Morskie Oko is an incredibly popular attraction in the Polish Tatras, attracting crowds of people eager to witness its breathtaking beauty. In this guide, I will provide you with all the information you need to plan a successful trip to this stunning destination.
Discovering Morskie Oko – What Makes This Emerald Green Lake a Must-See in the Tatras
Morskie Oko, also known as „Rybi Staw” (Fish Pond), is the largest and most beautiful lake in the Polish Tatras. It lies at an altitude of 1395 meters above sea level and is surrounded on three sides by forests, Tatra peaks and rocks. The lake was formed millions of years ago when glaciers carved out a large rock bowl. Today it is a unique attraction of the Tatras, more than 50 meters deep and covered with ice for more than 150 days a year.
- You may also like to read: Top 10 Scenic Spots in Zakopane With The Best View
Legend has it that Morskie Oko has an underground connection with the Adriatic Sea, which is supported by the fact that objects from a ship sunk in the Adriatic were found at the bottom of the lake. The only official Polish trail to the highest peak of the Polish part of the Tatras, Rysy, passes through Morskie Oko, making it an essential destination for hikers.
How to Get to Morskie Oko – How to Reach this Breathtaking Attraction
Morskie Oko is 31 km away from Zakopane. If you plan to come by car, you can take the road through Poronin to Bukowina Tatrzańska and then downhill to Łysa Polana. You can also take the road through Jaszczurówka and Cyrhla. The most convenient parking lot is in Palenica Białczańska. Please note that during the season the parking lots fill up quickly and you may have to park on the street.
↳ Make sure to check out my guide to ALL attractions in Zakopane, so you don't overlook anything interesting: 66 Best Attractions in Zakopane 2023 – What to Do – Interesting Places
Alternatively, you can take one of the many buses that run to Morskie Oko. Buses run frequently from Zakopane and other towns in the Podhale region, and the cost is around PLN 15 one way. However, if you prefer to walk, be aware that the route leads along a busy road.
- Read this article for more information about getting from Zakopane to Morskie Oko Lake.
What to Expect When Visiting Morskie Oko – Tips and Tricks for a Memorable Experience
When visiting Morskie Oko, keep in mind that it is an incredibly popular attraction, especially during the high season. Be prepared for crowds and plan accordingly. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring plenty of water, and pack warm clothing as the temperature can drop significantly.
Also note that the route to Morskie Oko is suitable for wheelchair users. Finally, don’t forget to take plenty of pictures and enjoy the breathtakng scenery – Morskie Oko is truly a jewel of the Tatras.
Where to Park at Morskie Oko?
The Tatra National Park (TPN) has organized several parking lots near the entrance to the trail. The closest parking lot is in Palenica Białczańska, while others are located along the road, in Łysa Polana, and also on the Slovak side. There are also private parking lots from which tourists are transported to Palenica by private buses.
If you decide to park your car in the Tatra National Park, you must reserve a parking space online in advance. The cost of parking a car starts at PLN 36 (PLN 45 on weekends), while motorcycles cost PLN 26 and campers PLN 70 per day. Disabled people with a blue parking card must also book parking online, but they are exempt from the fee.
Since it’s not possible to choose a specific parking lot, the order of arrival is important. It’s best to arrive early in the morning to ensure parking in the lot closest to the trail.
How Much is the Entrance Fee to Morskie Oko?
In addition to the cost of travel by bus or parking, there is an entrance fee to Morskie Oko, as the lake lies within the boundaries of the Tatra National Park. A discounted one-day ticket costs 4 PLN, and a regular ticket costs 8 PLN. A 7-day ticket costs PLN 20 and PLN 40. It’s best to buy tickets online to avoid queues.
- Read this article for more information about entrance tickets to tatra National Park as well as on how to buy these tickets.
The Morskie Oko Route: How to Get There?
The eight-kilometer trail to Morskie Oko starts at the parking lot in Palenica Białczańska. The route is mostly on asphalt and is not very difficult even for beginners. The walking time is estimated at two hours. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the trail to Morskie Oko or in the whole Tatra National Park.
The green trail to Morskie Oko starts at Niżna Polana and ends at the PTTK shelter. After less than three kilometers you’ll come to a waterfall called Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza, named in memory of the Polish bard Adam Mickiewicz. From Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza the road to Morskie Oko gets steeper. You can save time and distance by taking shortcuts along the stone paths.
