The Tatra Mountains are the highest mountain range in Poland and a must-see destination
for any nature lover visiting Krakow. With their stunning peaks and breathtaking vistas, the
Tatras are an ideal destination for a full-day trip from the city. However, exploring the
mountains on your own can be dangerous, especially if you are not an experienced hiker.
That’s why we recommend taking a guided tour to ensure your safety and enjoyment.
Why visit the Tatra Mountains?
The Tatra Mountains are a natural treasure of Poland, known for their stunning beauty and
unique flora and fauna. The mountains offer a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and
skiing to mountain climbing and paragliding. The most popular trails are accessible for
people of all ages and abilities, making it a perfect destination for families and groups of
What can you see in the Tatras?
The Tatras are home to several picturesque valleys, including the breathtaking
Chochołowska Valley and the peaceful Kościeliska Valley. These valleys offer a chance to
explore the mountains on foot and take in the stunning views of peaks and forests. Visitors
can also explore the Morskie Oko lake, the highest and largest lake in the Tatras, and admire
the incredible beauty of the surrounding landscape. The Tatra Mountains also offer a unique
opportunity to experience the traditional highland culture and cuisine of Poland.
Why choose a guided tour?
While it’s possible to explore the Tatra Mountains on your own, it’s always better to go with a
guide, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. A professional guide can help you
navigate the trails, provide information about the local history and culture, and ensure your
safety. They will also take you to the best viewpoints and hidden gems of the Tatras that you
may not discover on your own.
A full-day tour of the Tatra Mountains from Krakow with a guide is an ideal way to experience
the beauty and charm of the Tatras in a safe and comfortable way. You can sit back and
relax while your guide takes you on a journey through the stunning landscapes of the Tatras.
With a private transport service, you can avoid the hassle of public transportation and focus
on enjoying your trip.
The Tatra Mountains are a breathtaking destination that should be on every traveler’s list
when visiting Poland. With their stunning peaks, picturesque valleys, and unique culture, the
Tatras offer a chance to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature. However, exploring
the mountains on your own can be risky, so it’s always best to go with a professional guide
who can ensure your safety and show you the best of what the Tatras have to offer.
It’s better to book tickets in advance to avoid problems with availability.
ZAKOPANE – THE HUB OF THE WORLD
Zakopane is the highest located town in Poland. Its administrative borders also embrace part of the Tatra Mountains range, where the summit of Mr Świnica at 2301 m above sea level makes the highest point.
A mountain resort of Zakopane is located well within the Sub-Tatra Trench, demarcated from the north by the Gubałówka hillside, and from the south – by the Tatra Mountains range. Kornel Makuszyński once wrote: “To the left towers Mt Giewont, to the right there the Gubałówka hillside, while in between these two – rain just keeps pouring”. Fortunately enough, it is not as bad as the writer would like us to believe.
The first settlers may have arrived here in the 15th c. They would start off by felling spruce and making spacious glades, to make way for their settlements. This log clearing business on the glades – in local dialect “kopane” – may have something to do with the actual origins of the village’s name. Za-kopane (located behind the cleared glades). The first settlements on the cleared glades belonged to the highlander clans of Gąsienicas, Topórs and Jarząbeks. The location privilege for the village of Zakopane, originally issued by King Michał Wiśniowiecki in 1670, expressly endorses the proprietary rights of the village residents, reportedly acquired as far back as 1578 from King Stefan Batory (the original document is presumed lost). The original document in which the name “Zakopane” is first mentioned originates from 1615, and confirms the proprietary rights to the glade of the name to be held by the Rubzdel clan (or more likely by the clan of Gąsienicas given the Rubzdel nickname).
The following stage of Zakopane’s development is associated with mining. Iron ore was intensively mined here in the 19th and 20th centuries, mainy on the slopes of the Jaworzynka and the Kościeliska Valleys. Eventually Kuźnice was established – at the time the very hub of Zakopane, where a large smelter was set up, and a manor house built for the owners of the smelting business – the Hungarian Homolacs family.
