You can book a private shuttle from Krakow airport to Zakopane on the website: http://www.krakowzakopanetransfer.com
On the website is pricing and easy online booking system.
You can also book your transfer from Krakow Airport to Bialka Tatrzanska and Bukowina Tatrzanska.
The most popular way to get to Zakopane is road from Cracow called Zakopianka. It is 102 km long and it takes approximately 1,5-2 hours to travel it by car. It's first part is an international road number 7 and second part a national road number 47. In the rush hours and on holidays you may stuck in a traffic jam at the entrance to Zakopane or Cracow.
From Katowice the best way to get to Zakopane is to go to Cracow and then take Zakopianka. There is also another possibility via Bielsko Biała - Korbielów - Slovakia - Chochołów. You can try this when you want to avoid traffic jam on Zakopianka.
From eastern part of Poland you can go via Nowy Sącz to Nowy Targ and then take Zakopianka to Zakopane.
There is also a possibility to get to Zakopane from Slovakia. There are 3 main car border crossings close to Zakopane:
- Łysa Polana - Javorina,
- Chochołów - Sucha Hora,
- Jurgów - Podspady,
- Chyżne - Trsténa.
In the Tatra Mountains also exist the pedestrian border crossings. The state border crossing within the Tatra National Park may only be crossed in a places where the tourists trails of the Polish and Slovak National Park meet, i.a.:
- Kasprowy Wierch,
1. By train:
- departs from Warsaw Main Station or East Station, arrives at Zakopane train station
- duration: 6,5 - 10 h
- you can check the timetable here
2. By bus:
- 3 times a day, one night bus, customized for passengers with disabilities, wi-fi, air-conditioning, toilet
- duration: 7,5 h
- tickets - reservation online
- departs from Warszawa Metro Wilanowska; arrives in the center of Zakopane
- 1 or 2 times a day, a night bus, wi-fi
- departs from West Bus Station, Warsaw; arrives at bus station in Zakopane
The express train from Warsaw (6,5 h) is the most convenient way to get to Zakopane, but it is also the most expensive (130 PLN). 'Polski Bus' is a high standard bus, not very expensive (60 PLN) and trip duration is quite short.
1. By train:
- several times a day
- departs from Cracow Main Station
- duration: 3 1/4 - 4 h
2. By bus:
- busses depart 3-4 times per hour between 4 AM and 10 PM
- departs from Regional Bus Station in Cracow, arrives at bus station in Zakopane
- the best are direct busses like: 'Szwagropol', 'Trans Kos', 'Majer'
- tickets: you can buy at the driver. If you plan to go on friday afternoon or on the beggining of holidays in Poland, it is better to buy tickets earlier.
- ticket price: 20 PLN
The best way to get from Cracow to Zakopane is by bus - it is faster and cheaper.
Find more on my blog - , useful links and more info how to travel from Katowice and from Slovakia.
While plentiful taxis will whisk you to just about anywhere, they're a bad value when you consider the availability of mini-buses. While there are no public local buses, private mini-buses abound. Most depart from the tourist office across the street from the long-haul bus station, though many will also depart from the parking area directly in front of the station. Within Zakopane, there are a great number of marked mini-bus stops: simply determine which stop is closest to your desired destination, then tell (or write on a slip of paper and show) the driver the stop you wish to travel to. Conversely, you can wait at a marked stop, and it should be a matter of minutes before a mini-bus shows up. Cost for transport within Zakopane is between Zl 1.50 and Zl 3.
Many mini-buses will also take you to various villages outside Zakopane (e.g., Kuznice). These short trips will cost between Zl 3 and Zl 5 per person one-way. Some mini-buses will also travel to destinations in Slovakia; these obviously will cost more.
To and back Krakow-Zakopane way I made with bus service. Buses are quite comfortable and not expensive to use whem at all (about 11 zloty one way). I catched them in Krakow bus station - very frequent schedule. Zakopane has its own bus station as well, but there are one street, where buses stand just like that, not at bus station (maybe because of different bus companies).
On my bus trip back to Krakow I met one nun. We found what we are from Baltic states - she was from Latvia, but being in Zakopane Catholic monastery. On the bus trip she wrote me a wish in Latvian language on religious thematic postcard, was quite fun trying to talk in Latvian as well:)
Because of the mountainous terrain between Krakow and Zakopane, trains are extremely slow; despite the relatively short distance, the trip will take between 4 and 6 hours. Still, if you have your heart set on riding the rails, there are several daily direct trains to Zakopane. On the other hand, if you want to go directly from Warsaw to Zakopane, there is one daily overnight train, which can be a practical option.
To get from Krakow to Zakopane via public transportation, you have the choice of the train or bus. Counterintuitively, the bus is actually faster; the train can take 4-6 hours. However, note that construction on the main road between Krakow and Zakopane can cause significant delays; while the scheduled travel time is 2 hours, allow for at least 3 hours to get to your destination.
