

Be sure to add on one of these museums to your Zakopane itinerary!

Tatra Museum. The grandfather of museums, not just in Zakopane, but also as one of the oldest in Poland, the Tatra Museum is a great place to find out more about the natural environment of the Podhale region, as well as glean into the way of life and history of its people. 

Zakopane Style Museum at Villa Koliba. Housed in a beautiful mountain style mansion, this museum is an offshoot of the Tatra Museum, and has been around for over 100 years! The design of the villa is quintessential Zakopane style, and you will come across many such buildings as you explore the town. The exhibits here are from a time past, showcasing its 5 rooms in their original settings by owner Zygmunt Gnatowski.

Villa Atma. Yet another fine example of Zakopane architecture, the Karol Szymanowski Museum is housed in this beautiful chalet, and is most suitable for lovers of classical music. It is dedicated to the composer of the same name, and sometimes there are concerts held here. However, there doesn’t seem to be anything written in English, so you might want to take note of that before visiting. 

Related: Travel Destinations

zakopane travel blog

Which Zakopane Church should you pay a visit to?

Since Poles are mainly Roman Catholics, it should not surprise you to find many churches or chapels here. 

The cool thing is that their design is mostly in the Zakopane style of architecture, which helps them blend in well with the unique surroundings.

In this town, you will find a few fine examples such as Jaszczurówka Chapel and Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa. 

The former has been in its spot for a little over a hundred years when it was gifted to the people of the village by a wealthy businessman. 

If you are a visiting follower, you may also visit it for its daily mass.

Although its size is modest, you will find its interiors to have intricate designs and a stunning chandelier. 

Over at the Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa, you can expect to find a slightly more modern version of the first, but certainly not lacking in atmosphere and beauty. 

What makes this church different is the unique pew designs, as well as containing a large cemetery where you can find elaborate artwork and designs to commemorate those who have passed on. 

Our Lady of Fatima Zakopane

Church of Our Lady of Fatima (Muttergottes von Fatima).  This next site is one of the most iconic buildings of Zakopane, and is located right at the foothills of the imposing Mount Giewont. Word is, after the failed assassination of Joh Paul II in 1981, the church was built out of gratitude for the rescue. 

Now it also houses the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and plays host to a number of fairs throughout the year, most notably the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 May. 

Coming here is a great spiritual and fascinating experience, whether you are a believer or not.

Dipping into a thermal pool is an experience that you should definitely try out during a visit to the Podhale region. Why? They are famous for it!

The best part is that you do not have to travel too far for it, since the newly opened Chocholowskie Termy is only 15 km from Zakopane, which means you can get there in no time. 

As you pass through Chocholow village, pay attention to the traditional old wooden Polish houses, which is representative of the identity of the highlanders. Some of the best in Poland are found here.

When you arrive at the thermal baths park, take your pick from the pools, saunas, or simply relax at the cafe. The place is huge, in fact, the largest in the Podhale region, and has multiple pool for you to choose from. 

Our advice though: avoid the school holidays at all costs. The place will be packed!

chocholowka thermal baths

Another option that we fancy is the thermal bath in the village of Bukovina. While it is a bit further, taking around 25 minutes to reach from Zakopane, Bukowina Termy offers equally good bath pools and lots of other facilities for you to relax.

For the adventure seeker in you, there is no lack of activities to keep the adrenalin pumping.

Zakopane Bungee jumping. Why not kick things off by jumping off a ledge? At Bungee Jumping Zakopane, you can get the chance to leap off a platform at a height of 90 metres, suspended in the air by mechanical cranes. Although you are not there for this, the view is great as it stretches out to the landscape of the town below you. Make sure to buy the photos and videos too!

1234-meter long Bachledka Treetop Walk . This is actually on the Slovakia side, but you can still reach it pretty quickly since Zakopane is really near the border. You will experience among on top of giant trees and get a spectacular view of the entire mountain range. 

Skiing. Remember we talked about Zakopane being the winter capital of Poland? A big part of that is the availability of ski slopes here. With activities for the whole family, kids and adult alike can spend hours upon hours on the slopes. From here, the thrill-seekers can take it up a notch by trying out alpine mountaineering, snowboarding, or even a husky sleigh ride!

Related: Packing Checklist

That’s right, a house built the wrong way up, straight out of a children’s fairy tale. 

Since its inception back in 2007, Dom do Góry Nogami has gathered quite a bit of attention for its eccentric and unique design. 

The builders have constructed a traditional wooden house in the wrong direction, and when you walk through it, you experience a strange sensation as everything is inverted. Yes, even the furniture! 

Behind the quirky building lies a story of defiance. The house was built this way to signify the chaos that the Soviet occupation brought, and this was a way the Poles use to throw insults at that situation. 

Krupowki Street in Zakopane Poland

At the heart of the town center lies Krupowki Street , which is great for pedestrians to take a leisurely walk down and check out the variety of shops here. 

There are a number of great restaurants here, definitely worth popping in to try out the delicious local cuisine. 

Many of the shops also sell locally made souvenirs, which we really love since they are not the typical types that you see in the big cities. Look out for handmade woodware or leatherware. 

We picked up a few here at reasonable prices, and if you need more options, you can venture over to the market near Gubalowka funicular.

Near Krupowki Street, you can consider checking out a water theme park too: Aqua Park Zakopane.

Zakopane is well placed for you to take short day trips out for different experiences. There are lots of tiny picturesque villages scattered around the southern region of Poland, and Zakopane is well connected to them. 

Here are our suggestions: 

  • Zab, 11 km. Excellent traditional food and views of the mountain range.
  • Niedzica, 42 km. Historical buildings and access to River Dunajec.
  • Pieniny Mountains, 50 km. Loads of great hiking trails.
  • Male Ciche, 15 km. More skiing options and a very beautiful small village on the mountain slopes.
  • Bialka Tatrzanska, 25km. Mountain walking and skiing.

As you can imagine, there are no direct flights to Zakopane. The nearest international airport you can fly to is Kraków John Paul II International Airport (Cracow Balice Airport). 

From Krakow Airport to Zakopane, you can choose to rent a car and take a road trip to Zakopane, or you can also take a bus directly from the Airport which takes roughly 3 hours and €14.

Alternatively, you can make your way to Dworzec Główny Central station and take either a train or bus. Most people will choose to travel by bus since it takes a shorter time, taking about 1.5 hours, and usually below €10 to reach Zakopane Bus Station.

For a train journey, it takes slightly over 3 hours and costs about €10. 

As Zakopane is a popular getaway, there is no lack of accommodations for you and your travelling group. From traditional mountain houses to fully equipped apartments, you can try it all out here. 

The best part is that prices are not sky-high, thanks to the competition around. 

Here are the Zakopane Hotels we recommend. Be sure to click through to read reviews and book them for your trip! Or use the widget below to find the most suitable one for you!

  • Budget: Apartmenty Parzenica
  • Mid range: Pod Śnieżynką
  • Luxury: Villa Vita

The amount of activities you can do in Zakopane is considerable, not to say overwhelming. With so many to choose from, how do you decide? 

Maybe you can consider looking into a Zakopane guided tour instead then since you need not worry about the logistics and generally, the tickets are all-inclusive. 

Just bring yourself and you are all set!

To us, Zakopane is a fantastic place to visit, a place to seek refuge from the big cities and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. The mountains offer lots of hiking opportunities, plus the Zakopane lakes are drop dead gorgeous. 

We would return in a heartbeat, and surely there is something new to discover. 

No trip to Poland, or even Eastern Europe, should leave out Zakopane.

Hopefully you get the chance to visit Zakopane and enjoy it as much if not more than us! 

Let us know what you liked most about Zakopane in the comments down below. 

If you like this article, do share it on social media and pin it to Pinterest!

Related : Read our latest articles here

Find cheap flights. Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner .

Find the best accommodation. Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates. 

Handy travel guide. For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.

Photos. Your mobile phone can do a pretty good job, but if you need an upgrade, we recommend the Sony A6000 (US) (International)

Travel insurance. You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.

Planned for you activities in Zakopane. Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed. 

More resources to help you. All other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.

9 Amazing Things to do in Zakopane Poland

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Hi Zip up and Go! Thank you for sharing this article. I never knew Zakopane before. I am amazed by the number of things to do there and the Emerald Lake hike would be a fantastic choice! I am definitely trying the Oscypek cheese and pork knuckles. Venetta

Zakopane is beautiful, you will love it!

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12 Best Hiking Trails in Zakopane – the Tatra Mountains

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Hiking enthusiasts are really spoilt for choice all around Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains. An area with more than 40 routes is known for its stunning mountain landscapes that inspire and provide unforgettable experience. Whether you are a complete beginner or an advanced hiker, there are routes of various difficulties. Following hikes can be completed in 1 day or split over few days to enjoy sleeping in beautifully set mountain lodges.

Let me take you to the best hiking routes from lush meadows of crocus flowers to snow-capped peaks in the tatras. here is a list of 12 best hiking trails in zakopane in the tatra mountains., 1. morskie oko ( the eye of the sea ), this beautiful mountain lake lies 1393 meters above sea level in the tatra mountains. it sits deep within the tatra national park at the base of the  mieguszowiecki summits . it is the largest lake in the tatras. when you reach the end, you will be mesmerized by the beauty you can spot here,  rysy  (2499m – the highest peak in poland)  mieguszowiecki szczyt wielki  (2438m),  zabi szczyt nizni  (2098m) and  zabi mnich  (2146 m). it is loved by many for its beautiful turquoise color during the summer season the trail starts at palenica bialczanska and takes approximately 2h., a fun fact is that morskie oko, literally means t he eye of the sea.  the legend says that morskie oko was connected to the sea by a tunnel., total time:  2h lenght: 9,3km rating: easy altitude max: 1395m, 2. dolina pieciu stawow ( valley of five lakes), the trail starts at palenica bialczanska and takes you through the most spectacular panoramic views of tatra mountains. it is considered by many to be the most beautiful valley in the tatras. the valley of five lakes include:  czarny staw polski (black polish pond) , maly staw polski (little polish pond) , wielki staw polski (great polish pond) , przedni staw polski (front polish pond) and zadni staw polski (back polish pond) . you will also have a chance to see two beautiful wodogrzmoty mickiewicza and siklawa waterfalls . i would recommend to start the hiking early in the morning to skip the crowds., total time:  2h10 lenght: 9,3km rating: easy altitude max:  1671m, 3. dolina chocholowska ( chocholowska valley), chocholowska valley is the largest and the longest valley in the tatras. the trail is perfect for those, who enjoy easy walks with kids or elderly people. the unspoiled environment and shepherds huts make this place very unique and peaceful. this is the only valley in the tatra mountains, where you can enjoy biking and waking with your pets. during spring, you can spot here plenty of purple crocus flowers , the brightest and earliest bloomers. while in the winter season, the valley attracts number of cross country skiers and ski touring enthusiasts., total time: from siwa polana – 2h lenght: 7,3km rating: very easy altitude max: 1148m, 4. dolina koscieliska ( koscieliska valley), dolina koscieliska is another pleasant and comfortable valley for families with kids. i love to visit this place especially in the winter, when everything is transformed into a peace of heaven by fluffy and light snow. along the path, you will enjoy soothing sounds of koscieliska stream . the main attraction for visitors are caves located along the path and open to the public. at the end of the route, you will reach the  ornak mountain hut , where you can rest and admire the surroundings., total time: from kiry – 1h20 lenght: 6km rating: very easy altitude max: 1100m, 5. dolina gasiennicowa ( gasiennicowa valley ), the trail starts at kuznice located just before the entry to the cable car station ( trip to myślenickie turnie and the mount kasprowy). there are two available trails which lead to dolina gasiennicowa. the yellow trail goes through jaworzynka valley and the blue trail passes through boczan. this route is loved by many, as provides incredible views of high and western tatras. at the end of the route, you will reach  murowaniec hostel , where you can relax and eat some polish goods., after a break, take a blue trail that leads to czarny staw gasiennicowy (black pond) . it is one of the most beautiful and largest lakes in the tatra mountains. the black pond is located at 1628m above sea level and the hike from gasiennicowa valley takes approximately 40min., total time: both trails 1h30 lenght: 5km rating: easy altitude max:  1500m, the trail starts at kuznice and goes through boczan, valley gasiennicowa and black pond. it attracts lots of visitors for its spectacular views over two most famous valleys in the tatras. it is not very challenging route, however you need to be an advanced hiker to reach the top. in the final part of the route, between zmarzly staw and the peak, you need to be ready for rock climbing and more demanding hiking., total time: 4h30 length: 9,5 km rating: moderate, from zmarzly staw – difficult altitude max: 2159m, 7. rusinowa polana, the trail starts at wierch poroniec, about 20km away from zakopane. the iconic route passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes over a stretch of 100ha. here, you can spot legendary peaks such hawran, muran, gerlach, ganek, rysy, and mieguszowieckie. a summertime stroll here feels like wandering through a fairy-tale land. you can spot here a flock of sheep grazing in the meadow., total time: 1h length: 3,5km rating: very easy altitude max: 1210m, 8. kasprowy wierch, the hike starts at kuznice and takes approximately 2,5 hours. it is less traveled area, so you can meet here number of runners and other sport enthusiasts. there is also available a cable car for visitors, who rather than hiking, prefer to enjoy the tatra valleys and panoramic views out of cable car window. during winter, kasprowy wierch is a hot spot for skiers with two popular ski lifts., total time: 2,5h length: 7,5km rating: very easy altitude max: 1987 m s.n.m., 9. czerwone wierchy (red peaks), it is very attractive 1 day hiking route and is classified as a not too challenging. czerwone wierchy consists four peaks such ciemniak (2096 m), krzesanica (2122 m), małołączniak (2096 m) and kopa kondracka (2005 m). i would recommend to start the trail at koscieliska valley and follow the red trail from kiry to ciemniak and kopa kondracka. the route along the ridge is quite flat, so you can walk easily and enjoy outstanding panorama views of slovak high tatras. if you are lucky enough, you will meet some lovely residents of this area – chamois., total time: 8,5h length: 17km rating: moderate altitude max: 2096m, 10. koscielec, it is another beautiful, full day trip in the tatra mountains. the trails starts at popular kuznice and goes through murowaniec in gasiennicowa valley, black pound, then up to karb and to the summit of koscielec. the last part of the route is very strenuous, as it includes rock scrambling. however, when you reach the top, you will be mesmerized by the beauty of  swinica and the  slovak high tatras ., total time: 8-10h length: 18km rating: difficult altitude max: 1987 m s.n.m., climbing the highest peak of poland why not the trail starts at palenica bialczanska. during the trip, you will see the well-known morskie oko, black pond in gasiennicowa valley and bula pod rysami. this is a trek suitable for only experienced hikers in good physical conditions. at the top, visitors are rewarded with breathtaking views of high tatras with legendary wysokie skalki, lodowy and mięguszowieckie peaks . a fun fact is that the other side of rysy is located in slovakia, but the trail is less spectacular., total time: 6h30 length: 12,4km rating: moderate altitude max: 2499m, 12. orla perc ( from zawrat to krzyzne ), orla perc is considered as the most challenging and dangerous trail the tatra mountains has to offer. the route goes mostly along the mountain ridge from zawrat to krzyzne. it is suitable only for experienced climbers. the route is a ridge traverse with metal chains and ladders and rock scrambling. since it was established, we can count more than 140 victims on this trail., total time: 6 -7h length: 4km rating: difficult altitude max: 2291 m s.n.m., filling your lungs with fresh alpine air feels good do you have your favorite hiking trails in the tatras. please leave a comment below. let’s share it, read more: where to stay in zakopane – unique accommodation in zakopane, like it pin it.

