How To Get To Morskie Oko From Zakopane? Travel Tips For Morskie Oko Lake.

Morskie Oko Lake (also known as The Sea Eye) has been recognized as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world by The Wall Street Journal. No wonder why- surrounded by the high mountains, with crystal clear water, it truly is a natural wonder. In this post, you will find all the useful information for visiting Lake Oko including tips on how to get to Morskie Oko from Zakopane, traveling time, and tips for getting the most out of your trip all year round.

General Information About Morskie Oko Lake

Located 1,395 m (4,577 ft) above sea level, Morskie Oko Poland really is breathtaking! It is the biggest lake in the Tatra Mountains (a mountain range that forms a natural border between Poland and Slovakia).

What’s The Best Time To Visit Morskie Oko Lake?

You can visit it all year long, but it looks the best in the summer when the sun is shining. When it’s cold outside, the visibility may be poor, and the lake may be covered with mist.

The difference is huge. Just take a look at these two photos. The misty one was taken at the beginning of October. Always check the live camera on this website before visiting the lake to make sure you will be able to see it at all.

The lake is frozen from November to May. It’s the only reservoir in the Polish Tatra Mountains where you can see fish (trout), that’s why the lake is also called Rybi Staw (Fish Pond). It’s forbidden to feed the trout and swim in the lake.

The famous lake may not be your only destination to reach when you are on the Morskie Oko trail. For some, it’s just the first stop of the hike. They are going next to Czarny Staw, Dolina Pieciu Stawow, Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza, and even Rysy (the highest peak in Poland).

The average time of hike from Morskie Oko to:

  • Rysy – 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Czarny Staw – 1 hour
  • Dolina Pieciu Stawow – 1h 45 minutes

Morskie Oko Hostel

There is a hostel right next to the lake which is a great gateway if you want to reach Rysy or simply see the lake at night. However, it’s almost always fully booked and you usually need to reserve your room one year (!) in advance. The booking can only be made by phone. More info here.

Morskie Oko mountain hut during the winter.

Morskie Oko Restaurant

It’s hard to stay at the mountain hut for a night but you can always have a warm meal there. The food is basic but tasty, fresh, and cheap. See the full menu at Morskie Oko restaurant here.

How To Get To Morskie Oko From Zakopane?

Getting to the lake can be pretty confusing, as you can’t really walk there from Zakopane. Here are the ways to get to the lake:

By Car

It’s definitely the most convenient option. If you don’t have a car in Poland check out your cheapest rental options here.

Drive to Palenica Bialczanska car park and leave your vehicle there. If you can’t find directions to Morskie Oko parking, just follow the Lysa Polana signs.

Parking costs 30 PLN ($7) for the entire day. From there, just look for the Morskie Oko directions or follow the crowd. You can’t drive directly to the lake! You will see the ways of getting to Morskie Oko later in this article.

By Bus

You can also take a direct bus from Zakopane to Palenica Bialczanska. The minibuses are usually not leaving from the Main Station in Zakopane. You need to walk to Bar Fis (Zakopiański Bar) which is on the other side of the road. The address is Kosciuszki 22.

Palenica Bialczanska bus timetable is changing, that’s why you should check this website for the current info. For now, it’s only in Polish. You can also just go to the bus stop and wait for the bus for a little while. It shouldn’t take longer than half an hour for a bus to arrive.

The traveling time between Zakopane and Palenica Bialczanska is about 40 minutes. The ticket price is 10 PLN ($2.50), one way.

If you are traveling from Krakow, consider joining a day tour to Morskie Oko and Zakopane.

Poland Morskie Oko is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

How To Get To Morskie Oko From Palenica Bialczanska Car Park?

Morskie Oko Lake is a part of the Tatra National Park, that’s why you need to pay an admission fee to get in:

  • 5 PLN ($1.20) for a normal ticket
  • 2,50 PLN ($0.60) for a discounted ticket (for kids, retirees, disabled people, and active soldiers)
  • kids under 7 years old go for free

After arriving at Palenica Bialczanska car park, you have two options to get to Morskie Oko:

Take Morskie Oko Lake Hike

The hike will take you approximately 2,5-3 hours. Way up is quite boring but it’s very accessible. The asphalt road all the way makes it one of the best hikes in Poland for families with kids and disabled travelers.

