If you’re a mountain lover, you’ve probably heard of Morskie Oko. Located in the heart of the Tatra Mountains, this place is nothing short of breathtaking. But even if you don’t like mountains, Morskie Oko is still a great destination that you won’t regret visiting.
The best part is that you don’t have to make any major preparations to see Morskie Oko. It’s easy to get to and requires no special skills or equipment. So whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-time visitor, you can enjoy the beauty of Morskie Oko without any hassle.
Getting to the Starting Point: Palenica Bialczanska from Zakopane
Before you start your trek to Morskie Oko, you need to get to the starting point, Palenica Bialczanska. If you have a private car, you can park it here. There are 1,200 parking spaces for visitors (combined on Palenica Bialczanska and Lysa Polana).
- Car Park Google Maps Location (Palenica Białczańska): Click Here
Driving to Palenica Bialczanska
The parking lot at Palenica Bialczanska is located only 1.5 km from Lysa Polana. It is easy to get here by car, it is about 110 km from Krakow and about 23 km from Zakopane. The driving time depends mainly on the traffic on Zakopianka and takes about 2 hours from Krakow.
↳ 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
If you’re coming from Krakow, the best route is through Bukowina Tatrzanska or preferably through Jurgow (if it’s possible to cross the Slovakian border).
From Zakopane – The easiest way to get to Palenica Białczańska from Zakopane is to take the Oswald Balzer road. You can take this road from the John Paul II roundabout in the direction of Jaszczurówka, Cyrhla and then Brzeziny to the road no. 960 (roundabout). From there turn right and you will get to Lysa Polana and the parking lot at Palenica Białczańska (about 22 km from Zakopane).
- I suggest you also read about Morsko Oko and the legend behind this place: A Guide to Visiting Morskie Oko, The Emerald Lake Near Zakopane
Buses From Zakopane To Morskie Oko Starting Point – Palenica Bialczanska Parking
If you run out of e-tickets for the day you want to visit Morskie Oko, you can always take public transport to Palenica Białczańska:
- From Zakopane: Check the Timetable from Zakopane
- From Bukowina Tatrzanska: Visit Operator’s website here
You can also take the Strama bus line http://www.strama.eu/, which will take you to Lysa Polana (1.5 km before Palenica Białczańska). Before you leave, please check for any changes to the scheduled routes.
FlixBus to Morskie Oko From Zakopane
There are direct bus connections to Zakopane from many cities in Poland. FlixBus buses stop at the bus station in Zakopane and from there you can take a private bus to Morskie Oko (stop #1). The bus station is located next to the train station in Zakopane and buses run every 45 minutes on average.
They stop at the parking lot in Palenica Białczańska and it takes about half an hour to get there. The distance from Palenica directly to Morskie Oko is 9.5 km, which can be walked, or you can take a mountain fasiag to Włosienica, from where you have about 2 km on foot to Morskie Oko.
- You may also want to read about most common way of getting around Zakopane: Travel Like a Local – Tips for Getting Around Zakopane
Private Transfer To Morskie Oko From Zakopane
If you’re short on time and want to fully enjoy Morskie Oko, you can also book a private guide and transportation from Zakopane to Palenica Białczańska. They will organize everything for you, so there is no need to worry about any details. The guide will take care of your safety in the Tatra Mountains and will pick you up from your location in Zakopane.
↳ Book a private transfer from Zakopane to Morskie Oko by clicking here!
Hitting The Trail – Choosing The Route and Determine the Distance
The standard route to Morskie Oko starts at Lysa Polana and is about 8 kilometers long. Although the trail can be considered easy for those familiar with mountain hiking, it’s still a great option for parents with strollers looking for an accessible route.
The trail is marked with a red hiking trail that goes above Morskie Oko. With an altitude difference of less than 500 meters, this route does not pose a significant challenge for moderately experienced hikers. However, if you don’t like crowds, you may face some difficulties as this is the most popular route in the Tatras.
Morskie Oko Entrance Tickets
You can buy an entrance ticket to the Tatra National Park on the TPN website and app. Effective from March 1, 2023, the prices of the Tatra National Park entrance tickets are as follows
- Normal ticket: 9.00 zł
- Discounted ticket: 4,50 zł
- 7-day normal ticket: 45,00 zł
- 7-day discounted ticket: 22,50 PLN
- Group normal ticket (group up to 10 persons): 81,00 zloty
- Group discount ticket (group up to 10 persons): 40,50 zloty
Alternative Routes to Morskie Oko
All the routes to Morskie Oko are relatively easy and can be done by anyone with average physical condition. However, you can add a little challenge by taking one of two alternative routes. Both routes are suitable for families with school-age children. The second route can be considered challenging for younger hikers under certain conditions.
- Variant One is an extension of the route through Rusinova Polana. The difficulty lies in the added distance. The advantage is that it avoids a long stretch of asphalt and enters the red trail only before Wodogrzmot Mickiewicz waterfall.
- For more advanced hikers, the Valley of Five Ponds route will be better. It leaves the red trail at the waterfalls. It adds a few kilometers, some elevation gain and a lot of great views. It also subtracts people, so you won’t encounter crowds on this route.
You can combine the two longer options, but the route won’t be technically difficult. It’ll just be long. It might be too much for a trip with children, but it won’t be too exciting for a solitary climber.
