Are you planning a trip to Zakopane and would like to explore the nearby peaks? The closest peaks to Zakopane are Nosal and Gubałówka (in my opinion). Both offer breathtaking views of the Tatra Mountains. Not only are they conveniently located in terms of distance, but they are also great options for those looking for a fun and outdoor adventure.
Whether you prefer hiking, skiing, or taking a cable car ride, both Nosal and Gubałówka have something to offer. In this blog post I will dive into the details of these two peaks, highlighting their unique features and the different ways to get there.
By the way, please make sure to read more about all best attractions near Krupówki – Zakopane: Discovering the Best Sites of Krupówki: Zakopane’s Old Town
Gubałówka Peak 1126 m
Gubałówka is a must for all visitors to Zakopane. Its peak is 1,126 meters above sea level and offers an unforgettable view of the Polish Tatras, as well as parts of Slovakia and the Babia Góra Range. The mountain is a part of the Gubałowski Range, located in the northwestern part of 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
On its eastern side is Ząb, the highest village in Poland, while on the western side is Butorowy Wierch (1,160 m), the second highest peak of the range. It is possible to connect the two peaks by following the Papal Trail, once used by Karol Wojtyła. Gubałówka is also a good starting point for exploring Podhale. Take the black trail to Witów (2 hours) or the red trail to Chochołów (3.15 hours), one of the best-preserved highland villages in Poland.
It was here that Witkacy found his inspiration for the Zakopane style. You can also follow the trail to Poronin (2.30 hours) via Ząb. So if you’re in Zakopane, don’t miss Gubałówka.
How to Get to the Gubałówka Peak
Gubałówka is easily accessible for anyone who wants to climb it. The road from Krupówki is very well marked and the ascent can be completed in about an hour. For those who want to save their energy, there is a cable car available since 1938, which takes 5 minutes to reach the top.
The cable car is 1,338 m long and the difference in altitude between Krupówki (823 m) and Gubałówka (1,126 m) is 302 m. A regular return ticket costs 18 PLN in the season. There is also a combined ticket for the cable car and chairlift to Butorowy Wierch.
Attractions at the Top of Gubałówka
At the top of Gubałówka you’ll find a view like no other. On a clear day you can see the whole Tatra Mountains, as well as Zakopane and its surroundings. There are also many restaurants, inns and souvenir shops on the mountain.
Unfortunately, the local culture and traditions are not represented in these places – the restaurants serve dishes that are supposedly traditional, but lack any authenticity. In addition, the many stalls along the way to Gubałówka offer mostly cheap goods that are visually related to Zakopane and the Podhale region, but are mostly kitsch.
Krupówki and the marketplace near Gubałówka have unfortunately been infiltrated by commercialism. The sandy beach with artificial palm trees and sunbeds is a glaring example.
If you are looking for a thrilling experience, try riding the Gravity Train, which can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h. The view of the Tatra Mountains from this perspective is likely to remain in your memory for a long time, as the route of the cable car consists of unusual serpentines and is 750 meters long. A single ride costs PLN 18, but passes are also available. You can also take a trip to one of the two rope parks and get some exercise.
Gubałówka offers more attractions in winter, with a snow park, playgrounds and various activities such as scooter rides, snowshoeing, tobogganing and snowboarding. This winter offer is much better prepared and offers something for everyone who loves to play in the snow.
You should also visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a wooden chapel built by the Bachleda-Księdzularz couple in 1971 in gratitude for their rescue during World War II. It has a beautiful highland interior designed by Antoni Kenar and is a great place to get in touch with highland culture.
Some Useful Information
Let me give you some practical information as someone who has experience in visiting Gubałówka and the Tatry Mountains.
- The market square in Krupówki is a great place for shopping, where you can buy Tatra souvenirs, clothing and shoes made of sheep’s wool, as well as regional food products.
- At the railway stations in Krupówki and Butorowy Wierch you will find parking lots for buses as well as for passenger cars.
- If you’re planning to climb both Gubałówka and Butorowy Wierch, it’s a good idea to buy a combined ticket to save money. Buying separate tickets is more expensive.
- Be prepared for long queues at Krupówki station ticket offices during the season.
Gubałówka is a place where you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Tatra Mountains. These views are unforgettable and hard to find on the Slovak side of the mountains. But be careful, because I must say that admiring the mountain panorama can be addictive.
