According to cachedhealth.com, Zakopane is located on the border with Slovakia, 110 km from Krakow, 455 km from Warsaw and 333 km from Bratislava. The nearest airport in Slovak Poprad – Poprad-Tatry – is 70 km away. Arriving in any of these cities, you can easily get to Zakopane by train or bus. The journey from Poprad to Zakopane by bus will take 2 hours, the cost of the trip is 30 PLN.
Train Krakow – Zakopane – the most convenient way to get to the ski resort. To do this, from the airport you need to arrive at the Krakow Main Station, from where express trains depart directly to the place. Travel time will be about 4 hours, ticket price – 25-30 PLN. The bus from the same station arrives twice as fast, and the journey will cost 20 PLN. The most comfortable conditions are offered by private carriers Szwagropol and Trans-Frej.
If you take plane tickets to Warsaw, then from there to Zakopane there is a longer journey. You can use the night train with sleeping places (it takes 9 hours, the ticket costs 68 PLN) or take the Polskibus bus and pay 77 PLN (off. site in English).
In small Zakopane, urban and intercity public transport are not separated. Buses and private fixed-route taxis run here on several routes. The first do not deviate from the schedule, and the second will not go until all empty seats are filled. There are usually 8 to 15 of them in a minibus. Tickets for both modes of transport are bought from drivers for 2-5 PLN. You can use commuter trains to travel around the area. All public transport departs from two stations located opposite each other.
An exclusively tourist mode of transport is horse-drawn carts. You can also get to the right place in them, but it will cost from 200 PLN.
Several companies provide taxi services. True, it is useless to catch a car in the city, it is better to call by phone. Within the city, a trip costs 5-10 PLN per km, outside the city – up to 30 PLN.
Hotels in Zakopane
There are many hotels in Zakopane for every taste and budget. The locals offer cheap rooms for rent. Private guest villas, boarding houses and apartments are also common here.
It is better to find accommodation near the highways, as there may be difficulties with transport accessibility.
In addition, there are about a hundred hotels in Zakopane with the traditional division according to the number of “stars”. The best of them are located within the main street. A room in a four-star hotel can be rented for PLN 250 per day. 4 and 3* will cost approximately PLN 250 and PLN 150 respectively. A hostel room with a shared bathroom will cost from 80 PLN during the season. There are also five-star hotels, there are three of them so far. Prices – from 450 to 550 PLN per day.
There are 10 main ski resorts in Zakopane, the most popular of which are Gubalowka, Nosal, Kasprowy Wierch and Polyana Szymoszkowa. These are scattered skiing areas in the altitude range of 830-2000 m, there is no single ski pass for the lifts, and there is no ski bus system. City buses and minibuses run to the lower stations of the ski lifts.
Kasprowy Wierch (1985 m) is the most crowded ski resort in Poland, interesting for advanced skiers and snowboarders. There are three cable cars to the top of the mountain. The tracks here are mostly very difficult, designed for professionals. The longest route is 9 km, the elevation difference is 940 m. Below the slope there are several sections for beginners, with drag lifts.
The Butorowy Wierch ski center is located 2 km west of the center of Zakopane, a little further from the Shimashkova Polyana, next to the Orbis Kasprowy hotel.
Gubalowka (1120 m) owes its popularity, first of all, to the funicular, the lower station of which is located almost in the center of Zakopane. In total there are 6 slopes – both for skilled and beginner skiers. The longest is 1600 m, the maximum height difference is 300 m. There is also a half-pipe for snowboarders.
Polyana Shimoshkova (1140 m) is a ski complex in the central part of the southern slope of the Gubałówka ridge under the peak of Payonkuwka. The local slope with a length of over 1950 m is wide, in the upper part it is steeper, and it becomes gentler towards the bottom. There are slopes for beginners and experienced skiers, the maximum height difference is 280 m.
Nosal (1206 m) is located south of the center of Zakopane, on the northern slope of the mountain of the same name. The basis of the complex is one of the best Polish slalom slopes, steep, FIS-certified. There are also slopes for experienced skiers (maximum vertical drop – 245 m) and 5 easy slopes for beginners, with a maximum drop of 33 m.
Service at all ski centers of the resort: snow cannons, lighting (except for the center of Kasprowy Wierch), snow groomers, equipment rental, ski schools, cafes.
Ski pass and rental
There is no single ski pass in Zakopane. Therefore, when buying a subscription for a day, a tourist is tied to one lift. On the other hand, you can buy a single ticket and try out several mountains in a day. The ski bus system in Zakopane does not work, you will have to travel by public transport to the foot of the mountains from the hotel and between the ski lifts.
A ski pass to Gubalowka with the right to ski all day will cost 90 PLN, half a day – 75 PLN. About 137 PLN per day will cost climbs to Kasparovy Verkh. There are also weekend and 10-ride passes. Children under 10 years old, with a photo ID, can get a ski pass for free. Teenagers under 16 and seniors are entitled to a 25% discount.
Classes in the ski school and equipment rental are paid separately. An hour with an instructor will cost from 60 PLN, and inventory – 20-35 PLN (boots, skis and sticks; helmets are not included in the price).