Zakopane, Poland…another day, another bus trip! Luckily, the weather has improved and the sun is out…so in order to take advantage of it we headed to Poland’s famous mountain resort of Zakopane. Known for its winter sports, it is a little over 2 hour ride from Krakow navigating past cows, sheep, and roosters before arriving at the busy village. It’s August which means the height of European vacation time and this getaway for Poles is brimming with holidaying residents from Krakow and Warsaw.
Very scenic, the village is packed with shops and peddlers pushing the local speciality of grilled heavily smoked cheese served with cranberry compote. Not my cup of tea, but very popular! As I strolled past the various offerings, I loved the chunky Nordic sweaters and accessories handknit by Polish grandmas…One of these grandmas didn’t look too pleased with my picture taking.
To get a birds eye view, a funicular, toboggan, or ski lift is available to get visitors up the mountainside. The sight from the top is gorgeous; rolling hills and valleys between mountain vistas dotted with chalet style houses. It must be breath taking in the winter when it’s all pristine white with snow!
Multiple manners of transport were used today: car, bus, funicular, ski lift, horse and carriage, and a lot of walking! The ski lift proved to be the most visually stimulating and the horse and carriage driver’s Polish mountain man costume was the most entertaining.
It is a lovely spot, but a bit over-run with commercialism…kids rides, bad souvenirs, bungee jumps, on and on! If you are looking for an unspoiled spot in the mountains, you will need to go further away from Zakopane to find it.
I really did feel like a local today as you would have been hard pressed to find anyone other than Poles around, but that made the experience all that more fun for me..an authentic Polish outing!