The skiing in Zakopane may not be as well known as the Swiss Alps. However, skiing in Poland comes at a fraction of the price.
Zakopane has many family-friendly slopes perfect for beginners to learn the ropes and practice their turns. For the more advanced, Krasprowy Wierch offers world-class skiing and a three-mile-long descent from the top lift that gives skiers plenty of ski time.
Go Winter Hiking in Zakopane
Giewont and Kasprowy Wierch are the two high profile peaks in the Polish Tatra mountains.
These can be hiked together on the same trip (if you’re feeling fit). This hike takes you through some of the Tatra’s most jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery, covering woodland, high peaks, and panoramic views into Slovakia – A classic Tatra ridge walk. In our opinion the greatest peaks to climb on this hike are Giewont (1895m), Kopa Kondracka (2005m) and Kasprowy Wierch (1987m). The whole circular route takes about 8.5-9 hours to complete.
For the less adventurous we also really enjoy climbing Mt Nosal which is situated right in front of the chalet, this takes around 30-40 minutes and you have a beautiful panorama shot of the Tatra mountains to pose in front of.
Relax in the best Hot Thermal Spa water
One of the perks of spending time in the Tatras is the huge number of natural hot springs, rich in minerals that help the muscles relax after a hard day’s skiing. Surrounded by mountain views in picturesque villages you can unwind in hot thermal water, perhaps with a drink in hand- bliss!
Among the most famous thermal spas in Zakopane is Terma Bukowina, located in Bukowina Tatrzańska village, which is around 25 minutes from Zakopane.
Some other detoxifying thermal spas are situated in Chocholow, Szaflary (Our personal favorite and one which we can arrange an exertion to from Chalet Stardust), and Białka Tatrzańska – one of the many enchanting villages situated in the Tatra mountains.
How about combining a day of skiing and thermal baths? That’s right, one of the ski resorts we work with has a thermal spa right at the bottom of the piste.
Snowlandia Ice Maze & Ice Sculpture Park
This is located next to the big ski jump (Wielka Krokiew) and around a 10/15 minute stroll from chalet Stardust at the very border of the Tatra National Park and is great for kids.
Snowlandia is open (depending on the snow) from the late December to early March and consists of the the largest Snow Maze in Poland with an area of about 3000m2 – very impressive. There’s even a 15m high Snow Castle & Ice Palace which is full of incredible ice sculptures.
Snowmobile/ Skidoo tours
For the adrenalin junkies out there there’s skidoo trips which start from the top of Gubalowka. With english speaking instructors, professional equipment and scenic and varied routes, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
Enjoy Southern Polish cuisine
Poland is known for its ultimate soups for lunch, especially on a cold Winter’s day, Zakopane is no exception. If you can, you should try two local specialties during your stay, Zurek – the traditional Polish soup and Kwaśnica, made of meat and served with mashed potatoes or bread.
Also, please try the different types of special potato dumplings (pierogi served with sour cream), you wont regret it.
The restaurants on the Krupówki street are awesome, but they are catered towards tourists. For a more authentic experience, try these Polish delicacies in one of the milk bars.
Bungee Jumping in Zakopane
This is by far the scariest thing you can do in Zakopane!! The guys that run it are super professional and most importantly patient. A once in a lifetime experience in beautiful Tatra scenery. There’s even a selection of great bars and restaurants nearby for a well deserved post jump mulled wine.
Explore Krupowki Street
One of the top things to do in Zakopane is simply strolling along its main high street – Krupowki. This is the heart of the town. This pedestrians-only street stretches for over a kilometer, beginning at the starting point of the Gubalowka funicular ride station.
Whether you are here in Zakopane in winter or in summer, you will find this street bustling with locals and tourists. Dining at many amazing restaurants and bars or unwinding in those adorable cafes. Local band performers will entertain you at night.
Krupowki is the best place for people-watching and soaking up the charm of this town. Conveniently you can also sample some of the best sausages, soups, and bread Zakopane has to offer here.
If you are in Poland for Christmas, you will find an additional Christmas market with decorated wooden chalets, Christmas trees, carols, food shops, rides, and more. The street will be transformed into an enchanting Yuletide paradise.