All alternative routes to Morskie Oko are partly on stone steps or paths, which is great. It’s much better than climbing 8 km on asphalt.
I think it is also good to hire local guide for a small fee who will take care of you during the hike, and also tell you amazing stories.
- (€) ❤️ Tatra Mountains Hiking Tour: With a local guide, you will walk along trails that offer incredible panoramic views over Zakopane, and see Siklawica Waterfall, and Giewont Summit up close. During the walk, you will enjoy fun facts about the local area.
Plan Your Trekking Day
The main problem with the route to Morskie Oko is that it is mostly in the sun. Although it’s possible to get there faster by carriage, it’s not recommended for several reasons.
Plan your trip to avoid walking in the heat of the day. Wear sunscreen and a hat, and consider buying hiking gear with UV filters for added protection. Sunglasses will also come in handy.
There are several places to rest along the trail, but shade may be scarce. Keep in mind that high temperatures will be more noticeable on a paved road than they will be on a forest trail.
- You might read more about best recommended time of the year to visit this region in this article I wrote: The Best Time to Visit Zakopane for Hiking and Outdoor Activities
Once you arrive at Morskie Oko, the shelter will be open for you. Although it has a very commercial character, you can have a drink, eat something, buy souvenirs or even walk another 2.5 km around Morskie Oko.
An essential resting place is the pavilion located 1.5 kilometers before your destination. This is where the highland fasces end their route and you can buy refreshments for a small fee.
- If You like trekking trips, please read about most popular peaks near Zakopane: Trekking to the Highest Mountain Peaks Near Zakopane
Can I Get to Morskie Oko by Bicycle?
It’s not possible to get to Morskie Oko by bike. Although it’s physically possible and not very demanding, the management of TPN has banned bicycles on this road due to the high volume of pedestrian traffic.
Morskie Oko in Winter
For every mountaineer it’s clear that if a route is easy, if it is crowded or if it is boring, it should be done in the winter. In winter there are fewer people, more attractions and usually a higher level of difficulty. However, when it comes to the level of technical requirements, it changes very little unless you take into account the cold factor alone.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get to Morskie Oko from the Five Ponds Valley in winter. The Blue Trail, which connects the Red Trail to the valley, is closed from December 1st to May 15th. The reason for the closure is not a specific danger to hikers. It’s a matter of animal welfare.
- Do not worry, there are few other interesting things you can do in Winter when being in Zakopane, read it here: Dog Sledding Adventures in Zakopane: A Must-Do Winter Activity
Tips for a Smooth Morskie Oko Trip
- If you’re an adult in at least average physical condition, you don’t need any fitness preparation.
- School-age children should have a baptism of fire on a shorter trail first. 5 miles one way may bore some of them, so if you want to avoid dragging a whiny child, consider a shorter trail.
- Kids in strollers often sleep through most of the trail.
What to Take With You When Going to the Morskie Oko Area?
When planning your trip to Morskie Oko, don’t underestimate the importance of packing the right gear. The route may seem easy. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some things you may want to consider bringing with you:
- Rain jacket or umbrella: Keep in mind that there are very few places to take shelter from the rain. It’s a good idea to have some sort of rain protection in your pack.
- Sun protection: Protect yourself from the sun with a hat, cap, sunscreen, sunglasses, and anything else that will protect you from sunburn.
- Mosquito Repellent: Bring mosquito repellent as mosquitoes can be quite a nuisance in the area. Repellent also works against ticks, so it’s always a good idea to have it on hand.
- Water and snacks: Bring plenty of water and some snacks. Prices at the pavilion and hostel can be quite high. A light snack will give you the energy you need to complete the trek.
- Money: Be sure to bring some cash in case you decide to buy something from the locals. Remember that prices are not cheap, so budget accordingly.
- Trekking poles: Although the route is easy, trekking poles can take some of the strain off your knees and hips. They are also a good way to keep your hands busy during the trek.
- Camera or phone with enough space for photos: You won’t want to miss the chance to capture the stunning views of Morskie Oko. Although the route may seem monotonous, the view at the end is well worth the journey.
Common Questions About Visiting Morskie Oko
Are you planning to visit Morskie Oko? Here are some common questions and answers to help you prepare:
How Long Does the Morskie Oko Tour Take?
It’s best to plan a whole day for the tour. The hike to Morskie Oko and back to Palenica takes about 4 hours and covers a total distance of over 17 kilometers.
Is there an Admission Fee to Enter the Tatra National Park?
Yes, visitors must pay an entrance fee to enter the park. As of March 1, 2022, the cost of a normal ticket is 8 PLN, while a discounted ticket costs 4 PLN. You can buy tickets on the Tatra National Park website or through its mobile app.
Can You Stay Overnight at the PTTK shelter?
Yes, it is possible to stay overnight in the PTTK shelter. It’s important to note, however, that the shelter can fill up quickly during the high season, so it’s advisable to book well in advance.
When planning your visit, keep in mind that Morskie Oko can be busy during the peak summer season. It’s worth considering a trip in the spring or fall for a more peaceful experience. And don’t forget to come prepared with appropriate gear, such as a raincoat, sunscreen, and trekking poles. Also bring snacks, water, and money for souvenirs or refreshments along the way.