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Hi, after reading through forums and your extremely informative blog I am struggling to choose between either:

1. Taking the bus to Lysa Polana and hiking to Bielovodská Dolina.

or a hike from either:

2. Chocholowska

3. Skrzyczne

4. Gubalowka

4. dolina pięciu stawów polskich

The plan would be to leave by bus from Kracow on Friday morning 19th July and hope to get a bus back to Krakow on Saturday evening 20th July or Sunday morning to avoid the Sunday traffic.

We can manage approx 5 hours hiking. Love forests, vegetation and rivers.

We will rely on public transport and don’t want to be with crowds or traffic jams. Looking for peace and quiet.

If you have any recommendations of places to stay, transport, and quietest hikes for the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, please let me know. Thank you so much.

Where to Stay in Zakopane - Unique Accommodation in Zakopane November 21, 2019 @ 6:14 pm

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Visit Zakopane in Poland: what to do in this mountain town in the Tatras?

Visit Zakopane in Poland: what to do in this mountain town in the Tatras?

Zakopane, a charming mountain town easily accessible from Krakow , serves as a starting point for stunning hikes in the Tatra Mountains (Polish Carpathians). It's also a popular ski resort and an idyllic spot to take in picturesque views of snow-capped peaks, wooden chalets, and a cable car. In this article, I'll guide you through your visit to Zakopane and provide practical information on top-rated restaurants, hotels, activities, and guided tours from Krakow.

If you have any questions or want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below!

Where is Zakopane, the trendiest city in the Polish Carpathians?

Zakopane, also known as the "capital of winter sports" in Poland , is home to just under 30,000 inhabitants. The city lies in a valley between the (small) Gubałówka mountain (3,693 feet above sea level) and the (large) Tatra mountain range (which peaks in Poland around 8,200 feet above sea level).

As the Tatras are the highest mountain range in Poland, the ski resort of Zakopane is a preferred destination for skiing, sledding, ski jumping, hiking, sleigh rides, and more. The Tatras are also known for their water parks and spas, which draw visitors seeking to unwind and rejuvenate.

Located in the south of Poland, 68 miles by road from Krakow, the altitude of the resort ranges from 2,460 to 3,710 feet above sea level.

Here is Zakopane on a map :

The Carpathians always remind me of the novel Dracula , which is set in the Romanian Carpathians in Transylvania. However, in reality, these mountains are vast and span over eight countries, including Poland, where they serve as the border with Slovakia further south.

I highly recommend exploring the area, either on a day trip from Krakow or by booking a stay there.

What to do in Zakopane?

The city offers both mountain activities, such as skiing, winter sports, hiking, and more classic activities, like museums, spas, and sightseeing. Here's a glimpse of what you can do in Zakopane.

Discover Kasprowy Wierch, the roof of Poland

A cable car connects Zakopane to Kasprowy Wierch, which sits at an altitude of almost 6,562 feet. The ascent provides breathtaking views of both the mountains and the city, which gradually fades into the valley below.

Once at the top, there's something for everyone. If you don't want to walk much, you can simply enjoy the magnificent view and visit the weather observatory , the highest building in all of Poland.

There's also a hiking trail that meanders around the mountaintop, serving as a border between Poland and Slovakia . There are often patches of snow even outside of winter, so it's important to wear good shoes.

The cable car operates year-round but may occasionally close due to weather conditions or for technical revisions. You can find the opening calendar online.

The ski resort itself is typically open in January, February, and March, with the best snow conditions usually in March. Kasprowy Wierch is the starting point for several black runs for those who want to speed down the mountain in winter!

View from Kasprowy Wierch in Poland

Krupówki Street and its craft market

Let's head back down to the valley to explore Zakopane itself! It's a mountain town that's heavily focused on tourism and craftsmanship , and at times it seems like everything is designed for visitors. In fact, some Poles dislike the city for this reason.

On-site, you'll find plenty of small wooden chalets selling basic souvenirs (magnets, etc.) and local crafts, including glass objects, ceramics, sheepskins, furs, leather coats, and carved wooden objects.

Zakopane craft market in Poland

The main shopping street is Krupówki Street. It's a pedestrian cobblestone street lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and passages with even more stores, as well as a craft market on the edge of a small mountain stream spanned by wooden bridges.

Zakopane craft market in Poland

Upominek (46 Krupówki Street) is one of the souvenir shops with a good reputation, but you'll find many traders, as well as sporting goods stores that can be handy if you're missing hiking or skiing gear.

The main post office is also located on the extension of Krupówki Street. They sell postcards, so if you want to send a little reminder of your visit to your loved ones, this is the perfect time! I found it to be well-organized, with a machine where you indicate the purpose of your visit (e.g., buying stamps), and based on that, you're given a number and directed to a counter.

Try the Oscypek, a local mountain cheese

In addition to handicrafts, don't miss the opportunity to taste the Oscypek , a type of mountain cheese with a protected designation of origin. You can easily miss it because it doesn't look like cheese at all , rather like buns or bread! I saw a lot of stands selling it... and I finally realized that this was the famous cheese I had been told to try!

A street stand selling oscypek in Zakopane

It is a local specialty that is made from a combination of cow's and sheep's milk . There are various types of oscypek cheese that differ based on the proportion of cow's milk and sheep's milk used during its production. In addition, oscypek comes in different shapes such as two cones attached together, big cylinders, flat ovals, and "laces." When I was in Poland, a local couple suggested I try the lace-shaped oscypek as they claimed it tasted better than the cylindrical or conical shapes. After trying multiple shapes, I agreed that the "laces" had a finer taste.

Oscypek has a smoky flavor that is reminiscent of provolone. It is typically consumed hot and served with cranberry jam. I was even able to bring some back in my carry-on bag without any issues!

Oscypek, Polish mountain cheese

Wooden buildings and churches of Zakopane

Zakopane, like many other places in Poland, is home to many religious people and therefore has numerous churches . While attempting to discreetly take some photos, I found that there were several masses held every day, and the churches were always packed with people! The locals' religious practice is apparent, with people making genuflections and the sign of the cross while entering or exiting the churches.

Zakopane has a unique architectural trend known as the "Zakopane style" , which blends wooden constructions with Art Nouveau elements, wooden sculptures, and roofs designed to withstand the weight of snow.

Among the local churches worth visiting is the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima on Krzeptówki Street (approximately 1.9 miles from the city center). The church was consecrated by Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimage to Poland in 1997, and though the exterior is ultra-modern, the interior is made of wood.

The Fatima Shrine in Zakopane - Jozef Kotulič

Another noteworthy church is the Jaszczurówka Chapel (Kaplica Jaszczurówka, also known as the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), which is entirely made of wood. It is located 2.5 miles from the city center, so having a vehicle to get there is recommended. If you visit Zakopane with a travel agency, they will likely include a visit to this chapel.

In the heart of Zakopane, you can also discover the Stary Kościół ("Old Church") , which was built in 1847 and is the oldest wooden church in Zakopane. It is also known as Our Lady of Czestochowa. The church was packed with people, providing further evidence of the religious devotion of the Polish people. People sang hymns, and the faithful stood at the back of the small church because it was so crowded... and you could hear the mass from outside!

Stary Kościół in Zakopane

Beyond the churches, the Zakopane style can be seen on numerous local buildings, museums, and houses.

A house in the Zakopane style

Examples include:

  • The Museum of Zakopane Style (Kościeliska 18) in Willa Koliba - This villa houses a museum that showcases the career and work of Stanisław Witkiewicz, the originator of the Zakopane style, in a typical mountain wooden decor. You can find the price and opening hours here .
  • Villa Atma (Kasprusie 19) - Here you can also visit a typical wooden house and immerse yourself in the life of Karol Szymanowski, a Polish composer of Russian origin who owned this cottage in Zakopane. You can find practical information about the museum here .
  • The Willa Oksza (Hr. Władysława Zamoyskiego 25) - You can enter this typical wooden villa, which houses an art gallery dedicated to many Polish artists who were inspired by the Tatras and the Podhale region where we are located. Prices and opening hours here .

The ancient cemetery of Zakopane

Beside the old wooden church I mentioned earlier, the Stary Kościół, is a small chapel, the Kaplica Gąsieniców, whose name literally means "chapel of caterpillars." It marks the entrance to an ancient cemetery that is definitely worth visiting , the Cmentarz Zasluzonych na Peksowym Brzyzku. It was established in 1850 and is home to many graves of local personalities who were important to the region.

The cemetery is full of wooden sculptures and especially features representations in the Podhale style: depicting Christ sitting , in full doubt.

It's a very serene place.

Seated Christ in the cemetery of Zakopane

The Funicular and Gubałówka Mountain

When spending a day in Zakopane from Krakow via a tour with a travel agency, Gubalowka is often included in the itinerary. It is easily accessible and offers a beautiful view of the Tatras without the need for extensive walking. However, it's a bit like the "Disneyland of Zakopane" as the area is packed with games, spaces to eat and shop for postcards.

To get to Mount Gubalowka , you can take the funicular located a stone's throw from the city center. You can find prices and practical information on this site .

View from Gubalowka mountain

At the top of the funicular, you will find many restaurants . Many are tourist traps without necessarily serving good food. For a quick break, the café Na Wierchu is decent, and for a proper meal, Po Widoki restaurant is acceptable compared to other places.

In Gubalowka, you can take a short walk to Butorowy Wierch (about 1.2 miles away), where a chairlift takes you back down to Zakopane in 15 minutes.

If you don't want to take the funicular on the way back, you can go down on foot, but you should know that in the summer season there is often a small "toll" of a few zlotys to pay because the path passes through private property.

At the top, there is also the "Ropes Gold Ridge," an adventure park that has gained immense popularity in the area, as well as a toboggan ride which you can ride on a small cart (ticket prices here ). Both the children and adults enjoy the toboggan ride equally.

Gubalowka Toboggan (Gravitational Slide)

The ski jump at Wielka Krokiew

Zakopane has Poland's largest ski jumping hill . It has hosted the World Cup ski jumping events several times. Kamil Stoch, the 2013-2014 World Ski Jumping Champion and a native of Zakopane, made the longest ski jump ever on the hill.

The ski jump is located at 1 Bronisława Czecha, about 1.2 miles away from Krupowki Street.

The Upside-Down House, Dom Do Gory Nogami

As you stroll along Aleja 3 Maja in the center of Zakopane town, you'll stumble upon a house built in a rather unusual way! The visit is brief (about half an hour), especially if you're accompanied by young children, as the house is simply... upside down.

You can check admission fees and opening hours here (using Google Translate)!

Upside-down house (Dom Do Gory Nogami) in Zakopane

Visit the Tatra Museum

Located at 10 Krupowki Street, this small museum dedicated to the history and culture of the Tatra region features many photographs and artifacts. You can also explore a reconstructed typical 19th-century Podhale cottage during your visit, which should take about half an hour.

Take a trip to Morskie Oko

The region is a haven for those who enjoy walking and capturing photographs of nature, with plenty of hikes to choose from within the Tatra National Park. This national park is home to a range of lakes and walking paths, with AllTrails listing about a hundred hiking routes , providing ample opportunity to explore the region during your stay.

One of the gems of the Tatra National Park is Morskie Oko, which is considered to be one of the most stunning lakes in the world . Buses run from Zakopane to the starting point of the hiking trail leading to the lake.

To find the bus schedule, please visit this website .

Morskie Oko in Poland

Mount Giewont

This hike is perfect for experienced hikers, as it involves reaching the summit of Mount Giewont , which is 6,214 feet above sea level.

To avoid crowds, it's best to start early and pack a picnic. The trail can get busy in good weather, and at the top, you'll find a huge steel cross that's 49 feet high and was brought here in 1901.

The entire hike takes about 5.5 hours, and the last part of the trail is the most challenging since there's a steep area where you are on the border between walking and climbing. In rainy weather, it can be slippery.

Chocholow Thermal Baths

If you're looking for a place to relax and unwind, head to the Chocholow Thermal Baths , also known as Chocholowskie Termy, located near Zakopane.

This vast thermal complex draws water from a depth of 11,811 feet, and the water temperature is maintained at 96.8 °F. On-site, there are eight thermal water pools, saltwater pools, and a mix of indoor and outdoor pools.

In addition to relaxation areas like a sauna, hammam, and salt cave, there are more leisure-oriented areas, such as waterfalls, a wild river, climbing nets, slides, and areas to practice team sports in the water.

If you're staying in a hotel or rental in Zakopane, you can easily buy a ticket in advance and reach the baths on your own (just select the option that doesn't include any transfer). The thermal baths are about a 20-minute car ride from Zakopane.

While passing through the village of Chocholow, take some time to admire the small wooden houses as well!

If you're interested in visiting the thermal baths, you can also find excursions from Krakow, such as this tour by Cracow Top Tours that includes Zakopane, Morskie Oko, and Chocholow Thermal Baths for relaxing at the end of the day. Or check out this tour by The Tours Brothers that includes Zakopane and entrance to the thermal baths.

You can check many other tour options here .

Chocholow Thermal Baths at Night

The Aqua Park in Zakopane

If you're spending some time in Zakopane and the weather is nice, you should know that there is a great water park there, with affordable prices and family rates.

The place is well-known in the region and offers pools, saunas, whirlpools, a children's playground, water jets and games, as well as waterslides .

The Dunajec Gorge

If you're spending a week in the region, I would recommend going to the beautiful Pieniny region , which is about an hour away. There, you can visit the Czorsztyn Castle, cross the border with Slovakia, enjoy a walk high above the treetops, or raft down the Dunajec Gorge, a local river.

The Pieniny website provides useful information for planning a visit to the area.

There are also tours that combine Zakopane and Pieniny, like this tour by Connect Krakow .

