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Zakopane is often referred to as the winter capital of Poland. It is also the most convenient gate to the Tatra National Park, which is the only area in the country with the alpine type of landscape and climate. This explains its unabated popularity among tourists. In this article we want to give you some suggestions for the most beautiful trails and routs for sightseeing trips, if you are not very fit or you are in Zakopane for the first time. As the Tatra Mountains prove to be challenging and dangerous in its high parts, it is good to start exploring the area from the easier paths that you will find below and move on to more challenging routs later on.

 

Our favourite Trails for the beginners include:

  1. Kościeliska Valley 
  2. Chochołowska Valley
  3. Lejowa Valley 
  4. Strążyska Valley 
  5. Rusinowa Clearing 
  6. Morskie Oko 
  7. Nosal Summit 

 

Kościeliska Valley

It is one of the most beautiful and most popular valleys in Zakopane area. Unfortunately, some windbreaks affected its beauty a few years ago. The valley has 8 km in length along beautiful Kościeliski Stream taking green trail. The trail in one direction takes about 2 h and it ends with Ornak Mountain Shelter where tourists can relax and purchase some refreshments. For more fit tourists, we suggest taking a black trail from there to Smreczyński Pond (30 min up and 20 min down) to admire beautiful panorama of a lake surrounded by the Tatra peaks. The green trail in Kościeliska Valley is almost flat all the time. The rout to Smreczyński Pond includes some climbing so, we don’t advice it for elderly tourists. Fit tourists can also make a detour on the way to Ornak Mountain Shelter to see Mroźna Cave. The entrance to the black trail leading to Mroźna Cave can be found about 40 min after entering Kościeliska Valley to the left. The detour with the cave sightseeing takes about 30 to 40 min and it includes some climbing.

Chochołowska Valley

It is probably second most popular valley in Polish Tatras. In our opinion a windbreaks which destroyed a lot of Kościeliska Valley beauty added it to this one as they made the tour more diverse. The rout is about 8 km long and the green trail that leads tourists to Chochołowska Clearing Mountain Shelter takes on average about 2 h in one direction. The trail is mostly flat or with a low slope. Parts of it can be covered either on a bicycle or tourist automobile train. Along the rout tourists can admire Chochołowki Stream and the clearing near the shelter is also very picturesque, especially with grazing sheep herds. For fit tourists we also recommend taking yellow trail to Grześ Summit from the shelter. It involves 1:30 h not very difficult climbing and the return journey takes about an hour.  

Lejowa Valley

Lejowa Valley is fairly easy and picturesque valley along Lejowy Stream. The yellow trail in both directions usually takes about 2:15-2:30 h and is suitable for all tourists.  

Strążyska Valley

Is one of the most popular valleys among tourists as the rout there has really leisurely character. It leads to a small Siklawica waterfall and is almost flat most of the way with some climbing in the end. The rout there leads along red trail about 45 min and then there is additional 5 min walk along yellow trail to the waterfall itself. It is highly recommended tour for groups that want to combine some walking with Zakopane town sightseeing and Gubałówka funicular train tour.

Rusinowa Clearing

Rusinowa Clearing is definitely number one of our easy attractions. We heartily recommend approaching it from Wierch Poroniec green trail. The rout is almost flat or downwards and takes about 1h of nice leisure walk. From Rusinowa Clearing there is marvellous view to the High Tartas and on the clearing itself, there is a mountain hut of sheep shepherds, where tourists can learn how traditional sheep cheese ‘oscypek’ is made and purchase it. On the clearing there are also picknick tables and benches where tourists can admire panorama and taste the cheese. From Rusinowa Clearing tourists can go back with the green trail to Wierch Poroniec bus stop or continue their trip to Palenica Białczańska parking lot along blue trail. It takes about 45 min walk along big trail steps. Still, they almost go only downwards and the trail has very beautiful views along the way, so if you don’t have any disabilities, that make steps walking hard, we heartily recommend it. For more fit tourists, we can also suggest taking green trail from Rusinowa Clearing to Gesia Szyja Summit and then continue their journey with red trail to Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza Waterfall and to Roztoka Mountain Shelter and then to Palenica Białczańska parking lot. Such rout takes about 45 min to Gesia Szyja Summit, 15 min to Waksmundzka Ruwień, 1:15 h to Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza, 15 min to Roztoka Mountain Shelter and then about 1 h to Palenica Białczańska parking lot. The version with only Rusinowa Clearing will take half of your day time, the rout with Gęsia Szyja will take about 1 day walking.   

Morskie Oko

The rout to Morskie Oko is very simple as you have to walk along asphalt road with quite calm slope. The only difficulty here is that it has about 8 km in one direction and can be slightly boring along the way. Tourist can walk by asphalt all rout or they can take some shortcuts by red trail that demand some climbing on rocks but may be a nice variety from slightly dull road. The rout in one direction usually takes about 2 h. Still, all your efforts are well rewarded when you get to Morskie Oko Lake and the mountain shelter by it. The views are outstanding. We heartily recommend, after some short break in the shelter, to take tour around the lake, which takes about 45 minutes and is unforgettable experience. For more fir tourists, we also recommend taking a detour during this round tour around the lake and taking black trail to Czarny Staw/in English Black Pond (about 30-40 min climb, special trekking shoes needed) as it provides amazing views to Morskie Oko from above and the Black Pond itself is also really pretty. The whole detour in both directions takes about 1h.  Return tour from Morskie Oko downwards takes also about 2 h. It is often joked that it is even possible to get to Morskie Oko in flip flops so, you can imagine that the rout is long but very easy.  

Nosal Summit

Nosal Summit is by Gubałówka Summit considered one of the easiest mountains that you can reach near Zakopane. It involves climbing but majority of tourists with average fitness are able to get to the top. Most people take the green trail from Kuźnice. The rout to the top takes about 1h and gives nice views to Zakopane town.

 

The above mentioned routs are just some of possible trip variations in Zakopane area that we consider our favourites. Still, we encourage spending longer periods of time in Zakopane and Tatra National Park area to discover more routs on your own. Check also our tours webpage for more trips in Zakopane. ITS Poland experts will help you to design the best possible itinerary for your stay.  

Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska

 

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