The names of the Polish Tatras and Zakopane are almost merged. The mountains surrounding the resort town with its many sights and excursions conjure up a picturesque setting before visitors. Zakopane is without a doubt one of the most ideal cities if you are planning to explore the Tatra National Park.
The most popular activity in the area is hiking in summer and skiing in winter. There are many high mountains, there are also plenty of cable cars that provide families with many unique programs.
Map - Where is Zakopane located?
Zakopane is located near the Slovak-Polish border, at the foot of the Tatras. On the Polish side, Zakopane is the most important city, while on the Slovak side Poprad. It is closed to the south by a vast forest and to the north by the popular Gubalowka mountain range.
- Distance from Krakow: 2 hours / 110 km
- Distance from Bratislava: 4 hours / 340 km
- Distance from Poprad: 70 mins / 70 km
- Distance from Kosice: 2.5 hours / 180 km
You have to pay an entrance fee to enter the Polish Tatras. You can also buy a daily ticket or a weekly ticket.
- Full price daily ticket - 6.00 zlotys
- Discounted daily ticket - 3.00 zlotys
- 7-day full-price ticket - 30.00 zlotys
- 7-day discount ticket - 15.00 zlotys
- Full group ticket (min. 10 people) - 54.00 zlotys
- Discounted group ticket (min. 10 people) - 27.00 zlotys
(Discounted tickets can only be purchased on the basis of a valid ID card.)
Attractions in and around Zakopane
#1 Lake Morskie Oko
Polish Morskie Oko, is a lake wedged between magnificent mountain peaks, at an altitude of 1,400 meters and surrounded by 2,000 meters of peaks. It is one of the largest lakes on the Polish side of the Tatras. The depth of the lake reaches 51 meters.
It's a 10 km hike on foot to the lake, but you can also do 8 km by horse carriage, which can significantly shorten the nearly 3-hour walk. The price of the horse-drawn carriage is 50 zlotys up and 30 zlotys down. If you walk all the way through, it is 18 km and about 6 hours of hiking.
The lake is one of the most popular hiking destinations. During the summer season, up to 50,000 visitors admire the fabulous attraction.
- Price of minibus from the center of Zakopane to Lysana Polanaba: 10 zlotys / person / way
- Parking 30 zlotys
- Entrance fee: 5 zlotys
#2 Rysy peak
The 2499-meter-high Rysy rises above the lake of the same name, which is also the highest point in Poland - the highest point in the Tatras is already beyond the Slovak border.
Although the peak is more easily accessible from the Slovak side, more experienced hikers can climb from the lakeside. The path to the left of the mountain hut starts flat at first and then a steep and exposed route (with chains) follows.
The journey from Zakopane to the summit takes 12-15 kilometres in one direction, with a return journey of almost 13 hours.
#3 Kasprowy Wierch
The 1987-meter-high Kasprowy Wierch is located on the Polish side of the Tatras, where you can get there either by hiking or by cable car - which is one of the oldest lifts in Europe, operating since 1936.
The cable car starts from Kuźnice and you have to change to another cabin about halfway. The whole journey takes about 20 minutes. There is no parking around the lift, so you can get here either on foot or by bus.
You may want to buy a ticket for the lift online - you can do this 30 days in advance - thus avoiding the long queue to buy tickets on-site. Discounted tickets for the lift are for those under 26 and over 65.
- Ticket prices: round trip: 89 zlotys
- Ticket prices: one way: 75 zlotys
#4 Siklawica Waterfall
The 23-meter-high waterfall is located in the southwestern part of Zakopane in the Starzyska Valley.
The beautiful natural formation is one of the most visited waterfalls in the area, which you can also reach with light and a short hike. The starting point for the trip is the car park at the end of Ulica Strazyska.
- Distance: approx. 2.5 km
- Elevation: about 200m
- Duration: 2 x 50 minutes (round trip)
- Entrance: Tatra National Park entry required (daily or weekly)
Your journey will start at the Ulica Strazyska car park and end at the Siklawica waterfall (then back to the car park). There are several ways to get to the waterfall, which you will find under the name "Wodospad Siklawica" in Polish. You can also follow the red and then the yellow signs, but if you want, you can also combine them with the black trail (if you want to see more attractions).
On your way to Strazyska Polana, the path (red) is simple, wide and well-maintained. The yellow road from here is a bit steeper and a little narrower. On the yellow sign path, you'll reach the falls in 15 minutes. You can easily travel to the valley with a stroller.
#5 Siklawa Falls (Wielka Siklawa)
Slightly further away from the Siklawica waterfall is the Siklawa waterfall. Although it’s easy to confuse their names, the two waterfalls aren’t the same.
The 65 m high Siklawa Falls is the highest waterfall in Poland and one of the most beautiful. And if that’s not enough, it’s also one of the area’s most popular hiking destinations.
The interesting thing about the waterfall is its shape.
#6 Dolina Strazyska
The 3 km long Strazyska dolina is one of the most popular hiking areas in the area. There are several well-known hiking trails in or through the valley, one of the most popular of which is the hiking trail to the Siklawica waterfall.
The pine-covered view of the Strazyska Valley will surely enchant you. While a forest covers the valley everywhere, mountains of different heights rise here and there. At your feet, a stream flows, while at the end of the valley your reward will be a waterfall. Take at least half a day to explore the valley!
- Parking GPS: 49.28186,19.941853
#7 Mount Giewont
The 1895 m high Giewont is one of the most famous mountains in Poland. Many climb the three peaks of it:
- Maly Giewont 1728 m
- Wielki Giewont 1895 m
- Dlugi Giewont 1867 m
The peaks of Wielki-Giewon and Dlugi-Giewont are separated by the deep Szczerb in 1823 m. The northern side of the Giewont is a very steep, almost vertical limestone wall 600-650 m high, which cannot be visited by tourists or climbers due to the regulation of the Tatra National Park.
Viewers of the mountain believe in discovering a sleeping knight with the head of the Wielki Giewon and the body of the Dlugi Giewon.
#8 Sarnia Skala
The easiest way to reach the Sarnia Skala (1377 m) is through the Dolina Strazyska and then through Dolina Bialego. The road is slippery but easier at first, later the ascent becomes more difficult. At the fork in Strazyska meadow, you have to choose the route marked with a black to continue your hike uphill.
A fabulous view of the rock unfolds before you. It is worth planning to spend 30 to 60 minutes here. If you don't want to climb the surrounding larger mountains, you can see them from Sarina Skala:
- North Wall of Giewont (1895 m)
- Dry Mountain (Suchy Wierch)
- Chimney Mountain (Kominiarski Wierch)
#9 Dolina Bialego
You will find Dolina Bialego (White Valley) on the opposite side of the Sarnia Skala. The rocky valley is a real romantic and exciting countryside with a hiking trail. The White Stream (Biały Potok) flows in the valley, which varies in size depending on the water level.
If you want a fantastic view, be sure to go up the 1123-meter-high Gubalowka Mountain, which offers magnificent views of both Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains. There is also a TV tower at the top of the mountain.
You can also climb the mountain on one of the many hiking trails. From here, there is a hiking trail to Poronin, Zab, and the Koscieliska Valley.
If you’re not looking for a bigger hike, you might want to take a walk on the top and take the way back on foot or try some of the other attractions in the area, such as the summer bobsleigh.
There is also a ski resort in Gubalowka, where you can slide all the way down to Zakopane in winter. Skiers are transported to the snow-capped peak by three cable cars.
- Buy tickets online here
- Ticket prices: round trip: 21 zlotys (discount ticket) and 25 zlotys
- Ticket prices: one way: 16 zlotys (discount ticket) and 19 zlotys
And if you’re looking for a less active holiday, check out the programs and attractions below, which seem like a good pastime with the kids, or even on rainy days.
