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Zakopane is a picturesque mountain resort located in the south of Poland, at the foot of famous Tatra mountains. It is one of the most popular places in southern Poland – tourist infrastructure in Zakopane is well-developed and suited for many different types of travelers. There are many great things to do in Zakopane. But the biggest magnet which attracts travelers to Zakopane is Tatra National Park.
Here are the best things to do in Zakopane!
Tatra mountains are the highest and most beautiful mountains in Poland. They belong to Carpathian range and are divided between Poland and Slovakia. Tatras are the only Alpine-like mountains in this part of Europe.
It is the dramatic landscape of High Tatras, vast panoramas of Western Tatras, the diversity of hiking trails and unique nature which make Tatra mountains number one travel destination in Poland.
The highest peak in Polish Tatra National Park is Rysy – it reaches 2499 metres. Rysy summit is climbed by many hikers each year, as there is an exciting trail leading to this mountain. However, it is not very easy to climb Rysy – the hike takes a whole day and requires fitness and a lot of stamina. There are also exposure points which make this trail unsuitable for hikers with the fear of height.
There are many other easier trails in Tatra mountains, the most popular of which are:
- Morskie Oko lake – considered by many the most beautiful mountain lake in Poland. This post glacial lake is located on 1400 metres and surrounded by majestic peaks of High Tatras. Hike to Morskie Oko lake is nice and easy, there is an asphalt road leading to the lake. Getting to the lake from parking lot takes about two to three hours, so it perfect for families with children and hikers who want to warm up before bigger challenges.
- Five Lakes Valley – located in High Tatra mountains on 1600 metres. The hike is fairly easy and lasts about three hours. Five Lakes Valley is a breathtaking place, perfect to take memorable photos. There is also a mountain hut located just over the first lake. It serves delicious food and refreshments.
- Kasprowy Wierch peak – the most famous mountain in Western Tatra range. It reaches 1987 metres and the hike takes about three hours. It is technically easy, but there is quite a lot of height difference to climb, so certain amount of fitness is necessary to hike Kasprowy Wierch. The mountain is accessible not only for hikers – there is a cable car going from Zakopane Kuźnice to Kasprowy Wierch every day. The cable car is very popular, so it is best to arrive in the morning to avoid standing in long queues. Tourists who decide to come to Kasprowy Wierch cable car around noon need to wait in line for about three hours. Return ticket in high season costs 99 PLN.
Every tourist visiting Tatra National Park should remember that this area is protected and the nature is to be left untouched.
Travelers visiting Zakopane should also see Gubalowka hill. It does not belong to Tatra mountains but is very easy to get to from Zakopane. Gubalowka reaches only 1126 metres, but offers an amazing panorama view of Tatra mountains. There are also nice restaurants and gift shops on the hilltop. Travelers who prefer not to walk can take a ride in a funicular train to Gubalowka hill. A return ticket in high season costs 23 PLN.
If the weather is not favorable, there are many other great things to do in Zakopane. Tourists can visit Krupowki street – famous pedestrian area in Zakopane. There are many great restaurants, pubs and cafes. Shopping lovers should also head to Krupowki – the diversity of shops will please even the pickiest shopaholic.
About five-minute walk from Krupowki street there is EXPO Wax Museum – another great place to visit during showery weather. It is not a big museum, more like an exhibition, but can make a rainy afternoon more interesting.
Water sports enthusiasts should definitely head to Aqua Park Zakopane. It is an especially nice option for families with children – there are several slides, sauna, jacuzzi pool, outdoor and indoor pool. However, it is not the only waterpark in the area. Travelers who want to relax in a hot thermal pool can choose from:
- Chocholowskie Termy – the biggest and most modern waterpark in the area. Built in 2016, Chocholowskie Termy waterpark is the state-of-the-art place located in Chocholow village, 18 kilometres from Zakopane. This place is perfect for sore muscles regeneration and minerals replenishment – water in the pools is pumped deep from underground and is rich in nutrients.
The main attractions are indoor and outdoor pools. There are many pools to choose from – 8 indoor and 2 outdoor pools with 36°C thermal water, indoor swimming pool, pool with brine water and outdoor swimming pool, indoor pool with iodized water, 7 thermal barrels with sulfur water. The choice is yours.
Children will have fun on many different water slides. There is also salt chamber and children steam room (not too hot, with music and colorful lights to entertain the youngest).
In Chocholowskie Termy waterpark there is also saunarium available – bio sauna with juniper, steam and aromatic saunas, infrared sauna.
- Terma Bukovina – smaller than Chocholowskie Termy, but also worth a visit. It is a nice waterpark with indoor and outdoor thermal pools, slides and saunas. The additional advantage of this place is the stunning view of Tatra mountains. Also, the prices are a bit lower than in Chocholowskie Termy. It is situated in Bukowina Tatrzanska village, about 14 kilometres from Zakopane.
Adrenaline junkies should try bungee jumping – there is a 90-metre high crane waiting for the daredevils. The crane is located on Piłsudskiego 28B street. In winter bungee jumping is available only during the weekends. Single jump costs 140 PLN, tandem jump price is 280 PLN.
Looking for something peaceful to do?
Travelers looking for a peaceful getaway in Zakopane should head to the Cemetery of Honored Highlanders (Polish name: Cmentarz Zasłużonych na Pęksowym Brzyzku). Located just 10-minute walk from Krupowki street it is peaceful and quiet, good for a thoughtful silent walk and a reflection on the passing of time. It might be a nice place to visit after all the hustle and bustle of Krupowki street. This 19th cemetery was available only for rich and notable people who worked for the good of Tatra mountains.
Zakopane is definitely a great destination for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, but this picturesque mountain resort offers a lot of options for all kinds of travelers. It is impossible to be bored in Zakopane, even on a rainy day.
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