This was also the time of great explorers of the Tatras – academics, ramblers, mountaineers, poets, and assorted free spirits. By the end of the 19 th c. Zakopane became also a spa resort specialised in treating tuberculosis, which at that time used to reap a deadly harvest. Pulmonary sanatoriums soon mushroomed in the both Zakopane and nearby Kościelisko. Sun deck lounges, nighland diet, and innovative tratment with the whey of ewe’s milk tempted lots of enthusiastic volunteers to sample an unique experience. Among the health resort visitors there were prominent writers, musicians and artists. All this was played out against the background of Poland’s lost political sovereignty (i. e. The period of foreign partitions by Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia and Prussia). The region of Galicia, where Zakopane was located, was anything but prosperous, yet personal freedom could be enjoyed here far more openly than anywhere else under the other two foreign partition regimes. Boasting already the status of a summer capital of Poland, Zakopane was also deemed its cultural and artistic hub, a virtual hub of the world, as it were, for it was here that all current artistic, literary and musical trends would come into a perfect focus, whilst creatively colliding with boisterous highlander culture, and then coming very much into its unique own.
At the time, getting down to Zakopane was not altogether an easy task. It would usually take a two-day ride in a horse-drawn carriage from Kraków. This is why the construction of the railway in 1899 all the way up to Zakopane was deemed such a revolution. The first train proudly puffed its way into the Zakopane raiway station. Spirited protests staged by the horse cabbies, who were supposedly standing across the tracks baring their buums in a rude gesture, came to no avail, though. In the 1930s, the Luxtorpeda luxury fast train operating the Krakow – Zakopane service would cover the entire distance in just 2 hours and 18 minutes. In 1933, Zakopane was eventually granted its urban charter. A record-breaking completion time (just under a year) of the cableway construction to Mt Kasprowy Wierch made Zakopane one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe. The town also gained a prestigious title of the winter capital of Poland.
Presently, Zakopane boasts approx. 27,000 residents. It is estimated that approx. 1.5 million visitors swarm into the town every year.
Hub of the world
Rafał Malczewski (1892 – 1965), an oustanding painter, writer and keen mountaineer, named Zakopane of the 20-year interwar period “the hub of the world”. This proud alias has stuck to the place located at the foothills of Mt Giewont ever since. The only place in the world which in the 19th c. began to undergo such dramatic changes. This was not only due to its stunningly scenic location at the foothills of the Tatras, but mostly to the people living there, be that local Highlanders or the visitors, i.e. celebrated artists, eminent academics, and all sorts of free spirits who finally found their true inspiration and made a home here. It is thanks to them that presently Zakopane boasts so many unique places, artefacts, and historic sites that actually make up its truly inimitable audience.
Dr. Tytus Chałubiński, Dr. Andrzej Chramiec, Count Władysław Zamoyski, Oswald Balzer – without its eminent benefactor Zakopane might well be a place of a completely different character today. They used to come down here to pursue their artistic endeavours, and very often to make their living, e.g. Seweryn Goszczyński, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Jan Kasprowicz, Kornel Makuszyński, Karol Szymanowski, Helena Modrzejewska, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Wisława Szymborska, and many, many others.
Let us havea peek into the Villa Oksza, and soak up the artistic ambience of Zakopane, as once made by Witkacy, Rafał Malczewski, Zofia Stryjeńska and Wojciech Brzega. Or let us pop into the Villa Atma, surrounded by a garden uncannily reminiscent of the one from the times when Karol Szymanowski, an eminent composer, used to live here. Sitting quietly in a pew of a wooden old church at Kościeliska street we might just possibly make out the words of the first sermon delivered to the Highlanders by RF Józef Stolarczyk, its first parish priest. When atop Mt Kasprowy Wierch, let us have a good look round at the mountains, just like pope John Paul II used to, ever so fond of coming up here. Walking through a maze of Zakopane streets, let us stop by the Astoria Writers’ Union Guesthouse – it was here that Wisława Szymborska was first told about her winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. At the old cemetery at Pęksowy Brzyzek we are bound to find the mementos of celebrated Tatra guides, TOPR mountain rescuers, eminent artists, and Tatra WWII courists. Let us remember the young and beautiful Helena Marusarz who, executed by the Gestapo, never managed to develop her brilliant skiing career. Let us stop by Sabała’s log cabin, and we might possible hear him still chatting to Henryk Sienkiewicz or Dr Tytus Chałubiński. Let us take a look at the wooden chapel at Jaszczurówka, surrounded by scenially towering spruce. It would then come as no suprise why Stanisław Witkiewicz was so besotted by an unique character of wooden highlander architecture.
