I need to say that Zakopane is a popular tourist destination, so its streets tend to be packed, leading to significant traffic congestion. Therefore, it’s a wise choice to leave your car at your accommodation and opt for public transportation. Not only will you avoid traffic jams, as local drivers know their way around, but it’s also more cost-effective.
Parking fees at popular spots like the Morskie Oko trail can be quite steep. Since Zakopane is a small town, walking is often the most convenient way to explore. However, if you need a taxi, it’s better to call one.
Navigating Zakopane by Car
If you didn’t bring your own car, car rental options are available in Zakopane. However, if you plan to spend most of your time in the city center, you won’t need one. A car might be useful in the summer, but keep in mind that winter conditions can make many places harder to access. Roads may be blocked, and winter equipment like chains and defrosters are essential. Just like in any city, there are areas where cars are not permitted.
In the city center, pedestrian-only zones include Krupówki and Pilsudskiego Streets. The car traffic boundary near Tatra National Park is marked by Droga pod Reglami, beyond which you’ll need to continue on foot or by public transport. Zakopane has ample parking spaces, with the majority found on Al. 3-go Maja Street and Bronislaw Czech near sports stadiums and ski jumps.
↳ 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 decide to visit Zakopane By Car, I think you should also read this article: Zakopane on a Budget: How to Find Free Parking Spots
Making the Most of Public Transportation
In the winter, you can travel by horse-drawn sleigh, while in the summer, horse-drawn carriages are available, adding a touch of charm to your visit. On a more practical note, buses and private minibuses can take you to remote locations, trailheads, and picturesque valleys. In some cases, they offer better access than private cars. Most transport services depart from the bus station, which is a short 10-minute walk from the city center.
To access the public bus timetable : Click Here
Purchasing Public Bus Tickets in Zakopane
You can buy tickets from vending machines on buses, directly from the driver (exact change required), or through the mPay mobile app. When using the app, your ticket is automatically validated. During inspections, simply go to the „Ticket Control” tab, select your active ticket, and show it to the inspector – no internet connection required. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased at these locations:
- TESKO Tatrzańska Komunalna Grupa Kapitałowa Sp. z o.o. Customer Service Office, 17a Szymony St.
- Tourist Information Center, ul. Kościuszki 17
- Tourist Information Center, 7 Koscieliska Street
- Kiosk on Cyrhla Street, next to No. 25
Ticket machines can be found at these Zakopane spots:
- Station area st. no. 8
- 3 Maja Avenue Upper
- 3 Maja Avenue Lower
- Watra (in the upward direction)
- Jana Pawła II traffic circle (near TPN information point)
|Monthly tickets (per line)
|Monthly tickets (all lines)
Options for 60-minute, 24-hour, 3-day, and family tickets are also available.
Exploring Zakopane by Cable Car
The cable car to Kasprowy Wierch has been a top attraction for years. However, due to its popularity, you might have to wait in long queues for tickets. To avoid this, consider purchasing tickets in advance or taking in the views of the railway from the tourist trail.
The hike to Kasprowy is not too challenging, and you’ll get a close-up view of the route and the transfer point at Myslenice Turnie. The Gubalowka funicular doesn’t have long ticket lines, so it’s worth hopping on for a breathtaking panorama of the Tatra Mountains. For a healthy return trip, we recommend walking back, which only takes about half an hour.
↳ Book the best local Tatra Mountains attractions now by clicking here!
Taking a Taxi in Zakopane
If you need to get around Zakopane quickly, local taxi services are your best bet. Local drivers know the fastest routes, how to avoid traffic jams, and how to navigate the city with ease. Plus, you won’t have to worry about parking, steep inclines, or closed roads. When opting for a taxi, it’s best to call a reputable taxi Zakopane service for a more affordable ride. Personally I do not use taxi, as it is the most expensive way of traveling.
If you are looking for taxi in Zakopane, You can call 24/7 Radio Taxi Zakopane, they speak in English, Russian, Greek, German and Polish. Their phone number is: 0048 666 300 111.
Renting a Bike or Scooter in Zakopane
Renting a scooter is an exciting way to explore Zakopane and its surroundings. These nimble vehicles provide a comfortable way to get around and enjoy spontaneous downhill rides in the hilly town.
Scooters are fun for both kids and adults. Younger ones will see them as an enjoyable way to burn off energy, while older riders can appreciate scooters as a practical, active transportation option for short distances. For an even more comfortable and dynamic experience, consider renting an electric scooter instead of a conventional one.
- For More information, please read this article: Explore Zakopane in Style: Rent an Electric Scooter
Getting to Nearby Cities from Zakopane
Buses traveling to destinations outside Zakopane depart from the plaza next to the train station. There are three main routes: Nowy Targ, Białka Tatrzańska, and Czarny Dunajec. Here’s a breakdown of the cities and towns you can reach along these routes:
- Nowy Targ: Poronin, Biala Dunajec, Bańska Niżna, and Szaflar. You can also reach these towns on buses going to Cracow.
- Białka Tatrzanska: Poronin, Bukowina Tatrzanska, and Białka Tatrzanska.
- Black Dunajec: Dolina Małej Łąki, Dolina Kościeliska, Kościelisko, Dolina Chochołowska, Witów, Chochołów, Koniówka, and Podczerwone.
Separate buses go to other destinations like Ząb, Murzasichle, Czerwienne, Małe Ciche, Jurgów, and Bustryk.
All of these buses stop at Al. 3-ego Maja, which is in the center of Zakopane, next to Krupówki. Tickets can be purchased from the bus drivers.
Traveling from Zakopane to Morskie Oko
Buses to Morskie Oko arrive at the parking lot on Palenica Białczańska. From there, you need to walk or take a carriage to Morskie Oko, which is about 9 km away and takes 2-2.5 hours to reach.
Here you can find complete guide I wrote about getting from Zakopane to Morskie Oko (including hiking routes options).
- Since Morskie Oko is a must see, I suggest you read more about this place: A Guide to Visiting Morskie Oko, The Emerald Lake Near Zakopane
If you want to be on time and without any hassle, you can alternatively book a private tour from Zakopane to Morskie Oko. It is more expensive, but you will receive a professional guide who will take care of you and teach you about local history and traditions.
Getting to Thermal Pools in Białka, Bukovina, Szaflary, and Chochołów
To reach the „Terma Bania” in Białka Tatrzańska or „Termy Bukovina” in Bukowina Tatrzanska, take a bus from Zakopane to Białka Tatrzańska. Buses for both destinations depart from the square at the Zakopane railway station.
For detailed schedules, visit the following links:
If you are not sure which thermal pools you should visit, please read this article I wrote, it describes pros and cons of all thermal pools near Zakopane.
If you’re coming from other towns in the region, it’s best to travel to Zakopane first and then take a bus to your desired destination. However if you are in Kraków, you can book a private trip from Kraków to Thermal pools. They will pick you up from you location and take you straight to the thermal pools.
↳ Book the thermal springs tickets and the transfer by clicking here!