Through a less popular winter destination than France or Italy, Poland provides skiing opportunities that are not only fully satisfactory, but also highly affordable.
The heart of the Polish Mountains lies at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, which constitute the highest part of the Carpathian mountain range. The Tatras provide not only the best-prepared but also the most-frequented ski resorts in the region. Indisputably, the most notable destination here is Zakopane, which is also known as the Gate to the Polish Tatras, or the Winter Capital of Poland.
This town has a long history and features every stage of the past century on its well-trodden streets, from old haunts of Polish intellectuals to the more recent addition of Western Society – Burger King. With views of the 2,500 metre high Tatras peaks, Zakopane is the highest altitude town in Poland. However, holidaymakers should not expect empty slopes - Zakopane receives two million (not only skiing's) visitors a year, despite only having 30,000 residents. One of the reasons for its popularity is that the resort caters for skiers of all abilities, with technical runs for experts and easier slopes for beginners, as well as cross-country ski opportunities.
Another reason for the town's popularity is its unique ambience thanks to unusual buildings, plenty of places to eat and drink and its status as a centre for Poland's mountain-dwelling culture. Accommodation options include good value traditional mountain huts and guest-houses as well as hostels and hotels