All the very best things to do in Zakopane

Zakopane is one of the premier tourist destinations in Poland. There are many things to do in Zakopane in both summer and winter. Zakopane in the Tatra National Park is best known for its white powder ski runs, tall trees and amazing wooden architecture.

While Zakopane is at its busiest in winter, Zakopane in summer is also a great time to visit. The sun will be out, the skies will be blue and the weather will be warm. This allows you to explore far and wide the town of Zakopane, The Tatra Mountains and the surrounding area.

traditional houses in Zakopane poland
Wooden houses in Zakopane

Where is Zakopane Poland?

Zakopane Poland was first mentioned in the records in 1676. Zakopane is located in Southern Poland in the Tatra mountains close to the border with Slovakia. The nearest major city in Poland to Zakopane is Krakow, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Zakopane is a 2-hour drive from Krakow through rolling hills and green countryside.

It’s a very scenic trip as you get closer to the mountains and Zakopane looms large, Zakopane has a healthy population of 27,000 people. This population fluctuates depending on the time of year. This amazing mountain getaway is a beautiful place to visit from the traditional houses to the picturesque mountains to the friendly Polish people.

Facts about Zakopane:

  • Zakopane has an elevation of between 800 and 1000 meters
  • Zakopane Poland points of interest are visited by over 2.5 Million tourists a year
  • Zakopane bid unsuccessfully for the 2006 winter Olympics.
  • Zakopane elevation is up to 1000 feet above sea level

Things to do in Zakopane Poland

While Zakopane Poland was once considered only a winter destination in Poland it is now emerging as a year-round destination. Also once only a place where local Polish tourism flourished it has now gained widespread recognition on the international travel scene and plenty of international tourists are making their way to Zakopane.

With so many things to do in Zakopane Poland, you will find yourself in love with this tranquil Polish town and returning to see what things to do in Zakopane are in any season.

Playing in the snow while seeing in Zakopane
A family enjoying skiing in Zakopane

Skiing in Zakopane in Winter

Lets us get this straight out of the way. Skiing in Zakopane is what this town is famous for, its the winter capital of Poland. People flock to Zakopane in the Winter peak season from nearby cities such as Krakow and beyond. They come to stay at ski resorts, buy their ski passes and hit the mountain peaks.

In the winter season you can enjoy polish mulled wine, ice skating, thermal spas and winter activities. There are some great ski runs and places in Zakopane to ski for all levels of skiers. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to get on a cable car and ski in Zakopane

Zakopane ski locations

  • Nosal Ski Station – Great for beginners and first-time skiers This location has three green/blue ( the easiest rated ) ski slopes. Onsite you will find a ski school, ski and clothing rentals, a ski kindergarten, two restaurants and a sled riding hill. The Nosal ski station is the perfect Zakopane ski resort for honing your skills on the mountain
  • Szymoszkowa Ski Station – Ski slope for beginners with green/blue runs of 400m. Ski slope for intermediates with a red run of 1.500m There is also a ski school with kindergarten, ski rentals (one with clothing rental), and a restaurant
  • Kasprowy Wierch – is the highest ski resort in Poland. The Gasienicowa and Goryczkowa ski runs are the only alpine-style slopes in Poland. This Zakopane ski resort and ski runs are for advanced skiers only. It is not for beginners

When packing for a winter trip to Zakopane and all regions in southern Poland, include warm clothes that let you dress in layers and waterproof boots as you will be walking around in the snow.

Make sure you pack plenty of jumpers, pullovers, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and maybe even some long thermal underwear for an extra layer of warmth. A waterproof, snow jacket is essential in this winter wonderland. The wind can be chilling to the bone.

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Things to do in Zakopane – Krupówki Street

Krupowki Street is the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the town centre of Zakopane Poland. The street is over a kilometre long and begins at the base of the Gubalowka cable car station. Krupowki is lined with restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels.

When the sun comes out you will find thousands strolling the street window shopping and people-watching. Zakopane restaurants and bars are packed with people enjoying good food and drinks. Grilled meats seem to be the speciality of Krupowki.

The atmosphere is alive on Zakopane’s main street, especially in the height of the summer and winter seasons. You will find horse-drawn carriages and street performers all along the street. Walking Krupowki is one of the most popular things to do in Zakopane Poland.

An afternoon spent strolling eating at amazing restaurants, drinking and enjoying life on Krupowki Street is a must. Visiting Zakopane in summer, you will find a market selling traditional Tatra crafts and products from the region such as handcrafted wooden souvenirs and local produce.

Family travel to Zakopane tip:

You will find people dressed as characters such as Paddington Bear who approach the kids. These guys are going to want money. All along Krupowki, you find amusement centres with games like air hockey and pinball machines. Zakopane with kids is a great option.