Experience Zakopane which is still the hub of our world!
Source ; https://www.zakopane.pl/
KASPROWY WIERCH CABLE RAILWAY
A cable railway from Kuźnice to the top of Kasprowy Wierch, the whole runs through the area of the Tatra National Park. The railway operator is Polskie Koleje Liniowe S.A. The route to Kasprowy Wierch, though it is 4291,59 meters long, it takes only a dozen minutes or so, thanks to the only high-altitude ropeway in Poland. The wagons carry only 60 people at a time, and the trip by the wagon suspended over the Tatra valleys stays in your memory forever, and it’s full of exciting experiences and amazing views. The journey ends at 1959 meters above sea level in the upper station of the railway, just 26 m below the top of Kasprowy Wierch. The upper cableway station and the Meteorological Observatory are the highest-located buildings in Poland.
Kasprowy Wierch is one of the most recognizable mountains in the Tatras. This peak, located on the border of the High and West Tatras, offers unforgettable landscapes that can be admired endlessly. From the height of almost 2,000 m above sea level, there is a magnificent panorama of the gentler hills of Czerwone Wierchy and of the much sharper peaks of the High Tatras (including Świnica and Orla Perć). You can also see Giewont, with a cross and legendary knights sleeping somewhere in the rocks; the favorite destination for many tourist trips.
From Kasprowy, you can also admire the Slovak part of the mountains, and even descend into the Ticha Valley (Cicha Liptowska). There are many tourist routes crossed here that lead to the valleys or the surrounding peaks. Tourists can eat something good in the restaurant and admire the local meteorological observatory.
At the foot of Kasprowy, there are two cirques: Gąsienicowy and Goryczkowy, descending with gentle meadows towards the Murowaniec hostel and huts at the Hala Kondratowa. You can relax there, drink warm tea and bask in the sun, watching the cloudy music and small figures moving around them.
The initiator of the railway construction was the then-president of the Polish Ski Association and Deputy Minister of Transport Eng. Aleksander Bobkowski. Field studies and measurements to determine the course of the railway route were initiated by the Central Office of Studies and Projects of the Polish State Railways commissioned by the Ministry of Transport in the spring of 1934. The decision to build was made in July 1935. The investor was a specially formed company (ltd.) under the name “Society for Construction and Operation of the Cable Car Zakopane (Kuźnice) – Kasprowy Wierch” with headquarters in Warsaw. The shareholders were: Polish State Railways, Tourism Support League, Polish Travel Office “Orbis”, Society for the Promotion of Skiing and the Gdansk Shipyard.
On July 24, 1935, the construction management was established, based in Zakopane Kuźnice. The construction manager was Eng. M. Stadnicki, deputy engineer B. Lange. A detailed schedule was determined by the record-breaking short construction time of 7 months for such an investment. Since no company was able to accept such conditions, it was decided that the construction of an economic system would be conducted. The number of the crew members, which initially amounted to around 600 people, in the last two months was increased to 1000. Workers were recruited not only from the Podhale region, but also from Nowy Sącz, Cracow, Tarnów and even from the Vilnius region. Employment of skilled stonemasons from Brasławia and weavers and carpenters from Polesie. works on the site began on August 1, 1935.
The construction of the railway caused a lively social discussion, mainly environmental protection activists protested against it, though in addition to the State Council for Nature Conservation, there were also 94 societies and scientific and tourist institutions. In response to the beginning of the construction, the whole of the then-National Council for Nature Protection, including the head of the Committee for Nature Conservation in Krakow – Prof. Władysław Szafer – resigned. Their resignation was notaccepted. The construction of the train lines led to other investments: the observatory on Kasprowy Wierch, the so-called ceprostrad (from the Morskie Oko to Szpiglasowa Pass), the hotel on Kalatówki.
