Tuesday 28 February 2023

Krakow to Zakopane & Kasprowy Wierch day trip!

On our trip to Krakow last month, we *knew* we wanted to do a day trip to Zakopane - from the photos it looked absolutely beautiful, and we'd read about getting a cable car up a mountain and all that fun stuff. We decided we definitely didn't want to do it on the Saturday, because it would be so busy, so we opted to go on the Thursday. 

Getting from Krakow to Zakopane

I booked our coach Krakow to Zakopane day trip tickets through Flixbus, one of my favourite budget-friendly companies to use while travelling. I paid £17 per person for the round-trip tickets, and we travelled from Borek Fałęcki - it took us around 15 minutes to get here from our hotel by tram, although we did stop off for Maccies breakfast en route so more like 45 minutes...

Upon arriving at Borek Fałęcki tram stop, we absolutely could NOT find the bus stop we needed to get to. There was a bus station, but it wasn't there, and we ended up walking round in circles sooooo many times. We were definitely getting a bit stressed, but by a stroke of luck we found it. I have included photos below of what you can see while you're at the bus stop - so you want to be on the 'main' road (Zakopianska) facing the big yellow building, and the bus stop itself has '03' on it. I've also shared what you can see side on, so I hope that makes sense but please drop me a message if you need any advice if you are planning a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane!

The bus arrived and we boarded just before 9am; we arrived in Zakopane just before 11am, so it was pretty much a 2 hour journey. The coach wasn't too busy, and it was really comfortable too. Getting from Krakow to Zakopane was, in the end, pretty easy...

Zakopane: things to do

When we got off the bus we walked through a lovely snowy park, just wandering really. Our main reason for being there was the mountain, but it was nice to see the town too. From the park we walked onto the high street, where we just mooched and took photos and ate potatoes. There were men shovelling snow off high buildings, little kids on school trips, people just shopping and hanging out; it definitely doesn't feel touristy! There was a lovely little bridge at the top of the high street which we wandered over - it wasn't big or anything, but it was cute.

Some things you can do on your day trip from Krakow to Zakopane are:

  • The Be Happy Museum (we did this in Krakow and it was fab)
  • Muzeum Oscypka (cheese-making museum)
  • Aqua Park Zakopane (an indoor water park)

There's a few churches and nice buildings too! It's mostly a ski resort, so there isn't loads, but it's a nice place to spend some time if you want to then explore the mountains. We popped into Subway and bought some sandwiches to take with us, and then made our way to the taxi rank...

Kasprowy Wierch

We asked a driver to take us to Kuznice, and he told us the price before we set off - I'd always recommend this, as it stops you from getting ripped off as a tourist. He drove us as far as cars can get, and it's signposted where you need to go to to board the cable car - it was a 500m walk, which wasn't the easiest in the snow! It doesn't snow year-round here, and the mountain is definitely at its prettiest in the winter in my opinion, but it still looks like it would be nice in the summer. Anyway, we set off and walked through the grounds of Kuznice Manor and Park Complex; this was nice in itself.

We'd booked our cable car tickets online (the morning of) for a specific time and we were there early, but they told us to just join the queue and we could take the next available car - so we did just that. After queuing for around 10-15 minutes we got into a cable car which fits around 60 people; ours was pretty full, including a couple of prams. It might be a bit claustrophobic if you're that way inclined, but it was so worth it! The price for a return cable car ride is 129PLN per person, so roughly £25 each.

The journey isn't particularly long, though you have to swap halfway - it takes around 15 minutes in total and then you're pretty much at the peak of the mountain. Here you'll find a shop, toilets, a cafe/bar and some general information. The views are quite literally breathtaking; you're above the clouds, and it's just snowy mountains as far as the eye can see. It was honestly one of the most magical experiences I've ever had!

You can just walk along the level you're at, or walk an extra ~30ft up to the very very top; we decided we might as well, while we were there, and off we went. There are walking poles you can borrow, and I wish we had done, because it is STEEP and in the snow it's not easy to manouvre yourself up at all; also do not wear Dr Martens for this... It took a while but we made it to the top, and again the views were stunning. Our hair literally froze while we were up here, which we weren't expecting - probably why most people wear hats, to be fair.

After we'd seen the peak and got some photos, avoided some crazy skiiers and took in the view, we headed back down again. I absolutely hated this bit personally; it felt like my legs weren't working whatsoever, and I had visions of them sending a rescue helicopter because I simply couldn't make my way back down to the level where the cable car drops you off. Eventually, after some panicking and tears and a pep talk from my girlfriend, we made it back down - then we settled down on some deckchairs to eat Subway sandwiches with a view. Amazing! It's well worth doing on your trip from Krakow to Zakopane.

Getting back to Zakopane

After we'd had our food and our fill of stunning snowy scenery, we got back in the cable car down to Kuznice. There's a little igloo bar here if you fancy stopping for a drink, but we knew we had a coach to catch so we decided to head straight back to Zakopane. At this point we were a bit concerned because where our taxi had dropped us off wasn't a rank, and we didn't know any local taxi numers, and cars can't get all the way up to the Kuznice grounds anyway. There were men with horses & carts who were charging around £120 to head back down, which we weren't prepared to pay, so we walked back to where our taxi had dropped us in the hope of catching one before they left.

We waited around 10 minutes and nobody was coming, so I downloaded the iTaxi app and wasn't about to book one to come and get us when Kate spotted a little car park around 100 yards down on the left - this was in fact a taxi rank, and there were plenty parked up and ready to take us back to Zakopane to catch our coach back to Krakow!

Zakopane & Kasprowy Wierch day trip from Krakow.
The best view on a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane.

All in all we had an incredible day trip from Krakow to Zakopane; it was one of the best things we did during our trip and one of my favourite travel memories EVER - my girlfriend still cracks up thinking of me trying to get back down the top of the mountain...

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