Lines for the Kasprowy Wierch gondola can be really long! While in line, you may be approched by random groups of people offering to sell you their tickets! DON'T BUY IT! They usualy work in pairs, often times innocent looking couples, and the scheme works like this. They'll walk up to you and offer you their ticket and say if you buy it, you can go up to the counter and cash it, and then you'll only have to wait 15 minutes for the gondola. They'll sell you a bad ticket, and while you're going up to the counter, they'll dissapear with your money! These are con artists! Don't fall for their scheme! Just be patient and wait in line. They'll most likely be speaking in Polish, and foreigners are the easiest targets. So just ignore anyone offering to sell you tickets, and just wait in line.
This hostel is the worst Hostel I have ever been to. In the evening of the second night I stayed there one guy who later turned out to be the owner of the place came up to me when I was having tea, and offered me cannabis. I said “no thanks”, and he said “are you sure”, and I said “really, no thanks”. He got quite angry, saying I was “being rude, and ruining the atmosphere here” and that “going to a hostel is all about socialising and making friends, not sitting there being miserable”. I just walked away.
Later that night I was trying to sleep, when another drunken guest came in to the room, and shouted at the top of his voice for ages. I told him to be quiet, but he shouted even more, and started swearing at me. We had a loud argument, and eventually, I walked out of the room to complain to the staff, but found the members gathered near the door. Before I could say anything, one of them started pushing me, and two others jumped on me and wrestled me to the ground. I was punched 4 times in the face, throttled, and kicked. When they let me get back up they screamed at me to get out of the hostel. I asked why they were did that. They said, after hurling abuse at me, that it was because “I was attacking a guest”. When I pointed out I was walking away from him at the time, they just swore at me and called a private security firm. They also conveniently forgot about the drug incident earlier in the day calling me “mentally ill”, and “a liar that makes things up for no reason” They did refund the remaining nights stay, called another hostel, and paid for my taxi to it, but then they told me that “because we have been so good to you, you should not take this further”. I went straight to the police once I got settled in my new Hostel. But the police spoke very limited English, and I found it impossible to get my point across. I eventually gave up and took a bus out of Zakopane.
This could happen to anybody else. Avoid this place for your own safety
If you plan a visit to Zakopane during public holidays or so called "long weekends" you should take into consideration some problems with reaching Krakow at the time you wish, because of horrible traffic jams on the road to Krakow. If you travel by train - the tip is not for you. But if by car or bus you'd rather go earlier or (even better) a day later, because Zakopane has a bad road connection (the road is narrow and winding) with Krakow and you may find yourself get stuck somewhere and you may miss your train or flight.
Myself & Agnieszka went hiking late October, just about the time it starts to get pretty cold in Poland. As such, there was a fair bit of snow lying around, adding to the already amazing scenery. What we didn't realise was that with the snow, logically, comes Ice.
Attempting to cross a slab of rock (sloping down towards a near cliff-like precipice), which is covered in ice, and only offers a single chain for support, is not terribly fun. If it hadn't been for that single chain though, i would probably have ended up all the way back down the mountian, after i slipped on the ice.
And in this case, i really dont think it makes much of a difference if you're wearing sneakers, hiking boots, or ice-skates...
If your'e planning on hiking in the Tatra's, take hiking boots, as opposed to Sneakers. I wore sneakers, and it made life rather difficult. For the less strenuous hikes, for example to kasprowy Wierch, sneakers are fine. but if you want to climb one of the peaks, like Swinica, use boots.
This is really just a common sense tip. There is no need to feel unsafe in Zakopane or in the mountains, but you should always use your head. Don't over exert yourself and be a little extra cautious when hiking alone. A slight misstep could cause a twisted ankle or another injury that would mean trouble if you're caught out by yourself.
When hiking in the higher altitudes of the Tatras, don't forget to use sunscreen, particularly on a sunny day. We saw a few unpleasant looking cases of sunburn among our fellow hikers. Also, it is definitely colder up in the mountains compared to the town below, so bring a layer or two of extra clothes for warmth.
It is always a little bit risky to go in the mountains, especially if people overestimate themselves. So PLEASE look for the tips of the local mountain rescue service and consider well their warnings! It's not only danger for your life, but also for the rescuer who -hopefully not - have to pick you up if you are hurt.
If you see the sign: 'Lawiny' then beware --
it means avalanches -- in May 2005 there was evidence of recent avalanches -- swathes of trees flattened by the onrushing snow.
My photo was taken en route to Morski Oko.
I guess it is to do with the height of the town but we stayed here at the end of May and you have to be prepared for rain at some time most days. (Sometimes very heavy) But it never lasts for very long!!!
The weather in Tatra Mountains is very changeable, in very short time it can change from sunny to rainy and foggy day. If you are in the mountain and you see dark clouds on the sky it'd be better and safer to go back or to the nearest shelter-house.
Beware the long queues for the ski lift in high season. Zakopane can be extremely crowded in winter, try going to a smaller resort nearby.
Although many would think that common sense would dictate not to touch or eat any wild mushrooms, especially those RED in color, one would be surprised at the things I have heard. Just don't.