Skiing in Zakopane
Zakopane is a town located in the extreme south of Poland, near the border with Slovakia. It lies in the valley between the Tatra Mountains and Gubałówka Hill. Zakopane is located 85 km south of district capital Kraków, and from there it can be reached by train or bus (see info below). Popoulation of Zakopane is about 28 000 people. This town has an elevation of 800-1000 meters above sea level. The town is centered at the junction of Krupówki and Kościuszko Streets. Zakopane is a center of Góral culture and is known informally as „the winter capital of Poland”. It is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing and qualified tourism.
In the winter, thousands arrive in Zakopane to skii, especially around Christmas and in February. The best snow conditions are between January and late of April though sometimes Kasprowy Wierch is open for siing into early May. The most popular spots are Kasprowy Wierch, Nosal and Gubałówka Hill. The Polish Ski Resort of Zakopane has direct access to 16 individual pistes, served by 20 ski lifts.
Zakopane has long been and will propably long remain the ski Mecca for both Polish and foreign skiers.
Once you are there, you will understand why Zakopane ownes a title of „the winter capital of Poland”. Besides being one of the largest winter sports resort in the country, it is also beautifully located in the southern part of Podhale region, at the foot of Tatra Mountains ? so you can admire the mightiness of the mountains.
Skiing in Zakopane is varied. In there you will find routes for advanced sikiers and for those, who have just started their skiing adventure. If you haven`t tried skiing before, youn can get ski lessons given by experienced instructors. If you are looking for more atractions, you should definietely take cable car to the top of Kasprowy Wierch (1987m above sea level) to enjoj the panoramic view of the Tatra Mountains.
At the end of January Zakopane hosts fan of ski jumping - they go there to cheer the skiers on the competition that is held on Wielka Krokiew, which is the largest ski jump in Poland. Certainly you will experience amazing emotions while watching the Ski Jumping World Cup!
Zakopane has several small skiing areas. Kasprowy Wierch, 3km from the town centre, has high alpine skiing in two treeless bowls. Skiers are transported to the top by cable car running in two sections, the first section goes up to 1350m in about 7 minutes while the second part takes skiers to the top in 10 minutes. Each of the two long slopes is served by its own one-seater chairlift. This is a National Forest Area so there is no artificial snowmaking.
The best quality and amount of (artificial) snow are to be found at Nosal with its single chairlift to the top and T-bars giving access to two-thirds of the slopes. It is FIS certified slope to hold Special Slalom and Giant Slalom. Can get crowded during weekends and it is quite difficult. Some slopes are lit for night skiing.
Gubałówka Hill has snow cannons which are doing a great job of keeping the snow cover but the conditions hold up only at the top portion of the slope (it has a mountain tram going up the summit, with a capacity of 120 people) there are two T-bars at the top of the slope.
When you feel tierd from sports emotions, skiing, snow and cold, Zakopane offers you another kind of atraction: walk along Krupówki, the most representative street of Zakopane. Taking a stroll through Krupówki Street is a popular tourist activity. This street is lined with stores, restaurants, carnival rides, and performers. Here, you can buy unique Zakopane souvenirs, such as an oscypek or a ciupaga. While you were there, you must try grzaniec (mulled wine, hot wine with spices and honey), or góralska herbata z prądem (literally: highland tes with electicity, which is a tea with alcohol). Deffinitely you should try the traditional dishes of Podhale cuisine, which are known and liked by people from all over Poland. Finally, go to the Tatra Museum to get to know the art and culture of the inhabitants of Podhale, which has long fascinated not only the Poles, but also foreingers who come here.
While in Zakopane you are bound to hear the dialect used by the native inhabitants of the region, which is very interesting.
Zakopane is visited by over 250,000 tourists a year. In the winter, tourists are drawn to Zakopane for its excellent conditions for winter sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and ski jumping. In the summer, tourists come to enjoy hiking, climbing, and spelunking. Many come to experience góral culture, which is rich in its unique styles of food, speech, architecture, music, and costume. Zakopane is especially popular during the winter holidays, which are celebrated in traditional style, with dances, decorated horse-pulled sleighs called kuligs and roast lamb.
Zakopane is a hotel paradise. There are still not enough hotels, hostels, private guest houses and pensions in Zakopane to meet the demand in the high summer season, in December, January and in February. The best Zakopane hotels and hostels are booked out almost for the whole year and it is thus advisable to plan your stay in Zakopane in advance. In winter it becomes "the winter capital of Poland" and the number of visitors increases. We recomend you to check and book via most popular booking website Booking.com.
Best accommodation offers in Kraków via Booking.com:
My Third Holiday in Poland
What a great but strange country, Poland. The first time I went to Poland I spent a week in the summer hiking in the Tatras mountains near Zakopane. I never knew mountains were so big or so steep, I came back with aching muscles sore knees a suntan and 3 kgs lighter. The second time I did the touristy thing and went around Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz (pronounced woodge).
Thinks to do in Zakopane during the Christmas and New Year`s Eve
Christmas is one of the most attractive seasons in Zakopane. Lights are blinking on buildings and all the main streets. In the center of Krupówki - ? Zakopane?s main promenade ? a great, tall Christmas Tree is the main attraction. Zakopane is well known for its partying throughout the year and New Years Eve is the BIGGEST night of all.