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eirissa Zakopane - A travel report by Irene
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Zakopane,  Poland - flag Poland
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eirissa's travel reports

Zakopane - Poland's winter capital

  22 votes
Zakopane is probably the most popular city in the Polish mountains and once you are here you can't be bored. You can choose from a variety of walks around the town or set off for longer trips to the Polish Tatra mountains.

the main street in Zakopane
the main street in Zakopane
Once you are in Zakopane you should definitely climb up (or go by a cable car) the Gubalowka mountain which gives you a great view over the whole town and the Tatra mountains. The walk around the old quarter of the town (Koscieliska street) gives you the chance of admiring the typical Zakopane style architecture. Don't miss the old cemetary 'Na peksowym brzyzku' where famous Poles are buried - every grave is a piece of art. You can go and see the place where the ski jumping championships take place - 'Wielka Krokiew'. From this spot there are many paths leading to small Tatra valleys - the walks aren't exhausting and prepare you for the more strenous trips to the real mountains. If you want some real hiking go to the railway station and catch one of the buses to the places that are great for mountain excursions - Koscieliska and Chocholowska Valley, Morskie Oko lake, Mount Kasprowy Wierch and other. After an exhausting day in the mountains enjoy a glass of hot mulled wine in one of regional restaurants and pubs, listening to a highlanders' live bands playing by the fireplace.

Favourite spots:
view on Zakopane and the Tatra mountains
view on Zakopane and the Tatra mountains
My favourite spots are: - Dolina Bialego (the White Stream Valley) - a small valley just 30 min walk from Zakopane; with a small mountain stream flowing just next to the path. - Koscieliska Valley - the most beautiful valley with impressive panorama of the mountains; don't miss the cave called Mrozna but be prepared for a narrow path and low passages (the cave is lit electrically and there is an entrance fee); at the end of the valley there is a hostel and a small bar. - Morskie Oko lake - 7km walk to a wonderful lake surrounded by the mountains; there is a horse cart if you don't have enough strength to walk; from the lake you can go up the mountains to see other lakes if you are an experienced hiker. - Mount Kasprowy Wierch (1987m) - go early and buy a ticket to a cable car that takes you to the top of the mountain; don't forget to put on some warm clothes even in the summer; from the mountain take a walk down the path - it can be a bit exhausting but the views are worth it.

What's really great:
highlanders' band
highlanders' band
When I'm in Zakopane I always try their delicious food served in regional restaurants - I love their atmosphere and live music. You should try the smoked cheese called 'oscypek' made of goat or sheep milk. They also have delicious potato pancakes. If you are cold try the hot mulled wine or tea with vodka - I guarantee that you will be soon warm enough to dance to the tunes played by the highlanders' band. The best eating spots in Zakopane are at the main street called Krupowki. I can recommend: Sabala restaurant (one of the oldest ones from 1898) and Staro Izba. If you have a car ask somebody for directions to Chata Zbojnicka and wear a can literally lose your head there...

Morskie Oko lake
Morskie Oko lake
Koscieliska Street with old houses
Krupowki Street with restaurants and shops
Na Peksowym Brzyzku cemetary
Virgin Mary sanctuary in Krzeptowki Street
The Tatra Museum in Krupowki Street
walks in the mountains and valleys

one of typical houses where you can rent a nice room
one of typical houses where you can rent a nice room
Private rooms are the cheapest. You are offered free rooms as soon as you leave the train in Zakopane. I stayed in a room just 5 min from the main street - here's the link: but you can find more rooms here:

the interior of one of the restaurants
the interior of one of the restaurants
Sabala, Staro Izba, Gazdowo Kuznia
There are plenty of nice and cheap spots around the town centre so please don't go to MacDonalds...

Other recommendations:
mountain stream in Koscieliska Valley
mountain stream in Koscieliska Valley
Explore on your own and enjoy your stay in the heart of the Polish mountains. When you are tired of hiking and wish to do some museum sightseeing - go to Cracow which is only 2 hours by bus from Zakopane.

Published on Thursday June 30th, 2005

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Thu, Oct 11 2007 - 08:39 AM rating by zrusseff

Irene, I had never hear of Zakopane but it is sure beautiful. Look like a German village cross with the Swiss village. I would love to visit some day and I bet oscypek is delicious. Thanks for sharing your travels.

Tue, Sep 26 2006 - 01:20 PM rating by mrscanada

This looks like a charming place. I'd love to taste the food as well.

Mon, Jul 04 2005 - 01:34 AM rating by maehof

super Irenko, fantastyczny reportaz, oby tak dalej,

Fri, Jul 01 2005 - 02:58 AM rating by davidx

Oh dear, how can I live long enough to get to all the places that sound so good on here? It will have to be well over 110 years of age. This is a fine report on a lovely sounding [and looking] place.

Thu, Jun 30 2005 - 11:02 PM rating by marianne

Hi Irene,
This is an excellent report, very well written and lots of useful information. Good photos especially the snow-clad mountain. I suppose that is only in winter?


Thu, Jun 30 2005 - 07:36 PM rating by rangutan

Well described this wonderful place!

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