Is Zakopane the Best Place to Ski in Poland? A Comprehensive Review

Zakopane is located in the heart of the Tatra Mountains. It attracts many visitors every year. The winter season is especially popular. It offers a wide variety of skiing experiences and entertainment, including concerts and televised New Year’s Eve parties.

Zakopane is considered the winter capital of Poland, hosting ski jumping championships and other winter sports events. Both snowboarders and skiers find it appealing, and its popularity continues to grow. Even though the Alps are within reach, many still prefer Zakopane as their go-to skiing destination.

Skiing in Zakopane: Options for Beginners and Experts

Despite the challenges of getting there, Zakopane remains a top choice for many. It offers a wide range of accommodations, slopes, equipment rentals, and events that attract locals and international visitors alike. The perfect place to ski in Zakopane depends on your preferences and skill level. You’ll find challenging slopes for experienced skiers and resorts suitable for beginners. Regardless of your skill level, I must say that purchasing insurance in advance is a wise move. Accidents can happen to anyone, so it’s better to have at least basic coverage.

Are you looking for exciting ski lifts, varied routes, breathtaking views or an authentic highlander atmosphere? Zakopane has it all! Skiers appreciate the variety of slopes and easy access to nearby countries.

↳ 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 For Beginners

Zakopane and the surrounding area have several ski areas with lifts that are ideal for those just beginning their skiing journey. These slopes are gentle enough to minimize the risk of injury.

Many of these resorts also cater to intermediate and advanced skiers, allowing you to develop your skills at your own pace.

If you are planning to visit neighboring Slovakia, I recommend purchasing travel insurance. The border between Poland and Slovakia can be quite subtle and accidents can lead to unexpected cross-border situations. The European EHIC card has limited coverage in Slovakia, and mountain rescue isn’t included. Travel insurance can save you from paying high fees for rescue services or medical evacuation.

Travel insurance comparison tool available online can help you find a policy that will cover you for increased rescue costs and provide you with third-party liability protection in the event of an accident involving other skiers. Remember that Zakopane ski slopes can be challenging and accidents are always a possibility.

Exploring The Ski Slopes in Zakopane

Skiing in Zakopane offers a wealth of opportunities, with four ski slopes to choose from. Nearby towns such as Bukowina Tatrzańska, Białka Tatrzańska, or Czarna Góra also have slopes, allowing for a different skiing experience every day. Here are some of the ski resorts in Zakopane:

  • Polana Szymoszkowa Ski Resort – has two ski lifts: a 360-meter lift for beginners and a 1291-meter lift for advanced skiers.
  • Herenda Ski Resort – located near the Podgórze Gubałowskie ridges, with four T-bar lifts, one chair lift, six routes, cross-country skiing and ski touring.
  • Nosal Ski Center – offers a ski slope and well-equipped ski lifts, as well as easy, wide and well-lit trails.
  • Gubałówka Ski Slope – a popular destination for first-time visitors, this slope has artificial snow and lighting, which ensures a long season. There are routes for skiers of all levels and snowboarders, as well as a funicular and a nearby ski rental in Zakopane.

If you are interested in reading more about ski resorts in Zakopane, please check this article: Skiing in Zakopane: Slopes for Beginners and Kids to Hone The Skills

Best Time to Ski in Zakopane

The Tatra Trails see record numbers of tourists each year, leading to increased prices for accommodation, meals and attractions. Long traffic jams also add to the travel time. Many people reconsider vacationing in the Polish mountains after reading these daunting numbers online. However, a little research can help you find the best dates for a vacation in Zakopane.

It’s no surprise that the Tatras attract the most tourists during Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the winter holidays. These times are not ideal for those seeking relative peace and quiet on the slopes.

In my experience, March is the best time to enjoy skiing in Zakopane. Usually the slopes stay open until the end of the month due to weather conditions. Since March is an unusual holiday period, the slopes are emptier and the weather is more pleasant. In addition, accommodation prices drop significantly compared to the peak season.

Finding Family-Friendly Accommodation at a Reasonable Price

Instead of booking a hotel room, renting an apartment can be an interesting alternative. It offers several advantages, such as access to a fully equipped kitchen, so you can save money by cooking for the whole family. Apartments often have more space and a higher standard of finish.

Please check this article in which I explain where it is best to stay for skiing in Zakopane: Where to Stay When Skiing in Zakopane? Here are 10 Places

In conclusion, a trip to Zakopane is an excellent idea for a ski vacation. Just remember to choose the right time – preferably in March – and consider renting an apartment. These choices will ensure that you return from your vacation well rested and full of positive energy.

Skiing With Children in Zakopane

Choosing where to ski with your child in Zakopane is an important aspect. Look for resorts with a variety of ski lifts and runs that cater to a wide range of skill levels.

Don’t forget to prepare the necessary equipment, maintain your car for the long trip, and purchase travel insurance in case you accidentally cross the border when planning your trip to Zakopane. The border in the Tatras can be almost imperceptible and while exploring the routes you may find yourself in Slovakia.