Zakopane, a small Polish town, is at the foot of the famous Tatras Mountains. It is around two hours of driving from Krakow. The town has its unique wooden house architecture, which is very attractive. But the most attractive area is the Tatras National Park, which offers gorgeous views and many outdoor activities all year round.
We added it to the itinerary of our trip to Krakow but only planned a couple of hours for Zakopane. However, after our trip, we had the idea to spend a couple of days there because there were more things to do in Zakopane.
Things to do in Zakopane
The list of things to do in Zakopane includes cultural and outdoor activities.
- The unique and beautiful wooden houses
- One-kilometre long Krupówki street
- Take a funicular to Mount Kasprowy
- Enjoy views from Gubałówka hill
- Hike to the Morskie Oko
- Visit museums
- Spend a day in a local hot thermal spa
- Visit Poronin, the former residence of the socialist leader Lenin
The unique and beautiful wooden houses
One of the main attractions is its turn-of-the-20th-century wooden chalets. Many residential houses, restaurants, shops, hotels, as well as churches, are built in this unique style of Zakopane wooden architecture. From where we parked to the centre, we could spot many wooden houses in all design style. By the way, our hotel GORSKA OSADA Chalet is also in wooden architecture.
One-kilometre long Krupówki street
If you have only a few hours, one of the things to do in Zakopane is to see the one-kilometre long Krupówki street. It consists of all kind of shops and eateries. Some locals were selling the specialties on the street as well.
We had lunch in a local restaurant. Inside the restaurant was also wooden structure and furniture. Our meal was chicken cooked in the mushroom sauce. Very delicious!
Take a funicular to Mount Kasprowy
Take the cable car to Mount Kasprowy is one of the things to in Zakopane for both the adults and especially the kids. Befroe you go, make sure to check the opening time and tickets here.
Enjoy views from Gubałówka hill
The other popular lift in the area is the funicular to Gubałówka hill, which starts in the very centre of the town. Gubałówka offers spectacular views over the town and the surrounding Tatra mountains.
Alternatively, you can experience a funicular railway to Gubalowka Mountain by joining a tour from Krakow. It also includes a visit to Chocholow village and treetop activity.
On rainy days, you can visit some museums. Two of them are worth to visit, Tatra Museum in 10 Krupówki street and Zakopane Style Museum in Villa Koliba in 18 Kościeliska street.
The Tatra Museum is a museum of the history, culture, nature, and ethnography of the Polish Tatras. The Villa Koliba was built between 1892 and 1893 in Zakopane style and was the first building ever erected in Zakopane style. Since 1983 the Koliba Villa is a registered Polish Monument.
Hiking, Climbing or Biking in Tatras Mountains
There is 275 km of marked tourist trails located in the Tatra National Park. The beginning route is the hiking trail around lake Morskie Oko. Other activities like climbing or biking are also available in the national park area. However, tourists must always follow the marked trails to avoid potential dangers.
To explore the mountain area, you can also join this full-day Zakopane & Tatra Mountains guided tour. It also includes the tasting of a highlander smoked cheese called Oscypek and the visit to a museum dedicated to the Tatra Mountains.
Spend a day in a local hot thermal spa
The Tatra Mountains region has numerous thermal springs and sources of mineral water. Thermal pools in Bukowina (in Bukowina Tatrzańska village, around 25 minutes drive from Zakopane) are rich in quality mineral water.
Aqua Park Zakopane is a popular place for family. Situated in the very centre of the city, it offers a beautiful view of the panorama of the mountains. The complex of pools with thermal waters and lots of water attractions also offers spacious spa, fitness, and bowling.
You can combine the spa experience with other activities such as the 1234-meter long Bachledka Treetop Walk by joining this Slovakia Treetop Walk, Zakopane & Thermal Spa tour. The tour departures from Krakow and includes walking around Zakopane as well.
Hike to the Morskie Oko
One of the most memorable things we did was the hike to the Morskie Oko during our trip to Krakow in the late spring. Near the border between Poland and Slovakia, the Tatra mountains is dotted with blue-green alpine lakes. One of the loveliest and the largest lakes is Morskie Oko, which sits at the bottom of the valley on the Polish side.
Visit Poronin, the former residence of the socialist leader Lenin
One day we went to a local supermarket and passed Poronin, approximately 7 kilometres north-east of Zakopane. There is a very big wooden villa next to Marszałka Piłsudskiego Street. The villa used to be the former residence of Lenin. Lenin loved the awesome Alpine views and enjoyed long hikes in the mountains.
Today the local community use the villa as office. And the local tourist information centre is in the basement. Not far from the villa, opposite the shopping mall, there is a beautiful church.
Join a tour from Krakow
You can join a day tour from Krakow to explore Zakopane and Tatra Mountains.
The Tatras mountain areas are not only a nice destination for the summer holiday, but it is also the popular winter skiing destination among the local communities. You don’t need to worry about skiing gears or any heavy stuff if you join a skiing & therms tour.
Where to stay
In the centre, the Grand Hotel Stamary with a Spa are has a high rate. The nearest ski lift is less a kilometre away.