Top places to see
- Morskie Oko/Rysy/Mnich - all day trip
- Giewont - 4 hour hike
- Krupowki Street - evening stroll/dinner
- Koscielec Peak - 5 hour hike
- Kasprowy Wierch Tram - 2 hours
Zakopane is the polish equivalent of Vail or Aspen - a little mountain town with incredible scenery attracting rich and famous year round. The mountains around Zakopane are the most rugged part of Beskidy mountains, with steepness and scenery more reminiscent of Swiss Alps than anything else. Most of the terrain immediately outside of city limits is part of Tatra National Park, and thus very well preserved. There is a very well developed network of trails within the park, along with system of mountain huts and chalets. Zakopane also has a chairlift/tram system to allow easy access to high country vistas for non-hikers.
Getting to Zakopane
The town is located 60 miles south of Krakow. Easiest way to get to there is to take the bus from Krakow Glowny train station. Second option is to drive from Krakow, which takes two hours on weekdays, and 4-5 hours on the weekends. The road comes to a virtual standstill on Friday nights in southbound direction and Sunday nights in northbound direction due to Krakow weekend traffic, with Zakopane downtown jammed with cars and tourists.
- Once in town, the best mode of transportation is walking or taxi.
- Use either taxi, local minibus or your own car for traveling to Morskie Oko area (Palenica Bialcznska), about 10 miles east of Zakopane.
- Final 10km to Morskie Oko is served by horse-drawn carriages operated by local highlanders. Not cheap at about $30/person.
Places to stay
- Stay as close as possible to Krupowki Street, which is in the heart of town.
- Full range of accomodations is available: hotels, apartments/condos and private pensions in local houses.
- Top pick: Villa Monte Rosa, located at the lower end of Krupowki Street. This good-size hotel is family-run, with great location and views, as well as pool hall, restaurant and night club on the lower level.
Reserve hotel here:
All of the action in town is centered along Krupowki Street, with several restaurants employing their own bands, playing native highlander music. There are also couple clubs along the street, do not expect anything too big, this is still small mountain town.