Set in the Tatra Mountains about 52 mi/85 km south of Krakow, Zakopane, Poland, is a year-round ski resort renowned for its folklore, hiking, skiing and architecture.
Near the center of Zakopane is the funicular to Mount Gubalowka. The top offers spectacular views over the Tatra range—and the beginning of several walking trails. The walk leading to the funicular passes several stalls where locals sell Tatra handicrafts.
Be sure to see other nearby towns and villages in the Tatras, where people live much as they have for centuries. If you have time to visit only one, go to the valley of Dolina Chocholowska, in a lovely mountain setting, where you'll see typical log houses built without nails.
The countryside offers waterfalls, lakes (such as Morskie Oko Lake), caves, forests, rivers and the Beskidy Mountain towns of Orawka and Sucha Beskidzka. If you get the opportunity, take a raft trip through the Dunajec River Gorge in Pieniny National Park. After the raft trip, visit Poland's most picturesque mountain castle at Niedzica, called the Dunajec Castle. Currently, it is a museum preserved by the Association of Art Historians.
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