Blogs from Zakopane, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe


Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane July 13th 2023

Continuing my exploration of the Tatra mountains on the Polish side of the border - where the greetings from fellow hikers changed from "Dobrý deň" and "Ahoj" to "Dzień dobry" and "Cześć" (and where sadly the Slovak 'hat stand' trail sign design has yet to catch on) - a minibus from Zakopane deposited me at the Palenica Bialczanska carpark, where I suddenly found myself in a queue - though for what reason I had absolutely no idea, until I realised that I had to pay to enter the National Park on the Polish side! Admittedly it was only 9zl (about €2), but after having been free to frolic to my heart's content on the Slovak side of the mountains for the past week without ever paying an entry fee, I felt slighted! Still, from the warnings ... read more
Turbulent Waters
Natural Amphitheatre
Lakes Big and Small

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane May 13th 2018

As Renée MacIntosh is to Glasgow Arts and Crafts, Stanisław Witkiewicz is To Zakopane style. In era and aspiration. Willa Koliba was built for Zygmunt Gnatowski. Gnatowski needed a building where he could store his collection of ethnographic artifacts. Originally he aimed to build a simple hut based on existing Tatra architecture, but was convinced by Stanisław Witkiewicz, painter, to have a house in the newly emerging Zakopane style built instead. Witkiewicz, already a well-known artist, draughtsman and playwright, was eager to introduce a new local style of architecture to the region when he noticed that wealthy local residents began erecting houses in the Swiss folk style. Witkiewicz was aiming to introduce a national variety of rustic architecture to Poland, and based his sketches on local decorative motifs. Sketches of Koliba Villa were made in 1891 ... read more
Tatra Bergsportfest
Israeli poster 1931
Banners woven with light

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane May 11th 2018

Day 4 In the Footsteps of a WWll POW in Poland Boots on for some botany….. up the Straźyska Valley from Zakopane town to the northern wall of Giewont, 1894m high. With cameras poised we set off uphill following the ‘Red Trail’. First encounter is with white fluffy flowers wafting above large rhubarb like leaves? The camera is out. Uncle Roland, Marion’s Dad talks a lot of his POW garden, growing veg and flowers. Where did the seed, the tools and the drive to till the land come from? Marion has certainly inherited the agro (as they call it in Poland) gene and I have a small allotment of interest myself (ha). Soon there are more white fluffy flowers above smaller round leaves (pretty sure these are Alpine Butterburrs). Then the list extends to wood sorrel, ... read more
Blue gentian
Chimneys and needles
'The Hanger' ski jump

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane August 10th 2016

Zakopane... A small town located in the southernmost part of Poland... and yet it attracts on average 2,5mln tourists a year... What makes it so desirable then? For one it’s the incredible Tatra mountains, and what comes with that are the endless opportunities for trekking in summer or skiing and cross country skiing in winter... But it’s also the different culture, slightly different language, different style of architecture and of course the food... I love it and I’ve been to this town many times already and even though each time I had the accommodation booked some time in advance, it never crossed my mind that it might be difficult to find something a week ahead of the arrival... As that’s more or less when we started looking for a place to stay there. And what a ... read more
Walking towards Kasprowy Wierch
On the way to Kasprowy
Walking through Dolina Koscieliska

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane August 9th 2016

The morning dawned bright and clear and by 7am we were stood in the queue waiting for the cable car to take us to the summit of Kasprowy Wierch. By 7.45am we were at the summit drinking in the amazing views. Half an hour later the whole group had made it to the top and we were ready to start the long walk down. Although the aim was to go down the mountain there was also a lot of paths going up that we had to encounter, some trickier than others! At one point there was an opportunity to take a detour and take in another peak, Giewont. The path was known to be very steep with chains at the very top to help your ascent. However as we got closer we could see a long ... read more
All Together Ready to Start the Long Walk Down
On Top of the World
Walk along the ridge at the Summit

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane August 8th 2016

Next morning we woke up to rain! We were due to get the bus to Zakopane so set about finding somewhere for breakfast then the bus station. Chaos! Long queues everywhere and very difficult timetables to follow. After standing in a long queue for ages and not moving we were advised to just go and try to get on the bus and pay the driver. We did this and thankfully were on our way soon after midday. The rain continued all day making the bus journey twice as long due to crawling traffic. We arrived at our accommodation in Zakopane like drowned rats! Thankfully it stopped in time for us to go into town for an evening meal. Next day dawned bright and clear and we headed for the mountains. We spent the rest of that ... read more
Local Transport
Rocky mountains
fantastic scenery

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane July 25th 2012

Waking up to a grey sky wasn’t really a surprise, but watching how heavy it was raining while we were having breakfast was quite disappointing to say the least… It didn’t look too promising but the forecast for the next days was even worse, and we didn’t tick Morskie Oko (the most famous of the Polish lakes in Tatras called The Eye of The Sea) off our list yet (this time), so we decided to give it a try anyway. Full of hopes and armed with raincoats we drove to Łysa Polana. Not really trusting my jacket I bought a rain-poncho just in case also... Better to have too many layers on you than too few, right? Even though Łysa Polana is a bit away from Zakopane (on the border with Slovakia), it’s quite easy to ... read more
beautiful Valley of Five Lakes
at the Great Lake
views on the way

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane July 24th 2012

After the strenuous walk the day before, we decided to take it easy and chose a light trail through Dolina Chochołowska (Chochołowska Valley) for that day. Before we started our walk, first we drove to Chochołów itself. The village has a population of a bit over than 1000 people and for such a small village it certainly is very unique in its kind. It comprises mostly of the traditional highlanders’ wooden houses, dating back to the XIX century, lined up closely one to another along the main street. These kind of houses inspired Stanislaw Witkiewicz to create the Zakopane style of architecture. One thing that seems to be a bit out of place here is the stone gothic church set in the middle of the village, but besides that all the other buildings are aligned in ... read more
sheep herding...
at Chochołowska Valley
old herder at work

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane July 23rd 2012

For some strange reason I woke up pretty thirsty that morning… Obviously it didn’t have anything to do with the previous evening… ;) Still after some good portion of scrambled eggs and a strong, BIG coffee for breakfast, I was ready for another day of hiking… We were aiming to reach Giewont (1894m high) that day. It’s probably the most famous mountain of the Polish Tatras – it comprises of three peaks Great Giewont, Long Giewont and Small Giewont. Its silhouette resembles that of a Sleeping Knight – the Long Giewont forming the knight’s torso and Great Giewont his face (the chin, the nose and the eyebrow). Almost from any point in Zakopane you can see a beautiful view of Giewont and easily make out the profile of the sleeping knight. According to a popular legend ... read more
breathtaking views all the way to Kasprowy
the path we took all the way from Giewont
Stunning views all around!

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Zakopane July 22nd 2012

When we arrived at our guesthouse on Saturday evening, there was only 12C outside! What happened to the Polish summer??? I have to say I might have overestimated the weather a bit and quickly scanning through my bag in my head I realised that I might need to buy an extra long sleeve around here somewhere… But then we checked the forecast and it was meant to get better the next day so postponed shopping for now… that’s right, it was MEANT to get better! Ah well… I guess there’s no guarantee with the weather anywhere nowadays… After unpacking (meaning me dumping my bag next to the bed and my parents folding their clothes in the closet), we headed to the centre of Zakopane, Krupówki Street. You can find all sorts of shops here, quite a ... read more
typical houses around
at Polana Strazyska
at Siklawica

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