Alex Harford Photography & Travel


Tatra Mountains and Zakopane, Poland

Poland is better known for it's flat plains and rolling hills, but on the southern border with Slovakia lie the Tatra Mountains (Tatry in Polish and Slovakian). They are the highest range in the Carpathian Mountains, the highest peak on the Polish side being Rysy - partly pictured with Zarny Staw below - at 2499m (8200ft). There are plenty of marked walking trials and eight overnight shelters.

Lake Morskie Oko

Lake Morskie Oko, Tatra Mountains

The hut at Morskie Oko is accessible by road (though only official cars and horse and carts are allowed). I wouldn't recommend travelling by horse as they seemed overworked and quite thirsty. :-/ The easy access to the spectacular views at Morskie Oko explain its popularity, but venture over 200 metres away from the hut and you're likely to have the place to yourself, along with much better views of the mountains! It amazes me how unadventurous most people seem; it's only a flat walk around a lake. :-) We were moderately adventurous and climbed up to Zarny Staw Pod Rysami (the black lake below Mount Rysy) which offered the even more spectacular view above. Behind the shade of the surrounding mountains the lake was still completely frozen in May - the enveloping cold as we approached Zarny Staw was quite refreshing (for me at least).

Zarny Staw

A frozen Zarny Staw Pod Rysami (translates to Black Lake below Mount Rysy)Black and white photo of a frozen Zarny Staw Pod Rysami (Black Lake below Mount Rysy), Tatra Mountains Path beside Zarny Staw Pod RysamiPath beside Zarny Staw Pod Rysami

Lake Morskie Oko (again)

Waterfall running into Lake Morskie OkoWaterfall next to Lake Morskie Oko The popular hut at Lake Morskie OkoLake hut, Morskie Oko

Strazyska Valley, Near Zakopane

Strazyska Valley, walking from Zakopane, Tatra Mountains View from the peak of Sarnia SkalaView from Sarnia Skala, Tatra Mountains Siklawica waterfall near Zakopane, Strazyska ValleySiklawica waterfall near to Zakopane, Tatra Mountains


Zakopane is a ski-resort, at times garish, in southern Poland. I visited out of season, but there's enough in the area to fill a couple of days and it's a great base to explore part of the Tatra Mountains.

Woman blown away by 7D Cinema, or the Tatra Mountains7D Max Cinema in Zakopane Colourful arcade games and ice-cream seller in ZakopaneColourful arcade games in Zakopane Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains Zakopane, backed by forests and rolling hills - a view more associated with Poland St. Clement's wooden church, ZakopaneSt. Clement's wooden church, Zakopane

St. Clement's, Zakopane's oldest church, was built in the 1840s when the now popular ski-resort was a tiny isolated hamlet. Behind the church is an interesting graveyard.

Sunset in ZakopaneSunset in Zakopane

Photos taken with the Canon Powershot S5 IS bridge camera.

How to get to Zakopane/Tatra Mountains

The closest airport to Zakopane is in Krakow, 60 miles north. Zakopane is a 2 hour bus ride or 3 hour train ride from Krakow, both the buses and trains leave from Krakow's main train station.


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