Zakopane - Poland's Winter Capital

The country of Poland is filled with many treats and surprises. I had no idea that sat just around 70 miles away from Krakow, sat a winter wonderland named Zakopane. It's been dubbed Poland's Winter Capital and is a popular ski resort and has plenty to offer for snow sport lovers and mountain outdoors lovers in general. Zakopane is sat in the Tatra Mountains, which are part of the Carpathian mountain chain, and the town itself is very close to the Slovakian border.

This bespoke trip to the town was a private transfer to Zakopane with www.krakowtransfers.eu and our lovely guide and driver, Jarek was a complete joy!

Zakopane Overview

We set off at 9 a.m, we were picked up from the hotel, in a luxurious car, with bottles of water provided for the trip. An added bonus was having wifi in the car (super helpful when you need to keep on top of work and emails). We headed south towards Zakopane, with a little stop off at a very old church, set just back off the main road. The drive itself was incredibly scenic, and you definitely get to see a side of Poland that you may not experience when just heading to the cities. As with any country, exploring and seeing its countryside is the best way to get the most out of your stay, and experience the true spirit of the country. We carried on towards Zakopane and as we arrived, the snowcapped mountains and snow and ice everywhere felt very festive and magical. It's a popular destination around New Year, with over a million flocking there to celebrate. The views are incredible. Jarek, our driver, suggested a trip up the mountainside for the stunning views and they did not disappoint. Cost only around £4 each and you can hop on the 'funicular train' near the outdoor market. It can't be missed. 

Viewing Point Overlooking The Tatra Mountains
The Tatra Mountains

The Funicular Train Tracks

Jarek introduced us to a charming wooden-built traditional Polish resturant named Owczarnia Restaurant, where Jarek recommended the pork and potato soup, a true mountain dish that was absolutely delicious! Afterwards, we had a little wander around the town. Zakopane itself is very tourist friendly. Plenty of hotels, cafes, and shops! A real little gem hidden in the mountains, and even more charming after the snow had fallen. The sky was as blue as summer, yet as chilly as an icy January. The temperature is known to plummet to around -20 during some winters, so it's advisable to be very prepared if you're planning a little breakaway here.

Traditional Polish Restaurant
Parish Church

After a stroll around the markets and taking plenty of photos in pretty locations, we headed off, for a little drive to the ski slopes. This destination is incredibly popular with skiiers from both Poland and abroad, and with Poland being very inexpensive and good value, it has become increasingly more popular. It's also popular for hikers and outdoor lovers, it has plenty to offer, forests, mountain treks and more and as a day trip, it's briliantly within reach from Krakow - another must-see! 

Skiing For Beginners

After researching a little further into the ski slopes and areas in Zakopane, it is believed to also be an ideal spot for beginner skiiers, lots of places to practice if you're a learner; unchallenging and well kept, they have had very good reviews by many tourists. The resorts include:

  • Kasprowy Wierch - Two skiing tracks through the Gasienicowa and Goryczkowa Hills.
  • Nosal Ski Station - A northern slope which is fabulous for beginners and skilled skiiers.
  • Szymoszkowa Ski Station - Beautiful views of the Tatra Mountains can be seen from here.
  • Harenda Family Recreation Centre - A slope for beginners and skilled skiiers. 
Mid-afternoon we headed back towards Krakow but the schedule was very open if you had any specific requests for other places to visit. We had seen many interesting things on the trip, and opted to head back towards the city but not before we stopped off at the beautiful Jaszczurowka Chapel in the Tatra Mountains. A quaint and enchanting wooden church sat up off the main road and was the most intriguing church I've ever seen. It was seeped in history and had such a traditional Polish feel. Moments like this make you truly realise you're in the heart of another country! 

Jaszczurowka Chapel

Tatra Mountains

Jarek headed back to Krakow in good time and showed us a little famous pizza place around the Jewish Quarter, before dropping us off outside our hotel. It was the perfect day, and made so relaxed by Jarek - highly recommend www.krakowtransfers.eu. 5*****

Jarek and his company also offer trips to all the sights around Krakow including airport transfers, with a professional and helpful manner. Zakopane is definitely worth a trip and it's safe to say that I will definitely be returning to this beautiful country in the not too distant future, I hope! 

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