Ride Up the funicular train
For a more leisurely activity, take the Funicular train up the Gubałówka mountain. You won’t be disappointed once at the top. On a clear day, you will have stunning views of the Tatras and of the surrounding valleys. There’s a market up top and many places to eat, drink and watch the sunset.
Cross country skiing
At the end of 2019, the Central Sports Center in Zakopane completed the project of major modernising of its cross-country trails. As a result, we now have a fully professional setup for cross-country skiing. These routes can be used for training purposes, but will also be hosting all kinds of competitions – thanks to the approval of the International Ski Federation (FIS) accreditation.
Cross-country skiing provides numberless opportunities for closer contact with nature. The areas located at the foot of the Tatras are perfectly suited for cross-country skiers. They can also enjoy runs along the marked hiking trails and ﬂat ridges of the hills. The areas near Szczyrk, Bielsko-Biała, Wisła, Ustroń, and Korbielów can also be recommended, either way, there’s lots of options here and plenty of instructors if you fancy giving it a go.
Split Board and Ski Tour – Earn your Turns
The Tatra Mountains are the highest mountains in Poland. The Tatra range is a part of the Carpathian chain that runs also through Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, and Romania.
Most of the Tatra Mountains are on the Slovak side. Only 22.3% of the surface of the Tatras is within Polish borders.
Despite this, there’s still more than enough to enjoy seemingly never-ending ski touring and split boarding opportunities, ask the guys at the chalet and they can arrange equipment and local guides to take you out on an adventure you’ll never forget.
Kulig – Snomads Horse Sleigh Ride & BBQ Night
One of the best things about the gorgeous mountains is the valleys that are home to secluded enchanting villages, away from the crowds of travelers. Luckily for you, this is the setting for an evening of magical scenery, horse sleigh rides, and a tantalizing BBQ for you to enjoy.
If you want to get glimpses of the rugged life in the mountains and the Polish villages, you should plan for this excursion during your stay with Snomads. Nature, streams, forests, and winding snow-covered roads – these landscapes will enchant you with their ethereal beauty.
Among the most beautiful villages, check out Zab, which is known for its excellent location overlooking the majestic Gorce, Tatra, and the Babia Gora Mountain Ranges.
Attend the Highland Folklore Festival
Zakopane is known in some circles for the Highland Folklore Festival, which is held before the spring every year, usually in February.
Initially, a casual, local gathering of the main folk groups from the surrounding highland mountains, the idea of conserving the culture eventually made it into an incredible folklore festival, one of the unique events not only in Poland but also in the whole of Europe.
Try The Smoked Cheese
Oscypek is a delicious smoked sheep’s milk cheese and luckily for you, it’s everywhere!
It’s a local staple here and you will find stands selling the stuff all over the town of Zakopane and various other mountain lodges throughout the region. The recipe is strictly followed and dates back to the 14th century.
Enjoy the Zakopane-Style Architecture
Zakopane has its very own style. The buildings are known to embrace the spirit of Podhale. Stanislaw Witkiewicz is known as the creator of the style, having transformed the town in the late 1800s. Wood rounded windows, and detailed embellishments can be seen on the homes throughout the city center.
One of the World’s Most Beautiful Lakes – Morskie Oko
Lake Morskie Oko, or the ‘Eye of the Sea’, is the largest in the Tatras at 862 meters in length, and it will require a bus or taxi ride to the base of the trail. From there, it’s about a two-hour walk through the area’s impressive permaculture. At the end of your walk, you’ll see one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. There’s also a large mountain hut at the lake for you to enjoy a well-deserved meal and drink- Nasdrave!
The Great Ski Jump – Wielka Krokiew
This is the biggest and most famous ski jumping hill in Poland.
Stage to many international competitions, especially from the end of January, when the FIS World Cup tournament takes place in Zakopane. You can purchase a ticket and you can go to the top of the ski jumping hill via a chair lift, from here you can enjoy a large panorama of Zakopane town, you can also admire the true steel of the professional ski jumper – it’s a long way down. Situated a 10/15 minute stroll from the chalet.