Tag: Zakopane

Tag: Zakopane

Hiking in Poland

Hiking trails Poland

Hiking in Poland – Updated 23 August 2022

If you enjoy getting your boots on, strapping on a backpack and setting off to the great outdoors, then hiking in Poland is definitely something you should consider. The variety of routes and terrain on offer is impressive, from Poland’s mountainous areas to their National Parks, hiking options range from long treks lasting a week to short rambles alongside lakes.

Hiking in Poland

Poland has 15,000 miles of well-marked hiking paths taking you through an incredible variety of landscapes ranging from dense forest to mountain passes. There’s a route for hikers of all abilities and ages, from gentle strolls around lakes to the high peaks of the Tatra Mountains.

The mountains

The mountain regions such as the Tatras, Beskids and Sudetes are delightful to explore and they attract many thousands of walkers each year and in every season.

Hiking in Poland

All of the 23 national parks in Poland have a well-developed tourism infrastructure. Many of them offer specially prepared hiking trails with shelters. Within the Carpathian Mountains, there is a cluster of six national parks, the remaining seventeen parks are scattered all around the country proving visitors with the full range of flora & fauna, rivers & lakes and landscapes in Poland’s portfolio.

For exciting high-altitude hikes head for the southern mountain ranges. 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.

Hiking in Poland

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains

With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, border relations are now freer than ever. Thus, for dedicated hikers, the opportunity to explore the region in depth is very much an option. Poles are the first to say how wonderful the Slovakian Tatras are, and it’s well worth bearing this in mind if you want to get a full flavour of this wild region.

Probably the easiest way to get to the Polish side of the Tatras is to take a plane to Krakow and then take the train (five hours) to Zakopane. If you want to get to the Slovak side, then Bratislava airport is currently rebranding itself as a low-cost hub (Vienna East!). Alternatively, Vienna to Bratislava is only about an hour and-a-half by train. From Bratislava take the train via Poprad to Stary Smokovec. Poprad also has an airport.

Further exciting hiking experiences can be found in the nearby Pieniny Mountain range and the Bieszczady Mountains in the south east.

Beskid Sądecki is a mountain range in the eastern section of the Western Beskids, and this provides hikers with a good selection of walking paths and mountain hostels.

The Sudetes

The Sudetes, are a mountain range in Central Europe, shared by Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. A favourite way to explore the Sudetes is to take a trip to the Karkonosze National Park, a 55.75 sq. km belt that runs along the Polish – Czech border for some 25km. The park is the most popular hiking territory in the Sudetes and has 33 different trails covering a total of 100km. The two main gateways are Szklarska Poręba and Karpacz, from where most tourists ascend Mt Szrenica and Mt Śnieżka respectively. The ancient and peculiar ‘table top’ rock formations of the Góry Stołowe (Table Mountains) are among the highlights of the Sudetes.

National Parks

Most of the National Parks in Poland provide excellent hiking routes, those that are worthy of a special mention are: Wigry National Park, Świętokrzyski National Park, Roztocze National Park, Biebrza National Park, Kampinos National Park, Wielkopolska National Park and Wolin National Park.

The Świętokrzyski National Park in Małopolska near Kielce is the lowest mountain range in the country and has a well-known 18 km walk that includes an ancient holy site that is now a monastery.

For those that enjoy easy walks and gentle terrain, Roztocze National Park is ideal.

Tatra National Park

The Tatras

Tatra National Park – Updated 23 August 2022

The Park is located in the Tatra Mountains in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Małopolska region, in central southern Poland. Extending into Slovakia, the Tatras are the highest range of the Carpathian Mountains and they form a natural border between the two countries.

The Tatras are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. Although considerably smaller than the Alps, they are classified as having an alpine landscape. Their high mountain character, combined with great accessibility, makes them popular with tourists and scientists.

Tatra National Park

Poland and Slovakia have cooperated on efforts to protect the mountain range since the early 20th century and in 1992, the Polish and Slovakian national parks in the Tatras were jointly designated a transboundary biosphere reserve by UNESCO, under its Man and the Biosphere Programme.

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.

Tatra National Park

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.

Within the Tatra National Park, you will find caves, streams, waterfalls and lakes. There are around 650 caves in the park and some are open to the public. The Wielka Sniezna cave system is the longest at 18 kilometres and also the deepest at 814 metres. The largest lake is Morskie Oko at 349.000 m² reaching depths of just over 50 m.

Tatra National Park

The park is the most visited of the National parks in Poland and is very popular with hikers who can enjoy 270 kilometres of hiking trails. Within the park, you may see Tatra chamois, marmot, brown bears, lynx, otters, eagles, falcons and wolves.

At the northern foot of the Tatras lies the Podhale region, which is home to the Górales or the Goral (highland) people. Here, old folk traditions still form a part of everyday life and distinctive elements of their culture include the Podhale language, music, cheesemaking, and craft works. The popular salty smoked cheese oscypek is made from sheep milk and is a classic traditional Górale staple and can be purchased from most shops in Zakopane and Krakow.

Zakopane and Tatra Mountains tour from Krakow

Zakopane and Tatra Mountains tour from Krakow

Visit Zakopane, the winter capital of Poland, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. With breathtaking views and picturesque natural landscapes, it is enchanting not only in winter but at every time of the year! Captivating scenery, characteristic folk culture, highlander-style cuisine, numerous tourist trails and ski routes – all of this contributes to the richness of Zakopane, which is the most popular mountain tourist resort in Poland. The trip will start with a visit to a shepherd’s hut, where you will taste the traditional smoked cheese called ‘oscypek’. Then you will visit the Regional Museum to look at Zakopane art. After the visit, you will get into a funicular that will take you straight to the top of Mount Gubałówka to experience an imposing view of the granite and limestone peaks of the Tatras. During your free time, you can stay on Mount Gubałówka or ride down to the huge regional market square and eat dinner in one of the restaurants offering local delicacies – Book tickets