From Handmade to High-End Souvenirs – What to Buy in Zakopane

I know that many of us have felt the urge to purchase a souvenir during a vacation, but have we really thought through our choices beforehand? We usually don’t give much thought to what we’ll bring back from our trips. More often than not, we shop impulsively, guided only by fleeting emotions. However, it’s worth considering a useful gift, a one-of-a-kind present, or a stunning decoration.

Souvenir stalls overflow with imitation wooden items, swords, piggy banks, mascots, bracelets, and bags featuring the name of a specific place. The majority of these items are inexpensive, mass-produced knockoffs from China, merely resembling authentic local products. You can find these souvenirs in numerous popular markets throughout the country, with the only distinguishing factor being the name of the chosen location.

This time, we’ve prepared a few Zakopane souvenir suggestions just for you, which are worth your attention and money. We’ll explore the local souvenir scene and offer ideas for keepsakes that won’t just gather dust in a corner later on.

Snap a Picture with a Bear

The trend of taking photos with a white teddy bear in Zakopane is said to have started as far back as the interwar period. Today, you can find teddy bear photo opportunities practically everywhere, whether it’s Warsaw, Zakopane, or the Baltic Sea.

↳ 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

Zakopane Bear | Source Youtube

I admit that we initially planned to skip this „souvenir”. Firstly, we couldn’t find a teddy bear at all. Instead, we encountered characters from different cartoons, like Paw Patrol or Minnie Mouse. Additionally, not all the costumed individuals were… sober. Online, you can easily find videos of Zakopane’s „wild animals” indulging in strong drinks to stay warm. Consequently, once you find someone presentable, their costume might be dirty and far from white.

Zakopane Bear is 100-years Old / This is historic picture of one of first Zakopane Bears

However, on the last day, we discovered a beautiful teddy bear with pristine fur. It quickly became apparent that the person inside the costume was putting in effort. He suggested interesting poses to prevent the photo from being too static. If you come across him in Krupówki, I highly recommend it. You take the photos yourself, and there’s no limit to the number you can take, although the session lasts about 2-3 minutes due to the crowd of other photo seekers. And that’s how it should be.

„Ciupaga” and Hats

When I visited Zakopane as a child, every boy bought a „ciupaga” (it is a local, highlander axe). All of them wanted one, but none knew what to do with it upon returning home. Typically, the ciupaga would be gifted to the overjoyed parents, who always expressed their gratitude with a smile, even if the gift was a tacky dolphin cup.

Zakopane „Hat”

The „ciupagas” sold on Krupówki these days are generally „touristy” – mostly made entirely of wood. A real highlander would use the ciupaga as a climbing aid or to deliver a strike. We had the opportunity to watch a highlander dance that incorporated a ciupaga during a performance in Bukowina Tatrzanska.

„Ciupagas” in Krupówki come with more or less ornate handles. There’s also the option to purchase a pen resembling a ciupaga.

Highlander hats, which are slightly less popular than „ciupagas”, usually feature feathers and seashells attached around the brim. I was particularly captivated by a pendant with this motif.

Magnets and Snow Globes

During every trip, I attempt to bring back some sort of magnet. However, as we travel around Poland, we’ve grown weary of seeing the same designs everywhere, with only the names on the magnets varying. On the other hand, I have become a fan of snow globes, collecting one from each unique cities I visit. I chose particular snow globe in Zakopane too.

Highlander Scarves

Zakopane Scarves | Source: Youtube

Patterned scarves are well-known throughout Poland. They went out of fashion for a while, but now you can once again purchase beautiful fabrics with folk patterns that perfectly complement a woman’s outfit. They’re especially useful on colder days.

Beaded Necklaces

Authentic beaded necklaces were handed down among highlander women through generations. In Krupówki, you’ll find „mountain” necklaces made from wooden beads, intertwined with fabric featuring folk patterns. Painted versions are also available. Simply marvelous.


On warmer days, Krupówki teems with caricature artists. They create pictures using various techniques, primarily charcoal. Most images feature a large face with a small body, often with Giewont in the background.

Click Play Button to Watch This Video About Zakopane Caricatures

Take care to protect your drawing during transport – placing it in a frame can help. The portrait below was supposed to depict my friend. Does it resemble her? Hm… No wonder there was a sign next to the caricaturist that read, „It’s not my fault who looks like this! Complaints to parents!”

Oscypek and Gazda Cheese

Authentic oscypek, as per European Union regulations, should contain 60% sheep’s milk. This means that real oscypek can only be made between May and September/October. Highlanders have found ways to get around these regulations by creating various „imitations”.You’ll find „o.scypek,” „scypek,” „salmoncypek,” and other odd creations.

Oscypek Cheese From Zakopane

However, sometimes you can get frozen oscypek after the season, which tastes best when grilled. If you’re unsure about where to buy good oscypek, the „Oscypek Trail” phone app can help. It displays 10 certified shepherd’s huts (and the paths to them) with precise GPS locations.

Besides oscypek, you can buy other cheeses like bundz, bryndza, and „redykołka”. Nevertheless, oscypek is the cheese most associated with Zakopane.

If you want the REAL oscypek in all of Zakopane, you can visit the Oscypek Museum, where they sell authentic cheese.

For those who don’t enjoy cheese, you can opt for chocolate oscypek, also known as highland pralines. You’ll find plenty of stores selling them on Krupówki – locating them won’t be a problem.

Cranberries, Honey, and Herbs

If you don’t plan on buying grilled oscypek, at least consider trying cranberry jam. It’s delicious, sweet, and sour, making it an excellent accompaniment to home-cooked dishes. It’s also worth exploring the different types of honey available in Poland. The country offers a diverse range of flavors. In the photo below, you’ll find a fascinating curiosity – green honey made from nettles.

Regional Liquors

If you want to discover regional liquors, „Smaki Podhala Regionalne Alkohole” is the perfect store for you. This store offers a wide selection of regional liquors, beers, wines, and other beverages. You can choose and disguise at your discretion, and even mix your own drink. Mulled wine or mulled beer, for example, are popular choices that you can find in almost every street.

Google Maps Location: Click Here

Warm Socks and Highland Slippers

After a long day of skiing or snowboarding, nothing feels better than putting on some warm socks or slippers. You can find fantastic socks with synthetic fur or woolen ones, with beautiful motifs like wolves or flowers. The woolen socks are not only warm but also gorgeous in appearance. Highland slippers, on the other hand, are probably the second most popular souvenir after the ciupaga, which is associated with Zakopane. You can find them insulated with sheep’s wool or made of leather.

Beautiful Jewelry with a Mountain Theme

Jewelry inspired by the Tatras is a beautiful souvenir that you can wear and cherish for a long time. You can find stunning earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more at the Hilly Sheep atelier. The earrings, for example, depict mountains with the sun setting over them, and they are a perfect fit for the theme of your winter vacation. The Hilly Sheep atelier is dedicated to creating beautiful jewelry inspired by the Tatras, and you can find their creations in many stores in Zakopane.

Unique Handicrafts

If you’re a conscious consumer and want to support local products made by local residents, you should visit „TATRA FOLK ART”.This studio from Podhale has a store in Zakopane that sells beautiful handicrafts decorated with folk accents. You can find jewelry with folk motifs, paintings on glass, highlander Christmas baubles, end much more.

Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here