Zakopane is a very popular winter resort and summer getaway town in the Tatra mountains on the southern tip of Poland. It became a climatic health resort and as well as cultural spot in the 1880s. Many Polish writers and artists visited Zakopane at the turn of the 20th century. Stanisław Witkiewicz developed the so-called Zakopane Style architecture still popular in the Polish mountains.
There are around five trains every day from Kraków. It takes three and a half hours, costs around 25 PLN and stops at many small towns along the way. Sleepers go to Warsaw and Wrocław every night as well.
Several companies ply the route between Kraków and Zakopane. The two biggest are Trans-frej and Szwagropol [dead link]. A ticket costs 20 PLN and discounts apply.
From Kraków take the 2-lane 'Zakopianka' highway: road number 7 to Rabka and then 47 to Zakopane. It takes about one and a half hours, but depends on traffic. Traffic jams on summer weekends are legendary.
- PKS buses according to schedule.
- Mini bus — There is a large number of privately owned vans (called mini bus). Most have fixed routes and rates, no schedule. Often there is the possibility of negotiation (route, price, time). Note a driver's telephone number if you think you may need transport later.
- Morskie Oko lake
- Cemetery of the Distinguished at Pęksowy Brzyzek, ul. Kościeliska, by the old church. The oldest cemetery dating from the 1920s. A burial place of distinguished people connected to Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains. Most of the tombstones are real works of art made of wood, stone and metal. Free.
- The Tatra Museum. has several buildings throughout the town.
- The Main Building ul. Krupówki 10
- The Gallery of 20th Century Art at Oksza villa ul. Zamoyskiego 25
- The Museum of the Zakopane Style - Inspirations Droga do Rojów 6
- The Museum of the Zakopane Style at 'Koliba' villa ul. Kościeliska 18
- The Władysław Hasior Gallery ul. Jagiellońska 18b
- The Gallery of Art in Koziniec ul. Koziniec 8
- The Kornel Makuszyński Museum ul. Tetmajera 15
- Museum of the 1846 Chochołów Uprising Chochołów 75
- Karol Szymanowski Museum (Villa Atma), ul. Kasprusie 19.
- Jan Kasprowicz Museum, Harenda 12a.
- [dead link]Teatr im. St. I. Witkiewicza, ul. Chramcówki 15, ☎ .
- Kasprowy Wierch
- Białka Tatrzańska
- Bukowina Tatrzańska
- Butorowy Wierch
- Polana Szymoszkowa
- [dead link]Climb.
- [dead link]Paraglide. A 15-minute flight as a passenger costs 250 PLN. There are couple day courses in paragliding as well.
Many of these activities are outside of Zakopane. However, minibuses, leaving when full, depart from different points in Zakopane all day. Most minibuses leave from the front of the train station. The same system works to return hikers/skiers to Zakopane. Expect to pay about 3.50 zł each for the minibus (around 1 euro).
It's worth buying a map of the area if you're going hiking. Most likely you will be hiking in Tatra National Park. Be aware that as it is a National Park special rules apply—don't be loud, leave any garbage or disturb animals. Maps are sold by the tourist office (17 Kosciuszki St., telephone: 01820 12211), down the hill, on your left, just before getting to the bus stop and cross roads (Krupowki St. and Kosciuszki St.) in the centre of town. They'll also give suggested routes, based on the latest weather forecasts and your fitness and equipment. Note: you will have to pay a small entrance fee of 4 PLN (2 PLN for students and school kids).
The maps are very tourist-friendly, with the "difficulty levels" for different paths marked: possibly slightly patronising for seasoned hikers. The pram symbol for the 'easy' paths is taken too literally - people have been seen trying to get prams up steep paths from Zakopane into the mountains. All the paths marked on the map are well maintained by the government.
Whichever route you plan to take, it is advised you dress warmly and bring spare waterproof clothes and water. Put the clothes in a plastic bag in your backpack to keep them dry in case of rain. Even midsummer it can hail for a whole day in the mountains! Remember you are already at 1000m, although it doesn't feel like it.
- Many shops at Krupówki promenade.
- Oscypek, local specialty, smoked sheep's milk cheese.
- There are many good eateries within Zakopane. Look for authentic-looking wood huts. Avoid ones with colorful lights and multi-colored lamps. Good "Bacowkas" include "Bąkowo Zohylina Wyźnio and Nizino" right off of Krupowki. Chata Zbójnicka on Jagiellońska is also good for authentic food (and experience.) You can also try the fried fish eateries anywhere in town for a quick, cheap meal. Trout is the specialty in this town.
- Gofry. Waffles with cream, ice cream, berries, fruit or whatever you want. Tasty dessert. ~7 PLN.
- There is a cheese market every day. It's probably best to come early in the morning while the produce is still fresh, but it's fine to eat whenever it's purchased.
- Regional Restaurant Nosalowy Dwór, Balzera 21d. The choice of meals from both regional and international cuisine.
- [dead link]Restauracja 'U Wnuka', ul. Kościeliska 8, ☎ . First restaurant in Zakopane, opened around year 1850. Obviously they have THE traditional highlander cuisine.
- Club Rockus, Zaruskiego 5 (Same building as Dom Turysty PTTK). It is a nice medium-sized club. One very good feature is that it sometimes plays rock music, so those who are bored with all the usual club music can come here and try to ask the DJ to play some rock.
- Cafe Piano, ul. Krupówki 63. Full of surprises, strange sculptures, lamps made of (fake) amber. And the best thing is that there are swings in place of bar stools!
- [dead link]Ampstrong, ul. Jagiellońska 18, ☎ . Well-known club, but quite underground.
- 1 [dead link]Camping 'Pod Krokwią', ul. Żeromskiego, ☎ . Place for tents and campervans as well as small wooden houses and rooms.
- Dom Turysty. The Dom Turysty advertises that it has the largest wooden roof in the country.
- Good Bye Lenin Hostel, ul. Chłabówka 44, ☎ . Wooden house, reputed to be 100 years old. It is located around 2 km out of town. Clean, but noisy and mostly occupied by foreign tour groups, Thefts and fights have been reported. Dorms from 35/40 zł, double 120/130.
- Target Hostel, ul. Sienkiewicza 3B, ☎ . In the centre.
- Plenty of private rooms. Tourists coming by train or bus will often find private landlords waiting for them at the stations. Negotiate the price. Board often available. Ask to be shown the location on a map. Many locations are outside Zakopane city (which may be an advantage).
- Villa Vita, 2 Krupowki Street. 5 min walk from a cable-lift to Gubałówka. From the windows you can admire a beautiful view over Krupowki and Tatra Mountains.
- Nosalowy Dwor Resort & SPA, Balzera 21d, ☎ . Two hotels of the Nosalowy Dwór Resort & Spa complex are situated at the foot of Mount Nosal in Zakopane. There is 3* regional style hotel Nosalowy Dwor and new 4* Hotel Grand Nosalowy Dwor.
- Murowaniec hostel in Gąsienicowa valley
- Morskie Oko valley
- Hiking from Zakopane to Giewont
- Kasprowy Wierch (mountain), 1985 metres. Tatra view point. Restaurant. Skiing area. Cable railway runs from Kuźnice. (get in on foot, or by local bus).
- Mount Rysy 2499 metres 4 hour hike from Morskie Oko valley