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Zakopane is a town hidden at the foot of the highest polish mountains –  The Tatras. It is also the capital for winter sports and the mainstay of mountaineer traditions and culture. Zakopane is a relatively young town, as its origins only date back to the second half of the sixteenth century. Firstly, it functioned as a shepherd’s village. The main development in Zakopane despite the popular belief is not owed to the natural beauty of this area, but the creation of ironworks in the nearby Kuźnice. This took place in the eighteenth century and, unfortunately, has left its mark on the surrounding nature.

In the nineteenth-century Zakopane was found to be a very lucrative health resort due to the curative influence of the mountain climate. It was popularized by Doctor Titus Chałubiński and in 1886, the city was formally recognized as a spa, there appeared numerous sanatorias and holiday houses. Another nature lover - Władysław Zamoyski created the foundations of the current national park. He also helped to open the rout to Zakopane for all, by helping to build the railway leading to the town.

Staying in Zakopane soon became very fashionable for the artistic community, some of them even deciding to move here. By the end of the nineteenth-century Zakopane had become an important cultural center, which was inextricably linked to its growing reputation and attractiveness to tourists. With time there has developed a special art style called the Zakopane style. The increasing number of visitors greatly influenced the development of tourism and mountaineering. An important step in promoting the Tatra Mountains was in 1873, with the creation of the Tatra Society. The Tatra Society promoted knowledge about the Tatra Mountains, the protection of their nature, support for local folklore and caring for the overall development of the city. In 1909, the Tatra Rescue Service was created. It was a response to the growing demand of tourists and mountaineers for professional medical advice and services.

On the first day of World War II, German Nazis occupied Zakopane and blocked entrance to the town, any that wished to entire needed a special pass. All the mountain lodges were overtaken by the German Border Service. Despite the best efforts by the Nazi forces, there was a trail maintained that led through the high mountains. This trail was used by the polish army to smuggle people and important documents out of the occupied country.

Location and Other Attractions in the Area

Map of Zakopane - lesser Poland

Zakopane  is located by the foot of the Tatra Mountains. If driving from Krakow, then follow the signs for Chyzne until you are out of Krakow on the road number 7 going south. Stay on this road until Rabka, where the road number 7 turns away to the right, but you will keep going down the road number 47 towards Zakopane. Zakopane is about 40 km further than Rabka.

Distances to Zakopane from:


Other Attractions in the area:


Nowy Targ is the oldest town in Malopolska and is famous for the traditional street market that is held here twice a week.(Thursdays and Saturdays) Being the largest outdoor street market in Malopolska. 


The Thermal Pools in Bukowina and Bańska Niżna are both just a short drives away from the Tatra mountains. If you are coming from Krakow, then you will pass one of these. 


The Tatra National Park, Zakopane is situated at the foot of the Tatra mountains offering people many other walks and routs that are available in the park. Along with the cable car that runs to the top of the Tatra mountains from just outside Zakopane.


Eye of the Sea, this is a walk that will take you up to the largest lake in the Tatra Mountains, offering some unforgettable views and experiences.  

The city is located at the foot of the highest mountains in the country and has had great benefits from its location. It is also the highest situated town in Poland. Zakopane ranges from 750 to 1125m above sea level. And the highest peak of Tatras in Poland is Rysy (2499m above sea level).

Zakopane is visited every year by more than 3 million tourists. What attracts these visitors to Zakopane; Perhaps it is the natural beauty of the Tatra Mountains with their step rocky peaks that for most of the year are decorated with a snowy cover. Alternatively, maybe it is the gentle valleys, accessible to ordinary tourists with their delightful rivers and waterfalls, there are also beautiful panoramas surrounding you from every direction, no matter what mountain you choose to climb. Zakopane furthermore offers a wide range of well prepared ski slopes, ski schools and rental centers. One thing that does bring many tourists to Zakopane is the local food specialties. Grilled sheep cheese, sour soups of smoked ribs and mountaineer’s potatoes cakes are among the most often chosen. Perhaps it is this unique, mountaineer climate, or maybe it is the climate of the town, hidden among majestic mountains. On frosty evenings, you will find the many regional inns most inviting, where the fireplace is burning and Highlander bands make you feel very welcome. There are as many reasons to visit Zakopane, as there are visitors drawn to this unique little tourist town set at the foot of the Tatra Mountains.

Zakopane 1 Zakopane 2 Zakopane 3

Major tourist attractions:

- kolejka linowo-terenowa na Gubałówkę

- kolejka linowa na Kasprowy Wierch

- kolej linowo-krzesełkowa na Butorowy Wierch

- skocznia narciarska Wielka Krokiew

- Teatr im. Stanisława Ignacego Witkiewicza

- Muzeum Tatrzańskie im. dra Tytusa Chałubińskiego

- Zakopane Style Museum in the Villa Koliba

- Chapel Jaszczurówka

- Church and Cemetery on Pęksowy Brzyzek

- Krupówki and a market with stalls of Gubałówka

Main events in Zakopane :

- International Festival of Mountain Folklore

- Sabałowe Bajania

- Tatra Wici

- Organ Festival


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