Tatra National Park is a National Park located in the Tatra Mountains in Tatra County, in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship—Małopolska region, in central-southern Poland bordering on northern Slovakia. Since 1993 the mountain range Tatras, together with the Polish part of the National Park, has been identified as a natural, biosphere reserve of UNESCO. Much before coming to Zakopane, the first few days of our stay I wanted them to be as near as possible to nature and away from the busy centre of the city. My choice proved unique, as the Tatra Chalet covered exactly what I was longing to experience.

In the morning I am up earlier than my friend Margo who is my local guy in a way and she is accompanying me once again since my arrival in Krakow, then Czestochowa and now in Zakopane. I am so excited and the first thing I do is to check out the view from the window. It is unbelievable how close we are to nature, so close to the woods! Indeed the perfect location for a hotel whose guests wish to avoid the crowds.

We more or less had an idea of how to get to the National Park and when Margo was up and after a hearty breakfast, we set off on foot for the park.  On the way, we came across many more nature lovers who were out like us to enjoy their own hike. Upon reaching the entrance gate of the National Park, we noticed that there was a queue but the ticket procedure was quick enough.

The park is relatively easily accessible to visitors, well sign-posted and managed tourist trails. Casual comfortable clothing and suitable footwear are a must. Traffic is two-way and the rocky ground at some spots is a bit slippery.

I envied in a way locals and families with young children. How I wished we had a house of our own out here in Zakopane and have the chance to be out of this immense beauty daily!  I admired the elderly who had along their young grandchildren. They seemed so well attuned and fit for hiking. For them, it could be just another day out in the woods.

Although the hike was easy and pleasant it took us a bit longer to reach the other end to the point of the Siklawa waterfall only because we made several stops on the way for photos.

Recognized as a world biosphere reserve, the park’s greatest qualities are its numerous species of plants and animals and a series of glacial lakes. On this first trip to Zakopane, I am skipping visiting any lake, something I am already counting in when I am back.

An important asset of the Tatra National Park is its numerous glacial lakes (called ponds) characterized by their exceptionally clear water. The largest of these is Morskie Oko (with an area of 34.5 hectares and a depth of 50.8m) and Wielki Staw Polski. There are also fast-flowing streams and waterfalls (the largest being Wielka Siklawa – 70m high). A major attraction is the Mickiewicz Wodogrzmoty.

As we are approaching the exit, we decided to extend our walk and we take another route only to give ourselves the opportunity to explore a bit more the surrounding area.

By the time we get back to the Tatra Chalet it was already late afternoon. We had little time to rest and get ready for a delectable dinner at the restaurant of the Tatra Chalet.

How did you like this article? Do you like to join in the next time we visit Zakopane? Comments are always welcomed.


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