Morskie Oko – 7 things to know before visiting

Here is a bunch of useful information that you should read before visiting Morskie Oko lake:

  1. Getting there:

There are mini-busses running every 10min during or 30min outside the season from Zakopane train/coach station and 3 maja street to Palenica Bialczanska car park. These busses cost around 10PLN (2,5EUR) per person each way and take from 30 to 45min to get you there. Look for Morskie Oko or Palenica Bialczanska written on the bus.

Don’t get surprised if in high season the bus driver decides to drive the last few kilometers of traffic on the opposite side of the road that looks like driving towards a frontal collision….apparently it’s normal, so I won’t comment on that…….

Once you leave the bus you need to buy an entry ticket to the National Park (5PLN = 1,5EUR) and walk to the lake on an easy asphalt road for the next 2-3h. It takes 1,5-2h to walk back.

  1. Moving around:

You can pay for horses and carriage to get you there, but please don’t… They are really overworked and you can totally make it on your own feet. I’ve seen heavily pregnant women, seniors, parents with small children, parents with disabled children in a wheelchair and even a guy with artificial leg walking this distance – and so can you – spare the horses. You’ll also see more beautiful places and burn a lot of callories while walking 🙂

  1. When to visit:

I’d recommend visiting between May and September when the lake is not frozen so you can see mountain reflections and walk around the lake. The words can’t describe its beauty in summer, but it also gets really packed with visitors, so try to get there as early as possible.

If you’ve visiting in the winter or late spring/early fall lake will be covered in snow and ice, it’s less packed, but you also need to be careful, wear proper shoes and check weather conditions before leaving.

  1. Must see:

The lake from every possible side where you can get safely considering your abilities and equipment you have.

  1. Must do:

Walk around the lake – the words can’t describe the views you’ll see and none of my pictures can do the justice here. It takes 1h to walk around and you walk on the rocks, so you need to be very careful especially if weather conditions are not great (people with children are walking around, so as long as you’re careful, it’s ok).  In summer you can see these rocks, in winter they are covered in snow and therefore require better hiking equipment.

Half way through your hike you can climb up to see the Morskie Oko lake from the mountain tops and also see another lake called Czarny Staw (Black Lake). You’ll be climbing up the stairs made of rocks, so be careful.

  1. Tips:

You’ll be walking for 2-3h each way so make sure you take water & food, comfy shoes (at least trainers, no flip flops etc.), backpack (not a purse – your arm will hurt after such distance with a purse) warm hoodie, jacket or windstopper (the temperature drops as you get closer) and a raincoat (the weather is unpredictable and doesn’t follow the forecast, you can buy these foil type of raincoats packed into a small bag for 1EUR in the city – better have one).

There are 3 toilet stops on the way that are usually kept in a good condition, but it also depends on the traffic 😉 so take some tissues and hands cleaner. There is a shelter house with restaurant by the lake where you can get a warm meal & drink but don’t expect anything fancy or a latte, it’s just a simple food like homemade soup, potato pancakes or apple pie, tea, black coffee and some chocolates.

You’re in the National Park – there are no rubbish beans along the way and smoking is prohibited until you get to the shelter/lake – any rubbish you make along the way you have to carry or take back with you.

  1. Nearby/Combine with:
  • Dolina Pieciu Stawów (The Valley of 5 Lakes) hike
  • Czarny Staw (Black Lake) hike
  • Zakopane city
  • 2-3 drive to Kraków

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