#11 Zakopane market
If you want handicrafts, leather and wooden souvenirs, or even delicious cheeses, then the market is for you. It runs from Krupówki Street to the Gubalówka Cable Car Station.
The market is almost always open except on public holidays, but in bad weather, you will find fewer vendors on site.
Although you can already get a glimpse of Polish culture and gastronomy by looking at the market on the street, the Tatra Museum offers the perfect opportunity to get to know the region better.
The main building is located at 10 Krupówki Street. The museum, which presents the Tatra region, presents the past, history, ethnographic and natural values of the area. The building itself is an important monument that preserves the style of early 20th-century architecture.
- Address of the museum: 34-500 Zakopane, Krupówki u. 10
- Website of the Tatra Museum
- Opening hours: 09:00 to 16:00
- Ticket price: 6 zlotys (discounted ticket prices: 4 zlotys)
Villa Koliba Museum
In addition to the main building, you can also see several other houses. Villa Koliba is a place that is worth the attention. The wooden building is a museum of the Zakopane style, which also belongs to the Tatra Museums and a Polish monument since 1983. The imposing villa was built between 1892 and 1893 and was one of the very first buildings of the architectural style.
The house was built for Zygmunt Gnatowski, who needed space to store his ethnographic collection. Architect Stanislaw Witkiewicz convinced him that he could build this building instead of a simple hut.
The richer residents of the area also liked this style, and more and more of these Swiss-style buildings have appeared in the area in the coming time, some of which you can also see.
- Opening hours: 09:00 to 16:00
- Ticket price: 6 zlotys, discount ticket price: 4 zlotys
#13 Zakopane ski jump
Not only for lovers of winter sports it is a great experience to visit the Zakopane ski jump on the side of the Wielka Krokiew mountain.
Built in 1925, the rampart is still a regular stop for the World Ski Jumping Cup, and when there are no competitions, tourists can also visit it. You can take the cable car to the top, which offers a beautiful view not only of the stadium but of the entire valley.
- Address: ul. Bronisława Czecha 1, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland
- Price: 12 zlotys
#14 Summer bobsleigh track
The summer bobsleigh track also runs on Gubalowka Mountain. If you’re adventurous, you can slide down the 692-meter-long bobsled track, which makes a level difference of 52 meters.
A round is about 5 minutes long and costs 7 zlotys, but if you pay for more than one round, you get a significant discount: 10 rounds cost only 39 zlotys. The bobsleigh track is open from April to October from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Prices: 1 thread 7 zlotys / 10 threads 39 zlotys
#15 Aqua Park Zakopane
In Aqua Park Zakopane, you will find many different swimming pools and slides where you can relax after your hike. The spa is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you also want to take a sauna, be sure to bring your own towel, as you will be charged for an extra towel. Admission is free for children under 3 years of age.
- Address: Jagiellońska 31, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland
- Phone number: +48 18 200 11 22
- Ticket price: 25 - 79 zlotys
- Aqua Park website
Nosal Ski Area
Although Zakopane is more famous for its summer activities, you won't be bored visiting the snow-covered peaks in winter. The Nosal Ski Resort has mainly beginner slopes and a special toboggan run for children.
Ski resort Gasienicowa and Goryczkowa
If you desire more difficult ski slopes, you can visit another ski resort with more red and black slopes. Examples are the ski resorts of Gasienicowa and Goryczkowa in Kuznice, next to Kasprowy Wierch. This larger region has 14 km of ski slopes.
- The daily ticket is 95-110 zlotys and you can also rent equipment here.
The weather in the Tatra Mountains is extreme all year round. You can expect rain or strong winds even on the hottest summer days. Between May and the end of September the most pleasant weather, when July and August are the ideal summer months.
Autumn and spring are unpredictable, the first snow in the mountains can fall as early as the end of September and you can still find some white areas in May. You can expect cold, rain and snow between October and April. If you are going hiking, proper hiking clothing, layered, warm clothing and closed footwear are a must.