Short and sweet – just the way I like it 🙂 The basic info about Zakopane compressed for you into these 7 basic pieces of information:
- Getting there:
The closest airport is in Krakow with commercial (Lufthansa, British Airways, LOT, SAS etc.) and cheap (Rayanair, EasyJet) airlines flying there, so you can combine Zakopane & Krakow trips. From Krakow get to Zakopane by coach or train that takes around 2-3h and costs from 15 to 25 EUR one way.
- Moving around:
Zakopane is a small town, so you just walk around. You can walk from Gubałówka Mountain through Krupówki Street, visit Museums, Wielka Krokiew Ski Jump and even walk all the way to the cablecar station for Kasprowy Wierch mountain top. It may seem a bit long on the map, but doesn’t feel this way with various touristic attractions, souvenir shops, landmarks, cafes and restaurants along the way.
- When to visit:
The weather in the mountains is unpredictable and can change within hours from sun to rain regardless of what it says in the forecast. Winter is obviously better for skiing and seeing the beauty of mountain tops covered in snow. Summer is better for hiking for both starters and pros, temperatures and lake views, but mountain tops are often covered in fog. To sum up – I’m leaving it up to you, no particular recommendation here. Both winter and summer are high touristic seasons, so if you prefer solitude, spring or fall will be perfect for you. Always check weather conditions and avalanche threat before leaving for a hike.
- Must see:
Gubałówka Mountain with views over the city, Willa Koliba the first house in typical to Zakopane architecture style, Upside Down House – it makes your head feel crazy, Kasprowy Wierch mountain top with the most stunning mountain views – check if there is a fog before visiting and dress well, it’s cold there, Morskie Oko lake – better to visit in summer, so you can walk around and see the mountains reflecting in the perfectly clear water. Check out my pictures to compare summer & winter views over the lake.
- Must do:
Eat plenty of “Oscypek” – traditional goats or sheep cheese that tastes best grilled with cranberries, listen to live folk music in one of the restaurants in the evening. Walk everywhere you can – the views are totally worth it 🙂
You need at least 3 full days for Zakopane: 1 for the city (including ½ day for Kasprowy Wierch), 1 for Morskie Oko lake and 1 for Koscielisko Valley or any other hike you decide to do. Zakopane is small and therefore gets packed with tourists in summer & winter seasons, so it’s better & cheaper to book accommodation in advance and leave for hiking trips around 7-8am. If you want to combine Zakopane, Tatra Mountains and Krakow into a one trip you gonna need at least 5 days for that, but it’s totally worth it!
- Nearby/Combine with: