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Poland’s Version of a Ski Town: Exploring Zakopane on a Budget

Planning on travelling to Zakopane on a budget?  I have put together a list from my experiences of a few things you will find here in winter  while not hurting your wallet too much.


First of all..where is Zakopane and what is it?

Zakopane is in the very south of Poland against the Slovakian boarder and I think it is Poland’s only real ski town.   Its 2.5 hours by bus from Krakow and I recommend taking Polski Bus.  They run many times a day with the bus actually coming all the way from Warsaw and it cost me just €4.5 or 20 Polish Zloty.


My Video

Cheap Accommodation

Target Hostel

Once town its self there are multiple hostels and cheap hotels on offer.  I can recommend Target Hostel.  Its €7 (30 Zloty)  a night for Dorm beds and is about 5 minutes walk from the train and bus station and 10 minutes from the main street of town.


Gazdówka u Janka

For a private room for 2 people you can also go to Gazdówka u Janka.   Its cheap, simple and closer to the ski lift.  For a double or twin room its €13 (56 Zloty)  per night.  That’s the cheapest accommodation I could find in Zakopane. 


To find more options check Booking.com   Its usually the cheapest in Poland



If haven’t yet signed up to Airbnb  use THIS LINK  to sign up to get  €30 off your first stay.  Not sure what it is?  Airbnb is a website where people rent rooms or apartments for very cheap prices everywhere in the world.  Great if your looking for private rooms but don’t want to pay hotel prices.


The main street of Zakopane

Where to eat?


Restauracja Pstrąg Górski

They are famous for their fish but we actually had soup.  My goulash soup served in bread was really good and cost €3.  (14 Zloty) so pretty good value for a very nice restaurant by my standards.

Goulash Soup served in Bread

There are plenty of small and medium sized grocery stores and both places I stayed had kitchens so if you buy food and cook at the hostels its a good way to save money if your on in Zakopane on a budget.


Tip:  Don’t forget to try the famous smoked goat and sheep cheese.  You find it everywhere in the streets and its SOOO good!!  Your in the mountains of Europe.  That’s what they are famous for am I right??

Smoked Sheep Cheese with cranberry. Yum!.



Gubałówka Cable Car

€5.20 (23 Zloty)   5 minutes by cable car above the town is a great place to go for a few hours.   You can walk along the top of the hill where there are restaurants and souvenir shops everywhere.  Also you will find some easy skiing, one advanced terrain park and some tubing for kids.  Its all a bit more expensive up there so if you want to save money buy your food and souvenirs at the bottom of the mountain!


The view of Zakopane town from Gubałówka

Moskie Oko

Moskie Oko is a very cool lake that you can walk to.  In winter its frozen over solid and you can walk on it.  In summer its a beautiful green colour.  (I know that from pictures, when i was there it was frozen and white haha)

To get there take the public bus from outside the Zakopane train station to the Moskie Oko car park. €2 (10 Zloty) Bus.   €1 (5 Zloty) Park entrance fee.

From here its a 9km walk (2 hours roughly) each way along the access road to the lake its self.  Its an awesome walk, slightly uphill all the way there and downhill all the way back.    Not hard at all, just long.  If your feeling lazy you can take a horse and sleigh taxi for extra cost.  There’s a restaurant at the lake and another about 700m before the lake and food is abut 8-20 Zloty for a good meal.  Not too expensive.

Dress warm.  When I was there it was about -10 and we didn’t get back to the bus until dark!

Moskie Oko Lake in Winter, frozen solid.

The hike into Moski Oko Lake is along this snowy path for 9km each way.


Moskie Oko is defiantly a full day trip and is so worth while doing!


Smreczyński Staw

I didn’t go there but apparently this is a very quiet lake you can walk to.  Apparently about an 1 hour walk from where the bus drops you off.   I don’t know if it costs any money or not.


Kasprowy Wierch

   You can take a cable car to the top of Kasprowy Wierch mountain, almost 2000m high.  Its also one of the most popular ski areas in Poland and is right on the Slovakian Boarder.


Single trip up and down:  €14 (60 Zloty)

Lift pass for a days skiing:  €25 (110 Zloty)

Days rental ski package:  €9  (40 Zloty)



There are a few small ski areas in the Zakopane area but Kasprowy Wierch: is the biggest and best one from what I’ve herd.



For me my trip to Zakopane was a good break from the bigger cities that I was travelling in Europe.  Its Poland’s version of a ski town.  Not huge but a very fun pace all the same.

I hope this post will help you to enjoy your stay in Zakopane.


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