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Tatra mountains are the mountain range that forms the natural border of Poland and Slovakia, the most popular hiking destination in Poland. In summer and in winter, the mountains attract many hikers from both domestic and overseas.

This is the blog about my experience of the Tatra mountains in February.


Zakopane is a resort town located at the base of the Tatra mountains. The town offers a breathtaking view of the mountains. Public transportation is well established, both inwards and outwards. I was quite surprised to see some shopping malls and apparel stores on the main street.

Seeing hospitals and cell phone service providers shop, I could imagine moving here but the rent seems a little bit costly compared to other major towns in Poland.

Also, Zakopane is the town where you can see the taste of Gorals aka "mountain people"

You might witness their distinctive dialect, traditional clothing, music and dance during your visit here.

Walking around Zakopane made me smile as the town was filled with wooden houses.


I stayed in an Airbnb located on the outskirts. A bit far from the central bus station, restaurants or supermarkets but I really liked how close to trailheads and the quiet environment.

I noticed the fridge in the communal kitchen had many travel magnets of various destinations in Poland and most of them were somewhere near the sea.

I told the airbnb owner that I am so jealous of her living in the quiet environment near the mountains.

She shrugged and explained that she is more fan of the sea.

I was reminded that people always long for what they don't have.

Reflecting on my own experience, I longed for life in NZ when I lived in Japan and once I got used to life in NZ, I started wanting the excitement of the urban life in Japan.

I suppose I might be like her once I move to Zakopane?

SWINICA (2,301m)

  • 22.5km

  • 1,462m elevation gain.

  • 7hours

 Great hike even in winter. Many people at Kasporwy Wierch but the trail itself wasn't crowded. After Kasporway Wierch, you walk on the ridge. Some parts are quite narrow and steep. We couldn't go up to Swinica peak as we didn't have snow axe and crampons, yet the view of Swinica was amazing.

  • 21.87km

  • 803m elavation gain

  • 5hours57min

Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy is the lake surrounded by mountains. It is frozen in the wintertime so you can walk on it.

The elevation gain is mild so not so intense walk. It was quite packed with hikers as some visitors start hiking from the youth hostel.

  • 10.80km

  • 783m elevation gain

  • 3hours16min

we wanted to go Giewont initially but the trail was closed so ended up going to Sarnia Skala instead. However, Sarnia Skala also had a great view of the mountains and the town of Zakopane.

The trail goes a few reps up and down so a little challenging, especially with snow and ice.

Comparatively shorter hike.


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