At the foot of Gubalówka hill you'll find the Targ Pod Gubalówka market. Open during the summer, this bazaar sells lots of traditional highlander products from traditional clothing, shoes and purses to dishes, handicrafts and paintings by Podhale artists themselves. You'll also find a selection of fresh oscypek - local sheep's cheese.
Rainy days call for a spot of shopping. Head to Krupówki, Zakopane's bustling shopping street for familiar high-street fashion and sports brands, ideal for picking up gear for walking the Tatra Mountains or to start stocking up on winter warmers.
If you're looking for something special, have a nose down Krupówki's Fashion Street. Zakopane's version of Oxford Street, this shopping alley is housed inside pretty highlander-style buildings and has over 40 fashion and sports boutiques, selling quality leather jackets, fur hats and hiking equipment.
If you're more into sitting back and relaxing, head over to the stylish Winoteka Pod Berlami, found in a quiet part of town. Serving over 100 varieties of wine from all over the world, you can reminisce about your day over a glass (or two) before heading back to your hotel for some well-earned sleep.
As a popular mountain destination in both summer and winter, Zakopane is teeming with nightlife. Most of the bars, pubs and clubs are located on or near Krupówki, meaning you'll never be far from a night out on the town. Nietota is the place to go for a good pint of beer, while Café Piano is known for being the coolest bar in town, complete with playground swings for bar stools. If you're down for a boogie, Va Va Voom nightclub is a popular late-night joint, while Rockus is a well-known venue for live music.
Despite being a rural town, Zakopane is home to around 150 restaurants, many of which are located on or near the main shopping street, Krupówki. You'll find a range of cuisine here, from traditional Polish food to late-night kebabs and Mediterranean classics. One of the most common foods found in Zakopane though, is Ocsypek. Made from the milk of Polish mountain sheep since the 14th century, this popular product is characterised by a smoky smell and slightly salty taste, and can only be found in this particular region of Poland – try it cooked halloumi-style on toast with cranberry sauce. Other dishes to try while in town are Haluski - noodles made from grated potatoes, salt and flour - and Moskole. The latter are traditional caked, made from boiled potatoes, flour, water and salt. They're baked on a griddle to produce a crispy crust and soft centre.
This Highlander-style restaurants found along Krupowki serves up traditional Old Polish recipes from the Podhale region. The interiors are cosy and authentic, complete with old-style stove. Dishes include the popular Oscypek with bacon and cranberries, bakes duck served with pear and beetroot and baked trout.
Also found on Krupówki is the charming Góralska Tradycja. This spacious venue is decorated in a clean-cut Highland style, alongside wood-cladded ceilings, white table cloths and sparkling chandeliers. Perfect for a special family lunch or dinner, the exquisite menu includes dishes like lamb chops in a pistachio and corn batter. Downstairs you'll also find a café selling a range of delicious pastries.
Famous for having the best pizza in town, you'll find Ristorante Cristina in Independence Square. The owners opened this restaurant in a passionate attempt to recreate authentic Italian cuisine, using a range of high-quality Italian and Polish products. Step inside and be transported to a traditional Italian trattoria - complete with lemon trees and curvaceous arches, and sit down to scrumptious plates like scallops on saffront risotto, veal ravioli and thin, crispy pizzas.
At the foot of the mountains, the town of Zakopane is predominantly flat. This means that most of the town is walkable, and you'll be able to get from one side to the other in under 30 minutes. Once you head up the hill, the terrain becomes a bit more tricky, with paths made from uneven, rock slabs – we'd recommend you take some sturdy walking shoes if you plan on venturing further afield.
Zakopane's train station is located just outside the centre of town - an approximate 15-minute walk from Krupówki. From here, you can take a slow train to one of Kraków's more suburban stations, Plaszów, in around four hours, or for a jaunt up the road to Nowy Targ - the historical capital of the Podhale region - in just 20 minutes. Trains also depart to several other destinations across the country including Gdansk, Warsaw and Szczecin, but these are pretty extensive journeys.
With the town being so compact, there isn't much of a public transport system within Zakopane. However, next to the train station you'll find the PKS coach station and the Mini Bus station. From the former you can catch a connection to various destinations including Kraków, in just 2 hours and 30 minutes. The latter houses privately owned buses that operate within the town and to nearby sights like Lake Morskie Oko.
There are two types of lifts available in Zakopane during the summer. The first is the Gubalówka Funicular Railway, which can be accessed in the centre of town at the end of Krupówki. The funicular takes 4 minutes to get to the top of the hill (1,120m) and offers fabulous views over the town. Alternatively, the Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car - one of the oldest cable cars in Europe - is located just outside of the town in Kuznice, and heads 1,987m up Mount Kasprowy. This lift takes approximately 10 minutes to get to the top and operates in two stages, with a station at Myślenickie Turnie (1,325m). The Kuznice station can be accessed by both public bus and taxi.
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