In summary, people come to the Podhale region to enjoy nature. The few museums in the area are not necessarily long to visit or "must-see," so visitors will find happiness hiking, taking photos in the midst of nature, or enjoying winter sports in a different way than at the most famous ski resorts.

How long should you stay in Zakopane?

You can get a taste of the city in one day by walking through the center and going up to Kasprowy Wierch, for example. However, to get a better idea of the area, I would advise you to spend a few days there, such as a long weekend or a whole week. This will allow you to complete at least one real hike and explore some sights a bit further from the center, such as the thermal baths, the Dunajec Gorge, or others.

How to get to Zakopane?

There is no airport in Zakopane, only a small flying club in Nowy Targ. The easiest way to get there is to visit Zakopane from Krakow . You have two options: you can organize everything yourself by bus or car, or you can use a travel agency that will handle all the logistics for you.

Visiting Zakopane with a guided tour

Several travel agencies offer day trips to Zakopane from Krakow . The tour program can vary depending on different preferences. For example, you can check out these quality tours:

  • This tour offered by Intercrac , with an English-speaking guide, will take you to the village of Chocholow and its 18th century houses, as well as to Zakopane where you will visit key places such as the museum, old cemetery, Gubalowka mountain, etc.
  • This excursion combines Zakopane with the opportunity to bathe in hot springs. There is also an English-speaking guide, and the organizing agency is called Thousand Miles Krakow Adventure Company.
  • This excursion proposed by Mr Shuttle includes several hours of free time in Zakopane with an English-speaking guide.
  • This tour by Legendary Krakow allows you to see the splendid Morskie Oko lake, Zakopane, and the Chocholow thermal baths.
  • This tour by Connect Krakow takes you on an 18-kilometer wooden raft ride through the Dunajec Gorge before visiting Zakopane.

If you'd rather hire a private guide , you can do so online .

Zakopane in Poland, at the foot of the mountains

Getting to Zakopane by car

Zakopane is located about 62 miles from Krakow , but there is often quite a lot of traffic, so it often takes between 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours to get there.

Along the way, you will see the Tatras mountain range looming in the distance, especially since it is the highest mountain range in the Polish Carpathians. There is often a lot of fog in the area in the early morning.

Parking is generally not a problem because there are many parking lots in Zakopane. The "Parking Zakopane Centrum Krupówki Gubałówka" is particularly good and not expensive, but it is a bit out of the way. Many people prefer to park at the foot of Gubalowka mountain to be closer to the center.

Zakopane craft market in Poland

Getting to Zakopane by bus

The bus departs from the bus station in Krakow . You can either book your Krakow-Zakopane ticket in advance or get it on the bus. The frequency of the bus depends on the season, and many people take it at the last moment.

There are direct buses from Krakow bus station to Zakopane bus station, and the journey takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes. You can check the timetable on the E-Podroznik website, by entering "Krakow M.D.A." as the departure point and "Zakopane" as the destination. You can also buy your ticket online on the same website.

It's worth noting that there are very frequent buses between Krakow and Zakopane , so you don't have to worry about schedules. If you want to come back late or even in the middle of the night, there are solutions available. The round trip costs less than 10€, making it an affordable option.

At the bus station in Krakow, there are signs displaying the next departures (posted about 15 minutes before) and the platform number where the bus will depart from. The platform number starts with either a D or a G. The bus station is on two levels, and the letter indicates whether the bus departs from the upper level (letter G) or the lower level (letter D, simply exit the building and take the stairs).

The area is well-marked with pictograms and most signs are available in English, so even if you don't speak Polish, you will be able to navigate with ease.

Krakow bus station

Parking is not allowed in the immediate vicinity of the bus station, so the bus has no trouble navigating through the morning traffic around Krakow. It often has a dedicated lane to avoid traffic jams, and unlike in Paris, this is something most drivers respect!

Krupowki Street in Zakopane, Poland

Public transportation in the area

The city has a bus network , and you can download the map here . The timetables for the different bus lines can be found online .

Where to stay? The best hotels in Zakopane

If you plan on spending more time in Zakopane (which, in my opinion, is definitely worth it!), you should know that there are plenty of quality accommodations in Zakopane , including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and rental apartments.

Considering the local prices, I would recommend looking at high-end hotels , where you can find a room with unbeatable rates and excellent services, including spa facilities.

My favorite is definitely the Aries Hotel with Spa , which has sumptuous decor, a great pool, and is centrally located so you can do everything on foot. It's a 5-star hotel with unbeatable prices. They usually offer special packages for those who want to spend Christmas and/or New Year's Eve in Zakopane, which can be a great idea for families or couples.

The cozy pool at Aries Hotel

You can also take a look at the Sabala , a hotel with a swimming pool located on Krupowki Street, the main shopping street of Zakopane, and at the Grand Hotel Stamary , which is close to the train station and a 6-7 minute walk from Krupowki Street; it also has a very nice swimming pool!

A mountain spa getaway is always a good idea, especially when the scenery around the hotel is covered in snow and you can enjoy the water in a warm and cozy setting!

Good restaurant recommendations in Zakopane

Looking for a place to enjoy Polish cuisine? As for restaurants, I recommend Karcma Zapiecek , which offers a lot of local specialties. Poles cook duck and beet dishes particularly well, and to give you an idea, the delicious dish below with duck, pear, and beet puree was filling and not expensive (equivalent to 7.5€ for this dish, which was one of the most expensive on the menu!).

The Karcma Zapiecek restaurant in Zakopane

I had a good time with some Quebecers I met there! The decoration of the restaurant gives off a mountain vibe (yes, this is a typical tourist observation ^^).

The Karcma Zapiecek restaurant in Zakopane

If you're looking for some great local food, there are several restaurants to choose from in Zakopane. Some good options include Goralska Tradycja (Krupówki 29), Gazdowo Kuźnia (Krupówki 1), Bąkowo Zohylina Niźnio (Józefa Piłsudskiego 6), Drukarnia Smaku Cristina (plac Niepodległości 7), or the Restauracja Zakopiańska (Jagiellońska 18, not to be confused with the Zakopianska pharmacy located on Krupowki Street, whose "menu" is likely to be less appetizing).

If you're in the mood for some international cuisine, check out Casa Mia (Krupówki 69), Cristina's Pizzeria (plac Niepodległości 7), or the burgers at Tunel's Restaurant (Krupówki 7).

For a quick snack, I recommend trying the pastries at Samanta Cukiernia. There's a location on Krupowki Street and their cakes are absolutely delicious (thin and crunchy cookies with a taste that isn't overly sweet). The place also doubles as a tea room, so you can stop for a break in the heart of Zakopane.

If you're in the mood for brunch, I highly recommend checking out STRH Bistro Art Café (Krupówki 4a).

With all these great options, it's clear that you'll need to spend at least one night in Zakopane to try out some of the best restaurants!

Final tips for visiting Zakopane, Poland

It is important to note that many people in Zakopane do not speak English, including in tourist areas such as the train station. However, they are usually very willing to try to understand and help, and a smile and gestures can go a long way. In more complicated situations, apps like Google Translate can be useful in overcoming the language barrier.

Horse-drawn carriage in Zakopane, Poland

Remember that Zakopane is a mountainous region , and it is important to be properly equipped and to check the weather forecast before going hiking. The climate can change rapidly, mountain storms can be severe, and there may be snow at higher altitudes even in early autumn. It is important to wear appropriate footwear.

If possible, check the weather forecast for Zakopane a few days in advance and plan your activities accordingly. When the weather is poor, the views of the mountains are not as impressive, so it would be a shame to miss them. Additionally, many museums are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan accordingly if you want to visit them.

Finally, before leaving the city, make sure to visit the Most Miłości , a bridge over a stream that is popular with couples who attach padlocks to the bridge as a symbol of their love.

Love locks on the Most Miłości in Zakopane

Consider stopping for a souvenir photo at Równia Krupowa Park, where the name Zakopane is written in large wooden letters that make for a great photo opportunity. There are also carved wooden figures where you can take pictures with the Tatras in the background.

Visiting Zakopane provided me with a beautiful view of the Polish Carpathians and is a great way to get some fresh air, whether you're spending a week in Krakow or exploring the mountains of Poland.

Marlène Viancin

Hello! On this blog, I share my photos, insights, and travel tips from journeys in France and around the world. I launched this blog in French in 2014 and began translating some articles into English in late 2022. I have a special passion for solo travel! In March 2023, I was blessed with my son James, and I've already begun introducing him to the joys of traveling as a solo mom with a baby.

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The Sunrise Dreamers

How to visit Zakopane from Krakow, Incredible Day Trip

Zakopane is one of the best day trips from Krakow and an absolute must when visiting southern Poland! On our most recent trip, we were wondering how to visit Zakopane from Krakow and what is the best way on a budget. So we did all the research, so you don’t have to!

Krakow is one of the most popular places to visit in Poland and we’ve visited a couple of times now! However, people usually miss out on the wonderful Zakopane (only 2 hours away) and it’s actually really easy to get to by public transport.

Transport in Poland is affordable and you don’t have to book too far in advance. So it’s a great option if you want to visit the impressive Tatra Mountains on a Zakopane day trip. Alternatively, you can rent a car.

This post may contain affiliate links. We will receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no additional cost to you .

Visiting Zakopane from Krakow

Table of Contents (Skip to a section!)

Hot Tip – How to pronounce Zakopane? Zakopane = (za·ko·p`a·nuh)

Zakopane is a resort town in the South of Poland, surrounded by the beautiful Tatra mountains. It’s known for its wooden chalets, impressive mountains and nearby ski resorts.

Zakopane is the ultimate day trip in the winter season! We’ve visited Zakopane twice now and went skiing on our second time. We highly recommend it!

Spending one day in Zakopane is perfect to add to your Kraków itinerary , if you love lakes, forests and wildlife it’s a brilliant break away from the busier city. Dust off your hiking boots, it’s time to hit the mountains!

We’ve written a full guide on the best things to do in Zakopane if you have more than a day’s spare. If you decide to spend the night here, we recommend Hostel & Apartments u Florka 2 if you have a rental car.

Hiking Morskie Oko - Spending one day in Zakopane from Krakow

Should I visit Zakopane in the winter or summer?

So you may already have a rough time frame of when you want to visit Zakopane and maybe your trip is already booked. Continue scrolling if you just want to know how to get to Zakopane from Krakow in a day.

Truthly there is no right or wrong answer to visiting Zakopane in the summer or winter. Zakopane thrives in all seasons! Here’s our rundown on the seasons in Zakopane.

Zakopane in the summer

During the summertime in Zakopane, you can experience unlimited hiking without the worry of snow. The days will be hot but you can take dips in the lake after a sweaty hike.

Although Zakopane isn’t widely popular worldwide, it’s definitely a hotspot for the locals in Poland and summer can get busy!

In the summer season, Zakopane is one of the best places to go hiking in Poland and you’ll experience some great weather! It’s also easy to get from Krakow to Zakopane to go hiking for a couple of days if you’re in Poland for a week!

Zakopane in the winter

Zakopane in winter is our favourite time of year and we can’t wait to visit again!! It’s so magical.

If you didn’t already know Zakopane is the winter capital of Poland and one of the best ski resorts in the country. The Tatra Mountains are great for hiking in the summer which means they turn into amazing ski slopes in the winter for everyone to enjoy.

The village of Zakopane is so beautiful in the winter months and we swear it makes perogies and soup taste even better!

Can I visit Zakopane from Krakow in one day?

Yes! As you can expect from the title of this guide, Zakopane is definitely manageable in one day and is the perfect day trip from Krakow. We’re going to show you everything we did on our Zakopane day trio.

However, if you have a longer time in Poland we would definitely recommend staying for a couple of nights or more to join the many activities Zakopane offers.

If you’re coming to Zakopane for a skiing trip you will definitely want to spend a few days in this beautiful resort.

Check out our 3 day Krakow guide for the best things to do in the city!

How to visit Zakopane from Krakow (Zakopane Day Trip)

Zakopane is located approximately 65 miles / 100km south of Kraków.

You can expect to catch a bus from Kraków Bus Station to Zakopane in around 2.5 to 3 hours. If you want to rent a car, you can drive the journey in 2 to 2.5 hours. For the early risers, this is easily achievable in a Zakopane day trip (which is exactly what we did)!

The bus is the more sustainable way to travel to Zakopane! Here’s a list of our sustainable travel products to switch to before your trip. We’ll give you a better breakdown of the options.

How to get to Zakopane from Krakow by Bus

Zakopane Day Trip from Krakow by Bus

The quickest way to find times and prices for buses from Krakow to Zakopane is by looking at Busbud . We’ve used this site various times when travelling Europe and it makes it easier to plan.

Head to Kraków MDA (Bus Station) near Kraków Glowny Train Station. There are usually a few buses an hour.

  • Kraków MDA to Zakopane
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Cost Per Person: 30PLN (prices may change)

Tickets can be purchased directly at the counter from the bus station, however, we purchased our tickets online the day before to guarantee a seat before we arrived at the station.

A bus ticket should cost you somewhere between 30 PLN (around £6) depending on the company and time you choose to travel. 

The bus that we took had no toilet onboard so be prepared before you hit the road and bring a few snacks, there’s a Carrefour in the mall nearby.

➤ Book your bus tickets from Krakow to Zakopane in advance .

Krakow to Zakopane in Winter

Krakow to Zakopane by Train

  • Kraków Glowny (Main Station) to Zakopane

An alternative to buses and another public transport option for travelling to Zakopane from Kraków is the PKP Intercity Train. 

These do not run so frequently, approximately 3-4 times a day, every few hours. Be sure to check if there is a return train that suits your plans to get you back into Kraków on the same day before booking your outbound trip. 

You can either purchase tickets from a machine or ticket office in Kraków Glowny station or book online using the IC PKP website .

Zakopane Daytrip by Car

  • Rent a car via DiscoverCars
  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Cost: 150PLN + Fuel (prices will vary)

If you are travelling with a small group where you can split the cost, a car may work out as a cheaper option for you.Find prices and availability for rental cars on Discover Cars !

How to get from Krakow to Zakopane by Car

Zakopane Daytrip by Tour

Another way to get to Zakopane from Krakow without worrying about transport is to join a tour! There’s quite a few to choose from so here’s our recommendations.

  • Zakopane and Thermal Springs Tour
  • Zakopane Day Trip with Cable Car and Tastings

1 Day Zakopane Itinerary: Zakopane Day Trip from Krakow

We opted to use the buses for our trip from Kraków to Zakopane as it’s a cheap way to get around and we love using public transport in other countries.

If you have one day in Zakopane you can go hiking, skiing, to thermal spas or spend a few hours in the village. We chose to do a hike to see the Tatra Mountains and lakes up close!

This is our 1 day Zakopane itinerary with time stamps!

➤ Book your bus tickets to Zakopane in advance .

