Zakopane is the highest located town in Poland (800-1000 m above sea level). It’s situated in southern Poland, at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. It’s dominated by the characteristic mountain of Giewont which became a symbol of Zakopane. This charming town is a center of winter sports and it’s said to be a winter capital of Poland. Every January Zakopane hosts such an important event as the FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) Championship. Because of its mountain climate since 1886 it also has a status of health resort and is visited by 2 million tourists each year. It’s also a place where rich folk culture is still alive. Highlanders cultivate their tradition – craftsmanship, music and local dialect. There are some local specials like oscypek cheese, recently added by European Commission to the list of regional EU products. It has a strong, smoked taste and you will buy it at Krupowki, probably the most well known street in Poland. It’s pedestrian-only zone lined with souvenir stands, restaurants, hotels, galleries and shops. To see the panorama of Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains you should definitely get to Gubalowka Mountain. It’s 1126 m high and you can get there by cable car. Zakopane is famous however not only because of sport and tourism but also wooden architecture built in the special, local style. A little Jaszczurowka chapel is its essence.
If you are keen on art you shouldn’t miss Wladyslaw Hasior Gallery. He was Polish modern sculptor whose work has been characterised by the use of unconventional materials. Zakopane has always been an inspiration for artists and poets. Once you experience Zakopane and Tatra Mountains you will never forget your visit. It was one of the John Paul’s favorite localities on earth. Before he became a pope he did a lot of hiking and skiing here. In 1997 he consecrated the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane. This sanctuary was created in gratitude for saving his life in the unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1981.