Spring in Zakopane

Zakopane (Poland) is mostly known for the winter sports and the great views while skiing or climbing the high Tatra mountains. Here where organized a lot of winter events like the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1929, 1939, and 1962; the winter Universiades in 1956, 1993, and 2001; the biathlon World Championship; several ski jumping world cups; and several Nordic combined, Nordic and Alpine European Cups. It hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1939, the first outside the Alps and the last official world championships prior to World War II.

Most of tourists are keen to come here between December and February for winter holidays in order to ski. There are plenty of great ski trails and ski jumps, for beginners or as well for very experienced skiers.

But Zakopane is not perfect for a getaway only in winter time, it is perfect in spring time and summer time as well. I visited Zakopane in the middle of april, when the weather registered most high degrees at that period: 15/22 Celsius degrees. I can say I was fascinated by this little village at the south of Poland. The mountains are absolutely spectacular, covered in snow at most high peaks and green at their basis. There are a lot of unique places, forests, parks where you can loose yourself and spent the greatest vacation being surrounded by the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.

Zakopane would certainly not be what it is if it was not so close to the Tatra which many consider the most beautiful mountains in the world. The Tatra Mountains are located in the middle of the massive arch of the Carpatians, the mountains which spread over a distance of more than a thousand kilometres and pass through a few Slavic countries. The Tatra are the highest part of the Carpathian arch.
The Highest peak is Gerlach (2,654m over the sea level ) – located on Slovac side. On the Polish side the highest peak is Rysy (2,499 m). I will highlight top excursions that can be done in Zakopane and around it.

 
1. Kasprowy Wierch – cable car (half a day)

The highest peak which can be visited by cable-car is Kasprowy Wierch (1,987 m), very popular among tourists. The mountain delineates the border between Poland and the Slovak Republic and it is possible to cross the border of each country, weather permitting. As both countries are part of the Schengen zone, it is not controlled or forbidden. Kasprowy Wierch is also known as the best place in Poland for advanced skiers and snowboarders. At this period of the year (april) it is still possible to ski.

Tatra mountains

Tatra mountains

Kasprowy Wierch peak

Kasprowy Wierch - meteorological observatory

Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch - a view on Tatra mountain chain

Kasprowy Wierch - a view from the cable car



























































2. Morskie Oko (one day)

One of the most popular destinations in the vicinity of Zakopane is Morskie Oko. It is the largest lake in the mountains at a distance of about 25 km from Zakopane. You can start your trip by car or bus from Zakopane to Lysa Polana. At Lysa Polana, however you have to park the car and the remaining 8 km make it on foot or horse-drawn carriage. This place owes its popularity for the incredible views over Tatra mountains. The most captivating peak is Mnich, which literally means ‘the Monk’. It is called thus as its sharply pointed peak resembles that of a monks habit.

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko

Morskie Oko





































3. Zakopane walks

It is very relaxing to walk by Zakopane streets when there is no crowd. In April, there where few tourists and it was just as I needed after a year of busy days. The streets, beginning with the main pedestrian zone of Zakopane – Krupowki street are surrounded with so many temptations that you don’t know what to buy first. There are a lot of shops and restaurants. I, personally don’t like to spend money on little souvenirs, as these don’t have real usage for me. As an alternative, I suggest to spend each evening in a new restaurant. Let’s say that I come form Romania where the cooking art is highly appreciated. But I have never tasted a better steak of any kind (chicken, pork, lamb) in my life. I am so in love with the polish “shashlik” that I will most surely come back again to the same place and repeat the experience.

Zakopane

Zakopane

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - here I ate the best steak from my life

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - cheese specialities

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Sabala restaurant, very popular in Zakopane

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Krupowki street

Zakopane - Church on Krupowki street


































































4. Krakow (one day)

Krakow is the second most important city in Poland. Situated in the southeast of the country, between the Tatra Mountains, right on the Wisla (Vistula) River, has one of the best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe.There are dozens of churches that cover almost every architectural period and are surrounded by monasteries and abbeys. Krakow is surely a must see city, because it can be seen as a testimony of a bygone era. Points of interest: Rynek Glowni and Wawel (cathedral, university, museum & royal palace) which was also the former residence of polish kings.

Krakow - Wawel the Royal Castel from the outside

Krakow - Wawel the Royal Castel from the outside

Krakow - Wawel the Royal Castel from the outside

Krakow - Wawel the Royal Castel from the inside






























5. Extreme adventures (ATV & Rafting)

Now the fun begins. For the ATV freaks there are many ATV companies that organize excursion around Zakopane, for beginners and for experimented ATV – riders. You will get dirty, but you will be so happy 🙂

Also, rafting is possible in summer time on Dunajec river. You can go with a wooden boat which in my opinion is not as fun as the real rafting with inflatable boats, as there are no waves or sharp descents.

I didn’t have the chance to do any of these because it was still cold for getting wet and dirty.

  1. Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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