It was the first investment of this type in Poland, and the sixth in the world. It consists of two sections that are independent of each other:from Kuźnice to Myślenice Turna (launched on February 26, 1936, a test run of one wagon on this section was made by a Bleichert fitter on February 17, 1936) and from Myślenice Turnia to Kasprowy Wierch. On each stretch, two wagons were suspended on one line – one moving up and the other down. The machines were built by the shipyard in Gdansk, while the ropes – the factory in Sosnowiec. The investment was created and constructed at a record pace of 7 months.The work was completed on February 29, 1936, the first passengers entered Kasprowy Wierch on March 15, 1936, after 227 days from the commencement of construction.For importing materials, a road was built for Myślenice Turnia, where the trans-shipment of cars into horse-drawn Hutsul carts took place, which then transported building materials to Hala Gąsienicowa. Materials (cement, rope, water) were transported on the backs of workers from there.The works were carried out for 2-3 shifts (16 hours a day). The buildings of the lower station in Kuźnice, the central one at Myślenice Turnia and the last one at the top of Kasprowy Wierch were designed by Anna and Aleksander Kodelski.The cable railway to Kasprowy was a prestigious propaganda investment of the Second Republic of Poland and presented the then innovative Polish technology and architecture.The cost of building the railway amounted to over PLN 3.5 million and it was paid off before 1939.At the upper station, in 1936, a Polish emblem in the Art Deco style (preserved until today) was placed. The same year, architect Aleksander Kodelski, in order to celebrate the construction of the railway, created a modernist villa in Warsaw (currently historic, ul. Czarnieckiego 53), which is a copy of the lower station of the railway to Kasprowy Wierch.In 1961, the railway was modernized by replacing the wagons with new ones. In 1985, on the occasion of the jubilee of the 40th anniversary of the existence of the cableway to Kasprowy Wierch, a film commemorating its construction history was created, the film “Towards the Tatra Peaks” was made by Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych.
On May 6, 2007, the last course of the oldest cableway in Europe took place before its thorough renovation. Plans to expand the railway and to increase its capacity, analogous to the plans for the construction of the railway itself in 1934, triggered protests of scientists (including naturalists), environmentalists and the opposition of part of society.For more than 70 years, the railway has carried over 38 million passengers. As agreed, the modernization was completed on December 15, 2007.
When you are in Zakopane and you don’t enter Kasprowy, it’s like being at the seaside and not getting your feet wet. Are you on vacation, vacation, meeting in the capital of the Polish Tatra Mountains? You can’t miss this opportunity – go up!
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The shelter is situated on 1410 m above the sea level and consists of two parts: New and Old Shelter. New Shelter has more than 100 years of history, many changes, renovations and reconstructions. Currently it’s a modern touristic complex, comfortable on summer, warm on winter with magnificent views from room windows.
Old Shelter, also known as Wozownia – currently an oldest existing shelter in polish Tatras, is situated not far from New Shelter and has functioning accommodations.
Morskie Oko is a largest and most beautiful Tatra lake, surrounded by highest peaks of polish Tatras. It lays in a gorge, part of Rybi Potok Valley, since the old lake name was Rybi Staw (Fish Pond) because of a trout living in its waters.
Morskie Oko shelter history reach year 1874 when Tatra Society managed to build a small object facing the lake. After expansion it could hold up to 50 people and despite having sub-par standards, it grew pretty popular among tourists visiting Morskie Oko till 1898, when fire completely destroyed the structure. Works on new shelter began in 1907. In meantime, coach house served temporarily as shelter (current Old Shelter). New shelter was put to use in 1908 and it’s running to this day. Interwar years was a time of constant development and modernization of the building. During World War II there was a German border patrol stationed there.
Time after the war is inseparably connected with Łapińscy family name. In years 1945-1980 the shelter was hosted by Wanda and Czesław Łapiński. Later, till 1985, it was runned by their son, Wojciech, and since his premature death, his wife Maria takes care of the shelter to this day with daughter Patrycja and son Jakub.