8:00 am – A 15-minute walk from our accommodation to Kraków MDA station

We were staying at an apartment in central Krakow, so it was a short walk to Kraków MDA station . If you’re staying further away, there are many local buses or you can take a taxi or e-scooter.

8:30am – Maxibus bus to Zakopane (it was meant to be 2 hours but took 2 hours 30 minutes)

The journey from Krakow to Zakopane felt quite long, especially because we knew we were returning later the same day. Our tip is to watch a movie or listen to music to pass time, just like any other long travel journey!

11:00 am – Arrive at Zakopane Bus Station

So our day in Zakopane started at 11 am! Not too bad considering Krakow is a 2-hour drive.

11:20 am – Morskie Oko shuttle bus to the National Park

The shuttle buses to Morskie Oko were super easy to find, as they’re located right outside of the bus station in Zakopane. We paid the driver on the minibus and they took us to the trailhead!

11:55 am – Arrive at the Morskie Oko trailhead

The journey took just over 30 minutes to reach the National Park. The drive through the trees once you get outside of central Zakopane is amazing. You’ll love it!

12:00pm – 17:00pm – A 5-hour return hike to the beautiful Morskie Oko lake!

We took around 5 hours to complete the trail to Morskie Oko and back. We also relaxed next to the lake for a while and took a lot of photos! You can definitely do this hike faster, but why rush?!

zakopane travel blog

17:10pm – Hop on a shuttle bus back to Zakopane village

Once we were back at the main car park outside of the National Park, we didn’t wait too long for a minibus to appear.

17:45pm – Zakopane village – Get off the bus when you’re near Centrum Miasta (on Google Maps)

After a beautiful half-day hike we headed to Zakopane Centre to admire the streets, restaurants and local shops.

18:30pm – Pierogi time! We ate at Bar Górski – amazing Polish cuisine with vegan options!

We fell in love with Bar Górski whilst in Zakopane and have eaten there at least four times! They serve amazing Polish cuisine like pierogi and soup. Honestly, it’s one of our favourites. There’s lots of restaurants to choose from though, have a look around when you’re there!

19:35pm – Szwagropol Bus back to Krakow

I’m pretty sure we fell asleep during the journey back to Krakow from Zakopane. We were exhausted!

22:15pm – Arrive back in Krakow and head back to accommodation!

So as you can see, it’s a pretty long day but 100% worth it to visit Zakopane on a day trip. From experience, it is completely possible to hike the Morskie Oko trail on a one-day trip to Zakopane.

There’s also lots of things to do in Zakopane that don’t take longer than 7 hours. The trains and buses run very late from Zakopane to Krakow so it’s possible to stay longer than we did.

Best Tours from Krakow to Zakopane:

  • Zakopane and Thermal Springs Tour (with Hotel Pickup) – visit the Chocholowskie Termy (thermal baths in Zakopane)
  • Zakopane Day Trip with Cable Car and Tastings – head to the top of mountains in Zakopane!

Zakopane Main Street in Winter

Zakopane Day Trip – Conclusion of our itinerary

This itinerary was exactly what we had planned to do on our one day in Zakopane and it all worked out great! So we’re confident you can plan the same type of trip and escape from Krakow to Zakopane in one day.

We visited in October and the snow on the mountains had already started. It kind of surprised us!

It was a lovely time to visit before it got even colder in Zakopane and the hike was still accessible without ice crampons. We had all our hope that the public transport would be in our favour and luckily it was.

Apart from a small delay at the beginning, everything else was running very smoothly and we booked our bus tickets online even though we could have just purchased them at the time of travel.

zakopane travel blog

The Morskie Oko hike is a 16km trail so in order to achieve the hike in a day you don’t have a lot of rest time. It’s not a very hard hike with a very slow incline up to the lake.

We stopped for around 20 minutes at the top of the lake to eat some snacks and admire the views. Then we tried to walk down to the trailhead as fast as we could.

At first, we were worried we wouldn’t have time to visit Zakopane village and eat some food, but we were SO hungry that it became a priority before heading back to Krakow.

This is why we arrived back in Krakow quite late, but we were happy with our decision. We purchased our bus ticket back to Krakow online while we were in the restaurant.

Overall it was a great Zakopane day trip from Krakow and we would love to go back to Zakopane and explore more of the beautiful Tatra Mountains!

If you do decide to spend the night in Zakopane, we recommend staying at Hostel & Apartments u Florka 2 . We stayed here for three days for a ski trip and it was perfect!

Chocholowskie Termy in Zakopane

Check out our other Poland Travel Guides :

  • Things to do in Zakopane – During Winter & Summer
  • 3 Day Krakow Itinerary -Best Places to Visit in Krakow
  • 12+ Best Vegan Restaurants in Krakow – Vegan Guide

Have a great day in Zakopane and whichever way you decide to get there, it will be an amazing day trip from Krakow. Thanks for reading our How to visit Zakopane from Krakow, Incredible One Day Trip !

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How to get from Krakow to Zakopane Travel guide. Four images featuring cars in Zakopane with snow, Dan infront of a lake and mountains, the snowy villages of Zakopane and Pierogis

Amy & Dan are the founders of The Sunrise Dreamers. They are travellers from the UK who have been on the road since 2017 whilst living in places like England, Canada, Thailand and the Canary Islands. They share their knowledge of travelling the world with detailed travel guides and tips. They're experts in vegan travel and show their audience how to travel on a budget.

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Looks like fun! I love how accessible it is to be able to do a daytrip from Krakow. And that food looks like a great reason to take a break!

Zakopane looks like such a fun place to visit! I love that its beautiful in both the summer and the winter – I love a great year round destination. This is such a great one day itinerary!

Thank you! It’s an awesome place to be all year round! It’s still not majorly popular yet either 🙂

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zakopane travel blog

Best Things To Do In Zakopane Poland On And Off The Beaten Path

While it’s quite obvious that Poland has beautiful towns and cities (such as Krakow or Wroclaw ), hiking in Poland may not be that popular. Too bad! There are many amazing mountain trails in the country, the most popular (and arguably the prettiest) are the ones in the Tatra Mountains. Keep on reading to get to know more about this mountain range including things to do in Zakopane, where to stay, and tips for visiting.

Zakopane is called the winter capital of Poland . Located less than 2h drive from Krakow, it’s a place definitely worth visiting!

You don’t need to be an experienced hiker to take a trip to Zakopane. In fact, you don’t need to be fit at all. There are many tourists attractions in the town and around that are perfect for people traveling with kids, with disabilities, or simply for those who don’t want to get tired during their holidays.

Before we will go to the best things to do in Zakopane, let us give you a quick introduction to the town.

zakopane travel blog

Table of Contents

Basic Info About Zakopane Poland

Zakopane literally means buried in Polish. Why? Because this town is literally buried in snow during the winter ! When it’s raining in other parts of Poland, you can be sure there is snow in Zakopane.

The first snowflakes are visible in October/November, the last in April. Up high in the mountains, the snow never melts down, so you basically can see it all year round.

How To Get To Zakopane Poland?

From warsaw to zakopane.

Zakopane is located only 6-hour drive from the capital of Poland,  Warsaw .

You can either take a bus or train from Warsaw to Zakopane. Check out this website to see the current schedule and plan your trip.

From Krakow To Zakopane

Zakopane is located only 1,5 hour driving from Krakow. You can either get there by car, bus, train or book a tour with a private driver .

Check out this website to plan your trip to Zakopane by public transport.

From Other Parts Of Poland

There are many buses and trains from almost every city in Poland to Zakopane. Check out our post with tips for getting around Poland to plan your journey.

Whatever transportation you choose, it’s easy to get to Zakopane because it’s a very popular tourist destination.

zakopane travel blog

Best Things To Do In Zakopane Poland

Everyone will find something for themselves in the Tatra Mountains. Below, you’ll find a list of the top things to do in Zakopane.

The weather in Zakopane is mostly cold, so bring a jacket no matter what you do! If you love winter sports, we especially recommend that when you come to Zakopane, ski your heart out!

Go Trekking in Zakopane

Here are the most popular mountains and valleys for hiking in Zakopane. Depending on how long you will be in a town, you can choose one, two, or even all the routes.

Gubałówka  (1,126 metres AMSL)

Gubałówka is a very easy mountain to climb. You can get a hike up to the top or buy a ticket for a gondola lift. You’ll get to Gubalowka directly from Krupowki (the main street) in Zakopane, the winter capital of Poland.

Skip the lines and book your tour to Gubalowka online .

Morskie Oko  (1,395 metres AMSL)

Morskie Oko has been recognized as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world by The Wall Street Journal . It’s very easy to get to the top. There’s an asphalt road leading directly to the lake. You can either hike up or take a ride by a horse-drawn carriage. Click here to read more.

zakopane travel blog

Dolina Pięciu Stawów, Czarny Staw, Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza, Rysy  (1,583- 2,499 metres AMSL)

All of these peaks in the mountain range are located above Morskie Oko. Rysy is the highest peak in Poland. Don’t go there if you are not fit enough! The ascent is really difficult and dangerous.

Remember that there’s snow in the Tatra Mountains even in the summer . Dress properly. Nevertheless, a visit there is worth it. Views from the top are absolutely breathtaking!

Kasprowy Wierch  (1,987 metres AMSL)

Kasprowy Wierch is a great mountain for hiking. If you don’t like to get tired, you can use a cable car to reach the top. In the winter, this is definitely the best place for snowboarding and skiing in Zakopane !

Skip the lines and book your day trip to Zakopane & Kasprowy Wierch online.

zakopane travel blog

Giewont (1,895 metres AMSL)

Giewont is located above Kasprowy Wierch. It’s not easy to hike there, but the views are really great! From Kasprowy Wierch to Giewont, you’ll reach the summit in 2 hours.

Afterwards, you’ll miss the comfort of the Zakopane hotels and want to curl up with hot chocolate , which we wholeheartedly recommend.

Nosal Ski Center

If you want to ski in Zakopane go to Nosal Ski Center.

Its gentle slope ensures that a novice will succeed and have fun. Even though this is a milder mountain, the weather Zakopane means that it will still be cold!

Go Hiking In Zakopane

Dolina chochołowska.

Dolina Chocholowska is the biggest and longest valley in the Tatra mountains. It’s 6 miles long and very easy to walk.

In order to get there, take a bus from Zakopane to Siwa Polana. You’ll find there the beginning of the hiking trail.

Skip the lines and book your day trip to Zakopane & Dolina Chocholowska online .

Dolina Strążyska

This is the shortest valley in Zakopane. Go to Strążyska street to find the beginning of the hiking trail. Dolina Strazyska is only 2 miles long.

zakopane travel blog

Dolina Gąsienicowa

This is the most popular valley in the Tatra Mountains. It’s about 4 miles long. The beginning of the hiking trail is in Kuźnice. Take a bus from Zakopane to get there.

zakopane travel blog

Dolina Kościeliska

This is the most beautiful valley in the Tatra Mountains. It’s 6 miles long. Take a bus from Zakopane to Kira to find the beginning of the hiking trail.

Zakopane travel tip: Remember that all mountains and valleys in the Tatra Mountains are connected. You can mix hiking trails and achieve several goals at once.

Check out best tours to Zakopane:

Take a stroll down the krupówki street.

zakopane travel blog

What are the best things to do Zakopane besides being in nature? Let us introduce you to Krupowki, the most famous street in Zakopane Poland.

On this street alone , you will find there many shops, pubs, and tourist attractions. Celebrate one of our holidays here , or just find yourself cruising around the street.

Try Oscypek And Polish Highlander Cuisine

zakopane travel blog

Your trip to Zakopane won’t be complete without trying oscypek! It’s a traditional salty cheese made of sheep milk. You can either have it cold, or grilled with a bit of cranberry jam. Yummy!

When it’s cold outside, drink Grzaniec Galicyjski, Polish mulled wine . It is just delicious!

There are many other dishes worth trying in Zakopane. Follow the link and read about the best food to try in Poland .

Where To Eat In Zakopane?

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After you go hiking in Zakopane, you deserve an amazing meal! Zakopane restaurants don’t disappoint. Have an amazing meal in this city and ponder over all the things that make Poles so unique !

There are so many great places to eat in Zakopane. If you are traveling on a budget, go to Bistro Grota . You can have a meal there for as cheap as 5-15 zloty. To try the best local food (with live music in the evening) go to Siuchajsko on Krzeptowki. This restaurant is really awesome!

Our favorite patisserie is Cocktail Bar Jagoda. It has amazing desserts, ice creams, cafes, cakes, fruits, pancakes, and more. Yummy!

Relax In The Thermal Pools

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Tatra Mountains has the highest density of thermal pools in Poland . If you don’t feel like hiking or trekking, you can simply spend your time relaxing in the healing waters, watching the majestic mountains around you.

Here is the list of the most popular thermal baths and water parks in Zakopane and around:

  • Bania Thermal Baths
  • Bukovina Thermal Baths
  • Gorący Potok Thermal Baths
  • Chocholowskie Termy Baths
  • Zakopane Aquapark

If you want to know the difference between these thermal pools and choose the best one for you read this post .

Here’s also my post about the best thermal pools in Zakopane (follow the link).

Have Fun At Tatralandia Aquapark

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Even though it’s not located in Zakopane, it’s a place definitely worth visiting, especially for families traveling to Zakopane with kids. Tatralandia is just 1,5h drive from the town.

The Aquapark is situated in Liptowski Mikulasz at the Poland-Slovakia border. It has many water slides, spouts, and other attractions.

Go Crazy In The Upside Down House

There is a house in Zakopane that was built… upside down. It’s literally standing on its roof!

You can not only see it from the outside but also get inside to see the upside-down world. How awesome is that?

See 1,000+ Mice in Myszogród Zakopane

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Visiting the Mousaland is one of the best things to do in Zakopane with kids!

Located right on Krupowki street, it’s easy to get to.  

Slide Down The Wielka Krokiew Ski Jump

If you are looking for fun things to do in Zakopane, head to Wielka Krokiew Ski Jump.

You can slide down this large slop on an inflatable boat! There are 3 levels available. The lowest is for kids (aged 7 years old or more). The highest is for adults. You can go down as fast as 100 km/h (62 m/h)!

Walk Around Pęksowy Brzyzek Cemetry 

Considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Poland, visiting Pęksowy Brzyzek is one of the best things to do in Zakopane for history and art lovers.

Read more about the cemetery here .

Cheer Yourself Up In The Happiness Museum

Pink, positive, and energetic- visiting The Museum of Happiness is one of the best things to do in Zakopane on a rainy day.

Located right on Krupowki street, the museum is a place where you can take some Insta-worthy photos.

