Tatra National Park – updated 11 January 2023.
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, with the highest peak being Rysy, which stands at 2,499 meters, and they form a natural border between the two countries.
The park is known for its dramatic alpine landscapes, which include rugged peaks, glaciers, and alpine meadows, as well as its diverse plant and animal life. The park is also home to many threatened and protected species of animals and plants.
The park is also known for its rich cultural heritage, including many traditional mountain villages and historic buildings, as well as many ancient pagan shrines.
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 park offers visitors a wide range of recreational opportunities, such as hiking, mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding, as well as fishing, bird watching and nature photography. There are many well-marked hiking trails, mountain huts and shelters.
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.
Caves, streams, waterfalls & lakes
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.
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.
Skiing & snowboarding
Kasprowy Wierch (1985m) in the Tatras is very popular with Polish skiers and is suitable for all skill levels and has a 4300m run. Gubałówka with its 1500m run is also a decent place to ski and has fantastic views. The good thing about Zakopane is that the ski season can often last into April some years. Snowboarders in Zakopane have a couple of good spots to choose such as the Szymoszkowa Clearing, Witow and Bialka Tatrzanska.
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.
Tatra National Park is open year-round, but some facilities may be closed during the winter months, depending on the weather. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and mountaineers, as well as for anyone interested in the natural and cultural heritage of the Tatras. It is also considered as one of the most beautiful mountain range in Poland, with a breath-taking landscape and rich biodiversity.
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