Things to do in Zakopane When You Only Have One Day

Spending 1 day in Zakopane is not much, but it can be a truly remarkable experience. If you are a fan of mountain trails, then this article is a must read for you. I will focus on Zakopane and explore the unique attractions it has to offer. I understand that you may not be able to explore everything that this charming mountain town has to offer. But I guarantee that you will find something that will make your day in Zakopane even more enjoyable.

Take a Look at Zakopane City from Above

If you’re looking for a scenic view of the Tatra Mountains, you might want to consider taking one of the cable cars. There are two options: the cable car to Gubałówka or the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch, both of which offer different experiences.

When deciding between the two, time and budget are important factors to consider. The trip to Gubałówka takes about 5 minutes, and the time spent at the top is limited only by the cable car’s operating hours. On the other hand, the trip to Kasprowy Wierch takes about 20 minutes and the time at the top is one hour and 40 minutes if you choose the up and down ticket. However, it’s worth noting that buying a ticket to the top does not guarantee a ride down, as people with up-down tickets have priority.

Price is another factor to consider, as prices vary depending on the season. It’s important to check the current prices and book your tickets in advance, although admission to Gubałówka is always several times cheaper. If You like to read more about Gubałówka and what is waiting for you there, check here: Trekking to the Highest Mountain Peaks Near Zakopane

↳ 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 have a four-legged friend, it’s worth mentioning that you can take your dog with you to Gubałówka (with a muzzle during the ride on the cable car), but Kasprowy is not accessible for dog, as is the entire area of the Tatra National Park. Guide dogs for the disabled are not subject to this prohibition.

Finally, if you’re traveling with children, Gubałówka has other attractions such as a gravity train, a rope park, and ice cream stands.

Taste a Regional Oscypek Cheese

When you come to Zakopane, you can’t miss tasting the regional delicacy, Oscypek cheese. This smoked sheep’s cheese is available on every street corner and is best eaten warm with cranberries. Don’t miss this unique experience.

Take a Walk Down the Oldest Street in Zakopane – Koscieliska Street

You can’t miss the oldest street in Zakopane – Kościeliska Street. It’s full of precious architectural gems that will take you back to the past and represent the Zakopane style. Walk along the street and see the old wooden church of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the Gąsienic family chapel, the cemetery in Pęksowy Brzyzek, the Koliba villa and the U Wnuka inn.

If you want to learn more about the highlanders’ culture, visit Droga do Rojów Street and explore the Tatra Museum. The museum is located in the Gąsieniców Sobczaków Chałupa at no. 6.

Ski Jump – Wielka Krokiew

If you’re a fan of ski jumping, Wielka Krokiew in Zakopane is an absolute must on your trip. It’s Poland’s largest ski jump, which hosts the world’s best ski jumpers and fans from all over the world during the World Cup. You can even take the chairlift to the top and experience the view that a ski jumper would have. Even if you’re not into ski jumping, it’s still a great spot for an amazing view.

Get Lost in a Labyrinth

If you are coming to Zakopane during the winter months, be sure to check out the Snow Labyrinth. Snowlandia is a fantastic experience for children and adults alike. Every winter a labyrinth of snow structures is built near Wielka Krokiew. You won’t regret getting lost in this winter wonderland.

Take a Selfie Photo with the „Zakopane” Sign

You can find the sign on Tadeusz Kościuszko Street.

Unique Experience If You Like Taking Pictures For Social Media

If you’re looking for something unique and extraordinary, the „Be Happy Museum” is the perfect place for you. From taking photos in a tub of balls, to a 1:1 experience with a unicorn, or posing in Santa’s pink sleigh, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time. For an even more interesting experience, the Upside Down House is also an amazing spot for those looking for a quintessential highland experience.

Thermal Pools

You may think that you don’t need thermal water for swimming, but I guarantee you that is far from the truth. Podhale’s healing thermal pools offer much more than a regular swimming experience. With temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, they offer an incomparable level of relaxation and pleasure. Whether you are looking to unwind after a long day of sightseeing or simply enjoy the beauty of the Tatra Mountains, a visit to a **thermal pool in Podhale is a great way to do so.

Try Local Specialties from Podhale Region

When visiting Podhale, it is a must to try the local cuisine. Although oscypek is a well-known cheese, it is not enough to sustain you throughout the day. To give you an idea of what to eat, here’s a sample dinner menu:

  • Soup: KWAŚNICA: a traditional mountain soup made of sauerkraut and ribs, with a sour and meaty taste.
  • Main course: PLACEK PO ZBÓJNICKU: a filling dish made of a large potato pancake, goulash, cream, and sometimes topped with cheese. Alternatively, moskole is a healthier option made of boiled potatoes baked in the oven or dry pan, served with garlic butter.
  • Dessert: Highlander restaurants usually offer Polish classics like apple pie or cheesecake, but for a more traditional experience try BOMBOLKI, which are baked yeast cookies served with melted butter and honey.
  • Drinks: Highlanders are known for their tea with extra add-ons, which means a high-proof liquor is added to the tea. You can try the basic version with spirits or the tavern version with flavored vodka. For a more premium experience, try it with litworówka, a spicy liqueur made from litwor, an extremely rare plant found in the Tatra Mountains, and natural honey. Just make sure you’re not driving.

Bring a Few Souvenirs Back Home from Zakopane

Many of us find the fridge magnet to be the perfect souvenir of our travels, and often our search for souvenirs ends there. But some of us want to take a little more of the mountain atmosphere home with us and support the local economy in Zakopane at the same time.

What Are the Most Popular Gifts from Podhale?

The most common items you’ll find a tourist returning from Zakopane with are: a „ciupaga” (small wooden axe), a felt hat, a T-shirt with a stylish graphic design – usually with the words „I love Zakopane” – and wooden beads, and a traditional highlander scarf, often from… China.

Authentic handicrafts can be found in the „Gazduś” Gallery on Kościeliska Steet. G You can admire and buy porcelain dishes, wooden or clay figurines, regional decorated everyday objects, portraits, Tatra landscapes, stained glass, devotional objects, jewelry, appliances, furniture and clothes. All these are made by the people of Podhale. They will give you a taste of the culture of the region. So if you’re looking for something special to take home, the „Gazduś” Gallery should be your first stop.

If you’re a driver and missed the electrifying tea experience, take home a unique piece of the mountains instead. You can find a „litworówka” or other local liquor in one of the local shops. Podhale, like the rest of Poland, is in the midst of a craft beer renaissance. Beer lovers will love the offerings of Nowotarska Manufaktura Piwna. And don’t forget to pick up some oscypek, a local cheese delicacy. Or try „korbacze„, cheese strings. Zakopane is also famous for its honeydew honey, a must-try in Podhale Region.