Places to visit
Kościeliska Street is the oldest street in Zakopane where you can see original, older than 100 years houses that are now national preservation monuments. They are constructed in the traditional way (e.g. entrances always face south) and some will draw your attention for example house nr 66 built in 1869 or nr 56 from 1878. Note the architectonical style so common here as well as the many ornaments in „the Zakopiański style” which can be found in many popular replicas or souvenirs today.
The Church of Holy Mary of Częstochowa, Kościeliska St., the wooden church which was the first parish church in the town. It was built in the simple and harmonious Zakopane style in 1847. Inside the church you will see the wooden altars, sculptures and stylish, traditional ornaments. Next to the church there is the small Gąsieniców chapel – the oldest sacral object in Zakopane (1800-1810).
The Old Cemetery on Pęksowy Brzyzek was originally (mid XIX c.) the burial place for citizens of Zakopane, the victims of the Tatra mountains accidents and those who died from pneumonia. Today it has become the most historically important cemetery in the town, known across Poland, where many famous Polish people are buried. Tytus Chałubiński (doctor, popularizer of Zakopane), Bronisław Czech and Helena Marusarzówna (Olympic champions killed by the Nazis during the war) and many more well known people have found their last resting place here. Certain of the tombs and graves are now national monuments.
Willa Koliba, Kościeliska 18 St. The Zakopane Style Museum was the first house constructed by Stanisław Witkiewicz in his original style (1892-93). Since 1993 it has presented, on three floors, a rich collection of Highland artifacts, musical instruments or everyday utensils and products. There is also a fine collection of historical photos where you can see views of Zakopane in the past.
Atma House, Kasprusie 19 St. This villa is where the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski lived between 1930-35. It is the only Szymanowski biographical museum in Poland and is a center for those who value his artistic achievements. You can see where he worked, his many photos, awards, and some of his personal affairs. You can also listen to some of his music.
Krupówki Street is not only a main street in Zakopane but also it is a trade and entertainment center, where are many restaurants and shops. Krupówki street is well known almost by every Pole.
The Tatra Museum, Krupówki 10 St. This is the oldest ethnic museum in Poland and has been open since 1889. As a tribute to one of its founders, a few months after his death, it took the name of Doctor Tytus Chałubiński. Initially it was a museum, a research and scientific center and also a very simple hotel. Now it proposes a wide range of ethnic and natural exhibits. A shepherds’ cottage from Kościeliska Valley, placed here in its original form in 1922. A section devoted to traditional clothes. Samples of rocks from the region and exhibits from nature. You will also be able to see the way the fauna grows in the Tatra mountains and the changes in it as the altitude increases. After the visit to the museum try the High Tatra Botanical Garden behind the museum. Here you will find hundreds samples of the local fauna, many of them very rare or near extinction.
The Parish Church of St. Family, Krupówki 1a St., was constructed in 1877-96 in Neo Roman style. This stone church with several chapels has a chapel of John The Baptist designed by the famous Zakopane artist Stanisław Witkiewicz. The story is that the painting of John The Baptist has the face of Witkiewicz. You will also find ornaments and furniture also by Witkiewicz.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane-Krzeptówki. The great church in Krzeptówki located at foot of majestic Mount Giewont, was built out of gratitude for the rescue of John Paul II after the attempted assassination on 13 May 1981 in Rome. The Pallottines, however, had stored the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in a chapel on the site since 1961. It was donated by the bishop of Fatima and handed to the church by cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. It was then consecrated by bishop Karol Wojtyła. The most important church fairs are organised on 13 May (the feast of Our Lady of Fatima), 15 August (the feast of the Assumption of Mary) and on 8 December (the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary).
Gubałówka Hill (1120 m). At the northern end of Krupówki street you can stroll on through the market to funicular to Gubałówka Hill. At its summit you will find the starting points of several trails through the countryside, as well as the most beautiful panorama in the Polish Tatra mountains, an unforgettable view of Giewont and the Zakopane valley, traditional inns and restaurants with ‚highland electric tea’. You can return by funicular or walk down through the woods which should take no more than 1 h. An interesting alternative way down is to follow the trail crossing Gubałówka peak (go left along the road). After half-hour of easy walking you will reach Butorowy Wierch (1160 m) with its chair lift which will take you down over the trees in splendid silence. The views over the mountains are impressive.
