Poland's Winter Capital
Zakopane is a town nestled in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains within the Lesser Poland Voivodeship and is Poland’s best-known mountain resort and a popular destination for outdoor activities and tourism.
Zakopane is visited by over 2,500,000 tourists a year, who flood to the town each winter to take part in winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, snowshoe walks, and Ice skating. The two most popular ski destinations are Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka, which can be reached by cable car and funicular. There are also a number of cross country skiing trails in the forests surrounding the town.
Summertime brings tourists of a different kind who come to the mountain town to do activities such as hiking, climbing, cycling, and horse riding. There is a network of well-marked hiking trails in the Tatras and according to the national park regulations the hikers must stick to them.
The Tatra Mountains are the most popular destination in Poland for hiking. The High Tatras are the most challenging and many hikers head for the cross on the summit of Mount Giewont at 1895m. If you don’t like steep slopes, then there are plenty of alternative walks available, particularly in the valleys around Zakopane.
No matter the season, or the weather, the town’s most popular street; Krupówki is crowded with tourists visiting the shops and restaurants. The street is packed full of market stalls selling local Goral apparel, leather jackets, fur coats, hats, shoes and also the famous oscypek smoked sheep cheese, fruit, vegetables, and meats. During the evening, Krupówki is popular for nightlife.
Many visitors come to Zakopane to experience Goral culture, which is rich in its unique styles of food, speech, architecture, music, and costume.
The town is famous for its beautiful wooden villas, some dating from the late 19th century, many of which now house museums, while others have been converted into hotels or guest houses. See – Things to Do.
The Tatra National Park is 211 square metres in size and is headquartered in Zakopane. The Polish Tatras boast two dozen peaks exceeding 2000m, the highest of which is Mt Rysy at 2499m.
The landscape of the Tatras consists of sharp-edged towering peaks and numerous rock formations including narrow gorges, which drop hundreds of metres to icy lakes. There are no glaciers in the Tatras however patches of snow can be found at any time of the year.
A good way to explore Zakopane is with a tour guide. If you are staying in Kraków, then we recommend the Zakopane and Tatra Mountains with Chocholow Village visit.