If you like mountains and snow Zakopane is the ideal destination. Zakopane is a tourist town in southern Poland and is located at the base of the Tatra Mountains. It's a popular destination for winter sports, climbing and hiking in the summer.
What drove us to Zakopane was really the snow. In Portugal we have very little. For Jorge it was his first contact with snow. We loved the city, it's an authentic postcard of those you see, the snow, the houses covered with snow too and the mountains.
We rented an apartment right in the center of Zakopane's main street and came straight from Warsaw here.
Transport in Poland works very well and is very easy. The best and fastest way to get here was to take the train from Warszawa Centralna to krakow Glowny and then just leave the train station and just in front is the bus station. Right at the entrance there are ticket offices and just buy the ticket and go to the right bus (it's easy). You can also buy the ticket on the bus. The journey by train and bus takes about 4h30.
If you go to Zakopane in the Winter, the main thing is to enjoy the snow. The great mountains that surround the city also border Slovakia.
There are many trails that you can take on foot, which goes from the city center to the many valleys and the top of the mountains, but as it was our first time with so much snow we didn't venture out, we went on the funicular that leaves at the end of the main street to the top of Mount Gubalowka.
Another of our great motivations was our first ski class. We loved it, loved it and love it! Everything was booked by internet with the ski school: GO!Ski Zakopane.
On the appointed day, our private instructor was at the door of our apartment to pick up us as arranged and we went to the company's facilities to equip ourselves. We advise those who have never tried it: the equipment and boots are very, very heavy. After being equipped we went to one of the many ski tracks, our was for beginners and we had our 3 hours lesson. It was an experience we loved and it was unique. After class we can still spend some time alone on the track practicing alone.
Jorge fell many, many times... Artur was ok and never fell! 🙂
Zakopane is a small town, but there are plenty to do and see. On the main street called Krupowki you have many shops ranging from souvenirs to the best brands in the world, many restaurants and bars.
The food is great and the dishes come with a lot of food to keep warm from the cold on the street. At the end of the main street to the side of the cable car you have a market where you can find lots of crafts and food to buy. We took the opportunity to buy typical slippers from the region for our friends and parents. But you have lots of blankets, super warm clothes, wooden articles, etc.
If you want on the side where the sky tracks are, you have Mount Kasprowy that you can climb by the cable cars and also has professional ski tracks. Zakopane plays host to the ski jumping world championship. The track is incredible and it really takes a lot of courage to jump there.
Also to visit is the Holy Family Church and if you are a cheese lover, in Zakopane you'll find all types, shapes and sizes. On the main street you'll find several typical stalls that sell cheeses from the region, including the famous smoked sheep cheese.
We were unable to catch it open, but we saw its construction. Here you have one of the largest ice mazes in the world. The place is magical and impressive and the structure is made with more than 60 thousand blocks of snow and ice.
If you like to go out at night, despite being small, the city has many bars and clubs mainly along the main street. There's no LGBT space but if you want to have a drink, discover the super cozy bars of a snow-covered city.
Zakopane is a magical city, despite being very cold: we portuguese are not used to it so much. It deserves a visit whether you're in Warsaw or Krakow which is only about 2 hours away. Bring warm and comfortable clothes and enjoy, even if only to walk around the area.
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