Take A Day Trip To Slovakia

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Slovakia is only 13 miles from Zakopane. This makes it a great gateway to exploring another country and hiking on the Slovakian side of the Tatra Mountains.

Zakopane in Poland provides access to one side of the mountains, but there is another world to discover on the other side!

Depending on how fit you are, you can try different hikes in the Slovakian Tatra Mountains.

The route perfect for everyone, including those traveling with kids, would be Bachledka Treetop Walk . It will take less than an hour drive to get to the beginning of the trail from Zakopane.

Book the best tour from Krakow to Slovakia and Zakopane .

Relax At Kąpielisko Szymoszkowa [Summer Only]

One of the best things to do in Zakopane in the summertime is visit Kąpielisko Szymoszkowa.

It’s a seasonal attraction. The pools with geothermal water are definitely worth jumping in!

Get Lost In The Snow Maze [Winter Only]

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Did you know that world’s largest snow maze is located in Zakopane Poland?

Of course, it’s a seasonal attraction. If you happen to visit the Tatra Mountains in the wintertime, be sure to visit this amazing labyrinth!

Where To Stay In Zakopane?

The weather in Zakopane can be freezing, so after a day of hiking or skiing, sometimes it’s just nice to curl up in bed! You will find plenty of hotels, hostels, and villas in Zakopane.

For Groups And Luxury Travelers

We stayed at the luxurious Villa Gorsky . It was absolutely gorgeous! The house is huge and it was perfect for us and our family. Even though we were a group of 15 people, we had plenty of space. The villa is situated in Poronin. We really like its location – it’s close enough to Zakopane and still far from the hustle and bustle of Krupowki.

Accommodation Zakopane is easy to find. Whether you’re looking to settle in a luxurious suite or are searching for an Airbnb Zakopane, this is the winter capital of Poland, so there are plenty of options to choose from. A hotel Zakopane can make for a more comfortable stay, but a hostel can make your trip affordable if you’re on a budget.

Whatever type of accommodation in Zakopane you prefer, we recommend that you at least choose someplace cozy and relaxing – it will make your stay unforgettable.

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For Everyone

If you are traveling in a smaller group, check out Maki Dome Regionalne . They are located in the neighborhood of Zakopane, so it’s the best option for those of you who travel by car. We spent our 1st wedding anniversary there and it was great!

If you don’t have a car and prefer to stay closer to Krupowki, check out Alpini Apartamenty. We stayed there once and absolutely loved it! The prices are reasonable and they are located within the walking distance to the town center.

For Budget Travelers

If you are traveling on a budget, check out Hostel 1902 and Apartamenty Krupowki 35 .

Check out Airbnb to book the best apartments in Zakopane.

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Have a question? Join our Poland Travel Support Facebook group , we will be happy to help you!

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19 Responses

Nice post. I hope to get there next year!

You will definitely love it!

Oh! you must have had a wonderful experience there. May be I’ll visit there this Christmas. Hope so 🙂

Looks like an interesting Hill-station to give a visit. Any food specialties there?

Oscypki with cranberries are a must try!

Zakopane sounds like the real deal. Nice article, easy to read does not hit one in the face with blocks of text. Honestly, blogs like this one are the only way some of us get to travel, anyway. Keep up the nice job.

Great Post! Zakopane is a beautiful town in Poland. It’s a popular departure point for winter sports and summertime mountain climbing and hiking. May be I’ll visit there soon.

Move over Krakow! Zacopane looks like the next must see in Poland – Awesome article guys, and thanks for sharing your adventure!

Wow the photos are breath taking and i think this is probably the perfect place to go if you want to get lost in your thoughts or just be inspired.

Lovely just what I was searching for.

Glad that we could help 🙂

We are visiting Zakopane by car from Krakow, with it being a couple of hours away, what is the best time to leave krakow? As I know how busy it can get in Zakopane. We are visiting early March.

Great info on Zakopane.

Thanks for your comment, Louise. March is not as crowded as January and February, as the school holidays are over. So if it’s a weekday, it probably won’t be crowded at all. Depending on the weather, you may encounter some traffic during the weekend. What day are you planning to travel to Zakopane? – during the weekdays, you can leave anytime you want – on Saturday, there may be some traffic in the morning but it should be fine afterward – going back from Zakopane to Krakow on Sunday afternoon/evening may not be a good idea; it’s the time where the traffic is the highest

Hope it helps!

Good evening! Can you tell me please which hiking trails I can mix to see more in a such beautiful place and not to waste time on coming back to hotel and next day go back in the same destination)?

Hi Liliia! Sure, I will be happy to help. Do you want stay overnight in the mountains, is that your question? 🙂

Karolina, hello!yes it would be nice to stay overnight in the mountains! We’re going to zakopane with my husband in April (19-23 ). Thank you in advance

I see! Here is one route where you can spend a night in the mountains: Kuźnice – Schronisko Murowaniec (overnight) – Kasprowy Wierch – Przełęcz pod Kopą Kondracką – Hala Kondratowa – Kuźnice

If you want, you can also take a full 4-day mountainous trip: DAY 1 Chocholowska Valley to Ornak, overnight at PTTK Ornak. DAY 2 Hala Ornak to Murowaniec, overnight at PTTK Murowaniec. DAY 3 Murowaniec to Dolina Pieciu Stawow, overnight at PTTK Dolina Pięciu Stawów (the highest mountain hostel in Polish Tatra Mountains) DAY 4 Dolina Pieciu Stawow to Morskie Oko and Palenica Bialczanska

4 days in the mountains, one day in Zakopane. Perfect for your April trip to the Tatra Mountains. Be sure to check the weather and prepare for the changing conditions, always adjust your plan to the current circumstances.

Oh Karolina!!!!Brilliant!thanks a lot))

You’re welcome! Have fun in Poland 🙂

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My name is Karolina, I was born and raised in Poland. I love my homeland. Even though I’ve been to 50+ countries in the world I’ve never hesitated to make Poland my base!

My mission is to show you the beauty of Poland and help you plan your trip!

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Zakopane Day Trip from Krakow: Tour Review & Tips

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: October 16, 2023

Zakopane Day Trip from Krakow: Tour Review & Tips

Are you considering a Zakopane day trip from Krakow and wondering what to expect or which tour to choose? In this guide, you can find a Zakopane tour review and our experience-based tips to help you plan a perfect day. Find out!

Zakopane is a charming mountain town located in southern Poland, close to the Slovakian border. It’s known for its natural beauty and stunning mountain landscapes of the Tatras Mountains. In addition, you’ll find traditional architecture, lots of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The area is also famous for its thermal waters and no visit to Zakopane would be complete without a soak in its hot baths.

Attracting tourists and outdoor enthusiasts alike, the town has a lively atmosphere any time of the year. In the summer, you will find plenty of hiking possibilities and in the winter, it’s a popular ski resort. The winter scenes of the town covered in the snow make it look just like a Christmas card. No wonder Zakopane is referred to as the winter capital of Poland

But Zakopane is well worth a visit in any season, even if you don’t have the time for summer hiking or winter activities. And because it’s located just 110 km south of Krakow and the drive takes less than 2 hours, Zakopane makes a perfect day trip destination from Krakow.

Please note that in this guide we use pictures from different seasons. That way, you get a better idea of what you can expect when visiting Zakopane at any time of the year.

Zakopane in winter

Good to know: You can visit Zakopane on your own or you can book an organized day tour from Krakow. If you are going for just a day, it’s simpler to just book a tour. There are tons of tours to choose from and the prices, as well as itineraries, are quite similar. Most Zakopane day tours include a funicular ticket, a visit to the geothermal baths, and some food options, plus some free time in town.

Our writer Christine recently visited Zakopane from Krakow on this highly-rated day tour . In this guide, you can read about her first-hand experience and an honest tour review giving you a good idea of what to expect. Take a look!

When we first visited Krakow a few years ago, our guide at that time suggested we took a day trip to the mountain town of Zakopane. As we were only in Krakow for 3 days and had already booked lots of activities, we had to give it a miss at that time.

But after looking up photos of this resort town when we got home, we knew we would have to make another trip to Poland just to visit Zakopane. So recently, we booked the flights back and finally got to see Zakopane in all its glory as part of this tour .

It was an unforgettable day – and in this article, you’ll find out just what we did in Zakopane.

TIP: When you book this Zakopane day tour, you have several options to choose from. For the best experience, we recommend that you go ‘all-in’ with the funicular ticket and thermal baths entry included!

Zakopane town center

Why Visit Zakopane with a Tour from Krakow

While you could easily plan your own day trip to Zakopane from Krakow, that would require renting a car and doing a lot more research. Quite likely, you would also just focus on ‘the musts’ and skip some of the more local experiences such as traditional food/drinks tasting which is included with most tours.

We also found that it wasn’t worth the hassle to rent a car for just a day. And definitely in the winter when the roads can be icy.

Going with a tour, you don’t have to worry about transportation, traffic, where exactly to go (or park), or what to pre-book. Everything is taken care of and you can relax and enjoy the day. Furthermore, tour itineraries are really well thought-off and the prices are very reasonable.

Further below, you can read about our experience on the Zakopane tour from Krakow.

TIP: If you are visiting Krakow in the warm season and have at least 5 days in the area, you could consider renting a car and visiting Zakopane on your own. In that case, you could also visit Wieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz Concentration Camp . We visited all these places with tours and always had the best experience and nothing to worry about.

Traditional mountain hut in Koscielisko, Poland - Zakopane day tour

Our Tour Review

As already mentioned, we chose this tour for a day trip to Zakopane from Krakow. It includes a door-to-door service. So you are collected from – and returned to – your accommodation in Krakow.

The description said that our tour guides would contact us the evening before the trip in order to arrange the pickup. And true to their word, we received a message at 8 pm confirming that we would be collected from our apartment at 8.30 am the next morning.

The driver – and our guide Magda – arrived right on time, although we had to take a short walk to the minibus. This is because many areas within the city are pedestrian-only zones and there are strict parking restrictions.

Nevertheless, every subsequent guest was either picked up right outside – or just around the corner – from their accommodation. So the start of the day couldn’t have been easier!

Comfortably seated on the minibus (an airconditioned Mercedes Sprinter), we drove around the main city collecting all the tour members. Even this part of the day was enjoyable, as we got to see a few parts of Krakow we hadn’t yet visited.

Then we were on our way!

Driving from Krakow to Zakopane

The trip to Zakopane from Krakow is advertised as taking around 2 hours. However, it soon became obvious that the route was extraordinarily busy. We later found out that the time we were visiting was the time of the winter school break for Polish children (early February).

Zakopane is as popular with Polish tourists as it is with international visitors, so the traffic was heavy in places and slowed us down quite a bit.

On the bright side, this gave us more time to soak up the views as Krakow’s urban landscape gave way to peaceful villages and – eventually – forests covered in deep, powdery snow. So beautiful was the journey that the time simply flew by!

One of our favorite parts of the drive was through the village of Chochołów .

Over 200 years old, this village is almost exclusively filled with wooden houses called góralskie chaty (highlanders’ huts). These charming structures – resembling fairy-tale-like log cabins – were built by the Polish Góral highlanders, an indigenous ethnic group mainly found in southern Poland.

As we meandered past these almost identical dwellings, our guide told us more about their history and the traditional ways in which they are cleaned each year to keep them in such excellent condition.

Chocholow village in Poland

Traditional Cheese Tasting

Around 10 minutes after leaving Chochołów we stopped at a traditional mountain hut in Kościelisko . Here we had the opportunity to try a specialty of the region – traditional Polish cheese called Oscypek .

Made from salted sheep milk and then smoked, this cheese is exclusive to Poland’s Tatra Mountains. Inside the hut, we watched as it was smoked over an open fire, then we all assembled outside the hut to try it, served with the traditional cranberry jam.

I had tried Oscypek on my last visit to Krakow, on a food tour of the local markets. But that experience didn’t quite compare to enjoying it warm from the fire, with nothing but the remote snowy landscape all around us.

It will probably go down as one of my favorite foodie experiences ever!

Indeed, our guide told us that if we wanted to buy any to take home, we should purchase it right there at the hut. She confirmed that Oscypek produced elsewhere isn’t quite as good!

To complete this little meal we were each given a shot of Soplica – one of Poland’s older brands of pure, flavored vodka. The version we tried was flavored with quince, which I must admit we didn’t particularly care for. Nevertheless, the boost of warmth was welcome!

Traditional Polish cheese Oscypek tasting during our Zakopane day tour from Krakow

Back on the bus, we traveled for a further 30 minutes before reaching Zakopane town itself.

Our preconceived notions of a sleepy and remote mountain town were quickly dispelled. The resort was very crowded and it took our driver at least 20 minutes to find somewhere to park!

This point in the tour marks the beginning of your free time in Zakopane – usually around 2.5 hours. Because of the traffic on the way up the mountain, we had a little less.

Our guide explained that we could use this time to explore Krupówki Street – the main thoroughfare in the town – or head straight to the cable car that would take us up to Gubałówka .

She also pointed out that the restaurants on Krupówki Street were more authentic – and reasonably priced – than the eateries at the top of Gubałówka.

In town, you will also find an incredibly busy market selling everything from souvenirs to fur-trimmed clothing. If you have some more time, you may find it interesting to browse the stalls; we spotted some unique items here that we hadn’t seen elsewhere.

But we decided that our priority with this tour was to take in the mountain views, so we joined the group heading for the funicular. As said before, we recommend booking the tour with all the additional options (the funicular ticket was one of them).

Gubalowka Funicular, Zakopane, Poland

Gubałówka Funicular & Lunch

The tickets for the funicular (aka Gubałówka cable car) were included with the tour and our guide quickly ushered us through the barrier. Although it was busy, the wait to ascend the mountain was not particularly long. But the car is very wide and open, a design clearly meant to accommodate a lot of people in one go.

Whilst this cut down on the waiting time, it meant we had no view at all during the actual ascent. That being said, the journey only took a matter of minutes, and as we spilled out of the car at the top of Gubałówka we realized it was more than worth it !

The views of the Tatra Mountains from this vantage point are – quite simply – breathtaking!

Just as you exit the cable car you come to a Górale -style tavern called Restauracja Tarasy Gubałówka. We were lucky enough to find a place outside that gave us a ‘ringside seat’ to enjoy the scenery and have some lunch.

Just as we were warned, the food here was expensive and – compared to everything else we’d eaten in Poland – not that spectacular. You could choose to sit inside the restaurant where there are many more dining options, but as we all wanted to stay outside we were limited to little more than hot dogs, burgers, and kebabs.

Nevertheless, gazing at the snowy mountaintops as we ate and listening to the traditional music piped from the restaurant made this another of our favorite culinary experiences!

Good to know: If you need the bathroom when at the top of Gubalowka, be prepared to pay for the privilege! We were charged 5 zloty (+- 1 euro) per person, with someone waiting at the door with a card machine to ensure we didn’t forget!