After another 3.5 km on the asphalt road, you’ll reach Włosienica, where horse-drawn carriages are parked. Here you can enjoy the beautiful view and have something to eat and drink in the gastronomic pavilion. From here you’ll have to walk 1.5 km along the asphalt road to Morskie Oko.
At last you’ll reach the last ascent and you’ll see one of the greatest attractions of the Polish Tatras – Morskie Oko. You can admire the lake from the observation deck next to the PTTK shelter, or go down the stairs to the shore of Morskie Oko. Swimming in the lake is not allowed.
Morskie Oko PTTK Shelter
The shelter, located at an altitude of 1405 meters above sea level, is a must see. Named after Stanislaw Staszic, who explored the lake in 1805, it is one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the Tatra Mountains. The shelter is a great starting point for further hikes and currently has 77 beds. However, due to the high demand, it is advisable to book well in advance during the season.
Is it Worth Going to Morskie Oko?
So, is it worth going to Morskie Oko? In my experience, the answer is a resounding yes! The lake is simply breathtaking, with its multicolored hues and crystal clear water. The stunning view is further enhanced by the peaks rising to the sky, including the highest in Poland – Rysy.
Easier Trails Near Morskie Oko
For tourists who are less experienced in hiking, the area around Morskie Oko offers many scenic routes. Popular trails in this area are also perfect for those who prefer easy walks or hikes.
Morskie Oko – Czarny Staw (Black Pond) Trail
This short yet stunning trail leads along the shore of Morskie Oko and then along a stone path to Czarny Staw (black pond) pod Rysami. The hike both ways should take about 2-3 hours. Morskie Oko – Chałubiński’s Gate – Szpiglasowy Wierch – Five Ponds – Morskie Oko. This technically easy route takes you through the picturesque surroundings of this part of the Tatra Mountains. It takes an estimated 6-10 hours to walk the entire trail.
More Difficult Trails Near Morskie Oko
The Morskie Oko area is also an excellent starting point for more challenging hiking trips. However, it is recommended to combine such trips with an overnight stay in a shelter in Morskie Oko, so that you can start your hike early in the morning.
Morskie Oko – Rysy Trail
This route is considered one of the most difficult in Poland. The trail starts at Morskie Oko and leads to Czarny Staw pod Rysami, and then to Bula Pod Rysami, from where it leads straight to the top of Rysy (2499 m asl).
- You can read more about Rysy Summit in this article I wrote.
The trail is quite demanding, and chains are installed on the final section. The length of the trail from Morskie Oko is estimated at 2.5-4 hours. In the summer, you should expect a large crowd on the trail.
Morskie Oko – Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem Trail
This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful routes in the entire Tatra Mountains.
We start our journey at Morskie Oko and head towards the Czarny Staw, from which we follow the green trail. We pass Bula pod Bandziorem, Kazalnica, and finally we reach Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem (2307 m asl). From Morskie Oko, this route takes an average of 2-4 hours.
More Adventurous Trails With Licensed Guides
While exploring these trails, I am convinced you’ll appreciate the peace of mind that comes with having a guide by your side. Not only will they keep you from straying off the path, but they also open up opportunities to see parts of Zakopane that you might not have discovered on your own.
Think of the guide as your personal narrator, breathing life into the surrounding landscape with their enlightening commentary. And let’s be honest, this makes the journey much more engaging, don’t you think?
Now, if you want to absorb the local culture and history while treading these paths, we’ve got you covered. As you explore, the knowledgeable guide will provide entertaining and interesting facts about the area. It’s learning and adventure all wrapped into one.
Sometimes if it’s worth hiring a local tatra guide because he will also take care of yout safety in Tatra Mountains.
↳ Book more adventurous guided tours in Tatra Mountains by clicking here!
Morskie Oko – Practical Information
To make your trip to Morskie Oko easier, here is a list of practical information you need to know:
- Morskie Oko is situated in the Tatra National Park.
- You can get here by bus
- Parking must be booked online
- Entrance fee to the TPN area
- An asphalt road leads to Morskie Oko
- The trail to Morskie Oko is 9 km long, or 7.5 km if you use stone shortcuts.
- It is best to set out on the trail between 6 and 7 a.m. when there are fewer tourists.
- The route to Morskie Oko is 95% uphill.
- The trail is accessible for wheelchairs and baby carriages.
- I do not recommend walking in high heels or flip-flops.
- Please note that the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
- We do not litter in the National Park, we take our garbage with us.