Zakopane is the perfect place to enjoy the summer season. Some relax while reading their favourite book, every now and then gazing at the panoramic views from their balcony while others use the time to work out, taking part in sports activities like Nordic Walking or climbing in the Tatra National Park.
Wild animals like marmots, chamois and bears thrive in the local park and the landscapes take your breath away. If mountain adventures aren’t your cup of tea and you would rather stay in the heart of the city, there are countless cycling routes around the Tatra cordillera, swimming pools, museums and other attractions to keep you busy and entertained throughout your holiday.
If you prefer the active lifestyle, there is a host of places where you can perfect your tennis skills, take part in rafting or horse riding or party the night away in any of the many bars and clubs within close proximity of the city centre. Then, when you finally need a rest, hop over to the nearest spa or aqua park.
Well before reaching Zakopane, you drive down the road and gradually encounter a spectacular backdrop that is the Tatra mountain range. This is your first clue that hiking is an option when visiting the city. Mount Giewont, an iconic summit and a pilgrimage site for millions of people annually, towers high above the city which adopted the rugged peak as a symbol of its synonymity with the highlands. There’s no distinguishing the two. Some of the best best views can be caught from the tips of Kasprowy and Gubalowka but we encourage you to explore off the beaten trail. Detailed maps and the best routes can be found on our Tatra Valleys pages. For some of the tougher options, especially for group excursions, it’s advisable that you contact a certified mountain guide. Get your gear in order before venturing out. Stay safe!
GUGU ADVENTURE PARK
The GuGu Adventure Park is a fantastic place to take your entire family for a fun-filled afternoon. Ziplining across the various trails is the perfect way to conquer vertigo and the professional staff are on hand to help even the youngest of beginners. The park is situated on ul. Pilsudskiego, just a stone’s throw from the famous Zakopane ski-jump Wielka Krokiew, and features 5 alternative, adrenaline-filled routes to conquer as well as a playground for the youngsters, a spacious garden area for relaxing and a fully-equipped bar and kitchen to cater to everyone’s taste. Group reservations are welcome with a grill area on-site which can be booked for that special occasion. During the winter, the area transforms into a skitouring base where equipment can be hired at a great price and connects you to the extensive routes running across the Polish Tatra valleys.
For more information visit: gugupark.pl
Zakopane is not short of mountain related sports and leisure activities. That’s a given! While it remains popular for eating a pizza on Kasprowy or casual strolls along the many trails leading through the extensive Tatra National Park, there are a few areas of the park which have been reserved strictly for those who do not know the meaning of vertigo. All you need to do is pop an autograph and a brief outline of your plans in one of the climbing expedition books, which can be found if you ask politely at one of the shelters in Morskie Oko, Hala Gasienicowa or Five Lakes Valley, and you’re free to challenge one of the designated walls near Koscielec Peak, Rysy, Zawrat and a few others within a stone’s throw from the aforementioned bases. Common sense would tell us to warn you to stick tho those, as straying can land you with a fine and seriously endanger your life, but then if you’re the type of person who enjoys dangling off a cliff, such precautions usually fall on deaf ears, much like if we told you to wear a shawl. Zakopane regularly plays host to bouldering competitions, so it’s worthwhile keeping an eye open for those to test yourself against the best in the game.
The Polish Mountaineering Association (PZA) is a non-commercial organisation which gathers outdoor enthusiasts interested in rock climbing, caving and canyoning to name a few. They organise training camps for those interested in pursuing these disciplines and if booking a holiday which includes any of the above, be sure they are PZA certified. PZA is a member of the UIS, as well as UIAA, IFSC and ISMF.
PZA, Polski Zwiazek Alpinizmu or Polish Mountaineering Association is a non-commercial federation that gathers outdoor enthusiasts interested in the following activities: mountaineering, rock climbing, ski mountaineering, caving (potholing) and canyoning. Except for honorary members, the federation incorporates legal persons ie. regional or city-level clubs, where most of the actual activities take place.
Due to the vertical nature of the most prominent caves in Poland, the PZA’s caving community is oriented towards sports and exploration caving and leans towards mountaineering. Among approx. 900 cavers gathered in PZA there are many good SRT riggers, some talented climbers, quite a few able cave surveyors and only a limited number of cave scientists.
The committee’s mission is to coordinate activities important to the whole caving community in Poland, such as issuing the „Jaskinie” quarterly journal, carrying qualifications for becoming a caving instructor, organizing country-level trainings in rescue and surveying or supporting Polish exploration expeditions abroad.
For more info, check out their website: pza.org.pl/jaskinie/english
Local clubs: speleo.org.pl
TOUR DE POLOGNE
One of the largest sports events in Poland is organised every year in the middle of summer. The first race took place in 1928 and has become a world class event with professionals from many countries participating annually in the 7 stage competition, as well as the amateur version of the contest. The race, usually around 1200km long, has been made part of the UCI ProTour as well as part of the UCI World Ranking calendar. The mountain stages take place in Zakopane and the surroundings, including a race around the Tatras. Tour de Pologne received the title of “The Best Sport Event of the Year” in Poland on four occasions.
For more information, visit the official site at www.tourdepologne.pl/en
Nordic walking can be done on all terrain, flat or hilly. It is also one of the best cardiovascular and toning exercises there is, using almost exactly the same movements and muscles as cross-country skiing.
The full-body, 4×4 workout has become a common recommendation from fitness trainers, physiotherapists, and professional athletes from many disciplines and is the perfect way of getting your heart rate and respiration up to the level required for cardiac protection. Highly effective as a weight-loss tool, it reduces the impact on the knees, ankles and hips by 20 per cent.
Besides being lighter than hiking or trekking poles, the most notable difference is the special rubber shoe on the tips. It looks like a mini rubber boot and is designed to take impact at a 45 degree angle. This allows you to push down on the poles, avoid vibrations and slipping, and gain the necessary power with the upper torso, shoulders and arms.
Apart from the poles, all you need are some good, lightweight shoes or trainers with a flexible sole, as the foot bends as you push off for each stride.