Population: 27 266

Distance from Katowice: 179 km (from Kraków 111 km)

  • The best way from Katowice-Kraków is by car.

How to get there: 

  • By air: the closest airport is Kraków.
  • By train/bus: Train. There is only one direct train connection between Warsaw and Zakopane via Kraków. But good way is to go from Warsaw to Cracow by train, and then go from Cracow to Zakopane by bus. Trains from Warsaw to Cracow go really often and buses from Cracow to Zakopane go almost every hour, sometimes even every half an hour.
  • By car: Highways in Poland are good, so either driving or by bus there are fair lot of connections.

What’s so special about the city: When going to Zakopane it is worth bearing in mind that there is no other similar city in Poland. In the world too. Although it is changing, old wooden houses are partially replaced by new, imitating traditional Podhale style buildings – it is still difficult to find another place equally original, full of memoirs of old times, but also displays very vibrant folklore and unique culture. Due to its location, Zakopane is simply a dream base for trips to the mountains, but even without having them in the plan, you can find various attractions in the city and its surroundings.

Main things to do (Top 5)

(1) Krupówki Street and try the smoked cheese ‘Oscypek’

This main thoroughfare of the town is lined with wooden Zakopane-style restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and gift shops. At the lower end of the street, there are little stalls offering local handicrafts like wooden boxes, woollen jumpers, hats and gloves, special Zakopane-style leather shoes, etc.

Try the cheese. The local cheese, made of sheep’s milk is called „oscypek” (plural: „oscypki”). This rubbery, salty cheese is no. 1 specialty of the Podhale region. The unsmoked oscypek is white, while its smoked version is dark yellow. You can buy it at the street stalls. It goes well with beer!

(2) Mountain Gubałówka

Take the funicular or cable car to the top of Mount Gubalowka. The ride takes about 8 minutes. Mount Gubalowka affords a beautiful panorama of the Tatra Mountains. After a half an hour walk along the Gubalowka top, you can take a chair lift from Butorowy Wierch Summit down to Zakopane (15 min.)

(3) Lake Morskie Oko

Lake Morskie Oko, or the ‘Eye of the Sea’, is the largest in the Tatras at 862 meters in length, and it will require a bus ride to the base of the trail. From there, it’s about a two-hour walk through the area’s impressive permaculture. The payoff? One of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

(4) Venture Around the Tatras

Zakopane is a great base for hiking in the area. The town is nestled right next to the Tatra National Park and trails are abundant. Most trails are day long hikes. We recommend you visit Dolina Chochołowska and Dolina Kościeliska (valleys)

(5) Pieniński National Park and rafting

A very popular attraction in the summer is the rafting through the one of the most beautiful gorges in Europe: must-do day trip to the Pieniny Mountains (50 km far from Zakopane) that visits some of the most popular attractions of the local area with relaxing rafting trip on the traditional, wooden rafts down the Dunajec river. Those who prefer more exciting activities can choose the rafting on the pontoons or kayaks.