Sunday, 30 August 2015
Zakopane is badged as Poland's winter capital. Certainly it is a hub for winter sports, particularly ski jumping. There is skiing in various forms, but Zakopane first time visitors be warned, this is NOT an alpine resort in the sense of those one might visit in the Alps. It is a functional regional town so has all the shopping, admin etc that comes along with that. It is quite large also. It nestles at the foot of Geiwont mountain towards the western end of the Tatra mountains. These mountains ARE alpine in appearance but still, in a lot of areas, wonderfully wild! Being designated as a national park has helped this.
It is very easy to venture from Krakow to Zakopane. The easiest way is by bus from the bus station that is located right next to the main train station. The buses leave every 20 minutes or so, tickets can be bought from the driver as you board, and the journey time averages from 2 to 2 and a half hours. In summer be warned though, it can be longer do to the huge volumne of traffic on the road, so make sure you have a safety pee before you board!
There are trains that run to Zakopane but they take much longer than the bus and stop at what feels like every farm en route.