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There are certain places that are best visited during a certain season of the year and Poland happens to be one of those countries that just seems right in Winter. While I have not yet been to Poland in the warmer months (that is happening next year), my experiences of a Polish winter leave nothing but fond memories. One of those memories was feeling like we were at the top of the world on top of Kasprowy Wierch mountain.
We took so many photographs on top of Kasprowy Wierch mountain that I have split them up into two posts so there isn’t a photo overload. These photos were mostly taken during the Kasprowy Wierch cable car ride to give you an idea of some of the impressive scenery you will see on your way up.
Kasprowy Wierch mountain is situated near Zakopane Poland, around an hour from Krakow. Zakopane is popular for its impressive backdrop of Tatra Mountains, and Kasprowy Wierch is one of the highest peaks in the area, situated in the western section of the Tatra Mountains.
Kasprowy Wierch sits on the border of Poland and Slovakia, and on really fine days it is possible to cross the border to Slovakia. As there are no restrictions crossing the Slovakian boarder from Poland, this is perfectly legal!
Kasprowy Wierch is one of the most popular skiing locations in Poland and within the Tatra Mountain region. Not only this, but also popular for other seasonal snow such as snowboarding, hiking etc. For us, this wasn’t really appealing since it turns out i’m hopeless at snowboarding and yet to try skiing. We were in it just for the amazing views.
If you are keen for skiing, you can travel to the top via the Kasprowy Wierch ski lift, to each of the slopes. There are two main slopes.
Ski Kasprowy Wierch Mountain
Gasienicowa slope is 1.400 metres long with an approximately 400m elevation difference. The 4 person chair-lift takes 2400 people per hour and it takes only 8 minutes to get to the top.
Goryczkowa slope is about 2.000 metres long with an approximately 600m elevation difference. The two-person chair-lift takes 730 people per hour and it takes 15 minutes to get to the top.
The chair lifts are a much faster option to reach the top of Kasprowy Wierch mountain but probably not the ideal option if you aren’t planning to ski.
Alternatively, access to the top is via the Kasprowy Wierch cable car, which takes you on a scenic trip to the top in about 12 minutes. The only problem is during peak snow season, this can be an incredibly long wait to get on the Kasprowy Wierch cable car.
We waited pretty close to 2 hours on this day. And let me tell you, standing still in freezing weather is horrible! Luckily someone purchased cups of hot soup to warm us up a little during the wait once we were closer to the front of the line.
Apparently, it takes around 3 hours to walk up the top but we weren’t feeling that energetic and didn’t expect the wait to be so long. What makes it interesting is the Kasprowy Wierch cable car is one of the oldest in the world. Don’t worry… it has been upgraded and is extremely safe!
Thankfully it was well worth the wait. The Tatra Mountains in Poland (and Slovakia) are breathtaking. Especially in winter. This is one thing you must-do if you are in Zakopane for a holiday, although hopefully, your wait won’t be so bad.
We went the top of Kasprowy Wierch mountain 2 days before Christmas and it was still crazy busy. It was one of the coldest days that we happened to be in Zakopane also.
Kasprowy Wierch mountain is elevated at 1,987m. Massive! Hence the fantastic views from the top on a clear day.
This also means it is best for advanced skiing and that isn’t surprising. From what we saw of the slopes, they are extremely steep in places and I wouldn’t be game to try (but I can’t ski).
Of all the places we have visited in the world so far, very few compare to the breathtaking scenery of snow capped Tatra Mountains. Before our trip to Poland in 2008, I had never even seen snow, let alone been surrounded in the bright white of snow capped mountains. It really is something else.
If you read our previous post, you would know it was an extremely busy period during the skiing season so we stood in line for 2 hours just to go up.
This also meant there was apparently a limit of 2 hours for time spent on top of the mountain, to allow for other people to have the opportunity to visit too, without overloading the cable car… at least I think that was the reason.
The views were spectacular and it really did feel like we were in a whole new world. So much bright white and it was just glorious… and freezing!
We walked up different parts of the mountain to check out the views, and as you can see, the photos give you just some indication of how majestic it is. So high up in the air!
Cuddling helps with the not freezing your butt off when visiting the Tatra Mountains in winter… trust me!
Just seeing this image gives you a bit of an idea how popular it was on the day we visited. People visiting for the view, for the skiing or snowboarding, to go hiking up the side. Or a number of other reasons. It was hustle and bustle.
But it sure was freezing so for the second half of our visit, us 4 girls on the trip went into the tourist centre where there was a packed food court and warmth.
We enjoyed a delicious wood-fired pizza between us, while the boys walked up one of the highest peaks for some even better views and photos. Most of these photos are the credit of my husband since I needed to fill my stomach and defrost! ha
However it really was something memorable and I would gladly visit again and freeze my butt off for 2 hours just waiting in line. Totally worth it. And it has some pretty crazy advanced ski tracks down the side of the mountain too for the more adventurous person!
Poland really is a glorious country to visit, and Kasprowy Wierch is just one of the many reasons to visit. The Tatra Mountains are well worth seeing in person, especially in their snow-capped winter state!
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Kasprowy Wierch mountain can be accessed from Kuznice, which is in the upper part of Zakopane Poland. Tickets for the cable car can not be purchased in advance and all ticket holders must be present at the ticket office at the time of purchase. The Kasprowy Wierch cable car takes around 10 minutes to ascend to the top, with a stop in the middle to switch cable cars at Myślenickie Turnie.
Check the website before your visit to confirm if the cable cars and ski lifts are operational as weather can impact on their functionality.