A Capital of Highlanders' Culture
Zakopane is the most famous Polish mountain resort, winter sports center and the capital of still-alive highlanders' culture. The wild beauty of the country around Zakopane, the clear mountains streams, the immense forest and most of all the breathtaking landscapes of the Tatra Mountains will leave you enchanted forever. Like nowhere else you can admire the route of wooden architecture, the art of glass painting, take a funicular up to Gubałowka Hill or unique rafting down the picturesque Dunajec river. Zakopane is filled with music that was even incorporated into famous Polish operas, with folk art, colofrul highlanders' costumes and delicious highlanders' cuisine that can be experienced also in every corner to the pulsating town.
Wooden Architecture Style
The wooden architecture route leads you through the highly interesting historic wooden buildings: Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches, tall bell-towers, Old Polish manor and detached houses , heritage parks, all of which are considered invaluable legacy of folk culture that stood the test of time. Many of the houses have retained their historical character, and more than a dozen of them, dating mainly from the second half of the 19th century, are buildings featuring on the heritage list. In Zakopane you can admire a fine examples of wooden architecture as well as highlanders' wooden art
The Charm of Zakopane
In Zakopane you will see a Romanesque parish church, which looks as though it had been imported from a completely different culture. It was built at the end of the 19th century. Walk along Zakopane to see the Villa Pod Jedlami, another splendid house in the Zakopianski style and finally the Jaszczurowka Chapel all carved in wood. Take a funicular to Gubalowka Mountain to admire the excellent view over the Tatras. You can also take a horse carriage ride in the beautiful valley of Dolina Koscieliska to see the beautiful panorama of Polish mountains.
Visit the Orawskie Ethnographic Park to have a chance to participate in some interesting art-works. You will see the presentation of painting on the glass and even try to paint on your own. See the process of making and baking a bread. After these “lessons” we invite you to impressive gallery of glass painting. Meet with the local artist Mr. Stanislaw Wyrtel. He has an impressive collection of his paintings that you will see in his private gallery.
You will also have a chance to listen to a short lecture about the method of painting on the glass.
From Generation to Generation
Take a breath-taking ride by horse carriages through the beautiful highlander’s panorama route to the local highlander’s inn. Learn to sing and dance typical highlander’s songs and dances lead by the Highlanders' folk ensemble. You will also see a presentation of regional dresses and costumes, unique musical instruments still used by highlanders' who are much devoted to their traditions and cultivate it from one generation to another.
The base for traditional highlander cooking are cabbage and potatoes. Making sauerkraut is a traditional local custom with every house producing at least several barrels ready for the winter months. You can taste regional sauerkraut soup, kwasnica. Highlanders are best known for their smoked sheepcheese, oscypek, the secret of the recipe passed from one generation to the next. Worth tasting is the local lamb meat. We recommend roasted mutton or mutton cutlet with sheepcheese, kotlet barani. For tired travellers a highlander-tea (with vodka) and sliwowica lacka - strong plum brandy will be served. During dinner highlanders’ folk dances and songs are the highlights of the day.
Through the Pieniny Gorge
A unique mountain range stretches north-east of the Tatras: limestone rocks, microclimate and a wide variety of flora and fauna, are the characteristic features of these mountains. Rafting down the Dunajec river through the Pieniny Gorge on highlanders' raft, is believed to be one of the greatest attractions of Poland. While on a raft navigated by two highlanders, you can admire one of the most beautiful river gorges in Europe.