We all know that a vacation in the Tatra Mountains and Zakopane is anything but boring. Breathtaking views, captivating nature, rich culture and historical landmarks – there’s something for everyone. If the weather is on your side, it’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in the great outdoors and get closer to nature. Hiking is a popular choice, but I have to say, there’s another option: mountain biking.
Keep in mind that mountain biking requires a higher level of fitness than biking on flat roads. Nevertheless, in Zakopane you’ll find numerous routes, so you can choose the one that best suits your abilities. In this terrain, the difference in altitude and the angle of the slope are more important than the length of the route.
Embrace the Adventure on The Bicycle
Cycling in the mountains not only does wonder for your physical health, it also boosts your mood. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins – the feel-good hormones. As you focus on your surroundings and admire the breathtaking views, you’ll relax and forget about stress. It’s a great way to escape your daily routine and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.
Many believe that mountain biking requires exceptional fitness. While it’s true that these rides can be challenging compared to lowland cycling, there are routes for all levels of ability. This means that both experienced cyclists and beginners can easily find the right trail for their skill level.
↳ 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
Ride the Route: Zakopane – Witów – Dzianisz – Zakopane
This challenging route is approximately 30 km with a 300 m elevation gain and takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete. One of the advantages of this trail is its flexibility – you can change it to suit your own preferences. As the map below shows, there are several starting points to choose from, each allowing you to shorten the route. Whatever you choose, you must reach Gubałówka. From this viewpoint you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains. Getting to Gubałówka by bike is a rewarding achievement in itself.
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To start the full route, go to Krupówki Street in Zakopane and drive towards Polana Szymoszkowa. Continue towards Kościelisko and after passing the fire station turn right towards Roztoki. When the asphalt road ends after about 3 km, you’ll come to a fork. Take the right road towards Plazówka and continue to Witów. On your left you’ll see the Chochołowska Valley and the panorama of the Western Tatras. It’s worth stopping here to enjoy the view.
Pass Witów and cross the bridge over the Czarny Dunajec river. Follow the asphalt road known as „Pod Fidrygą”. to the village of Dzianisz. From there the road leads straight to Gubałówka, which is 5 km uphill. Once you reach the top of Gubałówka (1,123 meters above sea level), you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane and nearby towns.
Gubałówka has many tourist attractions, as well as places to eat and rest. To return to Zakopane, you can either take the road down past Butorowy Wierch or choose a longer route through Kościelisko.
Bike Route: Zakopane – Chocholowska Valley – Zakopane
This is a 25 km medium-difficulty route that takes about 2 hours to complete and has no difficult climbs. The trail leads to the mountain hut in the Chochołowska Valley. Most of the route is on asphalt roads, the last part to the shelter is on gravel and stone heads. Start from Krupówki Street or from anywhere in Zakopane and go to Kościeliska Street. Continue along Skarbówki and Krzeptówki streets towards the Zakopane city limits. Continue in the direction of Kiry, passing the entrance to the Kościeliska Valley and then the Chochołowska Valley.
The route through the valley begins on an asphalt road, which gradually turns into a cobblestone road with a slight incline. Enjoy a leisurely ride along a mountain stream and take in the beautiful scenery. In the Chochołowska Valley you’ll find fascinating rock formations such as the Lower Chochołowska Gate and the Higher Chochołowska Gate. The last 100 meters to the hut is a steep climb on a cat’s cradle. At the hut you can rest or spend the night (it is recommended to book in advance during the summer season). Return to Zakopane on the same route.
- Check the Route on Google Maps: Click Here
These are only examples of cycling routes in the Zakopane area. Tourist guides list about 15 different routes of varying difficulty. You can also create your own individual route to explore Podhale and the many attractions of the Tatra Mountains. Cycling in the Tatras may not be as popular as hiking, but it can provide just as memorable an experience.
Here are some more interesting routes you can take.
Zakopane – Gubałówka – Ząb – Poronin – Zakopane
This 25-kilometer route passes through Ząb, the highest village in Poland, and is considered difficult due to its altitude differences. The route from Gubałówka through Bystre to Ząb is particularly demanding. It continues through Suche to Poronin and back to Zakopane. The trail offers breathtaking views of the entire Tatra Mountains panorama.
Zakopane – Bukowina Tatrzanska – Gilczarów – Zakopane
This 30 km long, difficult but pleasant route features a challenging climb from Bukowina to Gilczarow Górny. This section was once part of the Tour de Pologne as a mountain stage, highlighting its difficulty. You can also rest at the Bukowina Thermal Baths before tackling the climb. This route is highly recommended for a challenging but pleasant ride.
Harenda Downhill Trail
Harenda is one of the most convenient places for cycling near Zakopane. The chairlift, open during the summer season, takes you to the ridge of the Gubałówka Range, which offers a variety of routes for different skill levels. Cyclists of all abilities will find something to enjoy here. There is a large free parking lot at the bottom of the chairlift, where you can also rent bikes and take advantage of professional services.
Before hitting the trails, it’s important to check the efficiency of your bike. Good drivetrain and brakes are essential for safety and enjoyment on mountain roads. Bicycles can be transported on the specially adapted chairlift. You can prepare for your ride while admiring the breathtaking panorama of the Tatras. A small bar with a terrace offers refreshments and a beautiful view.
You may also want to check this article: Top 10 Scenic Spots in Zakopane With The Best View
Many routes start from the top station, offering exciting descents, challenging ascents and relaxing crossings. Beautiful Tatra panoramas and lush nature will accompany you throughout your ride. Local biking trails can range from asphalt roads to uneven gravel, stony paths and forest trails with protruding trunks and roots. Make sure your bike is equipped with suitable tires and pack rain gear, as the weather in the Tatra Mountains can be unpredictable.
The routes lead from the top to the bottom station. The difficult red route is designed for experienced riders, while the easy route is suitable for beginners. The park is secured with mattresses and marked throughout the season. If you prefer not to ride uphill, take the bike-friendly chairlift. Bike rentals are also available at Harenda.
Zakopane Center Trails
For cycling trips, consider exploring new urban bike and roller routes:
- Dolna and Górna Rówień Krupowa are pedestrian and bicycle paths designed for bicycles, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades. There are bike stops with benches and bike racks where cyclists can rest.
- Tatra Guides Road – the route to Kuźnice
Experience Best Biking Adventure With Locals
If you want to absorb the local culture and history while biking in the mountains of Tatra, I’ve got you covered. As you explore, the knowledgeable biking guide may provide entertaining and interesting facts about the area. It’s learning and adventure all wrapped into one.
↳ Book the best mountain biking adventure in Zakopane by clicking here!