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Zakopane Tours

Zakopane is a town called informally “the winter capital of Poland”, not without reason. In winter the town looks extraordinary and has a lot to offer. The number of tourists exceeds the number of residents of Zakopane several times, not only in winter season, but also in summer. However, everybody finds something interesting to do there. Why? Because it is a great base for hiking in summer, not mentioning the local cuisine, folklore and a couple of interesting monuments. The town is surrounded with a picturesque panorama of the Tatra Mountains, the highest mountains in Poland. That’s why during Zakopane tours you will get familiar with its typically mountain climate. A characteristic feature of the town’s landscape is the mountain massive Giewont, which you can see from every part of Zakopane.

Zakopane was built as a pastoral settlement, which belonged to the Tatra Highlanders (The Gorals). It flourished in the XIXth century, the time when doctor Tytus Chałubiński started the popularization of curative properties of the town’s climate. Zakopane became very popular among the Polish literary elite. Many famous persons visited Zakopane, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Stefan Żeromski, among others. Among famous residents we should mention Stanisław Witkiewicz, a Polish painter and architect, who was a very important figure for the current appearance of Zakopane and the whole Podhale region. He created a new architectural style, called Zakopane Style or Witkiewicz Style. This is the style of the most beautiful buildings in the town. The town’s popularity was gained also by the construction of a ski jump on Wielka Krokiew, where the most popular winter sport in Poland, ski jumping competition, is organized.

Every tourist starts his or her Zakopane tour from visiting Krupówki street. This is probably the most famous place in the town and unfortunately very crowded because of that. It is the main promenade, where you can find lots of stands with souvenirs, Zakopane delicacies and handicrafts. However, to be honest, you will find much cheaper souvenirs in other places.

From Krupówki street you can enter the Church of the Holy Family, a beautiful Romanesque Revival building, built of hard mountain rock. The interior of the church was designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz in the Zakopane style. Inside you will find carved pews, pulpits, confessionals, a magnificent John Baptist’s Chapel and an antique tiled stove. You should also focus your attention on a polychrome presenting the highland interpretation of the Beatitudes. At the street is located the Tatra Museum, designed also by Witkiewicz in collaboration with Mączyński, and because of that considered to be one of the most beautiful regional museums in Poland. Tytus Chałubiński started to create the museum, handing over his most precious collections, a moss herbarium and a set of rocks. Apart from the exhibits connected with nature and mountains, you will find there ethnographic and historical collections and works of art. Behind the museum, a botanical garden with typical mountain flora was established. At Chałubiński Street, parallel to Krupówki, stands a monument of this famous doctor, designed by Witkiewicz, and the doctor’s house.

From Krupówki you can go to Kościeliska street, where the first house designed in the Zakopane Style by Witkiewicz stands. Its name is the Koliba Villa. The villa’s project was an opposition to many holiday houses built then in the popular Swiss folk style. Witkiewicz didn’t want Zakopane to look like another health resort built in a foreign style. That’s why he decided to choose tradition and he created something special. Nowadays, in honour of Witkiewicz, the villa functions as the Museum of Zakopane Style. It was established by Władysław Hasior, another important figure for the town. Inside the museum you can see perfectly decorated interiors in the Witkiewicz Style, and learn some facts from his history. It’s worth to walk along the whole street to discover other interesting buildings in a similar style. Obviously, you can’t omit the Villa Atma, housing the Karol Szymanowski Museum. Although it wasn’t designed by Witkiewicz, it’s very interesting too. Originally it was a guest house, where Szymanowski used to spend time. After his death it was changed into the museum.

Witkiewicz designed also a chapel in the Jaszczurówka distric (the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). The obligatory place to visit on the Zakopane tour, built also in this style, is the Stare Schronisko ("Old Shelter") by Morskie Oko Lake (literally: “The Eye of the Sea Lake”). The Old Shelter is the oldest shelter in the Tatra Mountains.

If you visit all the places connected with architecture and painting in Zakopane, you should go to the Witkacy Theatre. It was founded 20 years ago on the initiative of the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków. An amazing place was chosen for the theatre’s location, a former hydropathic establishment, which a hundred years ago was the place of meetings for bohemia. It’s worth to go there and see a performance especially in winter, when an interesting artistic event, the Witkacy’s Carnival, takes place.

However, art is not the only attraction in Zakopane. You should see a few more places, such as the recently renovated Tatra National Park Museum and Educational Centre. This unique place was created on the edge of the National Park. You can learn there very interesting facts about geography and nature of the Tatra Mountains in an interactive way, and get familiar with the methods of nature conservation and endangered species.

In the centre of Zakopane, on the 3 Maja street, you can find quite a new attraction, the Upside Down House, which really stands on its roof. You can visit its two floors, but be careful to keep your balance, it may be a challenge for the labyrinth.

On the Zakopane tour, the winter sports fans must visit the Great Krokiew, the most famous ski jump in Poland. It was built almost a hundred years ago as a part of a bigger project, a sport district. Unfortunately, because of the lack of funds and the Second World War, the project was discontinued and only the ski jump was built. Nowadays, The FIS Ski Jumping World Cup takes place on the Great Krokiew and Poles gain there great victories. A cable car is located next to the ski jump, as well as an observation deck, open for tourists the whole year.

Moreover, Zakopane is a great base for those who want to hike in the mountains and go on Gubałówka, Kasprowy Wierch, Morskie Oko, Giewont or Rysy. If you don’t like hiking but you want to see some amazing views, it’s worth to take a cable car to Gubałówka or Kasprowy Wierch. More advanced mountain lovers can choose climbing routes or more difficult trails. And after physical effort it’s worth to relax at the Water Park Zakopane.

People say various things about Zakopane. Some think it’s a kitschy, overcrowded town and others love it and visit it several times a year. But to form an opinion about Zakopane, it’s necessary to visit this place personally. It’ll enchant you for sure.



Zakopane tours Overall rating: 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews.

Awesome Zakopane tours

★★★★★
5 5 1
Zakopane is a beautiful, picturesque town. The tour went well.

Excellent tour to Zakopane

★★★★★
5 5 1
I will definitely come back here. I loved the tour to Zakopane.

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