After lunch, we took a walk to the Gubałówka lookout point for a better view of the mountains.

You’ll need the right footwear for this. In the summer, sneakers will be sufficient for just this short walk. But in winter, ideally, you wear warm winter boots with good grip, as the walking surface is compacted ice and VERY slippery. One member of our group was wearing trainers and really struggled to get around.

Tatra mountains view from Gubalowka, Zakopane, Poland

Krupówki Street & Market

We decided to head back down to town at this point so we’d have a little time to explore Zakopane town and the famous Krupówki Street .

Unfortunately, we hadn’t anticipated the size of the queue for the cable car! It took almost an hour to descend the hill again, which meant that we had very little time to check out the market before returning to our minibus.

TIP: If it’s important to you to see the views from Gubalowka and visit some of the town too, I’d recommend skipping lunch at the top. Visiting when the resort is less crowded will definitely help too. In general, try to avoid weekends, popular public holidays, and Polish school breaks.

As we boarded the minibus we were given our second shot of the day. This time it was cherry-flavored Soplica , which we all agreed was much nicer than the quince version. Be sure to give it a try!

We were now on the way to the final stop for the day – the famous thermal pools of Zakopane.

Traditional Polish food market in Zakopane

Bukovina Thermal Baths

Bukovina Thermal Baths is a large complex consisting of several swimming pools, saunas, SPA, and wellness. We found the description for the baths a little misleading and were under the impression that these would be natural thermal pools. Whilst the water in a couple of the pools is thermally heated via hot underground springs, the baths are more like a community pool in appearance.

As long as you know what to expect, however, you’ll have a great time. This is also a great place for families traveling with children.

This complex has many different pools, a raging river, a slide, hydro massages, and more. The experience of sitting submerged in very warm water, surrounded by the snowy landscape and with steam rising all around us – was unforgettable! What’s more, we had 2.5 hours to enjoy the experience, which really allowed us to relax.

Good to know: If you opt to visit the baths as part of your tour, you’ll need to bring along a swimsuit, towel, and flip-flops. The flip-flops are important as you are asked to remove your shoes even before entering the changing rooms.

The wristband you are given on entry includes the use of a locker – you simply hold the wristband to a sensor. If you’re having trouble understanding the signage, there are lots of helpful staff members on hand to assist.

You can also use your wristband to pay for items in the pools’ restaurant and bar. When you leave the pool, your wristband is scanned and you can then pay whatever you owe at the exit.

We had already planned an evening meal in Krakow, but if we visited the baths again we would eat in the restaurant. The traditional Polish food looked amazing and was very reasonably priced.

TIP: If you don’t mind waiting a bit longer to eat, you could also skip lunch on the mountain and have a meal here. This would give you quite a lot more time for sightseeing in Zakopane.

Bukovina thermal baths (Termy Bukovina) near Zakopane, Poland

Back to Krakow

As we boarded the bus for the journey back to Krakow, we were given our final treat of the day – a chocolate croissant and a bottle of water. This was perfectly timed and very much appreciated, as most of us were a little thirsty and hungry after all that swimming.

The journey back to Krakow took 2 hours and was a little less entertaining than the journey up the mountain since it was now totally dark. In the summer, when the days are much longer, you would enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way back as well.

But it was a nice, quiet time to reflect on a fun-packed day – one that we all agreed was excellent value for money and the highlight of our trip to Poland!

Krupowki street in Zakopane, Poland

Tips for Planning a Zakopane Day Trip from Krakow

Based on our experience, here are a few tips and things to consider when planning to visit Zakopane from Krakow:

  • Avoid visiting on a weekend and during public holidays and school breaks. If you can, try to avoid the peak times when planning your visit to Zakopane. It’s an extremely popular destination, so coming on a quieter day will give you a much more relaxing and authentic experience.
  • Do some research and book your tour in advance. As already mentioned, there are quite a few day tours from Krakow to Zakopane (see the selection of tours here ). While most itineraries are quite similar, some tours include a hotel pick-up as well as specific activities and/or meals in the price, while others add the additional cost per each additional option that you choose. So keep this in mind when comparing the prices.
  • If it’s important to you, double-check which thermal pools are included with the tour that you book. Our tour included a visit to Bukovina Thermal Baths which is not too big or too crowded. Many other tours (see here ) go to Chocholow Thermal Baths, which has 30 pools and is the largest thermal bath complex in Poland.
  • Dress for the mountain weather. In summer, you’ll likely need a sweater or even a light jacket in the mountains, and in the winter, you should wear a warm winter jacket, scarf, gloves, hat, and sturdy winter shoes with good grip.
  • Bring a swimsuit, flip-flops, and a towel . Unless you want to borrow a towel from your hotel or accommodation (which is likely quite big and heavy), we recommend packing quick-drying travel towels .
  • Save time by skipping lunch . You can bring a few snacks with you or even get something quick to eat in Zakopane without sitting down for a meal. This will give you more time for sightseeing.

READ ALSO: Tips & Tricks for Visiting Krakow (first-timer’s guide)

So, this is our guide for the Zakopane day trip from Krakow. We hope that this gives you a good idea of what to expect.

While not everything on our tour was perfect (mostly due to the fact that we visited during the busiest week during the Polish winter school holidays), we found the tour more than worth it.

The mountain scenery in the Zakopane area is amazing. Plus, we got to see some beautiful countryside and get a taste of the traditional lifestyle (and food/drinks). In addition, we really enjoyed the relaxing soak in a warm geothermal pool at the end of the day.

All in all, we highly recommend a visit to Zakopane. It’s truly one of our favorite experiences of two different visits to Krakow.

Have a great time!

More tips and inspiration for visiting Krakow:

  • Best Things to Do in Krakow
  • 3 Days Krakow Itinerary
  • How to Visit Auschwitz
  • How to Visit Wieliczka Salt Mine

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Zakopane day trip from Krakow - tour review

Images: personal collection and Depositphotos.com. Additional credits: Patryk_Kosmider/Depositphotos.com and igorpasz/Depositphotos.com

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Monday 6th of March 2023

Couldn't agree more with your review! My husband and I have visited Zakopane twice and we did everything on your list. We absolutely loved it - wonderful food (and deliciously smooth Zubrowka vodka), picturesque buildings and scenery, and unique features from other cities we visited in Poland. We also visited the Salt Mines and Auschwitz on that trip, both very powerful experiences.

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

Thanks for sharing your experience, Kimber. Happy travels!

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Ultimate Guide to Visiting Zakopane Thermal Baths in 2024

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Within Eastern Europe, something that few foreigners know is that there’s a decent amount of thermal baths in Poland. In particular, the Zakopane thermal baths are a crowd-favorite and attract thousands of locals and tourists staying in Krakow. In this post, I’ll provide you with all the essential details that you need to experience the magic of the Zakopane thermal baths .

A picture of a couple of the thermal baths as seen in the Chocholowskie thermal baths.

Short on Time? Here’s the Best Zakopane Thermal Baths Tour

Zakopane & Thermal Springs — You’ll visit the historic wooden village of Chochołów, go to the top of Gubałówka mountain & spend 3 hours relaxing in the Chocholowskie Thermal Baths!

Traveling Soon? Here Are the Travel Resources I Use!

🏡 Accommodations: I use Expedia or Booking for hotels and Hostelworld for hostels ✈️ Flights: I find the best deals on StudentUniverse & Skyscanner 🗺️ Travel Insurance: I suggest Safetywing as an affordable option 🤿 Tours & Experiences: I love to use Viator and Get Your Guide 🚗 Car Rentals : I recommend DiscoverCars for all your rental car needs! 📱 E-Sim: The company I’ve had the most positive experiences with is Airalo Use code ‘KRISTI7012’ for an extra $3 off your ESIM from Airalo!

Why Visit the Zakopane Thermal Baths?

For those who don’t know, Zakopane is nestled in the Tatra Mountains along the southern part of the country. Around this region alone, there are 6 different thermal baths, pools, and parks available to select from. They offer guests the opportunity to indulge in a relaxing spa experience while enjoying the beautiful, natural mountain scenery. Plus, they are much more affordable than many other spas and thermal baths around the world. So, whether you’re staying in Krakow, passing through, or visiting from another nearby city, I’d suggest visiting at least one of them!

A picture of the outdoor thermal pool at Chocholowskie thermal baths.

Best Thermal Baths in Zakopane

Of the six thermal baths, the most popular and absolute best one is the Chocholowskie Thermal Baths in Zakopane . It’s located 10.5 miles or 17km from Zakopane in the quaint town of Chocholow! The Chocholowskie thermal baths is the largest thermal pool complex in Poland. Around the premises, you’ll find 30 indoor and outdoor pools and jacuzzis that are nothing short of heaven. 😌 Here are just a few amenities included at this location! You can see the full list on their official website .

  • Older Children’s Zone with Tube Slide
  • Young Children’s Zone with a children’s pool
  • An aquarium
  • Outdoor playground
  • Textile sauna and salt cave
  • Gym & Fitness Center
  • Restaurants

A picture of the Chocholowskie thermal baths near Zakopane.

How to Reach the Zakopane Thermal Baths

Hopefully, by now you are convinced to visit these thermal baths. 😉 If so, let’s discuss the three ways to get there.

By Public Transport

Since Chocholow and Zakopane are such small towns, they have no train station or airport, making the only form of public transportation available is the bus. Thus, your first option, which is also the cheapest, is to take the bus. For example, from Krakow, a bus to Zakopane costs ~€7 or $8 USD. If you decide to take the bus, I recommend booking your bus ticket through the platform OMIO . It’s the most intuitive transportation platform out there, and I’ve been a satisfied user of it since 2019, so I can definitely vouch for it . Just input your starting location, the end destination as “ Chocholow, Poland ,” and your travel dates. Afterward, the various bus routes will appear, and you can select the one that works best for you. One thing to note is that you’ll likely notice that all the end addresses are in Zakopane. This is because Zakopane is the main tourist destination, not the tiny town of Chocholow. As a result, you’ll likely need to take another 30-minute bus ride that costs a couple of dollars one-way . Just follow Google Maps instructions and know that most bus drivers don’t speak English well, so have Google Translate ready! Alternatively, you can try to Uber from Zakopane to the Chocholowskie Thermal Baths. I’d be careful with this route though because while Uber operates in Poland, your options may be limited within the Tatra Mountains. This could mean longer waiting times or straight up, there are no cars available to take you. I’d do a “ trial run ” of pre-scheduling a ride the day before.

A picture of several small wooden houses in Zakopane.

By Private Transport

Your second option is to drive yourself there. This is the best option if you already have access to a car, whether it be your own, a family member’s, or a friend’s. Or, if you don’t have access to a car, you can always opt to rent one . The company that I normally use to rent cars while traveling is DiscoverCars. I’ve always found that they provide the best and most intuitive service. Plus, 99% of the time, cars are available for pick-up from airports, which makes life easier when traveling. So if you want to drive yourself to the baths, that’s an option. So, if you have access to a car and are comfortable navigating around Poland, you can easily drive to Zakopane. That said, there’s really only one road that travels from Krakow into the Tatra mountains, so navigating isn’t particularly challenging. 😅

✅ 🚗 Click to check the availability of rental cars in Krakow

A picture of the Tatra Mountains. On your way to the thermal pools, you'll pass through the beautiful Tatra mountains

Now, the third and, in my opinion, the best option is to take a private tour. You don’t have to worry about navigating Poland’s transportation network and get the perk of having a local guide you around Zakopane! The only downside is that tours aren’t always an option if you’re outside Krakow. You would likely need to figure out how to get from your housing to a meeting spot in Krakow, which may not be worth your time. But, if you are staying in the area, I highly recommend this option. Below are the 3 tours I highly recommend taking for the best possible hassle-free experience!

3 Best Zakopane Thermal Baths Tours from Krakow

1. the zakopane tour i took.

⭐️ RATING: 4.9 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 11 hours

The From Krakow: Zakopane, Tatra Mountains & Thermal Baths Tour includes:

  • Trying two different types of traditional sheep cheese ( oscypek)
  • Touring the inside of a well-preserved wooden chalet
  • Seeing the inside of a folk sculpture studio
  • Wandering around Krupowki Street (main street)
  • Riding a funicular car up Gubałówka mountain
  • 3-hours at Chocholowskie Thermal Baths
  • Round-trip transportation in a comfortable 8-seater van

This is the amazing tour I took and loved — you can read my complete review here . My English-speaking guide, Jakob, was so kind and flexible. What sets this tour option apart from the 100+ others is that you get to dive deeper into the local culture. For example, you get to see various intricate wood carvings and walk inside one of the wooden houses that the Chocholow and Zakopane region is famous for. Thus, if you are interested in witnessing the beauty of the Tatra Mountains, visiting the thermal baths, and discovering the local culture, this is the tour for you!

“ The most amazing trip. Our guide Patryk messaged the day before to confirm pick up time. He tailored the trip suit us and was very friendly and knowledgable answering my numerous questions. Enjoyed our free time in Zakopane and had the most amazing time in the thermal baths. Would highly recommend this trip. “ – Ashley (see more reviews )

✅ Check rates & availability for the tour to Zakopane that I thoroughly enjoyed 🌲

2. A Cheaper but Similar Version of the Tour I Took

A picture of the front entrance to the Chocholow thermal baths.

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 stars – 3075+ 5-star reviews! | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 11 – 12 hours

The Za kopane & Thermal Springs Tour includes:

  • Visiting the oldest traditional mountain hut in Chochołów
  • Sampling Highlander cheese & regional alcohol
  • Going to the top of Gubałówka mountain
  • Strolling along Krupowki Street
  • Spending 3-hours at Chocholowskie Thermal Baths
  • Round-trip transportation from Krakow

This tour is one of the highest-rated tours and the most popular Zakopane tour from Krakow . As mentioned previously, this tour goes to almost all the same places in the tour above, but for a cheaper price. Thus, if you want to visit the popular Chocholowskie thermal baths, still explore much of what Zakopane has to offer, and save a few dollars while you’re at it… this is a fantastic option !

