Zakopane, the mountain city and winter capital of Poland is a famous ski resort city. Located in the southern part of the country, it is the most loved spot for a weekend vacation. The best part of this resort city is the climate which remains favorable throughout the year. No matter what time of the year you are visiting, a rich and exciting program of leisure is guaranteed for travelers.
Winters are snowy white here which makes it the most preferred destination for the winter sports and ski lovers. However, some slopes are available even until mid-April. You can rent a sleigh for your kids as they will have great fun slipping down the valley. It is the best time to take a ride on a dog sledge and participate in one of the exciting folklore events. It is a regular venue for hosting the winter sports competitions. Hence, many internationally renowned athletes admire this place and prefer to spend time here.
Summers are dreamy and serene in Zakopane and it is the perfect time for the travelers to get acquainted with the cultural traditions of the country and get lost in the breathtakingly beautiful Tatra National Park. The resort offers scenic walks all day long during the summer where you can admire the amazing mountain scenery.
What to see:
This city has something or the other for everyone to offer. It makes an apt location for the hiking enthusiast or nature admirers as you can go on a walking tour to explore the gorgeous city. Zakopane is quite popular for its incredibly beautiful folk events, typical local architecture, and traditional cuisine. You would find many beautiful wooden houses, which are the location of many eating joints, hotels, and other amusement venues. Zakopane is home to many prominent landmarks also and you can never return disappointed from your trip. There are many interesting museums and an amazingly impressive botanical garden. You would find a rich collection of plants in the local woods.
Zakopane’s churches are also worth exploring like Jaszczurówka Chapel, Old Church in Kościeliska street, etc. You can also visit local Aquapark and the bowling alley. There are a few thermal spas in Chocholow, Szaflary, Bukowina and Białka Tatrzańska near Zakopane, it would be a memorable experience visiting these if time permits.
Tatra National Park:
This is the most stunning part of the mountain city and is favorable in all the weather conditions. Strążyska Valley is an enchanting location and not to be missed. It can easily be reached from the center of Zakopane. If you are traveling with the kids or uncomfortable with hiking, you will make it to the end of the valley after around half an hour walk. Soak in the beauty of the Siklawa waterfalls, and rest at the foot of the grand Mount Giewont. You can also taste some delicious tea in the local shelter.
If you are looking for an adventurous hike, go for it. You can start from Kuznice towards Mount Giewont. However, a few things to keep in mind while hiking uphill. Wear hiking boots along the trail it is easy to twist an ankle. Wear gloves as it will protect your hands while you are pulling yourself up on the chains near the top. Check the weather before planning for a hike. If there is rain, thunderstorms, windy in the forecast, it is not advisable to head to Giewont.
Morskie Oko lake:
It is the largest and fourth deepest lake located deep within the Tatra National Park, Zakopane. The best attraction of Zakopane, as I call it. Also known by the name of “Eye of the sea”, it looks mesmerizing during the winters when frozen and tranquil during the summers. The turquoise water in the lake is absolutely crystal clear and you can even spot some fishes in the water.
This is one of the most popular attractions and activity in Zakopane. You can take a cable car and enjoy the panoramic views of this amazing city. It is advisable to purchase the lift tickets in advance as it is always crowded be it summer, spring or winters. You can enjoy the magnificent views of nature along with some local delicacies in the restaurants here.
This majestic hill offers spectacular views of the town and the surrounding Tatra mountains and Zakopane. You can reach there by a funicular from the main town. It is a great place to relax and unwind yourself in the lap of nature.
Traveling around is very accessible in the city as horse carts, sleighs and carriages are available.
Foods to try:
Zakopane is rich in national cuisine restaurants and offers many signature dishes, such as oscypek, smoked sheep cheese, hearty soups, and meat dishes. Zurek soup is a popular national dish of Poland. The main ingredient of this meal is specially fermented yeast made from rye flour. Another essential ingredient in the national cuisine is Mushroom. You can find mushrooms in various dishes like pies, pierogis, and pancakes. A must try food here is Beigel, which is an aromatic ring-shaped bread roll. It is one of the most popular souvenirs that tourists buy for their loved ones.
Zakopane is one of the most beautiful hills stations I have discovered so far. If in Poland, it is not to be missed destination and a perfect holiday spot.