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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

What are the best things to do Zakopane besides be 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

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?

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

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

If you want to know the difference between these thermal pools and choose the best one for you read this post.

Have Fun At Tatralandia Aquapark

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

Photo credit: https://zakoatrakcje.pl/

Visiting the Mousaland is one of the best things to do in Zakopane with kids!

The cute mice locked in their own miniature world is the new but definitely rising- an attraction in the town. Located right on Krupowki street, it’s also easy to get to.  

Slide Down The Wielka Krokiew Ski Jump

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfjnHNI-rtk

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 as 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

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBAhn4qjRan/

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

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]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3HGWOkSeFQ

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.

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.

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

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19 Responses

  1. Oh! you must have had a wonderful experience there. May be I’ll visit there this Christmas. Hope so 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Move over Krakow! Zacopane looks like the next must see in Poland – Awesome article guys, and thanks for sharing your adventure!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

  7. 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)?

    1. Hi Liliia!
      Sure, I will be happy to help. Do you want stay overnight in the mountains, is that your question? 🙂

      1. 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

        1. 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.

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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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