It might have been quicker to drive, but it was much cheaper to jump on the local bus for the 2½ hour journey down to Zakopane. It was a nice timeout after exploring Krakow and visiting Auschwitz, half watching the countryside roll by and half with my nose buried in a book.
Zakopane lies at the foot of the Tatra mountains and has long been a centre for outdoor sport in Poland. Hillwalking in summer and skiing in winter. We stayed at the Mercure Kasprowy which has great access to the local ski slopes. Though short, these are perfect if you’re an intermediate skier. And if you’ve ever skied in Scotland you’ll feel right at home here or at nearby Gubałówka.
The mountain road along the top of Gubałówka made for a nice walk, with a selection of souvenir shops, stalls and cafes. We took the chairlift up from the hotel, walked along the top, and rode the funicular train down for a stroll around the town centre.
For more advanced slopes we headed over to Kasprowy Wierch. At almost 2,000 meters it’s accessed by a rather impressive cable car. The top of which marks the border with Slovakia. The views here are spectacular, even if you’re not a skier.
Back in town we wandered along Krupówki, the main street, found a restaurant, and ordered Platski topped with lashings of Goulash. From the warmth of our candle lit table we watched, and giggled like kids, helped by the pivo I’m sure, as passers-by slipped and slid on the treacherous ice outside.