Tag: Skiing

Tag: Skiing


Zakopane: Exploring the Beauty and Culture of Poland’s Winter Capital

Nestled at the base of the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland, Zakopane is a popular winter destination known for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. With its unique blend of traditional and modern influences, Zakopane offers visitors a chance to explore the best of Poland’s history and natural wonders.


The History of Zakopane

The town has a long and storied history, dating back to the 17th century when the first settlers arrived in the area. In the 19th century, Zakopane became popular as a health resort, with visitors coming from all over Europe to take advantage of the fresh mountain air and therapeutic hot springs.

During this time, Zakopane also became a center of Polish culture and art, with many artists, writers, and musicians flocking to the town to escape the urbanization and industrialization of the cities. This cultural heritage is still evident in Zakopane today, with traditional highlander architecture, folk art, and music still a vital part of the town’s identity.

Exploring Zakopane Today

Today, the town is a popular winter destination, with visitors coming to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. But even if you’re not a fan of the cold, there is plenty to see and do in Zakopane year-round.

One of the most popular attractions in Zakopane is the Tatra Mountains, which offer breath-taking views and excellent hiking opportunities. The town itself is also home to many museums and art galleries, including the Tatra Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the region.

Visitors to Zakopane can also experience traditional highlander culture by attending a folk music or dance performance, or by sampling local cuisine, such as oscypek, a smoked cheese made from sheep’s milk.

No matter the season, or the weather, the town’s most popular street; Krupówki is crowded with tourists visiting the shops and restaurants. The street is packed full of market stalls selling local Goral apparel, leather jackets, fur coats, hats, shoes and also the famous oscypek smoked sheep cheese, fruit, vegetables, and meats. During the evening, Krupówki is popular for nightlife.

Winter sports

For those interested in winter sports, the town has several ski resorts, including the popular Kasprowy Wierch and Gubalowka ski areas. But even if skiing isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the snow by taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the town or by simply strolling through the picturesque streets and admiring the snow-covered architecture.



Zakopane hosted 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.

The town recently made unsuccessful bids to host the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2011 and 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships.

Climbing, Skiing & Hiking

Climbers from all over Europe travel to Zakopane to climb in the High Tatras and thousands of people arrive to go skiing in the winter, especially around Christmas and in February.

Zakopane has many hiking trails and ski slopes. This makes Zakopane a tourism mecca for all seasons. The downtown bustles with outdoor wear shops and ski rental stores. Tourists come here in large numbers in summer and during the Christmas and New Year Season.


Zakopane is a charming and vibrant town that offers visitors a chance to explore the best of Poland’s natural and cultural heritage. From the stunning Tatra Mountains to the rich history and folk traditions of the town itself, there is something for everyone in Zakopane. Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, an art lover, or just someone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Zakopane is a destination you won’t want to miss.

For detailed tourist information about Poland, please visit our travel partner, the Poland Travel Agency.

Zakopane tours & experiences


Tatra Mountains

The Tatras

The Tatra Mountains are a beautiful and rugged range that straddles the border between Poland and Slovakia. With a maximum elevation of 2,655 meters, the Tatras are the highest mountains in the Carpathian range and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland. The highest mountain is Gerlach located in Slovakia just north of Poprad. The north-western peak of Rysy (2,499 m) is the highest Polish mountain.

Tatra mountains

Hiking & nature

The Tatra Mountains are a true paradise for hikers and nature lovers. The Tatras National Park covers a vast area of 211.6 square kilometres and is home to many species of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the area. The park offers a range of hiking trails of varying difficulty, from easy walks through forests and valleys to more challenging hikes that take you to the mountain peaks. Some of the most popular hiking trails in the Tatras include the Morskie Oko trail, the Kasprowy Wierch trail, and the Giewont trail.

One of the highlights of hiking in the Tatras is the stunning scenery. The mountains are characterized by steep cliffs, crystal-clear lakes, and alpine meadows that are blanketed with wildflowers in the summer. There are also several picturesque mountain huts in the Tatras that offer hikers a place to rest and refuel. Many of these huts serve traditional Polish dishes like pierogi and kielbasa, as well as hot drinks like tea and mulled wine.

Winter sports

The Tatra Mountains are also a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. The ski resort of Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatras, is the most popular ski resort in Poland and offers a range of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The resort also offers other winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. The Tatras are also a popular destination for backcountry skiing, with many experienced skiers venturing off-piste to explore the backcountry.

For skiers, the Kasprowy Wierch Peak is serviced by cable-car, and there are chairlifts in the Goryczlowa and Gasienicowa valleys. For hikers, there are 250 kilometres of trails in the park, ranging from leisurely strolls to hair-raising ascents for serious climbers. Entrance to the valleys is possible by bus, but from there you must continue on foot to the heart of the Tatras. Mountain bikes are permitted only on a few paths. Owing to the unpredictability of Mother Nature, there are basic safety precautions which are essential to bear in mind.

