Krakow to Zakopane Day Trip

Krakow to Zakopane: Your Perfect Itinerary Guide

Nestled in the heart of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is a popular destination for travellers looking to escape the bustling atmosphere of Krakow. Often referred to as the winter capital of Poland, Zakopane offers a wide range of activities, from skiing and snowboarding in the colder months to hiking and mountain biking in the summer. No matter the season, a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane is an unforgettable experience that should be on every traveller’s must-see list.

The picturesque journey from Krakow to Zakopane is roughly 110km, taking about 2-2.5 hours to reach. As you travel south from Krakow, you’ll witness the landscape transform from urban cityscape to stunning highland scenery amid the backdrop of the Tatra Mountains. Arriving in Zakopane, you’ll find a charming town with traditional wooden architecture and a unique blend of Polish and highland culture.

Krakow to Zakopane Day Trip

Planning a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane can be both budget-friendly and convenient. Options for transportation include buses and private tours, with journeys taking around 2-3 hours.

Additionally, numerous guided tours provide hotel pickup from Krakow and can include a stop at a thermal bath or other local attractions. With a little planning, you’ll soon be on your way to experiencing the beauty and adventure of the Polish mountaintop oasis that is Zakopane.

Journey from Krakow to Zakopane

Travelling from Krakow to Zakopane is a splendid way to escape the city’s hustle and enjoy some refreshing mountain air. The distance between the two cities is roughly 110km, and it takes approximately 2-2.5 hours to reach Zakopane from Krakow.

There are several means of transport available for this journey, including buses, trains, and private transfers. Let’s explore each option to help you choose the best one according to your preferences and budget.

By bus

Buses are the most budget-friendly option to travel between Krakow and Zakopane. Tickets can be easily obtained at the bus station or online. Buses frequently depart from Krakow’s central bus station and drop you off in Zakopane’s city centre. The journey time is about 2-3 hours, depending on traffic.

By train

If you prefer a more comfortable mode of transport, the train is an excellent option. Though not as frequent as buses, trains provide a smoother experience, allowing you to enjoy the scenic route with greater ease.


To board a train, head to Krakow Glowny, the city’s central railway station, and purchase your ticket to Zakopane either from the ticket counter or online through PKP Intercity.

Train to Zakopane

The train ride also takes around 2-3 hours, but remember that the train station in Zakopane is approximately 2km from the city centre.

By car or private transfer

The most convenient way to get from Krakow to Zakopane is by car or booking a private transfer. A private transfer might be preferable if you value comfort and ease, as the driver will pick you up directly from your accommodation in Krakow and take you to your destination in Zakopane.

While it might be slightly more expensive than public transport, the journey takes roughly 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions, and provides an opportunity to enjoy the landscape at your own pace.

Now that you’re well-informed on transport options, you can choose the one that best suits your needs and embark on a memorable day trip from Krakow to Zakopane. Enjoy the picturesque journey and the captivating attractions that await in the mountainous city of Zakopane.

Exploring Zakopane

Welcome to Zakopane, a picturesque town nestled at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, just 110km from Kraków! Here, you’ll discover incredible views, unique architecture, and a lively atmosphere bustling with culture and activities.

Zakopane Tour with Hot Bath Pools

A day of adventure awaits!

Make the most of your visit to Zakopane with a range of thrilling outdoor activities, like skiing during the winter months or hiking in summer.

The High Tatra Mountains boast a host of paths and trails to explore, offering stunning landscapes at every turn.

Immerse yourself in Zakopane’s vibrant culture

Wander the streets and marvel at the wooden architecture found in churches, homes, and even the market square.

Get a true taste of Polish Highlander cuisine at a local restaurant, sampling traditional dishes like oscypek, a smoked sheep’s cheese, accompanied by mulled wine or hot tea.

Experience Gubałówka like a local

This popular hill overlooking the town offers unparalleled views of the Tatra Mountains stretching into the distance.

Catch a ride on the funicular railway to the top, where you’ll find shops and eateries, as well as plenty of opportunities to take stunning photographs to cherish your time in Zakopane.

Gubalowka funicular

Stroll along Krupówki, the heart of Zakopane

This bustling pedestrian street is home to a myriad of shops, restaurants, and bars, where you can indulge in delicious Polish treats or sip on a warming beverage.

The atmosphere is lively, and it’s the perfect place to people-watch or enjoy some live music during the evening.

Krupowki Street

Don’t leave without a souvenir

Zakopane boasts a wealth of shopping opportunities for you to find the perfect memento of your trip. Among the most popular souvenirs are handmade wooden crafts and decorations, sheepskin rugs, tasty local cheeses, and traditional clothing. Stop by one of the many boutiques or markets and treat yourself or your loved ones back home.

Polish cheese Oscypek

So, lace up your boots, put your best foot forward, and prepare to fully embrace all the delights that astonishing Zakopane has to offer. Enjoy, and make memories that will last a lifetime!

