Zakopane - and a self-catering holidays near the Tatra National Park

selfcatering Tatra National Park
The high peaks of the Tatra National Park viewed from Zakopane, southern Poland.


Tatra National Park

The Tatra National Park crosses the borders of both Poland and Slovakia. The highland town of Zakopane lies at the foot of the Tatra mountains.

People flock to Zakopane to walk in the national park. It can be quite busy on public holidays and during the summer months. There are 250 km of marked trails.

There is limited parking, many people park their cars along the side of the main road leading to the park, other, fitter, braver souls walk from within the town. There are horse and cart rides to bring back the weary from the walking centres.

The park visitor centre also has a cable car ride to the summit on Kasprowy Wierch at a height of 1,987 meters. There are lengthy queues for the cable car on busy days, so best to go late or early in the season.

You will find refreshments at the visitor centre ranging from hot sausage, hamburgers, highland cheeses (oscypki which look like small bread rolls) to full meals at the various restaurants and snack bars.

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The Tatra National Park

Zakopane national park signThe Poles like walking - whole families go walking together. We met one ardent walker who had spent 29 days climbing various peaks; it's a serious pastime.

You will need to prepared with correct footwear and essential equipment for the rough terrain. The lush green countryside shows evidence of frequent rainfall so do pack rainwear.

Safe walking season is May to September, skiing from late December to late April.

Although there are walks at the foot of the mountains, there are also several extremely challenging routes for the very experienced climber.


Zakopane main roads

zakopane national parkThe road in front of the ski jumps becomes an entertainment area on public holidays. There are all the Comerica trappings that children enjoy but really spoil the area.

Imagine bouncy castles, market stalls, funfair and fast food vendors. There are also public toilets that you will need if you take advantage of the excellent cheap beer.

Parking is paid for on most of the main roads. It is possible to find free parking, especially in side streets, but elsewhere it's about 1 zloty per hour and usually 2 zloty or more for second or subsequent hours. That's the penalty of popularity.

Highland Tradition

The highlanders nowadays only dress in their traditional costume of embroidered cream woollen garments for tourist or festive purposes. You will see them driving the horse and carts and entertaining tourists around the town.

house rental tatra park zakopane poland

Other places to visit in and near Zakopane

  • Morskie Oko - a lake high up in the mountains. There are tours available locally. Beautiful in summer with a green tinge to the water - depending on the reflection of the sky. Picturesque in winter, you can get to the very top by horse drawn sleigh through the snow. Or walk!
  • a highland restaurant or karczma for traditional food with some folk music for lively occasions
  • take a walk down the high street to get a feel of the atmosphere - always great at any time of year .
  • go skiing on Gubalowka or Kasprowy Wierch, or Koziniec for beginners
  • visit some of the small wooden churches that date back hundreds of years.
  • Tatra museum in Krupowki Street to find out about this colourful and lively region.

Related Zakopane pages:


 Kuznice south Zakopane gateway to the Tatrasholiday lets poland