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Zakopane is a very popular winter resort and summer getaway town in the Tatra mountains at the southern tip of Poland. It became a climatic health resort and as well as cultural spot in the 1880s. Many Polish writers and artists visited Zakopane at the turn of 20th century. Stanisław Witkiewicz developed so called Zakopane Style architecture still popular in Polish mountains.
There are around five trains every day from Kraków. It takes three and a half hours, costs around 25 PLN and stops at many small towns along the way. Sleepers go to Warsaw and Wroclaw every night as well.
Several companies ride between Krakow and Zakopane, two biggest are Trans-frej and Szwagropol. Ticket costs 20 PLN and discounts apply.
Direct bus from Budapest by Eurobusways . The journey takes approximately two hours.
Through Łysa Polana border crossing from Slovakia. It's also possible to go through Polands highest mountain peak, Rysy, but it's not advised outside of the summer months unless you have some hiking experience.
There is a large number of privately owned vans (called mini bus). Most have fixed routes and rates, no schedule. Often there is the possibility of negotiation (route, price, time). Note some driver's telephone numbers if you think you may need transport later. It costs 3 zloty to go one way to Kuznice, and 10 zloty to go one way to Moskie Oko
Cemetery of the Distinguished on Pęksowy Brzyzek ul. Kościeliska, The oldest cemetery, since 1920s a burial place of distinguished people connected to Zakopane and Tatra Mountains. Most of the tombstones are real works of art made of wood, stone and metal.
Paraglide A 15-minute flight as a passenger costs 250 PLN. There are couple day courses in paragliding as well.
Many of these activities aren't in the centre Zakopane itself. However, minibuses, leaving when full, depart from different points in Zakopane all day. Most minibuses leave from the front of the bus station. The same system works to return hikers/skiers to Zakopane. Expect to pay about 3.50 zł each for the minibus (around 1 euro).
It's worth buying a map of the area if you're going hiking. Most likely you will be hiking in Tatra National Park . Be aware that as it is a National Park special rules apply - don't be loud, leave any garbage or disturb animals. Maps are sold by the tourist office (17 Kosciuszki St., telephone: 01820 12211), down the hill, on your left, just before getting to the bus stop and cross roads (Krupowki St. and Kosciuszki St.) in the centre of town. They'll also give suggested routes, based on the latest weather forecasts and your fitness and equipment.
The maps are very tourist-friendly, with the "difficultly levels" for different paths marked: possibly slightly patronising for seasoned hikers. People have been seen trying to get prams up steep paths from Zakopane into the mountains. The pram symbol for the 'easy' paths is taken too literally. All the paths marked on the map are well maintained by the government. Note: you will have to pay a small entrance fee. The fee is 4 PLN (2 PLN for students and school kids).
Whichever route you plan to take, it is advised you dress warmly and bring spare waterproof clothes and water. Put the clothes in a plastic bag in your backpack, to keep them dry in case of a rain. Even midsummer it can hail for an whole day in the mountains! Remember you are already at 1000m, although it doesn't feel like it.
Oscypek, local specialty, smoked sheep's milk cheese.
There are many good eateries within Zakopane. Look for authentic-looking wood huts. Avoid ones with colorful lights and multi-colored lamps. Good "Bacowkas" include "Bąkowo Zohylina Wyźnio and Nizino" right off of Krupowki. Chata Zbójnicka on Jagiellońska is also good for authentic food (and experience.) You can also try the fried fish eateries anywhere in town for a quick, cheap meal. Trout is the specialty in this town.
Gofry. Waffles with cream, ice cream, berries, fruit or whatever you want. Tasty dessert. ~7 PLN. edit
There is a cheese market every day. It's probably best to come early in the morning while the produce is still fresh, but it's fine to eat whenever it's purchased.
Regional Restaurant Nosalowy Dwór, Balzera 21d, . The choice of meals from both regional and international cuisine.edit
Restauracja 'U Wnuka', ul. Kościeliska 8, ☎ +48 18 2064167, . First restaurant in Zakopane, opened around year 1850. Obviously they have THE traditional highlander cuisine. edit
Club Rockus, Zaruskiego 5 (Same building as Dom Turysty PTTK). It is nice medium-sized club. One very good feature is that it sometimes plays rock music, so those who are bored with all usual club music can come here and try to ask the DJ to play some rock.edit
Cafe Piano, ul. Krupówki 63. Full of surprises, strange sculptures, lamps made of (fake) amber... best thing - there are swings in place of bar stools!edit
Ampstrong, ul. Jagiellońska 18, ☎ +48 18 201 29 04, . Well known club. Quite underground.edit
Plenty of private rooms. Tourists coming by train or bus will often find private landlords waiting for them at the stations carrying signs typically saying "Noclegi" or "Wolne Pokoje". Negotiate the price. Board often available. Ask to be shown the location on a map. Many locations are outside Zakopane city (which may be an advantage). The average price for a single room seems to be 50 zloty
Villa Vita, 2 Krupowki Street, . 5 min walk from a cable-lift to Gubałówka. From the windows you can admire a beautiful view over Krupowki and Tatra Mountains.edit
Nosalowy Dwor Resort & SPA, Balzera 21d, ☎ +48 18 20 22 400, . Two hotels of the Nosalowy Dwór Resort & Spa complex are situated at the foot of Mount Nosal in Zakopane. There is 3* regional style hotel Nosalowy Dwor and new 4* Hotel Grand Nosalowy Dwor.edit
Morskie Oko valley, many minibuses leave from opposite the bus station to a massive parking lot near the Slovakian border, after that then you walk the remaining 9km to the lake, or use a horse and cart!
Kasprowy Wierch (mountain), 1987 metres. Tatra view point. Restaurant. Skiing area. Cable railway runs from Kuźnice but is closed often. (get in on foot, or by local bus(which leaves from the layby next to the bus station).
Mount Rysy 2499 metres 4 hour hike from Morskie Oko valley. You can also cross the border on this mountain and go to the Slovakian peak of Rysy which is 2503 metres. ID may be needed to do so though, as the crossing is manned in the summer.
Orla Perc Famous mountain trail from Zawrat to Krzyzne, not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced! Always use the chains provided.
Slovakia Some of the minibuses that go to Morskie Oko also go the main border crossing with Slovakia. Buses to Poprad and beyond leave from just after the border.