Even among the buses, you have a number of choices. In addition to the public bus, there are several private buses, all departing and arriving at the same bus stations on either end. All buses cost the same (Zl 18 per person one-way); the only difference is the private buses are a bit more comfortable. However, if you can catch the "express" public bus, it can save you roughly 20 minutes travel time. My advice is to show up at the bus station and grab the first bus departing for your desired destination. You can buy your ticket in the station (or ticket office for the private buses), or pay cash to the driver before departure.
A very good way of travelling around Zakopane is using minibuses or buses. Minibuses go almost everywhere for a reasonable price and can stop almost everything (not only at bus stops) . Their first stop is in front of the main bus station in Zakopane. A very good thing about them is that if you are in a bigger group you can ask the driver to pick you up.
The best way to get to Zakopane (from Krakow for instance) is by bus as it takes less time than by train. There are a few bus companies but I would recommend SZWAGROPOL - a bit cheaper than PKS , reliable and quite fast.
For quick access to the Tatras, taking the cable car at Kuznice, 3km south of Zakopane, is a good option. It might be worth reserving tickets the day before if possible, otherwise you'll probably have to queue. As soon as we arrived in Zakopane, we tried reserving tickets at the tourist office for the following day but they were all sold out.
We arrived at Kuznice the next morning at about 9a, and had to queue for 30 minutes for the cable car. It cost us 20 Zl (about 7.50 Euro) each for a single trip. The scenery was stunning on the first half of the journey. We could see Zakopane behind us, beautiful fir trees below us and the peaks of the Tatras in the distance.
Halfway up we left our car and joined another for the ascent to the summit. Most of this journey was through the clouds unfortunately. While we could no longer appreciate the view it was still quite fun to be travelling through the clouds - though rather worrying for our planned hiking. We could only see the about 5 metres of cable car lines behind us and nothing in front of us. Everything else was white. Even the ground below us was hidden. So much for fantastic views from the top.
There's a restaurant, shop and other facilities in the cable car station at the top of Kasprowy Wierch.
There are regular connections from Zakopane to other towns in the region and to further afield. After Zakopane, our next destination was Tatranska Lomnica in the Slovakian High Tatras. We left all our planning until the last minute when we arrived at the bus station. Our first idea was to get a bus to Lysa Polana, the border crossing, and then catch a bus on the Slovakian side.
However, the nice girl at the tourist information in the bus station in Zakopane advised us to wait an hour and catch the bus to Poprad which stopped at Tatranska Lomnica. There are only two of these buses a day (at 7.10 and 13:05) so we were lucky we had timed it right. I was glad we skipped Lysa Polana as it didn't look like the nicest place, especially in the heavy rain, and we would probably have had to wait a while for an onward connection.
There are 3 bus companies which travel between Krakow and Zakopane, and each one makes several journeys a day. All leave from the bus station in Krakow, a few minutes walk north of the train station.
We travelled with Trans Frej as they had the next scheduled bus when we got to the station. It cost us 15 Zloty each and the bus was nowhere near full so we had a two seater each. The joureny took just under two hours and there was some nice scenery along the way especially as we got closer to Zakopane in the Podhale region.
The bus station in Zakopane is at the eastern end of ul Kosciuszki, near the train station and about 5 minutes walk from the centre of town.
Mount Gubalowka, overlooking the town of Zakopane, is a great place to visit. There are nice views of the town and also of the High Tatras beyond it. It's a fairly straightforward climb to the 1120m summit though you can save time (and energy) by taking the funicular, which departs regularly from the foot of the hill.
It takes about 10 minutes to get to the top and there are nice views of Zakopane during the journey. We spent 16 Zl for two single tickets up to Gubalowka and walked back down. To get to the funicular station walk south on the main street, Krupowki, and then continue on through the market for about 5 minutes.
There are fairly frequent buses to Polana Palenica, close to the popular Morskie Oro Lake in the High Tatras. We ended our hike in the Tatras at Polana Palinaca, though we didn't get a chance to see the lake, unfortunately.
The bus between Zakopane and Polana Palenaca costs 6 Zl and it takes a fair while to get there - it seemed to go by a very circuitous route. We didn't mind so much as we were completely exhausted after all the hiking.
It's also worth pointing out that it's a 9km walk from Palenica to the Morskie Oro lake. The only alternative is to take a horse drawn carriage up though I believe this is quite expensive.
Be careful to check bus times from places where hikes begin/end, especially if the hike ends about 20 miles by road from Zakopane (as the one through the Valley of the 5 lakes does). We missed the last bus (at about 6 pm), and had to hitchhike back into town. I was lucky to be with Agnieszka (who's polish), as she asked to other hikers for a lift... I dont think there were any other english speakers anywhere near...
I suppose most tourists going to Zakopane go from Krakow -- the bus is the best bet and should take about 2 hours although at weekends and peak times it could take much longer -- services are frequent both by PKS (Polish state buses) and independent companies.
The bus station (Dworzec Autobusowy PKS) is next to the train station at the end of Kosciuszki -- to get to the centre from the bus station, come out of the main entrance and turn to your right -- it's about a 10 minute walk down the main road.
In my photo, the bus station is at the back, behind the trees -- directly opposite, over the road, are the minibuses that take you to the various tourist destinations. The tourist office is behind the minibuses, just to the left of where I took this photo from.