A Day in the Tatra Mountains

On a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane, you’ll be delighted by the natural beauty of the Tatra Mountains. This picturesque mountain range, stretching between Poland and Slovakia, offers countless opportunities for hiking, admiring panoramic views, and even trying out some unique activities.

Start your day by hopping on a funicular ride. As you ascend, soak in the stunning vistas of mountain peaks and lush valleys. Once you reach the top, take a moment to breathe in the crisp mountain air, and then set off on a hike to explore the Tatra National Park. With various trails to choose from, you’ll find ones suited to your fitness level and interests. Keep in mind that there may be some entry fees to specific areas of the park.

During your hike, be sure to visit Kasprowy Wierch, one of the most iconic peaks in the Tatra Mountains. Standing at 1,987 metres above sea level, it straddles the border between Poland and Slovakia. From there, you’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges.

Visit to Kasprowy Wierch

Another must-visit attraction is the Dunajec River. Join a rafting trip down this scenic waterway, and marvel at the beauty of the landscape as you float along. This adventure offers a mix of excitement and relaxation, making it a perfect activity for all ages.

Rafting on Dunajec River in Tatras

Just across the border in Slovakia, you can experience the Treetop Walk, an exhilarating walkway that takes you high above the forest floor. With platforms located in the trees and rope bridges connecting them, this unique attraction provides a new perspective on the Tatra Mountains’ flora and fauna.

Throughout your day in the Tatra Mountains, you’ll encounter lovely towns and villages, where you can indulge in local cuisine or pick up a souvenir to remember your journey. No matter what activities you choose, one thing is certain – a visit to the Tatra Mountains offers an unforgettable experience for all travellers who appreciate natural beauty and outdoor adventure.

Perfect Itinerary Guide Krakow To Zakopane Day Trip

Winter Holidays in Zakopane

During your winter holidays, a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane is an excellent choice. The town of Zakopane is nestled in the picturesque Tatra Mountains, just a two-hour drive from Krakow, making it an ideal destination for a short getaway.

In Zakopane, you’ll find yourself in the heart of a charming winter resort, filled with traditional wooden architecture and cosy restaurants serving delicious Polish cuisine. As you stroll through the streets, do take a moment to visit the Tatra Museum and browse local shops for unique souvenirs.

Zakopane is well-known for its ski resorts and winter sports opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there’s something in Zakopane for every skill level. From beginners to advanced skiers, the town boasts a variety of pistes and ski areas, providing a memorable experience on the slopes. Don’t worry if you haven’t brought your equipment – ski rentals are available throughout the town.

In addition to skiing, you can enjoy other exciting winter sports in Zakopane and its surroundings. Try your hand at snowboarding, snowshoeing, or even having an exhilarating ride on a dogsled. For a more leisurely activity, take a ride on the funicular railway to the top of Mt Gubalówka, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas of the snow-capped Tatra Mountains.


If you’re looking to unwind after an action-packed day in the snow, consider visiting one of Zakopane’s thermal pools. A dip in the warm waters is the perfect way to relax your muscles and rejuvenate before heading back to Krakow.

So, if you’re seeking a memorable winter holiday filled with skiing, snow sports, and stunning mountain scenery, a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane is the perfect option for you.

Relaxing in Zakopane

After a scenic drive from Krakow to Zakopane, you’ll find yourself enveloped by the stunning beauty of the Tatra Mountains. The fresh mountain air and lush greenery provide a welcome respite from city life. But what truly sets Zakopane apart from other day trips is its world-class thermal baths, pools, and springs.

One of the best ways to unwind and make the most of your day trip is to visit one of these heated mineral-rich pools. The waters are naturally infused with a range of minerals that’ll help rejuvenate your body and mind. You can soak away any stress whilst admiring the breath-taking mountain views.

Thermal Baths Chocholow Poland

There are various thermal bath options in Zakopane that cater to different preferences. Some offer indoor and outdoor pools, slides, and saunas, creating a fun and family-friendly experience. Others focus on providing a tranquil and soothing environment, complete with relaxation zones and spa treatments.

Here are a few popular thermal baths, pools, and springs in Zakopane:

  • Chochołowskie Termy: This expansive facility offers numerous indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, and a spa area. There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy, with water slides and a designated children’s area.
  • Termy Bukowina: Providing a variety of hot pools, saunas, and jacuzzis, Termy Bukowina offers a bit of something for everyone. You can also enjoy stunning views of the mountains from their outdoor pools.
  • Aqua Park Zakopane: This water park boasts not only thermal pools but also exciting water slides and a wave pool, making it an excellent choice for families.

Swimming in Chocholow thermal baths

Whatever your choice may be, remember to take a moment to fully appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you as you soak in the therapeutic waters. Your relaxing day trip to Zakopane is sure to leave you feeling revitalised and ready to continue exploring the wonders of Poland.