Nosal Peak 1206 m
The climb to the top of Nosal takes only 40 minutes and is rewarded with a breathtaking view. This unimpressive peak is only 1206 meters high, but the trip to the top is sure to be memorable. Its name comes from the nose-like shape of the peak, and despite its low height, it belongs to the Western Tatras and rises above Kuźnice.
Hiking to Nosal Peak when Being in Zakopane
Nosal is the highest point of the Kasprowy Ridge in the Tatra Mountains. It separates the Olczyska Valley from the Bystra Valley. In the past its steep walls were often climbed by mountaineers. There are about 30 paths carved into the rocks leading to the Bystra Valley. However, it is forbidden climbing in this region.
If you decide to continue to the Nosalowa Pass, you should pay attention to the upper part of the route. Although the rock is a bit slippery, it’s only two steps to overcome your fear. The descent to the pass should take you about 5 minutes. Further on, you will come to another straight stretch with a breathtaking view of Nosal, and then you will plunge into the forest. The blue trail crossing the green one is the one connecting Hala Gąsienicowa with Boczań.
Reaching Kuźnice marks the end of your mountain trip. Before the cableway to Kasprowy was built, Kuźnice was an important metallurgical center known as Hamras. From here, you can take the bus back or take a leisurely stroll down the road past the historic buildings to the roundabout, which is only a 25-minute walk away.
This short excursion is perfect for those taking their first steps in the Tatras and doesn’t require any special physical condition. Unlike most other Tatra peaks, the peak is easily accessible from the center of Zakopane and the views are simply breathtaking. We recently decided to take a trip from the Murowanica station and we were glad we did. If you take this route, you’ll slowly come across different „viewing terraces” and discover more and more.
The best part is that the trail ends in Kuźnice, where you can buy an ice cream and admire Nosal’s majestic presence. The 5-year-old in our group had no trouble completing the hike. So if you’re carrying a child in a front or back carrier, this is the route I recommend.
Most Popular Hiking Trails to the Peak of Nosal
1. The Green Trail from Kuźnice
If you’re looking for a hike that’s a bit easier than the other side, the Green Trail from Kuźnice is the best choice. You can get to Kuźnice by bus from the bus station, which also passes the parking lot of Rondo Jana Pawła II. It’s a 30-minute walk from the roundabout to Kuźnice, where you can visit the historic coach house and smithy.
Once you’re in Kuźnice, you’ll have a great view of Nosal. The 1.5-kilometer trail has a 210-meter climb, which can be divided into three 15-minute sections. The first part follows the blue trail to Boczań, the second to Nosalowa Przełęcz, and the last to the top. There won’t be too much strain on your lungs, so you can take it easy.
Murowanica is the second option for the green trail. Here you’ll be challenged by 261 meters of altitude difference in a slightly shorter section than from Kuźnice, which is 1.3 km. I think it’s much more interesting, but also more exhausting.
3. Nosal Through Jaszczurówka
The access to the trail may surprise you when you look at the map. The best way to get there is to take a bus to Morskie Oko and ask the driver to pass through Jaszczurówka. This route is a bit longer and can take up to 1.5 hours, but you’ll cover 337 meters. In Jaszczurówka you’ll find Oswald Balzer Street and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This chapel is a famous example of Zakopane style.
4. Reach Nosal From Hala Gąsienicowa
For the adventurous there’s an alternative route. When going down from Hala Gąsienicowa to Boczań, instead of going straight to Kuźnice, you can take the right path with the green sign, which will lead you through Nosal. It’s a 25-minute walk from the junction.
Practical Information About Nosal
- Nosal is located in the Tatra National Park, which means there is an entrance fee.
- The trail is easy and is often recommended for beginners in the Tatra Mountains.
- There are no physical or technical difficulties on this trail, but it can be slippery after rain.
- Be careful and keep an eye on your children to avoid falling off the trail.
- Allow about 2 hours for a walk on this trail.
- From the bus station take the bus to Kuźnice and get off at the „Murowanica” stop to reach Nosal.
- The most convenient place to leave your car is near Rondo Jana Pawła II.
- From the top of Nosal you can see several mountains: Koscielec, Świnica, Kasprowy Wierch, Giewont, Zakopane and even Babia Góra.