For a unique, invigorating and relaxing experience in Poland you cannot beat a stay in Zakopane. Whatever the season, this icon of Poland’s only alpine mountains, close to the border with Slovakia, is nestled between the gentle undulating hills of Gubalówka and the majestic domineering peaks of the Tatra mountains.
Imagine scenes from the Sound of Music, with vistas as beautiful and dramatic as the best of the Austrian Alps. With skiing in the mid-winter months and glorious hiking possibilities year round, this is a paradise for families and active holiday-makers looking to enjoy the Tatra National Park and surrounding areas.
Zakopane’s Top Picks:
- Krupówki Street: Krupówki Street is the main pedestrian zone of Zakopane, packed with a mixture of shops and restaurants and forming the tourist hub. It’s hard to believe that this street was, as recently as the 19th Century, a small meandering path joining the village to the Kuźnice where the cable car is today. This central area does get busy, particularly on bad weather days, so prepare for crowds.
- Kasprowy Wierch: Dating back to 1935 and a real highlight of Zakopane is a trip on the cable car to Mount Kasprowy soaring above Zakopane at 1987m. The cable car allows you to truly get in to the mountains and is the focus for skiers in the winter months. In addition to the cable car, in winter there are two chairs lifts enabling you to access two advanced skiing pistes.
- Gubalówka & Local Market: From here visitors may ascend the funicular to Gubalówka Hill right from the middle of town. The views from the journey and from the top are spectacular. The market itself is a perfect spot for browsing with a variety of produce and eclectic mix of woodcrafts, leather, woollen goods and clothes. Not to be missed are the Oscypek sheep cheese sellers. Spot the different shapes and sizes and be sure to enjoy a sample.
- Morskie Oko Lake, Kóscieliska & Chocholowska Valley: be warned – this is a real tourist haven, and if you want to enjoy it without the crowds then it is well worth being an early bird and getting here before the hordes. It is well worth a visit though for the natural beauty and an ambling walk along the shores. It’s also possible to enjoy a horse and cart ride here or, in winter, sledges are popular.