Staying Overnight

If you’re considering extending your Krakow to Zakopane day trip into an overnight stay, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options to suit your needs. Zakopane has a wide variety of hotels, guesthouses, and even hostels to fit any budget. From luxury spa retreats to quaint, budget-friendly lodgings, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect place to rest your head.

When making your accommodation selection, consider the location and proximity to key activities such as hiking, skiing, or the town centre. Many hotels and guesthouses offer on-site amenities, including spa services and dining options. It’s always a good idea to check for guest reviews and ratings, so you can be confident in your choice.

Booking your accommodation in advance is recommended, especially during peak seasons for hiking and skiing. However, it is essential to look for hotels with flexible cancellation policies, in case your plans change. This way, you won’t be left with extra charges for a room you may not end up using.

In summary, make the most of your Krakow to Zakopane trip by staying overnight and exploring the charming mountain town. With a variety of accommodation options, you’ll be able to find the ideal place that caters to your preferences and budget. Just remember to book early and look for flexible cancellation policies to ensure a worry-free experience.

Customs and Tips

When embarking on a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane, located in the south of Poland, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with some local customs and tips to make your visit more enjoyable.

Remember to respect the traditions of the Gorals, the inhabitants of the Tatra mountains. They have a distinct highland culture, with energetic folk dancing, singing, and vibrant embroidered clothing.

When joining any local events or celebrations, it’s essential to be respectful and embrace the local customs.

Vodka is an integral part of Polish culture. When in Zakopane, you might come across opportunities to enjoy some local spirits or even attend a vodka tasting. If you do decide to partake, remember to drink responsibly and know your limits. When offered a shot, it’s customary to accept it, but do not feel obliged to drink it if you’re uncomfortable.

Vodka traditions in Zakopane

Here are some tips to enhance your day trip experience:

  • Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the activities you’ll be participating in, such as hikes, skiing, or visiting the geothermal baths.
  • Pack essentials: Bring a small backpack with essential items like water, snacks, a camera, and sunscreen to make your trip more comfortable.
  • Choose transportation wisely: The journey from Kraków to Zakopane takes about 2-2.5 hours. Travelling by bus or joining a guided tour can save you the hassle of navigating unfamiliar roads.
  • Take advantage of free time: Make the best of your free time in Zakopane by exploring the town, visiting local shops, and trying some traditional dishes at local restaurants.

By following these customs and tips, you’ll have a fantastic and worry-free day trip from Krakow to Zakopane. Enjoy your journey and immerse yourself in the beauty of this unique region!

Planning Your Trip

Planning a day trip from Kraków to Zakopane is quite simple, and there are various transport options to suit your preferences. In this friendly guide, we’ll share some helpful tips for a smooth journey while keeping in mind the Zakopane itinerary, cost, and other factors.

Start by deciding on your preferred mode of transport. There are several options, including Flixbus, minibus, or taxi. Flixbus is an affordable and comfortable choice, with tickets priced reasonably.

Minibuses, which are slightly faster than Flixbus, are also a budget-friendly option. However, if you’re looking for a more private and convenient experience, consider hiring a taxi.

When planning your day trip, keep in mind the season. Zakopane is a great destination all year round, but it offers different experiences in summer versus winter. In summer, you can enjoy hiking and exploring the stunning Tatra Mountains, while winter months are perfect for skiing and snowboarding. Choose your travel period according to your preferences and activities you’d like to partake in.

Consider whether you’d like to explore the area independently or with a guide. Hiring a tour guide can provide you with valuable insights into the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Alternatively, you can opt for a private tour that offers a more intimate and personalised adventure. Several companies offer day tours from Kraków, which often include hotel pick-up, entrance fees, and a local guide.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of your day trip when planning. Determine your budget and keep track of expenses such as transport, activities, meals, and souvenirs. It’s also a good idea to have some cash (Polish złoty) on hand, as not all places accept credit cards.

Make sure you don’t skip on travel insurance, even for a day trip. Although Zakopane is generally a safe destination, having travel insurance will provide you with peace of mind and financial protection in case of unforeseen events or medical emergencies.

Remember to pack according to the season and your chosen activities. For example, if you’re visiting during summer, bring sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable clothes to help you stay cool. In winter, layer up with warm clothing, and don’t forget your gloves, scarf, and suitable footwear.

Finally, prepare a rough itinerary and plan your day without cramming too many activities. Zakopane has plenty to offer, but select the highlights that interest you most and allow for some downtime to relax and soak in the ambiance.


We are a team of travel lovers passionate about Krakow. We've explored every part of it and learned its history, traditions, and local secrets. We're eager to share our best tips with you. We know hidden gems and local favorites. We're more than writers; we're your personal guides. In our articles, you'll find everything what you need to know about Krakow. team – Your Krakow Experts

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