The winter season transforms Zakopane and it’s surrounding mountains into a magical place. Gorgeous scenery, local delicacies, and the overall vibe make it special. That’s why tons of tourists flock to the Polish mountains every year. Zakopane is a popular spot, but do you know how to make the most of your winter holidays here?
Wondering what to see and try to capture the essence of the mountains during winter? Here are 10 cool ways to spend your winter holidays in Zakopane!
Hit the Ski Slopes
If you’re into winter sports, Zakopane and its surroundings have plenty of ski slopes for you. The tallest peak for skiing is Kasprowy Wierch. It has two challenging (black) slopes with ski lifts. For newbies and kids, the Nosal slope is ideal.
It has wide slopes ranging from 150 – 250 m. At Polana Gubałówka, besides 300 m long slopes, there’s also the Snowpark Goobaya for snowboarders. Don’t miss Harenda and Polana Szymoszkowa too. For more information, read this article about the best ski resorts near Zakopane.
↳ 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
Dine at Traditional Restaurants
To truly immerse yourself in the local culture, visit a highlander inn in Zakopane. The Góralski Browar restaurant serves traditional Podhale dishes like sour soup, moskole with porcini mushrooms, zbójnicki pancake, and grilled oscypek cheese with cranberries. They also have a great variety of craft and regional beers.
Located on Krupówki, the most touristy area, the inn is decked out in traditional highlander decor, featuring wood and local motifs. Plus, there’s an observation deck. If you want to dine at a top-notch restaurant in Zakopane, this is the place to go!
Remember, it is worth to say that these are just a couple of ideas to get started. If you need more suggestions or details, feel free to ask. Enjoy your winter holidays in Zakopane!
Taste the Regional Delicacies
Podhale, and especially Zakopane, is renowned for its regional products that you must try. The most famous is oscypek, a cheese made from sheep’s milk, which can also be smoked. It’s delicious when grilled with cranberries or blueberries.
Bundz is another sheep’s milk cheese, but it’s a rennet cheese with a softer texture and a milder flavor than oscypek. Bryndza Podhalańska is another cheese made from mature bundz, and it has a saltier and bolder taste.
Stroll Down Krupówki
Krupówki is arguably the most touristy street in Zakopane. This pedestrian-friendly street is lined with small shops selling souvenirs and regional products. But there’s more to Krupówki than just shopping.
You’ll find a beer spa, the historic Church of the Holy Family, a tourist monument, the Oscypek Museum, and the Retro Maniak Museum. It’s definitly a must-visit spot for every tourist in Zakopane.
Gubałówka is a massif in the Gubałowski range, standing at 1123 m above sea level. It offers stunning views of the Eastern and Western Tatras. It’s a fantastic place for a walk to soak in the breathtaking scenery.
There’s also a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, several souvenir shops, and food stalls serving regional cuisine. Another cool thing is that you can go up and down Gubałówka by funicular railway, which takes about 4 minutes.
Take a Trip to Kasprowy Wierch
Kasprowy Wierch is a peak in the Western Tatras, reaching 1987 m above sea level. It’s not just for skiers. It’s also a gorgeous viewpoint. You can take a cable car to the top. It’s definitely worth the trip for the spectacular views.
Remember, these are just a few things to do in Zakopane. If you need more tips or information, just ask.
Relax in Thermal Pools
Zakopane and its surroundings have many geothermal pools. If you need some chill time, it’s worth to visit them. Usually, these complexes have a well-developed spa and wellness area. So, you can also use the sauna, get massages, and have spa treatments.
- For more information about thermal pools in Zakopane read this.
Experience a Sleigh Ride
A sleigh ride captures the magical mountain atmosphere like nothing else. Traditional highlander sleighs, pulled by horses, glide through the snow-covered streets of Zakopane. Often, they organize these rides after dark.
The route winds through torch-lit streets. Usually, the ride ends with a bonfire. There, you can roast sausages, dance, and enjoy live music.
Try a Snowmobile Ride in Zakopane
If you’re into motors and extreme experiences, a snowmobile ride is a cool way to spend free time. Typically, this adventure happens in the Podhale forests. Often, it ends with a bonfire, sausages, music, and dancing.
Skate on Ice Rinks
Zakopane has many open ice rinks for skaters. If you didn’t bring skates, no worries, you can rent them there. It’s a fun way to spend time outside.
Zakopane draws many tourists every year, in both summer and winter. But, I can tell, winter makes the city more charming. If you spend your winter holidays in Zakopane, I’m sure you’ll remember it for a long time.
The ice rink is open in winter from 10:00 to 22:00. It is certainly an interesting attraction for children.
Fun Winter Activities for Kids in Zakopane
Here are few things you can do with your kids in Zakopane during the winter time.
Snowtubing is a thrilling ride on a tire down a specially prepared track. It’s perfect for children and a fantastic way to enjoy the winter in Zakopane. You can find snowtubing tracks near ski slopes, including the Gigant ski slope.
Did you know you can ski downhill on a sled in Zakopane? Yes, it’s true! The winter capital of the mountains has toboggan runs and even a hill designed just for tobogganing.
You can speed down on your own equipment or on rented sleds or slides. Górka Snowlandia can accommodate 120 participants. Remember, children under 16 must wear helmets.
Experience the Magic of Snowlandia
In the shadow of Wielka Krokiew, a real ice kingdom forms in winter, weather permitting. Imagine an ice palace fit for the Snow Queen herself, labyrinths where both children and adults can hide, snow thrones, chambers with hidden paths, and ice sculptures.
I’m sure Snowlandia will provide many unforgettable experiences.
Adrenaline Slide From Wielka Krokiew
In winter, Wielka Krokiew hosts competitions, but in summer, you can go downhill in a pontoon. It’s an attraction for adrenaline fans of all ages. It requires courage not only from children but also from adults. Even adults, starting to slide from the top, hold on to the handles tightly.
I believe these attractions in Zakopane will make your family trip memorable and exciting. Whether you are seeking adventure or just want to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery, Zakopane has something for everyone.