“ Amazing tour, great sight seeing, some beautiful, breathtaking views, cheese was delicious, great time in the pools, Pawel was a great very knowledgeable and friendly tour guide, would definitely recommend going on this tour. “ David d. (see more reviews )

✅ Check rates & availability for this more affordable tour of Zakopane & the thermal pools

3. From Krakow: Bukovina Thermal Baths

zakopane travel blog

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 – only 5-star reviews! | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 8 hours

The From Krakow: Bukovina Thermal Baths includes:

  • Hotel pick up and drop off
  • Admiring the scenic views of the Tatra Mountains
  • 4 hours at the Bukovina thermal baths
  • Round-trip private transportation

Compared to the other two tours, this one goes to the Bukovina thermal baths , which is a little closer to Zakopane. This facility has 13 indoor and outdoor thermal baths, 8 saunas, and lots of water slides, great for kids! Thus, if you’re traveling with younger ones or keen on just spending more time at the thermal baths instead of getting a tour around Zakopane, this tour is worth considering

“ What a place! Stunning views on arrival, then you enter and the whole place is clean and tidy, everything run very smoothly. The place was huge with pools everywhere, jacuzzis, and levels of beautiful warm pools. It was a lovely day and the mountain range was in view from the pools. The slides were so much fun too! Driver Maciek was lovely and was very communicative and organised the whole trip.” Tour guest (see more reviews )

✅💧Check rates & availability for this tour to the Bukovina thermal baths

What to Bring for Zakopane Thermal Baths

To ensure that you’re all good to go and have a rejuvenating time, here is everything I suggest bringing.

  • 🌬 Light Jacket : Even if you’re visiting in the summer, the weather in Zakopane is quite unpredictable, and it can rain out of nowhere. Add in the higher elevation and it can get pretty cold. Thus, bring a light jacket — a heavy one if you’re there between October and May.
  • 👙 Swimsuit: A necessity, unless you plan on going in your birthday suit! Then again, I don’t think they’d let you enter the pool area…🤔
  • 🧖‍♀️ Towel: If you can, bring your own towel to avoid paying added fees. I used my small Rainleaf microfiber towel that I always travel with, and it was perfect. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and is extremely efficient at drying. I recommend buying a microfiber towel if you don’t already have one!

✅🧖‍♀️ Check out the travel-friendly microfiber towel I always travel with

  • 🩴 Flip Flops: Even if you opt for a tour around Zakopane, bring a pair of sandals, clogs, or flip-flops. Signs everywhere say you must wear flip-flops in the locker room/changing area to keep everything clean.
  • 🍎 Snacks & Water: Although traditional Polish food, desserts, and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are available, I would still bring some small snacks. The drive from Krakow is over an hour and you may get hungry.

A picture of the inside of the Chocholow thermal baths, which are about half an hour away from Zakopane.

Other Thermal Baths Near Zakopane

As mentioned earlier, there are 6 thermal baths near Zakopane. I have a full breakdown of my experience solely at the Chocholowskie Thermal Baths here if you’re interested. Otherwise, here’s a quick and general overview of what the other ones have to offer. I’ve listed them in increasing distance from Zakopane to help if transportation is a considering factor.

  • Aqua Park Zakopane — This is located in the center of Zakopane and includes 2 outdoor pools with thermal water. There are also regular pools with swimming lanes, several pool areas for kids, and a bowling center.
  • Bukovina Thermal Baths is 9 miles (15 km) from Zakopane in Bukowina Tatrzanska and offers 13 thermal indoor and outdoor pools with water attractions. Again, there are numerous saunas, slides, and mini-pools for those traveling with kids. The Bukovina Thermal Baths are also connected to Hotel Bukovina , and I would easily rate this as the second-best thermal pool! 😉

✅ Click to see details for this highly-rated tour to the Bukovina Thermal Baths

  • Goracy Potok Water Park is located in Szaflary, 10.5 miles (17km) from Zakopane. Some of the things it includes are 21 small outside thermal pools, mud baths, and a playground for children. This is one of the better spots geared towards kid’s entertainment.
  • Szaflary Thermal Baths is also located in Szaflary. It has 4 thermal pools, several saunas, and some smaller pools for children. You’ll also find an Italian restaurant located inside.
  • Terma Bania Water Park — is located in the small mountain village of Bialka Tatrzanska, 14 miles (22km) from Zakopane. There are 8 indoor and outdoor thermal pools, several saunas, and mini-pools for kids. This particular pool is connected to the luxurious Hotel Bania.

A picture of a lake in the Tatra Mountains.

Zakopane Thermal Baths Prices

Zakopane thermal baths prices greatly vary depending on which facility you are planning to visit, whether you are purchasing a minimal day pass, want access to additional facilities, etc. Thus, for this information, I would recommend just clicking the links above to visit the actual websites. This way you can calculate how much your exact package would cost. But, to give you a general idea. At the Chocholowskie Thermal Baths, you can pay as little as ~$16 USD for a single adult for 3 hours in the main thermal pool area! So, from my perspective, this is an incredibly affordable and amazing activity worth investing in!

Where to Stay in Krakow

Planning your trip to Krakow and looking for places to stay in the area? Here are a few recommendations. These are based on where I stayed and my extensive research from when I was booking my accommodations. 🤠

🇵🇱 PRO TIP: If there’s ever been a time in your life when you wanted to stay in a fancy hotel with all the amazing amenities but it’s just been out of budget… this is the time to splurge just a little! Eastern Europe is ridiculously cheap compared to places like Paris , Milan , and Stockholm . Take advantage because what would buy you a 3-star hotel in Paris easily gets you a 5-star in Krakow!

Low-Cost Stays

  • Ibis Styles Kraków Centrum — Super aesthetic and comfy 3-star hotel | ⭐️ 9.2 / 10
  • Hotel Estera — 4-star hotel with lovely restaurant & breakfast buffet | ⭐️ 9.2 / 10

Mid-Range Stays

  • Hotel Mercure Krakow Stare Miasto — 4-star hotel near train station | ⭐️ 9.1 / 10
  • Sky Hotel Kraków — 4-star hotel w/ restaurant & bar | ⭐️ 9.3 / 10
  • Hotel Indigo Krakow – Old Town — 4-star IHG hotel w/ sauna | ⭐️ 9.6 / 10

Luxury Stays

  • The Bonerowski Palace — 5-star hotel with wet & dry sauna | ⭐️ 9.2 / 10
  • Hotel Unicus Palace — 5-star hotel with pool & spa service | ⭐️ 9.3 / 10

A picture of Wawel Castle in Krakow. If you're staying in Krakow, it's very easy to day trip to the Zakopane Thermal Baths.

Zakopane Thermal Baths: FAQ

Honestly, there’s no bad time of the year to visit the Zakopane Thermal Baths since they are located in the cool mountains. Even in the middle of summer, the ambient temperature is around 70°F (21°C), so it’s never really too hot for a relaxing spa day. With regards to time of day, the Chochołowska Baths are open from 9 AM until 10 PM most days of the week & 11 PM on Friday and Saturday. To avoid crowds, I recommend going during the week. My tour group went on a Tuesday around 1 PM and there were some crowds, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I did notice that there was a massive influx of people around 4:30 PM – 5 PM. They likely had just gotten out of school or work and were understandably here to take advantage of the awesome facility. Long story short, go early on a weekday, and try to leave by 4:00 PM to avoid the crowds!

Yes! Thermal Baths are good for you, even healthy! They are full of micronutrients that encourage our bodies to relax and help strengthen our immune systems. 😅

Just like visiting the beaches in San Diego or in Nice, France , you wear a swimsuit, swim trunks, or bikini in thermal baths. Maybe bring some floaties if you have little kids.

Yes! You definitely should rinse off after going inside the thermal baths. This is to rinse off any bacteria from your skin and hair. It will also help remove the sulfur smell and generally leave you feeling extra clean!

Wrap-Up: Ultimate Guide to Zakopane Thermal Baths (2024)

Zakopane is one of Europe’s lesser-known hidden gems, perfect for those looking to escape the city and recenter themselves in nature. And between the sweeping Tatra mountain scenery and the therapeutic waters of the region’s many thermal pools, the small mountain town has quite a bit to offer visitors. So, if you’re looking for a special way to pamper yourself or spend quality time with your family and friends, I can’t recommend making a Zakopane and thermal baths trip enough!

A picture of Kristin smiling in the Zakopane Thermal Baths

Discover Eastern Europe

  • 🕊️ Krakow: If you’re in Krakow, one place you won’t want to miss out on seeing and learning about in person is Auschwitz. Here’s what to know about visiting Auschwitz .
  • 🇭🇷 Croatia: Ready to learn more about Zagreb ? Maximize your time with my ultimate 3-day guide to the Croatian capital . Or, if you’re headed to the coastal town of Dubrovnik, one activity that was the highlight of my visit was kayaking along the city walls to a hidden beach !

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Kristin is the founder of Global Travel Escapades, a blog dedicated to helping travelers explore beautiful destinations and planning their wildest travel dreams. She has explored 30 countries and is on a mission to visit 50 by age 30. Along the way, she has lived in places like sunny San Diego and the vibrant French capital! Ultimately, Kristin hopes her passion for adventure, delicious food, and all things F1 & tennis inspires others to plan their next travel escapade!

David's Travel Guides

Zakopane Travel Guide

Accommodation, attractions, places to eat, tourist information.

Zakopane Coat of Arms - Zakopane Travel Guide

It developed from humble beginnings as shepherd settlements within the clearings of the surrounding forest at the foot of the Tatra Mountains . In the 18th and 19th centuries it grew into a village due to the iron smelting that occurred at nearby Kuznice, which today is part of Zakopane.

Polish tourism began in the 19th century when Tytus Chalubinski, a physician and others connected with the Tatra Society, established in 1873, (now the Polish Tourist Society PTTK) began to promote the area. Towards the late 19th century it became a popular destination for artistic and literary types to visit and settle in the area. Zakapone is responsible for causing a great impact on Polish culture as well as on Polish tourism and has a great amount of accommodation to offer.

Within the oldest district, ul. Koscieliska, in Zakopane is a very old wooden church called Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa which was built by highlanders in 1847. Inside are three altars sculpted by the highlander W.Kulach, and a number of folk sculptures and paintings on glass. The stone chapel, next to the church was erected by another highlander by the name of P. Gasienica in the 19th century and is the oldest religious building in the town.

The historic cemetery behind the church was established in 1848 by the first parish priest of Zakopane and contains about 250 graves including 50 of the celebrities of Polish culture, tourism of the area and Zakopane itself. Amongst those buried are Tytus Chalubinski, writers Kornel Makuszynski and Wladyslaw Orkan, artists Stanislaw Witkiewicz and Antoni Kenar. There is also General Mariusz Zaruski and the parish priest who founded the cemetery, Jan Peksa.

One of the most important events to be held in Zakopane is the International Festival of Highland Folklore which is in August each year. Participants who are highlanders themselves come from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

There are still a number of very old cottages in the ul. Koscieliska district as well as the later villas that sprung up in the Zakopane style designed by Stainislaw Witkiewicz. These include the Koliba, 1893, and Pod Jedlami, 1897 at Koziniec.

The Krupowki (High street) contains the Parish Church of ‘Holy Family' dating back to the 19th century built in the Romanesque and Gothic styles. There is also the Doctor Tytus Chalubinski Tatra Museum built in 1875 and in it is the history of the Podhale and Tatra nature. There are a number of other interesting museums to visit in Zakopane such as the Karol Szymanowski Museum and art galleries.

Many of the houses in the town bear tablets commemorating past distinguished guests.

This site is a travel Guide about the country of Polska which is located in central Europe. You are very welcome to visit my site and I hope that you will enjoy the experience.

My guide is easy to use as each village, town and city has it's own page with useful information for the visitor. Not all sections appearing on the left of my guide, on this place may have information as this is an ongoing project.

It may be the case that sections have not yet been reviewed and written about so if you can contribute any information about this town to improve Zakopane Travel Guide or any other aspects of this Polish guide you are welcome to send it to us.

Accommodation in Zakopane

Zakopane - accommodation in Zakopane

If you prefer accommodation in a rural location there are a number of “Agro” style of accommodation places on farms and in the countryside plus there may be camp sites nearby.

If you see something you like or wish to know further about please contact the accommodation directly.

If you wish to advertise your accommodation on Zakopane Travel Guide or on this site you may contact me.

Our Villa is the perfect accommodation to relax at any time of the year. For summer tourists there are hundreds of miles of mountain trails and sports such as horseback riding, mountain biking or paragliding. For the less physically active we will certainly implement your needs at one of the several thermal pools in the Podhale region.

Activities in Zakopane

Zakopane centre -  Zakopane Travel Guide

If you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the activity provider directly.

What ever activity you run, if you wish to advertise your activity on Zakopane Travel Guide or this Polish guide you may send it to us.

Just one of the activities you can try during a winter stay in Zakopane is a horse-drawn sleigh or carriage ride. Available from Zakopane or in the Chocholowska and Kościeliska Valleys in the Tatra National Park. These operate between December and April.

The Krzeptówki Sanctuary, located at the foot of majestic Mount Giewont, is a popular place of worship in Zakopane with many thousands visiting every year. The cult of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated here and it was visited by the Polish pope, John Paul II in June 1977.

During the May celebrations of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima the local Highlanders put on their finest traditional costumes. The church was built towards the end of the last century but it's style has references to Witkiewicz and is a votive offering of thanksgiving for John Paul's II life saved from the assassination attempt. It was built with love for the Pope and Our Lady of Fatima by many people with grateful hearts.

Equestrian Centre STABLE KONSUL is for all those that like to ride horses. From beginners to experienced they will cater for your needs. With pony's for the young and larger horses for adults you can go riding in the Tatra Mountains on the back of a great animal.

Attractions in Zakopane

Mt Kasprowy Wierch Tatras - Zakopane Travel Guide

If you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the attraction provider directly.

What ever attraction you run, if you wish to advertise your attraction on Zakopane Travel Guide or this website please send it to us.

Most people go to Zakopane to see the Tatra Mountains . In summer the town is full of hikers and walkers and in winter it becomes the main tourist place in Poland for skying and all things winter sports.

Zakopane's architectural style is evident in a number of buildings, with its exuberance in houses, churches, and even tree-houses.

The Koliba villa was the first building erected to Stanisław Witkiewicz’s (who formalized the style in the 1890's) design known as the Zakopane Style, located at Kościeliska Street being Zakopane’s oldest street with time-honoured houses and characteristic Tatra crofts every where.

The hewn-log architecture used incorporates the rich folk-art traditions of this region’s Highlander culture and traditions involve making everything by hand.

Geography of Zakopane

Such is the geography of Zakopane it is found hidden between the gentle range of Gubałówka and the rocky Tatra summits in the very south of Poland on the boarder with Slovenia. It lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, geographic coordinates of Zakopane  are 49.3000° N, 19.9667° E.

The town of Zakopane is hidden between the gentle range of Gubałówka and the rocky Tatra summits.

From 1975 to 1998 it was in Nowy Sącz Province, but since 1999 it has been in Lesser Poland Province.

History of Zakopane

The beginnings of settlement and origin of the name..

