If you find yourself tired of city life in Kraków, don’t worry, because the perfect getaway is sitting right on your doorstep, where two days’ rest will get you back on track and re-joining the crowds of the cobbled Rynek Główny re-energised, and more sufficiently awed by the natural beauties of southern Poland than you’ve ever felt before, we promise!
Around a two hour drive to the south of Kraków, through the hilly contours of Małopolskie, the city of Zakopane is nestled deep below the sharp peaks of the high Tatras. Over the last half a century it has become Poland’s most coveted ski resort, and is home to a range of different slopes that draw crowds from the first snow fall to the last.
While it’s busiest in the winter, in the summer the mountain trails open up and it’s possible to hike a series of routes that can take anything from a couple of hours to several days. The most popular is the day-long hike to the Morskie Oko, or ‘Eye of the Sea’, a deep, azure alpine lake set into the plateau of Mięguszowiecki. Legend has it the lake is connected underground with the Baltic Sea, and the sheer cold of the water goes a long way to convincing most visitors it may just be true.
On the far end of town the funicular train that takes visitors to the peak of Mt Gubałówka is the quickest and easiest way to get the breath-taking and panoramas of the area that Zakopane is largely famous for. At the top, the smoky smell of the city’s regional heavy sheep cheeses can be smelled oozing from the wood-clad structure of the restaurant there; the food is great, but the view is superlative.
The town’s main drag is Krupowki, where in the winter, a thick and steady stream of ski-slope hunting tourists drifts in and out of the bars at night, all framed by the gnarled, overtly Christmassy street lights that issue a dim illumination onto the snow-clad street. From beginning to end there’s a great selection of bars, gastro-pubs and coffee places, with a dash of hedonistic clubs – in true Polish style. It’s worth a visit in the summer too; when the air clears you can see the Slovakian High Tatras rise in the distance, still snow-capped the year round.
Don’t leave town without checking out the meticulously carved wooden architecture that dominates the downtown area. It’s famous throughout Poland, and starkly different from the medieval stone monoliths of Krakow central.
Zakopane is very easy to reach from Kraków and there are a few options available to the would-be visitor. The easiest is to take a bus from the central station. These cost around 20 PLN per person, and leave every half an hour. There are two trains from Kraków Central to Zakopane, one is considerably faster than the other, but neither is as quick as the bus. The train journey is rather scenic, though with a higher ticket price and unpredictable journey times, the bus is always a safer bet. The final option is to take an organised tour from Kraków, which will usually involve a privately run minibus that should pick you up from your accommodation; naturally, this is the most expensive option.
Where Is This Place Located?Find this location on the Visit Kraków Google map:
- Open the Visit Kraków map
- Click on a marker and it will give you the name of the landmark, with a brief description and links for more information and directions. You can pan, scroll, and zoom around the map, or use the + or – buttons in the bottom left of the map to zoom in and out
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side, sorted by category. Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Each category is on a different layer, which can be switched on and off. So you can just see the Hotel or Restaurant pins, for example
- If you are using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location
Map pins are color coded:
- YELLOW: Kraków Sightseeing
- GREEN: Kraków Transportation
- DARK RED: Restaurants in Kraków
- ORANGE: Michelin Restaurants in Kraków
- LIGHT RED: Kraków Bars / Clubs / Music Venues
- BLUE: Kraków Hotels
- PURPLE: Shopping In Kraków
See our Kraków Sightseeing page for more suggestions, and check out our Two-Day Kraków Itinerary, Three-Day Kraków Itinerary and our Four-Day Kraków Itinerary pages along with our recommendations of Things To Do In Kraków. You also probably want to invest in a KrakowCard to give you cheap access to lots of Kraków attractions.
Things To Do In Krakow
Start Planning Your Kraków Trip Now!
:: Find available Kraków hotels on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
:: Wondering where to stay in Krakow before you book your hotel? See our comprehensive guide to the city's most convenient areas for visitors.
:: Find the cheapest flight to Kraków with 12go - one search will show you the prices and times from scores of airlines for your trip. A real timesaver.
:: Book an airport transfer to take you hassle-free direct from the airport to your hotel with the driver meeting you in Arrivals.
:: Find out how to get your phone set up with a SIM card in Kraków.
:: Make sure you don't forget to bring any of the essentials with our comprehensive Packing List For Kraków.
:: World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
:: Get a KrakowCard 1-, 2- or 3-day pass that gives entry to almost 40 of the Kraków's fantastic attractions and unlimited use of the city's bus and tram network.
:: Need inspiration? Check our Kraków Itineraries for two-day, three-day, and four-day trips, as well as our Things To Do In Kraków guide for ideas of where to do and what to do.