Wielka Krokiew (The Great Krokiew ski jump). It is a regular venue in the FIS Ski jumping World Cup. The hill was featured in competitions at the 1939 and 1962 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships as well as the 2001 Universiade. In 1997, Pope John Paul II, while visiting his native country, celebrated a mass at the hill’s stadium. Since 2001, due to the success of Polish jumper Adam Małysz, Wielka Krokiew has seen some of the largest audiences in world cup ski jumping. From the inrun of the ski jump you can admire breathtaking views.
Jaszczurówka Chapel. Holy Heart of Jesus Chapel designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz was built in 1904 and blessed in 1907. The chapel is a typical example of Zakopane style. The building is visibly a log cabin based on a high stone foundation. The windows inside are decorated with stained – glass designer by Stanisław Witkiewicz showing Black Madonna of Częstochowa and Lady of the Gate of Dawn as well as coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania.
The cable car to Kasprowy Wierch (1987 m) is a must in Zakopane. The starting point is in Kuźnice. The cable car was inaugurated in February 1936. To reach the peak takes about 25 min., a climb of 936 m and more than 4 km distance. On the summit you will find a bistro restaurant, waiting room, the mountain rescue team TOPR and the Meteorological Observatory. From the viewing point there is a magnificent panorama of the Polish and Slovak Tatras. Kasprowy Wierch is a meeting point for many mountain trails (marked in different colors). For skiers there are chairlifts in the Goryczlowa and Gąsienicowa valleys.
Morskie Oko (1395 m) is one of the most beautiful places in the mountains accessible to all visitors. At the parking place at Palenica Białczańska you have to decide whether to walk for about 3 hours of easy walking or take a horse drawn carriage which will get you to your destination in 1 hour. Morskie Oko, 35 hectares of the largest lake in the Tatra mountains, some parts plunging to depths of 51 m! The magnificent views of the highest peaks on the Polish side of the mountains, Rysy (2499 m), Niżne Rysy (2430 m), Mięguszowiecki Peak (2438 m). In the mountain refuge for quite reasonable prices you can try mountain specialities. If you reach Morskie Oko not too late and you are not too tired try a walk round its shores or approach to Czarny Staw pod Rysami (1583 m).
On the way to Polana Palenica there is beautiful place where you can reach for 1 hour: the Rusinowa Polana with wonderful view for the Polish and Slovak Tatra Mountains and the Sanctuary in Wiktorówki.
Koscieliska Valley nearly nine-kilometer long is one of the most beautiful and well-known valleys of the Polish part of the Western Tatra Mountains. The valley runs from Kiry along Potok Koscielski (Koscielski Stream). It is very picturesque, and one of its attractions are caves: Mrozna, Mylna, Raptowicka and Obłazkowa. In the lower and the middle parts of the Koscieliska Valley one can admire a lot of picturesque rock gates and limestone, whereas the upper part formed by the glacier differs in its shape and geological features. Further up, in Mala Polana Ornaczanska, there is the Ornak Mountain Hut where you can relax after a walk. You can also follow the black trail in the forest to get, after a 30-minute-walk, to Smreczynski Staw. In Koscieliska Valley you can go by horse-drawn carriages.
Chochołowska Valley, time to walk about 5h. This is half a day trip, an easy one, with 225 metres of altitude difference. A walk along the longest valley in the Polish Tatra mountains. One of the biggest attractions in the months of April and May are crocuses all covering the Chochołowska Clearing with a violet carpet. There is a car park at the entry to the valley at Siwa Polana. There is also mountains bikes rental, bikes can be returned at the shelter in Chochołowska Clearing. In the valley, we can take a horse carriage ride or a train between Siwa Poland and Polana Huciska (operates only in summer time). In the south-western corner of the clearing is the biggest of all Tatra mountain shelters called Schronisko Chochołowskie (1148 m). From the Chochołowska Valley there are trails to surrounding peaks.
Hala Gąsienicowa (1500 m). This is half a day trip starts in Kuźnice., relatively difficult, with altitude difference at 600 metres. The tour is one of the classics and takes you right into the heart of the Tatras, where the nicest trails into the highest parts of the mountains start. It offers outstanding views over the peaks of the middle part of the Tatras. The real amenity of the area are numerous mountain lakes, the biggest of those being Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy and Zielony Staw Gąsienicowy. The highest peak in this part of the mountains is Mount Świnica (2301 m). In the shelter Murowaniec you can relax and eat a lunch.
From Kuźnice you can also reach the Kalatówki Mountain Hotel as well the hermitage of St. Albert Chmielowski and many more picturesque places in Tatra Mountains.
We hope you are now ready to see more of Zakopane. It is not a large town and it has some interesting corners to explore. So take an easy stroll through Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains and enjoy your holiday.