When planning a trip to Zakopane, Poland, it’s my opinion that 4 to 5 days is the best amount of time to fully experience everything this beautiful area has to offer. I find that this allows you to enjoy a variety of activities and take in the breathtaking scenery without feeling rushed. In this article, I will share with you a detailed itinerary that proves the ideal duration for a trip to Zakopane is 4 to 5 days.
If you are planning to stay only for 2 or 3 days in Zakopane, check out my other article here: Weekend in Zakopane: How to Spend 2 or 3 Days in the Mountains
Day 1: Arrival and Thermal Baths
Let’s say you choose my favorite place for accommodation. Upon arrival, you will be accommodated in Szaflary, a resort located in a quiet and attractive place.
The rooms are equipped with bathroom, TV, internet access. There is a guarded parking lot. The resort offers full board in the form of breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper and additional attrctions such as the organization of a bonfire or disco on the premises.
↳ 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
My suggestion is to start your stay with lunch at the pension and a 2.5-hour visit to the thermal bath in Szaflary. The Hot Springs of Szaflary will provide you with a relaxing start to your trip.
↳ Book the accommodation in this amazing resort by clicking here!
Day 2: Exploring Zakopane
For the first full day of your trip you will head to Zakopane. A visit to the center of Zakopane is essential for first-time visitors to fully experience the charm and atmosphere of this popular mountain resort. The main pedestrian area, Krupówki, showcases the region’s unique architecture and offers a variety of local shops, restaurants and cafes. Exploring the heart of Zakopane helps visitors immerse themselves in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the town’s history and traditions.
- If you are not sure how to get around, you may want to read this article: Travel Like a Local – Tips for Getting Around Zakopane
There you can choose from various activities in Zakopane. Please note that you will not be able to do all of them, so choose two of them:
- Stroll along Krupówki, the city’s main pedestrian street, and admire the region’s characteristic architecture.
- Explore the Kościeliska Valley, a picturesque 7.5 km hike that takes about 5 hours.
- Visit Morskie Oko, one of the main attractions of Zakopane, with an 8 km route leading to this popular Tatra lake. The walk takes about 7 hours.
- Take a cable car ride to Gubałówka or Kasprowy Wierch for stunning mountain views.
Krupówki Street is a Must
This vibrant street is the heart and soul of Zakopane, and is one of the most famous streets in all of Poland. It may only stretch a little over half a mile (or about 1 kilometer if you prefer), but what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in character. No matter what time of year it is, it’s always bustling with life and energy. You’ve got street performers putting on shows for the passing tourists, and talented portrait artists drawing up a storm.
If you are short on time, sometimes it is good to organize a stroll by professionals. You can do this by hiring local guides who will take you on a walking tour through Zakopane Old Town.
↳ Check availability and book Krupówki Tour with the best guide by clicking here!
Day 3: Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Pieniny
Pieniny, a stunning mountain range near Zakopane, offers visitors breathtaking scenery and an unforgettable experience. One of the main attractions of the Pieniny is the Dunajec Gorge. The pristine waters of the Dunajec River carve their way through the rocky terrain, creating awe-inspiring views. Rafting or kayaking down the river allows visitors to truly appreciate the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.
The Pieniny Mountains also offer numerous hiking and biking trails for all levels, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Exploring the trails will lead you to many hidden gems, such as charming traditional villages, historic castles and captivating viewpoints.
So on your third day, choose from these exciting options:
- Take a trip to Niedzica Castle, Czorsztyn, and the historic church in Dębno. These sites offer a mix of history, architecture and stunning views.
- Visit the Miniature Park in Niedzica, which showcases the most important monuments of the Podtatrze region.
- Enjoy a rafting trip down the Dunajec Gorge, offering breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush.
Czorsztyn Castle, perched on a hill overlooking Lake Czorsztyn, is a dramatic 14th century fortress with a fascinating history. The castle once served as an important defensive stronghold against invading forces and has even hosted Hungarian and Polish royalty. As you explore the castle ruins, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. These picturesque scenes, combined with the castle’s storied past, make it an irresistible destination.
Niedzica Castle, sometimes called the „Castle on the Lake”, is a majestic 14th century fortress perched on a cliff overlooking the picturesque Czorsztyn Lake. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Niedzica Castle is its connection with the legend of the lost treasure of the Incas. According to the legend, an Inca princess brought the treasure to the castle in the 18th century and it remains hidden within the walls. As you explore this beautifully preserved castle, you can’t help but feel the sense of mystery and wonder that surrounds the story.
The Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Dębno is a remarkable example of a wooden Gothic church from the 15th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the church is known for its exquisite wooden architecture and beautifully preserved polychrome murals decorating the interir. Entering the church is like entering a living museum. The atmosphere of reverence and the scent of aged wood evoke a deep sense of awe. You can read more about UNESCO sites in Poland in this article.
Day 4: Hot Springs and Evening Fun
After a few days of exploring Zakopane’s picturesque landscapes and engaging in various activities, taking a break to relax in the local hot springs is a fantastic way to rejuvenate and recharge. The hot springs, or „termy” in Polish, offer several benefits and create a soothing experience for visitors.
- Muscle relaxation: Participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, or snowboarding can take a toll on your muscles. Soaking in the warm, mineral-rich waters of the hot springs helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness, providing much-needed relief after days of physical exertion.
- Stress relief: The soothing atmosphere of the hot springs, combined with the therapeutic effects of the warm water, can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. As you immerse yourself in the soothing waters, you’ll find it easier to unwind and leave your worries and anxieties behind.
- Improved circulation: The warm waters of hot springs help dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow and promoting better circulation. Improved circulation can help alleviate fatigue and promote overall well-being.
- Skin benefits: The mineral-rich waters of hot springs can nourish your skin. Minerals such as sulfur, calcium, and magnesium can help cleanse and detoxify, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Read more about hot springs near Zakopane: Discover the Healing Powers of Hot Springs in Zakopane, Poland
Day 5: Farewell and departure
Enjoy your last breakfast at the resort before checking out at 11 am, taking with you fond memories of your unforgettable 5-day adventure in Zakopane and Pieniny.
As you can see, spending 4 to 5 days in Zakopane allows you to enjoy a variety of activities, explore the stunning scenery and immerse yourself in the local culture. With so much to see and do, it’s clear that a 3-5 day trip is the perfect way to make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Poland.