A cheese that is made in the villages of the Tatra Mountains
Traditional Polish Cheese

What to see in Zakopane – Traditional cheese making

We tasted the Zakopane cheese and it is a really creamy and smooth cheese with a rubbery texture. This Zakopane cheese is sometimes eaten with jam, a little strange for foreigners. It really is one of the top things to see in Zakopane.

Oscypek, Oszczypek is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland. No other cheese can be called Oscypek. This regional speciality is a protected trade name under the EU‘s Protected Designation of Origin geographical indication.

Just outside Zakopane on the open fields at the base of the surrounding Tatra mountains, you will find wooden mountain shelters dotted all over. You can go to these huts and watch the traditional making of the cheese and buy it freshly made. The Zakopane cheese is pressed into wooden moulds and comes in all shapes and sizes. Cheese production in the Tatra was first mentioned in the 15th century.

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Aqua Park Zakopane

Is there anything better to do on hot Zakopane summer days than go to the water park? AQUAPARK Zakopane is a world of fun for the whole family. It is hard to call this Zakopane attraction just a water park. At Zakopane Aquapark you will find the following:

  • 2 water slides
  • A wild river
  • Thermal baths
  • Water fitness classes
  • A Gym for working out
  • Sauna
  • Salt Cave – for natural healing elements

The Aqua Park Zakopane is one of the largest and most modern facilities in the region. It truly is a great way to spend a day in Zakopane. Mix fun with health and healing for your body. There is a restaurant on-site to grab drinks and food.

Address: Jagiellońska street 3134-500 Adamierz Zaskopane Email:

Mountain biking Tatra National Park Zakopane

Mountain biking in Zakopane is only allowed on already established tracks in the surrounding mountains. Some of the best tracks to follow are:

  • Pod Reglami road runs from the ski jump to the Siwa Polana meadow in Chocholowska Valley. It’s best done in the morning to avoid walkers who use the trail also
  • Chocholowska Valley Road is where the previous ride ends. Siwa Polana meadow to Polana Chcocholowska refuge. You can rent a mountain bike in the Chcocholowska Valley

Zakopane in summer – Wielka krokiew ski jump

Heading up the Zakopane ski lift can be an exciting family travel adventure. Wielka Krokiew ski jump is the official Polish name of the Zakopane ski jump. It is a regular venue for the FIS world ski jumping championships.

ski jump in Zakopane Poland
The Zakopane Ski Jump in Summer

The stadium has a capacity of 40,000 people and the ski jump is open even in the offseason. It is available for tourists and for summer practice sessions for the local ski jumpers.

The ride to the top of the mountain is not for the faint-hearted. The Wielka Krokiew ski jump ski lift takes you up vertically to the top of the ramp where you get a real indication of the height and slope of this venue.

The views from the top of Wielka Krokiew ski jump are fantastic and well worth the journey. The views provide an amazing panoramic over the town and the mountains behind. Just don’t look down when you are going up. The Ski lift may not be a likely thing to do in Zakopane in summer, but it’s still a thrill.

Family travel in Zakopane tip:

At the bottom of the ski jump, a small photo booth sells pictures captured of you on the way up to the top of the ski jump. Makes for a great souvenir when you are visiting Zakopane Poland.

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Thermal Pools in the Zakopane area

Thermal pools are perfect when the weather is rainy and horrible. The waters are warm and welcoming, coming at you from over 300 meters below the ground. Many thermal spas have waters are rich in minerals. The Sulphur smell will have everyone giggling. Many of these places have both indoor and outdoor pools and thermal spa for use in this Zakopane winter wonderland. You will find thermal pools at the following locations.

spa in zakopane
A Spa Centre in Zakopane
  • Terma Bania, Białka Tatrzańska, 181 Środkowa Street, open every day 9:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Terma Bukovina, Bukowina Tatrzańska, 22 Sportowa Street, open every day 9:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Chochołowskie Termy, Chochołów 400, open everyday 9:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Termy Szaflary, Szaflary, 20 Nowe Area, open every day 8:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Gorący Potok, Szaflary, 45 Nowe Area, open every day 11:00 am-10:00 pm

We hope this gives you some ideas for bad weather days in winter and summer in Zakopane. The thing about holidays in the mountains is the weather can change quickly. These Zakopane places to visit will keep everyone entertained. Book a Thermal Springs experience in Zakopane.

Tatra Mountains Zakopane Poland – Gubalowka

Gubalowka sits at 1123 meters looking down on Zakopane directly above the town in the Tatra National Park. The trip to Gubalowka begins with a Zakopane cable car ride up the hill which is one of the best things to do in Zakopane. The Zakopane cable car takes 4 minutes and costs a bit over a euro. The ride up the hill is amazing as you ascend upwards through pine trees and the town slowly disappears beneath you.