– boiling water available 24 hours a day, kettles in shelter corridors
– luggage storage
– TOPR info board with weather forecast and current mountain conditions
– shoes and clothing dryer
– tourist equipment rental
– cash machine
On the ground floor is a kitchen open from 7.00 to 21.00 in season. You can eat breakfast, dinner and supper here. Free boiling water is available. Other than this, sweets, basic tourist equipment, literature (including professional alpine guides) and souvenirs are accessible.
New Shelter – offers 36 sleeping spots for tourists:
– 3 rooms for 3 people with sink on shelter first floor with beautiful views from windows. Those rooms are usually reserved with significant advance during season (from july to september). Max. 10 m, bathroom, shower.
– 1 room for 4 people on second floor for family, groups of friends. Shower must be reached on first floor. Nice, comfortable room with unusual sight from window.
– 1 room for 5 people on second floor, wide, warm and bright. View from window towards east – Żabie slopes up to Rysy
– 3 rooms for 6 people, with special number 9 with balcony, bunk beds, view on south. Another “six” on second floor is cozy, with view facing west, from Mnich to Opalone.
Every bed in New Shelter comes with beddings. Shared shower is located on first floor and on shelter ground level.
Old shelter – offers 43 beds in tourist standard inside three dormitories. In hall number 3 (14-person) are bunk beds. In halls 5 and 6 (13 and 16-person) – bunks.
– Palenica Białczańska Clearing – Morskie Oko – around Morskie Oko – return on foot or with horse driven cab. The trip takes around 6 – 7 hours with access to Zakopane
– Red trail – around Morskie Oko – beautiful and pleasant walk, takes around 1 hour.
– Red trail – Morskie Oko – Black Pond, pretty and educating trip, 185 meters above Morskie Oko, quite steep, comfortable, rocky path, return can connect with Morskie Oko detour, mandatory point of Morskie Oko tour, takes around 2 – 3 hours both sides
– Blue trail – through Świstówka Roztocka to PTTK shelter in Five Polish Ponds Valley takes around 2 hours, 1 hour 40 minutes back
– Blue and green trail – Mickiewicz’s Waterfalls – Roztoki Valley – Five Ponds Valley – Świstowa Czuba – Morskie Oko, beautiful, moderate classic tour, good physical condition advised for comfort. After the Mickiewicz’s Waterfalls bridge turn right on rocky path, quite steep at first. Green signs lead through valley bottom, along the way, a nice Nowa Roztoka clearing. After 40 minutes we turn left into black trails, directly under Ponds shelter or further down the green trail, Siklawa on the right, particularly beautiful with high water. After reaching Great Pond threshold, behind the blue trail signs, there is Five Ponds Shelter 10 minutes to the left, 1670 meters above sea level. Upwards from shelter leads a rocky path, Świstowa Czuba 1763 m above sea level, great views on Roztoki Valley, Buczynowa Vale, Five Ponds. The path turns right, Świstówka Roztocka, Kępa, grassy plateau in central part of Opalony ridge. Majestic views on Moskie Oko, Black Pond, giants of High Tatras. Down from Kępa (1683 m above sea level), traverse through Żleb Żandarmerii meadows, 40 minutes from Kępa, around 2 hours long. From Morskie Oko Ponds to Waterfalls 3 – 5 hours.
– Red trail – from Toporowa Cyrhla through Psia Trawka, Rówień Waksmudzka, further along the road to Morskie Oko and next to Black Pond to Rysy, takes around 1 hour 30 minutes from Mickiewicz’s Waterfalls to shelter, 1 hour 15 minutes back. From shelter to Black Pond – around 50 minutes, 40 minutes back. From shelter to Rysy – around 3 hours 50 minutes, 3 hours 10 minutes back.
– Red trail – asphalt road from parking on Palenica Białczańska clearing (not accessible for cars), connecting with red trail before Mickiewicz’s Waterfalls. Takes around 2 hours 20 minutes, 1 hour 55 minutes back.
– Yellow trail – to Szpiglasowa Pass, around 2 hours 15 minutes, 1 hour 40 minutes back.
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