There are 7 stops on the way to the lake:

  1. Palenica Bialczanska
  2. Dolina Bialki
  3. Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza
  4. Wanta
  5. Wlosienica
  6. Zleb Zandarmerii
  7. Morskie Oko
Morskie Oko hike route.

Take Morskie Oko Horse Carriage

Right after you buy a ticket to the Tatra National Park, you will see a horse carriage to Morskie Oko. It will take about 1 hour to go up and 30-40 minutes to go down. 

Morskie Oko horse carriage price (one way) depends on the season, weather, and your bargaining skills. On average, you will pay 50 ($11) PLN for going up and 30 ($7) PLN for going down.

The carriage can take up to 13 people. Morskie Oko horses are usually treated well, however, you may hear in the media, from time to time, that a horse fainted because it was too tired. 

It’s worth knowing that even if you use a Morskie Oko horse carriage, you will still have to walk up for 15 minutes to see the lake. 

On a side note: I’ve been to Morskie Oko Lake many times, I’ve done a hike and taken a horse carriage. Both options were great.

Horse carriage to Morskie Oko.

Travel Tips For Visiting Morskie Oko Poland

Bring Cash

There are no ATMs in the lake area. Credit cards are not accepted either at Morskie Oko restaurant or at the horse carriage station.

Walk Only During The Day

Hiking at Tatra National Park at night is pretty dangerous. There is a big risk you will meet a bear in the forest.

Save The Emergency Number

+48 601 100 300

It’s the emergency number of Tatra Mountain Rescue. Call them if anything goes wrong, at the end of the day, you are in the mountains, anything can happen!

Read my other posts about Zakopane:

Have a question? Join our Poland Travel Support Facebook group, we will be happy to help you!

49 Responses

  1. The lake looks amazing!
    I climbed one of the paths in zakopane on my birthday and I’ve fallen in love with it!
    I’m planning to go there for at least 3 days to explore all the trails and stay in the shelters 😀

  2. By chance do you have the telephone number of the company of horse drawn carriages. I have a group for end of February. Do I need to book them in advance for 20 persons?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Louise. There is no phone number for the carriage reservation. I’ve just double-checked on the Polish websites. 20 people is not a big number, so you won’t have problems with getting the carriages. You will probably need 2 of them, as one can take a maximum 14 people. End of the February is considered as a low season, so you will easily get the 2 carriages. Have fun in Zakopane!

    1. Carriages have been used to transport people throughout the ages. I don’t see anything wrong with using horses to get people to Morskie Oko, as long as they are treated well. That means making sure that the carriage is not overloaded, that horses have enough time to rest, etc.
      I have full trust in Polish law and I believe that the Director of the Tatra National Park is doing his job right. I believe that they would make it illegal is the horses were exploited on a daily basis.

      Yes, I’ve heard in the media (and you can actually read it in the article) that some horses fainted during the summertime. I am not sure what’s the cause though. If it’s because the owner was too greedy and didn’t allow the horse to rest, then all we can do as tourists is to double-check if the horse is ok before the ride.

      I don’t think the carriages are bad, it’s just sometimes the owners don’t know how to take care of their animals right.

      I know it’s easy for you to say that it should be banned. But keep in mind that it would make seeing Morskie Oko impossible for some people (elderlies, those traveling with infants, people with disabilities, etc.)
      The way up is very long and not everyone can hike there.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment. I think it’s very important for other readers to know the controversy over the Morskie Oko horse carriages.

  3. Hi Karolina, i’m going to Zakopane tomorrow and planning to go to Morskie Oko. Are the Palenica Bialczanska car park and Tatra ticket also cash only? Or can I also pay by card?

  4. Hi Karolina,
    your acticle is perfert!!!! 🙂 We are going to visit Morskie Oko next weekend and I have one question. Have you visited also the Black lake which is close to Morskie Oko? How long does it takes to want around the Morkie Oko, visit the Black Lake and wank back to Wlosienca? Thank you for your answer in advance. Have a nice day 🙂

    1. Hi Katerina!
      Yes, you can definitely hike to Morskie Oko then walk up to Black lake and go back to Palenica. It’s quite a common route.
      When it comes to the time, it will take approximately 2,5-3h to get to Morskie Oko, then another 1h to get to the Black Lake.

      Going up is definitely more challenging, so you will need about 2h to go down.

      The trip in total should take 5-6h without the stops. So leave in the morning and you will have plenty of time before the sun goes down (right now it’s getting dark at about 7:30pm).

