Travel Tip: When planning a trip to Poland and thinking of places to visit or things to do, 8 hour long mountain hikes and breath taking landscapes may not pop immediately into ones mind as something that would make one say “now, this is Poland.” Having a 100% Polish background (I did not grow up in Poland), has given me the chance to truly explore the diverse terrain the country has to offer. In the southern tip of Poland, lays a mountain town named Zakopane. Just south of Zakopane, you can spend the day (or many days) in the Tatrzański Park Narodowy which offers easy to advanced hiking trails (generally, people spend the day in the mountains and night in Zakopane).
While Zakopane/Tatrzański Park Narodowy is a popular destination for Polish people, it is truly a hidden gem for international travellers. Everything from food to accommodations is more than affordable, and the views are exceptional. Maps showing the hiking trails in the National Park all provide time estimates and trail levels of difficulty. Please note that unless you are a seasoned hiker, completing the trails will take longer than predicted (a trail marked as a 1 hour trail could take up to 2 hours – especially if you just stop to admire the views) and an “easy” trail may have “difficult” patches. Wearing appropriate hiking boots and bringing lots of water to stay hydrated is more than recommended (I promise never to try to tackle these mountains in Converse again). The photo above was taken while hiking along the Czerwone Wierchy (one of the difficult trails) where you spend up to 3 hours following a trail across mountain peaks. Check out the photos below:
A fairly easy start but beautiful view on our way up to the mountain peak trail.
Part of the trail went through the forest – trees for days.
A steep part of the mountain peak trail.
View of the mountains from our hotel/lodge in Zakopane – looks like a fairytale.
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