It is thought that the first settlers moved south from the Szaflary up the creeks of Bialy Dunajec, Zakopianka and Silent Water arriving in the area now known as Zakopane, most likely in the vicinity of today's hamlets, Ustup and Olcza, probably in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

In the sixteenth century, the area was already well known to the miners who made their living from the Tatra Mountains and were from the Nowy Targ area. At the same time a local people called the Highlanders would graze their sheep around the quiet waters in the springs and glades of the Tatras. The grazing of sheep in a nearby part of the Tatra Mountains, still goes on by today's rural residents, zagubałowskich, especially Maruszyna, waiting for the snows to melt, they would make their way using the hiking trails through the back Gubałówka and remaining in the spring around Zakopane, in the valley.

These two methods of settlement, on the east by Ustup and on the south by Gubalówka explain the emergence of the name “Zakopane”. The first of them, no doubt from the old folk story about one of the shepherds, who, had his sheep in a loincloth on the southern slope of Gubałówka, beautifully sunny and warm, saw the exquisite views of the Tatra Mountains on the horizon and decided to check whether the place was suitable for a permanent settlement. So from a poor hut he grew grain oats, and after returning from grazing on the Tatras saw that the grain had grown well and produced a good yield. And so from burying the seed the place called Zakopane was born. You should note that the clearing called Zakopane today is in the lower part of the slope of Gubałówka. It is still the main family of Gąsieniców, who are recognized as one of the oldest in Zakopane.

Legend has it that this was perhaps the first settler former henchman of chivalry, from which came his nickname of caterpillar. To be truthful, scientists, after analysing how to pronounce the name of the city (buried - may be something to do with the polish word zakopać) refuse the legend, as the name may not be derived from the word, as it is pronounced differently (zókopane).

So what of the other legend. Well, somewhere in the region of Poronin in th area of Ustup, and may be living in a clearing by himself, in a place called Kopane, this person, who might have been expelled or was fleeing from the law, When asked where he was living, responds “Kopanem” There is no way of telling if either of these two legends have any validity but there may be some truth in either.

So we can deduce that by the mid-sixteenth century there were created two ancient centres of settlement of Zakopane, around the areas of Ustupu and Olczy and at the confluence of Cichej Wody (Quiet Waters) and Potoku Młyniska (Stream Młyniska). Travelling shepherds (Highlanders) had been in the area for sometime but there had been no permanent homes until 1578 when King Stefan Batory issued a “Settlement Prerogative” in order to organize the Polish lands in which people were settled in areas outside of the towns. (Batory was Poland's first King and Prince of Translyvania). This order (known only from later references) almost certainly was forged at least two centuries later, however, regardless of its authenticity it has been confirmed by the facts.

Museums in Zakopane

Old Wooden House in Zakopane - Zakopane Travel Guide

Poland has a long history and has been an important trading route that has been invaded by many different groups over the past 1,000 years. Museums are a great way to explore the nations history about the inhabitants of the land in the past, their lives and customs.

Some of the museums shown below may have an article about them here. Follow the link for the article. For the rest, if you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the museum directly as I take the attitude that their own website will have more up to date details on what they offer than if I were to include it here.

Muzeum Tatrzańskie - in English, “The Tatra Museum”, was founded in 1888 by a group of friends of Dr Tytus Chałubiński (1820-1889) to celebrate his life and work in discovering the values of Zakopane as a health resort. Dr Tytus Chałubiński was an outstanding physician from Warsaw, also a scientist and social activist, having a passion for the Tatra Mountains and folklore of the local people. For further information visit the site shown below.

This is the wooden house where the music composer, Karol Szymanowski lived from 1930 to 1936. It now is a museum dedicated to his life and work as a composer showing his contacts with Zakopane and Podhale folklore.

The Jan Kasprowicz Museum is housed in the wooden villa where the poet lived with his wife Maria in the years 1923-1926. Jan Kasprowicz stayed in Zakopane frequently, and in 1923 purchased a villa in Harendzie and settled there permanently with his wife Maria. The well-preserved interior hosts works of art, mostly by friends of the poet, house wares, furniture and a library of several hundred books. Next to the museum is the mausoleum where the ashes of the poet and his wife rest.

Places to Eat in Zakopane

Zakopane

If you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the place to eat directly.

Karczma Szymaszkowa is located on the route to Kościeliska Valley in the vicinity of the “Szymoszkowa” thermal baths and the “Polana Szymoszkowa” ski complex. It has a unique wooden interior with characteristics of Highlander regional culture helping to create a good location for your next meal, often accompanied by Highlander music.

Specialising in Polish and Italian cuisine they offer regional dishes based on natural and fresh products as well as a broad selection of wine and spirits from across the world. A bonus is the play area and amenities for children as well a children's menu.

Tourist Information in Zakopane

Centrum Informacji Turystycznej - Zakopane Travel Guide

Tourist organisations are welcome to contact me for details on how to display their information on Zakopane Travel Guide or any where else on our guide.

PTTK - Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society is a non-profit organisation that you will find in many places in Poland.

It is one of the oldest tourist societies in Europe and was was created by the merger of two societies: Polish Tatry Society (1873) and Polish Country Lovers Society (1906).

Official Tourist Information Centres in Poland are divided into 1*, 2*, 3* and 4* Certified and Non-Certified. All Certified Tourist Centres provide information in one or more foreign languages and have an expanded range of services as compared to the Non-Certified.

No further information as yet.

Transport in Zakopane

Zakopiański Dworzec Autobusowy - Zakopane bus station, built in 2010 has services to many places in Poland and also a number of international destinations. There are many frequent services to Krakow . You can find it at the address: ul. Kościuszki 23, 34-500 Zakopane. There are also a number of minibuses that operate from other streets in the town serving local places and Krakow.

Here are some useful websites to help you find your way to Zakopane.

Websites of Zakopane

If you have a website that is an official one linked to this town, or you administer a local community or an important trade site you are welcome to contact me at Zakopane Travel Guide as I may be interested in including it.

This is the main official link for Zakopane. Much of it is in Polish but there is also helpful information in English.

Regional Links

Małopolskie Province

The Małopolska Voivodship (Little Poland) was created in 1989 and is located in the south of Poland.

Places in Province

The cities, towns and villages of the region of Małopolska.

Map of Zakopane

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Zakopane Travel Guide - Małopolska - David's Travel Guides

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  3. Things to do in Zakopane

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  4. ZAKOPANE & THERMAL BATHS

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  5. The Top Things to Do in Zakopane, Poland

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  1. Zakopane

  2. Zakopane 2018 ( Morsie Oko ) , ( Papugarnia Egzotyczna Zakopane )

  3. Małpka na krupówkach

  4. Zakopane’s Culinary Heritage: Bakowo Zohylina Nizno Restaurant #2

  5. TRADITIONAL FOOD & CULTURE IN POLAND

  6. POLAND TRAVEL VLOG- LUBLIN FAMILY VLOG/TRAVEL DAY

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  1. Zakopane blog

    Zakopane blog: Zakopane Poland travel itinerary. Day 1: Lake Morskie Oko — Krupowski street — spots in the center of Zakopane town. Day 2: Choose to go to 1 of 2 valleys Chochołowska/ Kościeliska and take the cable car to 1 of 2 peaks. Chocholowska valley | things to do in zakopane

  2. 48 hours in Zakopane. What to see and do

    Nestled in the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is a picturesque resort town renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, this town has something for everyone and this blog will tell how to to make the most of your 48 hours in Zakopane. After spending 5 nights in Krakow we felt like ...

  3. Things to do in Zakopane

    Kasprowy Wierch in Western Tatras. Morskie Oko lake in High Tatras. Rysy - the highest mountain in Poland. Five Lakes Valley - moon-like scenery in High Tatras. Red Peaks (Czerwone Wierchy) - the most beautiful hike in Western Tatras. Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Non-hiking things to do in Zakopane.

  4. 11 Best Things To Do In Zakopane, Poland

    Hiking is definitely one of the best things to do in Zakopane and the small town makes an excellent base. So if you're an adventurer, hiking is probably the best thing to do in Zakopane for you! The town is right next to the Tatra National Park, and trails are abundant. Most trails are day-long hikes, allowing for a full day hike up to a peak ...

  5. Discover Zakopane

    Zakopane the best BLOG is an addition to my website discoverzakopane.com. I post here short articles containing useful information for travellers. Zakopane Winter 2024 What To Do, What To See - selected suggestions for foreign tourists. December 24, 2023. ZAKOPANE BLOG. Zakopane Christmas Nativity Scene inside the Bernardins church - the most ...

  6. Ultimate Summer Travel Guide to the Best Things to do in Zakopane, Poland

    The ride takes about 3.5 minutes, and it covers around 1298 meters whilst climbing 300 meters up to the top of Zakopane for more fun family-friendly activities! Some of the best summer fun activities at the top of Gubalowka include the famous Gravitational Slide (Tobogganing) and the Rope Line Adventure Park.

  7. 7 Best Things to Do in Zakopane, Poland

    4. Go Skiing. Zakopane is a winter sport lover's paradise! With six slopes, this is a popular place for Poles to come on long weekends. Unlike the Swiss and French Alps, the day passes are quite affordable, and the crowds are fewer. This article describes how Poland beats the Alps for a ski holiday. 5.

  8. 20 Things to do in Zakopane Poland For a Fantastic Holiday

    VISIT THE MUSEUMS. One of the things to do in Zakopane in Poland is to check out the few museums, the townhouses. The Tatra Museum, right on Krupówki street, is a must-visit if you are a museum lover - it is the best museum showcasing the history, culture and traditions of the Polish Tatra region.

  9. Planning Your Zakopane Trip: How Many Days Do You Need?

    03/04/2023. ZAKOPANE. When planning a trip to Zakopane, Poland, it's my opinion that 4 to 5 days is the best amount of time to fully experience everything this beautiful area has to offer. I find that this allows you to enjoy a variety of activities and take in the breathtaking scenery without feeling rushed.

  10. 10 Best things to do in Zakopane, Poland

    Visiting Wieliczka salt mine on a rainy day is a perfect escape from bad weather. Discover saline lakes and beautiful underground chambers in one of the world's oldest operating salt mines. Drive time from Zakopane is around 2 hours. The salt mine can only be visited by a tour guide.

  11. 20 Best Things To Do In Zakopane, Poland in 2024 (Summer & Winter)!

    The most popular skiing and snowboarding hotspots in Zakopane are Kasprowy Wierch, Nosal and Gubałówka Hill. The ski resort of Zakopane features more than 20 pistes (on a good day) and over 50 lifts! Generally, the best months to go skiing and snowboarding in Zakopane are from January to late March. 18.

  12. 9 Amazing Things To Do In Zakopane Poland

    Tatra Museum. The grandfather of museums, not just in Zakopane, but also as one of the oldest in Poland, the Tatra Museum is a great place to find out more about the natural environment of the Podhale region, as well as glean into the way of life and history of its people. Zakopane Style Museum at Villa Koliba.

  13. 12 Best Hiking Trails in Zakopane

    Here is a list of 12 best hiking trails in Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains. 1. Morskie Oko ( the Eye of the Sea ) This beautiful mountain lake lies 1393 meters above sea level in the Tatra Mountains. It sits deep within the Tatra National Park at the base of the Mieguszowiecki Summits. It is the largest lake in the Tatras.

  14. Top 8 Best Things to Do in Zakopane, Poland

    Morskie Oko Lake. 2. Relax in Chocholowskie Termy (Thermal Spa) Chocholowskie Termy is the largest thermal bath in Poland and it's located just outside of Zakopane village. It can get very busy all throughout the season, but it is a beautiful experience and one of the best things to do in Zakopane.

  15. 20 Epic Things To Do Zakopane In Winter

    2. Ride The Funicular Up Mt Gubałówka. The other must-do attraction when visiting Zakopane in winter - or any time of the year, is a ride in the funicular up Mt Gubałówka. Technically, you can just hike your way up this much smaller of the Tatra Mountains, but the funicular is more fun.

  16. Visit Zakopane in Poland: what to do in this mountain town?

    If you visit Zakopane with a travel agency, they will likely include a visit to this chapel. In the heart of Zakopane, you can also discover the Stary Kościół ("Old Church") ... On this blog, I share my photos, insights, and travel tips from journeys in France and around the world. I launched this blog in French in 2014 and began translating ...

  17. How to visit Zakopane from Krakow, Incredible Day Trip

    Kraków Glowny (Main Station) to Zakopane. Duration: 2 hours 30 mins. Cost Per Person: 30PLN (prices may change) An alternative to buses and another public transport option for travelling to Zakopane from Kraków is the PKP Intercity Train. These do not run so frequently, approximately 3-4 times a day, every few hours.

  18. Best Things To Do In Zakopane Poland On And Off The Beaten Path

    This is the most beautiful valley in the Tatra Mountains. It's 6 miles long. Take a bus from Zakopane to Kira to find the beginning of the hiking trail. Zakopane travel tip: Remember that all mountains and valleys in the Tatra Mountains are connected. You can mix hiking trails and achieve several goals at once. Check out best tours to Zakopane:

  19. Zakopane Day Trip from Krakow: Tour Review & Tips

    Good to know: You can visit Zakopane on your own or you can book an organized day tour from Krakow. If you are going for just a day, it's simpler to just book a tour. There are tons of tours to choose from and the prices, as well as itineraries, are quite similar. Most Zakopane day tours include a funicular ticket, a visit to the geothermal baths, and some food options, plus some free time ...

  20. Zakopane Travel Blogs, Photos and Forum

    August 30th 2011 Chill-out Time in the Mountains. by Still Crazy Words: 208 Photos: 15. July 12th 2011 Rainy Zakopane. by makai Words: 160 Photos: 3. June 29th 2011 Days 39 & 40 28th & 29th June Slovakia-Poland A Brush with the Law & the High Tatras. by BIGLORRYTRIP Words: 1713 Photos: 9.

  21. Ultimate Guide to Visiting Zakopane Thermal Baths in 2024

    Of the six thermal baths, the most popular and absolute best one is the Chocholowskie Thermal Baths in Zakopane. It's located 10.5 miles or 17km from Zakopane in the quaint town of Chocholow! The Chocholowskie thermal baths is the largest thermal pool complex in Poland. Around the premises, you'll find 30 indoor and outdoor pools and ...

  22. Zakopane Travel Guide

    Zakopane Travel Guide - a place in south eastern Poland in the province of Małopolska. Zakopane is in the very south of Poland near to the Slovenia border and dates back to the 16th century. It is the Winter Capital of Poland. It developed from humble beginnings as shepherd settlements within the clearings of the surrounding forest at the foot ...

  23. Coming in January

    gipidulasd. • 2 yr. ago. Please keep in mind it will be absolutely freezing in Zakopane in January. You will probably need some good equipment if you wanna hike. Keep in mind that popular places like 'Rysy' mountain are extremely dangerous in winter.