  5. Hi, thanks for this useful info!
    Could you please also provide information about where do I buy the tickets from Zakopane to Palenica Bialczanska? Do I buy them right on the bus? Or is there a ticket office there? Do I need to buy them in advance or right at the place?

  6. Hi I am from New Zealand and contemplating visiting friends in Southern Poland at beginning of May 2022. I am very interested in seeing this lake. It reminds me a lot of the great mountain lakes in the South Island of NZ. I know I am biased, but based only on the pictures, I still think our lakes are as good if not better, but I will reserve my judgement until after I have visited Morskie Oko. But it does look impressive.

  7. Last week prices.
    Car parking 45zl
    Horses up 70zl per face.
    Horses down 50zl per face.
    Atm at the gates and at the lake, just next to toilet.

  8. Are the any particular working hours for hourse carriage? At what time they start going up and what is the latest they are coming back down?

  9. Hi,

    Good article !

    What is the trip like in January ? Will the horses be available and is it ok to get horse carriage up to the lake and then walk back down ?

  10. Hello.

    Thanks for a very informative article. By any chance do you know if we can go to the trail on 31st December 2022 or 1st January 2023 please? And also will there be buses available for us from Bar FIS to Palenica Bialczanska?


  11. We’ve been up to Morskie Oko today, 26/12/2022. We got the bus from outside the Grand Hotel Stamary on Tadeusza Kościuski. The cost one way was 15 złoty. The fee for entrance to the park was 8 złoty.

    We walked up to the lake on the very icy and slippy road which took about 3 hours which I didn’t think was too bad considering the conditions. We took the carriage back down though which cost 60 złoty each.

    The lake was completely frozen over which looked spectacular against the backdrop of the snowy mountains behind. A tiring day out but we’ll worth it.

  12. Hello – I will be in Poland in August 2023. Can you confirm that the information above that the carriages are available starting at approximately 7:30am is still true? Thank you!

      1. Hello and thanks for the valuable information. Do you know when is the last minibus from Morskie Oko to Zakopane at the beginning of June?

  13. 2023 05 28 prices:
    bus Zakopane – Morskie oko: 15zl one way;
    entry to Tatra national park: 9zl;
    horses way up: 90zl
    horsea way down: 50zl

  14. Červenec 2023. Dvě hlavní parkoviště jen s rezervací. My to nevěděli a nejbližší volné směr Zakopané bylo asi 10 km zpět 800 metrů z hlavní cesty v lese. Cena parkoviště 35 zlotých, přeprava od auta ke vstupu a zpět 30 zlotých osoba. V sezóně opravdu nechat auto u hotelu a používat autobusy a taxibusy.

  15. Just wanted to thank you for this very detailed article! It was a guideline yet to another group of people!

    We were a bit reluctant to use horses because of the ethical concerns. My mum is strong elderly woman but going all the way back in heavy rain was a bit too much. Your article encouraged to take it anyway and also comments underneath were very insightful (especially the price points).

    Thank you!

  16. Hi Karolina, thanks for great post.
    I’m planning to do Palenica Bialczanska to Rysy and back trek in the beginning of October. Due to lack of beds at the refuge, probably I’ll do the whole trip in one day. So I need to start the day around 4:00 am to safely finish the trek before the dark. I couldn’t find opening hours of the park anywhere. If I buy the tickets online will I be able to enter the park? Is there a gate?

    1. Hi Michael,

      The ticket office opens up at 8 AM in October.

      If you want to start earlier, you may simply buy a ticket online

      There probably won’t be anyone to check your ticket, HOWEVER, keep in mind that the opening hours of the park are set for a reason.

      If you want to leave at 4 AM, no one will stop you. But it’s still dark at 4 AM in October, the sun will rise at 6-6:30 AM. So you will be walking through national park at night.

      You will have a chance to encounter wild animals such as wolves and bears. There will be nobody to help you so it’s quite risky.

    2. I’m curious how this trip went and if Michael was successful?
      I will be in Krakow at the beginning of November and was intrigued by the option to visit Zakopane and Morski Oko. To be honest the Rysy hike sounds beautiful, but it seems like it will be too complicated to get to in one day in early November, even for an experienced hiker.
      After reading this helpful article, I was considering trying to contact the hostel at Morskie Oko to see if I could stay there overnight, making a hike to Rysy more possible in one day. But perhaps they are already full!
      Do I need to brush up on my Polish to contact the hostel and inquire about booking?

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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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