Museums & culture

For those who want to learn more about the history and culture of the Tatra Mountains, there are several museums and cultural sites to visit. The Tatra Museum in Zakopane is a great place to start, with exhibits on the natural history and culture of the Tatras. Other cultural sites to visit include the Wooden Architecture Route, which showcases the traditional wooden architecture of the region, and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Giewont, a mountaintop shrine that has been a pilgrimage site for over a century.

Alpine Landscape in Poland

The Tatras are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. Although considerably smaller than the Alps, they are classified as having an alpine landscape. Their high mountain character, combined with great accessibility, makes them popular with tourists and scientists.

Tatra mountains


Temperatures range from -40 °C in the winter to 33 °C in warmer months. Temperatures also vary depending on altitude and sun exposure of a given slope. Temperatures below 0 °C last for 192 days on the summits. Maximum snow thickness on the summit amounts to around 320 cm (125 in) in March. Peaks are sometimes covered with snow throughout the year. Avalanches are frequent.

Fauna & Flora

The Tatra Mountains are home to many species of animals including Tatra chamois, marmot, snow vole, brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, red deer, roe deer, and wild boar. There is also a diverse variety of plants.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains

With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, border relations are now freer than ever. Thus, for dedicated hikers, the opportunity to explore the region in depth is very much an option. Poles are the first to say how wonderful the Slovakian Tatras are, and it’s well worth bearing this in mind if you want to get a full flavour of this wild region.

Probably the easiest way to get to the Polish side of the Tatras is to take a plane to Krakow and then take the train (five hours) to Zakopane. If you want to get to the Slovak side, then Bratislava airport is currently rebranding itself as a low-cost hub (Vienna East!). Alternatively, Vienna to Bratislava is only about an hour and-a-half by train. From Bratislava take the train via Poprad to Stary Smokovec. Poprad also has an airport.

In conclusion, the Tatra Mountains are a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. With its stunning natural beauty, diverse hiking trails, and world-class skiing, the Tatras offer something for every type of traveller. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing nature getaway or an adrenaline-packed adventure, the Tatra Mountains in Poland are a destination you won’t forget.

For detailed tourist information about Poland, please visit our travel partner, the Poland Travel Agency.


Skiing in Poland

The clever alternative

Poland might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think about skiing destinations, but this beautiful country in Central Europe has plenty to offer for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. From beginner-friendly slopes to challenging black runs, there are many ski resorts in Poland that cater to different skill levels and preferences.

skiing Poland

Zakopane – Skiing capital of Poland

One of the most popular ski destinations in Poland is Zakopane, a charming mountain town located in the Tatra Mountains. With over a dozen ski areas to choose from, Zakopane is a great choice for families, couples, and solo travellers alike. One of the biggest ski areas in Zakopane is Kasprowy Wierch, which boasts 16 kilometres of pistes, including some challenging black runs. However, there are also many easy and intermediate runs for beginners and intermediate skiers. Kasprowy Wierch is also known for its stunning views of the Tatra Mountains, which you can enjoy from the top of the mountain.

Every year, millions of Poles and an increasing number of international tourists flock to the south of Poland to enjoy time out in the Polish mountains during both the winter and summer season.

For the professional skiers amongst you wondering if the area can really offer you the type of skiing experience you crave for, it is worthwhile understanding that Zakopane hosted the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1929, 1939, and 1962. It also hosted 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.

Białka Tatrzańska

Another popular ski resort in Poland is Białka Tatrzańska, located in the southern part of the country near the Slovakian border. This resort is particularly well-suited for families with children, as it has many gentle slopes and ski schools for beginners. Białka Tatrzańska also has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels, so you can find the perfect place to stay for your budget and preferences.

skiing Poland

Świętokrzyskie Mountains

If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path skiing experience in Poland, consider visiting the Świętokrzyskie Mountains in the central part of the country. The ski resorts in this region are smaller and less developed than those in Zakopane or Białka Tatrzańska, but they offer a unique and authentic experience. One of the most popular resorts in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains is Krajno, which has three ski lifts and a variety of slopes for different levels of skiers.

Affordable prices

No matter which ski resort you choose in Poland, you can expect affordable prices compared to other European skiing destinations. Lift tickets, equipment rentals, and accommodation are generally cheaper in Poland than in countries like France, Switzerland, or Austria. You can also enjoy delicious Polish cuisine, which includes hearty dishes like pierogi (dumplings), kiełbasa (sausage), and bigos (hunter’s stew), as well as locally brewed beer and mulled wine to warm up after a day on the slopes.

In conclusion, skiing in Poland is a great choice for skiers and snowboarders who want to explore a less crowded and more affordable skiing destination. With a range of ski resorts to choose from, stunning mountain views, and authentic Polish cuisine, Poland is an ideal destination for a winter sports vacation.

For detailed tourist information about Poland, please visit our travel partner, the Poland Travel Agency.