At the top of Gubalowka Hill, you will find restaurants, bars and spectacular views. The sun deck terrace is one of the most magnificent spots to have a drink, food or ice cream in all of Europe. A soft-serve ice cream is called Lodi. You will encounter machine’s everywhere selling Lodi in summer in Zakopane. The view from the top is amazing as it sweeps over the Tatra mountains.

Snow covers the tops of the highest peaks even in summer. There is a smaller market at the top-selling all sorts of Polish handicrafts and souvenirs. The market seems to stretch forever on either side of the road at the top hill.

You will be bombarded with the smell of grilled meats, hamburgers, and hot dogs while trying to avoid market stall holders trying to sell you anything and everything. For hikers, there are many trails leading off from the top of Gubalowka providing incredible views. In winter ski runs lead down the hill.

Family travel tip:

At the top of the mountain, there is a toboggan run for both kids and adults, a rope course, horse rides and numerous other activities to keep the kids in Zakopane amused.

A cable car in summer in Zakopane
A cable car heading towards the top of the mountain

Zakopane things to do – Architecture and design

Many houses and buildings in Zakopane are built according to the traditional style of the area out of wood. The design of the buildings is inspired by the regional art of Poland’s highland region known as Podhale.

This unique architecture style of the building is now known as the Zakopane style. All new buildings up to 1914 had to be built in this way. It is still very popular today and a walk around town will tell you that many new buildings are still being built in this traditional style and finding them in the streets is one of the best free things to do in Zakopane.

Everywhere you look there are amazing wooden buildings, both single and double-story. The house is truly unique you won’t find this sort of design anywhere else in the world. I found myself wandering different streets admiring how people had stuck to the traditional building designs but had added small touches of their own.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

This church was built in honour of Pope John Paul II. It was actually built as an offering to God for saving the Pope after an assassination attempt in 1981. The church is actually only one of 4 churches in Poland that were consecrated by the Pope himself. The church is visited by over 300,000 pilgrims a year and is one of the most interesting things to do in Zakopane.

Festival of Highland Folklore

Every summer since 1965 the Festival of Highland Folklore has been held in Zakopane Poland. Like all great cultural events, this one was born out of a small beginning with strong ties to the regional history of the area.

What began with 4 local folk singing groups has since expanded to encompass performers and traditions from other countries making the Festival of Highland Folklore an international event in Zakopane. Zakopane comes alive during the festival with music, dance and singing.

This festival makes it possible to learn about other cultures and traditions while still having amazing entertainment for the whole family.

Looking for some extra fun in Poland? Check out more of these amazing festivals in Poland

What to do in Zakopane with kids

Kids can be difficult to keep occupied when it’s raining. We often find ourselves asking what can we do. Below we have some great ideas for places to visit in Zakopane with kids when it is raining.

10 pin bowling

It is a great activity for kids when it is raining. It’s good for kids to keep active in Zakopane. There are a number of bowling alleys in Zakopane for families to visit. You can find bowling alleys at the following locations.

  • Aqua Park Zakopane, 31 Jagiellońska Street
  • Tatra Hotel, Zakopane, 34 Cyrhla Street
  • Hotel Belvedere, Zakopane 3 Droga do Białego
  • Zadyma Inn, Szaflary, 1e Zakopiańska Street
  • Borowy Dwór, Szaflary, 1a Cieplice Street
  • Burkaty Pension, Białka Tatrzańska, 252a Środkowa Street

Cinemas in Zakopane

There are 2 cinemas located in Zakopane, some showing the latest movies in both English and Polish language. The Cinema is a great thing to do in Zakopane with kids. You can find Zakopane Cinemas below.

Kids Park Janosika

Over 700 square meters of indoor space for kids in Zakopane. You will find amazing fun with indoor sports such as football and basketball. You can do puzzles and games, indoor sleighs and play in the ball pits. There is a cafe and food available onsite for all.

KIDS Park Janosika – Sala Zabaw is located at Zakopane, ul. Krupówki 14a – II piętro

Escape Rooms in Zakopane

An escape room, also known as an escape game, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategies to complete the objectives at hand.

Currently, Zakopane has only 1 escape room business. The escape rooms are great for days when the weather may not be so good or you are just looking for something different. You will find the Zakopane escape room at

Escape Room Zakopane – ESC House, Tadeusza Kościuszki 3, 34-500 Zakopane, Poland

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Zakopane attractions – nearby villages to visit

There are so many wonderful things to do in Zakopane but you may want to venture out of the town to see more of what Zakopane Poland has to offer.

Below are some of the villages that surround Zakopane and are worth a visit on your trip to Poland.

