Zakopane: Winter Wonderland With A Lot Of People In It

If you asked me how I liked Zakopane I would say I’m ambiguous. On the one hand it’s really a beautiful place. The perfect winter wonderland. The picturesque wooden houses covered in tons of snow everywhere. It can really look like a scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. On the other hand there are at least three mayor annoyances.

First: People everywhere. Accompanied by the obligatory shops selling the same stuff (cheeses and hats) everywhere. When we took the rack railway to a mountain top one day, there were uncountable tiny shops at the bottom of the railway and we expected some mountain calmness on the top. But it was quite worse there. The same shops just kilometers of them. Even when there weren’t any people anymore due to heavy snowfalls the shops continued and ruined the mountain atmosphere.

Second: We came by train and we had no car with us. So we did a lot of road by foot. Which wouldn’t have been annoying at all, if there had been a place for pedestrians. But there wasn’t. The footpaths were covered in 50 cm of trampled grey and muddy wet snow with icy bumps underneath it and every simple trip to the supermarket meant one kilometer of an exhausting and quite dangerous walk next to a street with heavy, stinky traffic.

Third: (that’s the one I understand, but I didn’t know before) You can’t enter the national park with a dog because of the wildlife.

We found some places for very good walks anyway, but I won’t go there again. At least not in winter and with the dog.

On our first day we walked along the National Park border. A beautiful and calm walk with great views. Just what you expect from your winter holidays. And making the long train ride worth every hurting leg.

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