Well seasoned travellers know that a sure fire way of knowing whether a place is worth visiting or not is by the number of locals who choose to visit. Zakopane is the one of Poland’s most visited tourist spots and is regarded as the “winter capital” of the country. Located at the foot of the Tatra mountains, Zakopane offers natural landscapes, mountain lakes, waterfalls, snow peaked mountains and an abundance of unspoilt pine forests.
Although not in the same league as some of it’s more illustrious Alpine rivals, Zakopane still has an impressive reputation as a ski resort having hosted numerous World Ski championships and ski jump World Cups. The place is also being spoken about as a potential host for the Winter Olympics.
Zakopane offers much more than skiing and this is where it beats it’s rivals hands down. Poles come here to walk along the many designated paths and enjoy the scenery. In Winter, horse drawn sledges (kuligs) will drive you through snow covered forests stopping at the end for an unique Winter barbecue around an open fire with hot wine or mead.
We should point out that Zakopane is equally beautiful (if not more so) in the Summer when many of the mountain paths are open to walkers offering stunning natural views of the area.
If you want to travel from Krakow to Zakopane then there are several options.
1/ Car Rental
There is only one road leading into Zakopane so it relatively straight forward. This can cause heavy traffic during busy times such as long weekends or during bad weather. Travel time from Krakow to Zakopane is approximately two hours.
2/ Train from Krakow to Zakopane
The journey time can take up to four hours as the train seems to stop at every small village along the way.
3/ Mini Bus
These can be found at the main bus station in Krakow and usually these buses only seat between 10-15 people. Prices are very cheap (approximately 15-20 zloty).