Introduction

Zakopane, a charming mountain resort located in southern Poland, is every adventurer’s paradise. Surrounded by the magnificent Tatra Mountains, this town offers an array of breathtaking landscapes and thrilling activities. Whether you’re a nature lover, an enthusiast of Polish culture, or simply seeking a thrilling getaway, Zakopane has something for everyone. With only 48 hours, it’s important to make the most of your time, so here are 10 cool things you absolutely must do in Zakopane!

1. Explore the Tatra National Park

When in Zakopane, the Tatra Mountains are an absolute must-visit. Start your adventure by exploring the stunning Tatra National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With over 20 peaks reaching over 2,500 meters, the park provides awe-inspiring vistas and countless hiking trails suitable for all levels. Whether you choose an easy walk through the peaceful valleys or a challenging climb to the iconic Rysy peak, the Tatra National Park offers an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike.

2. Hit the Slopes in the Winter Capital of Poland

Zakopane is often referred to as the “Winter Capital of Poland,” and for a good reason! If you visit during the winter months, skiing or snowboarding in the region’s renowned ski resorts is an absolute must. The town boasts multiple ski areas, the most popular being Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka, offering slopes for both beginners and advanced skiers. Enjoy the crisp mountain air while gliding down the powdery slopes, surrounded by stunning panoramic views. Don’t forget to indulge in some traditional Polish mountain cuisine at the cozy mountain huts after a day on the slopes.

3. Admire Traditional Wooden Architecture in Chochołów

For a taste of authentic Polish culture and architecture, take a short trip to the nearby village of Chochołów. Known for its well-preserved traditional wooden houses, Chochołów offers a unique glimpse into the past. Wander through the charming streets, marveling at the intricate carvings and craftsmanship of the houses, all constructed entirely from wood. It’s like stepping into a fairy tale! Immerse yourself in the local history and traditions by visiting the Museum of Chochołów, where artifacts and exhibitions showcase the region’s rich folklore and customs.

4. Experience Highland Culture at the Gubałówka Market

To truly immerse yourself in the local culture and taste traditional Polish delicacies, head to the bustling Gubałówka Market. Located at the base of the Gubałówka Mountain, this vibrant market is a treasure trove of regional products and souvenirs. Indulge in some Oscypek, a delicious smoked cheese made from sheep’s milk, or try the mouthwatering kwaśnica (sauerkraut soup) served in bread bowls. Browse through the stalls offering local crafts, including intricate wooden carvings and handmade wool products. The lively atmosphere and charming setting make the Gubałówka Market a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic Zakopane experience.

5. Take a Dip in the Termy Bania Thermal Baths

After a day of hiking or skiing, unwind and rejuvenate at the Termy Bania Thermal Baths. This modern aqua park and spa complex offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Indulge in the warm thermal waters, complete with various outdoor and indoor pools, whirlpools, and even slides. The stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains create a serene ambiance. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment or enjoy a session in the saunas and steam rooms. Whether you seek relaxation or excitement, Termy Bania provides the ultimate wellness experience.

6. Try Zakopane’s Traditional Cuisine

A visit to Zakopane wouldn’t be complete without savoring its delicious traditional cuisine. Treat your taste buds to unique local dishes that reflect the region’s distinctive mountain flavors. Start with a hearty bowl of żurek, a sour rye soup often served in a bread bowl, followed by a plate of oscypek, the famous smoked cheese mentioned earlier. For the main course, indulge in a traditional lamb roast with a side of pickled cabbage and potato pancakes. Finish off your culinary adventure with the sweet and aromatic szarlotka, a mouthwatering apple pie that perfectly encapsulates the flavors of Zakopane.

7. Visit the Iconic Wooden St. Mary’s Church