Zakopane is a 2-hour bus ride from Krakow and is the gateway to the stunning Tatra Mountain range. Billed as Poland´s premier mountain resort it serves as the ideal base for hikers, skiers and cultural explorers. If you like the great outdoors and are staying in Krakow, then why not visit Zakopane and see Poland from another perspective.
The wealth of natural beauty in Zakopane has made it a popular destination with artists and writers as much as it as with outdoor types. As a result, this quaint little town has a surprising number of museums and art galleries showcasing sculptures, paintings and poetry. There are also plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants.
Another reason for masses of people descending on Zakopane is the annual International Highland Folk Festival which takes place in the last week of August. It is the oldest festival of its kind in Poland and features traditional folk dancing from nearly 500 folk groups that attend from all over the world. The cultural event also has art exhibitions, poetry contests and organized mountain trips.
But most people visit Zakopane to explore the Tatra Mountains and go trekking in the Tatra National Park. Experienced hikers used to trekking for 5 or 6 hours enjoy the challenge of climbing to the peak of Giewont whilst less experienced hikers like to explore the caves in the Strazyska Valley or admire the stunning scenery around the vast Morskie Oko lake, so big it is known as the “Eye of the Sea.”
Skiers generally head Mount Kasprowy where you can enjoy incredible views from the cable cars during your voyage to the top of the piste. There are a couple of runs for more advanced skiers and snowboarders, but is mostly frequented for family fun.