Activities in ZakopaneAs a resort town, Zakopane has much to attract visitors from the ski slopes of winter to the hiking trails that show off the splendor of the warmer seasons. Trails for hiking and biking for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels are plentiful in the territory surrounding Zakopane. Ski slopes and other snow sports, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, and ice skating are also popular activities in this mountain town. Mountain wilderness attracts professional and amateur photographers.
Sights in ZakopaneZakopane is the home of a special style of architecture based upon the traditional architecture of the Polish highlands. A Polish architect decided to use local elements with an Art Nouveau twist to create comfortable dwellings that were distinctive to the area. Many original Zakopane-style houses are still standing, including the Willa Koliba, which is now a museum in memory of the architect. These pieces of Zakopane history lend character to the town; they are only one aspect of this destination that distinguishes it from destinations elsewhere in Poland.
The Tatra Museum contains a collection of local folk art, which was created by the indigenous Goral people, whose houses also inspired the Zakopane building style. The traditional houses of the Goral people, preserved proudly as a part of this ethnic group’s heritage, can also be seen nearby. Learning more about the Goral people can contribute to your appreciation for Zakopane. The Gorals preserve their own dialect, a mixture of Polish and Slovak. The Gorals of Podhale, or the Polish highlands, occupy the southern portion of Poland, where Zakopane is located.
The Church of St. Clement is more art gallery than church. Decorated with the works of local artists, and the final resting place of many important Zakopanians, it represents the sense of culture and self-expression that has made Zakopane so attractive and unique.
Shopping in ZakopaneVisitors to Zakopane have the opportunity to purchase handmade souvenirs that are as functional as they are beautiful. Woolen cold-weather garments and items made of leather are favorite purchases from Zakopane. Carved wooden home décor is also available.
Holidays in ZakopaneThe winter holidays—Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s—are celebrated with enthusiasm in Zakopane. Decorations line the streets and restaurants open their doors to welcome guests with traditional Polish holiday meals. If you are seeking a special way to spend the holidays, a well-timed getaway to Zakopane offers the beauty of the mountains in winter and the enchantment of the Christmas and New Year’s season.
Food in ZakopaneThe food of Zakopane is hearty, with smoked sheep’s milk cheese a must-try specialty that can be purchased fresh. For restaurant dining, traditional-style interiors make for a cozy atmosphere. Trout is often on the menu. For dessert, try waffles with a variety of rich toppings.
Food and entertainment often go hand-in-hand in Zakopane. Traditional dance groups wearing colorful costumes, often fill dining halls with music.