  • Zab – From this small mountain village tourists can take in the breathtaking panorama view of the Tatra Mountains, the Babia Gora Range and the Gorce Mountains. Make sure you have a meal at one of the amazing traditional restaurants.
  • Bialka Tatrzanska – This village offers some great mountain walking and biking paths. In the winter there are over 20 ski lifts you use and numerous traditional bead and breakfasts to stay in. This village is only 20 kilometres from Zakopane
  • Male Ciche – Is known as the prettiest village in the vicinity of Zakopane Poland. Amazing food, challenging skiing and a picture-perfect location surrounded by the forest of the Tatra mountains. 14 km from Zakopane
  • Niedzica – This village is situated on the banks of the River Dunajec. This town is home to some amazing historic buildings and a 14th-century church and castle.

It’s well worth making a day trip from Zakopane to see some of these other amazing locations. The area around Zakopane Poland is stunning.

Day trip from Zakopane – Wieża widokowa Krynica Zdrój

At Wieża Widokowa Krynica Zdrój you will find the first wooden observation tower in Poland. This amazing wooden Tower stands at a height of 49.5 meters and is located at the top of the Słotwiny Arena ski station (896 m above sea level). The tower is nestled amongst the forests of the Jaworzyna Krynicka Mountain range.

Wooden structure lookout
Day trips from Zakopane

The treetop walk allows you to take in all the sights as you move along the 1.3km length of the structure. For kids, there is some added fun with a 60-meter slide taking them back to the bottom. Do you fancy walking through the treetops at a height of a 17-story building? You will find this amazing attraction a little over 100 kilometres away from Zakopane

How to get to Zakopane

The nearest International airports to Zakopane are Krakow and Katowice.

There is one direct train a week from Warsaw to Zakopane and 2-3 per day from Krakow.

The Krakow Zakopane bus runs daily, It takes a little over 2 hours. The bus to Zakopane leaves Krakow every hour during the day. Polski Bus prices and timetables are HERE.

Driving to Zakopane is a great option. Be aware that the Polish roads are not the best and lots of people like to visit Zakopane which can cause traffic jams on the way.

Where to stay in Zakopane

Zakopane has a huge range of accommodation options. Zakopane accommodation comes in the form of hostels, ski resorts, chalets, hotels and apartments. Accommodation in Zakopane is generally cheaper in the summer months.

A visit to Zakopane is a great option. Zakopane with kids or family, Zakopane as a single or couple. There are plenty of Zakopane attractions for you to do.

FAQs about visiting Poland

Poland is an emerging holiday destination in Europe and there are so many questions to ask for first-time visitors. Even for some people who regularly visit there is always something new you can learn about Poland.

Traditional foods to try when visiting Zakopane Poland

The cuisine of the Tatra region is very tasty but also uses much fat and has more calories than is usually needed. This is traditional because in the older days the people working in the cold and mountains needed more energy to get through the day of work.

  • Zurek Soup –  traditional Polish soup. A distinctive feature of this exclusive food is its sour taste.  Compulsory additions to zurek soup are hard-boiled eggs and a peculiar Polish sausage.
  • Kwaśnica Soup – Is made of pickled cabbage and meat (one or two kinds): mutton or pork, often with a smoked rib. Original kwaśnica is eaten with potatoes (that should be boiled separately, not in the soup!) or with bread
  • Hałuski – is noodles made of grated potatoes, salt and flour
  • Moskole – are traditional cakes, baked on a griddle. They’re made of boiled potatoes, flour, water and salt. When cooked they should be a little bit of crispy crust and a soft centre
  • kluski śląskie – Kluski slaskie are kind of potato dumplings. Kluski slaskie are eaten with meat sauces such as Goulash.

Weather in Zakopane Poland

July is the hottest month in Zakopane with an average temperature of 15°C (58°F) and the coldest is January at-4°C (26°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 7 in July. The wettest month is June with an average of 120mm of rain. This type of weather means Zakopane is great in winter and amazing in summer.

Money in Poland

What currency do I need for my trip to Zakopane Poland? The official currency you need to use in Poland is the Polish Zloty. We recommend that you get a Revolut travel money card, that can be loaded with multiple currencies and has nearly non-existent withdrawal fees to save you money on your family trip to Poland.

Banknotes10 zł, 20 zł, 50 zł, 100 zł, 200 zł, 500 zł
Coins1 gr, 2 gr, 5 gr, 10 gr, 20 gr, 50 gr, 1 zł, 2 zł, 5 zł

Zakopane is one of the most popular Poland tourist attractions. We at Poland Travel Expert think it is definitely worth a visit and should be on everyone’s bucket list who visit southern Poland.

We hope this post has encouraged you to visit Zakopane Poland in any season and enjoy all the area has to offer. There are so many wonderful things to do in Zakopane Poland.

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