Adventure Travel Abroad

Zakopane – Wonderful Tourist Trap [Kult America]

Zakopane – Wonderful Tourist Trap [Kult America]


On today’s episode of Kult America we explore Zakopane, Poland. My expectations for Zakopane were very similar to my expectations for the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty. I thought that these monuments would be so much bigger and grander than they actually were when I saw them with my own eyes So coming to the city was a little bit of a strange experience because you think about it being quaint, quiet, with very specific mountaineer architecture, and regional food, and regional dialect in Polish, but the reality what I found when I reached Zakopane was like, yes, these things existed, there was a lot of regional flavor and kind of local uniqueness, and a local charm, but it was completely overrun with tourists. Zakopane is a town that has an indigenous population of about 28000 people. Yet it’s visited by over 2,5 million tourists every year. It’s a very huge number for a town that doesn’t have a very urban style transit system so you notice that there’s not a whole lot of space in Zakopane. Sure you could visit it in the off-season, you’d have to deal with off-season kind of weather, but if you go when it’s prime time when everyone wants to go, the reality of situation is that you find yourself sitting in very tight restaurants, walking down very tight streets that are overcrowded with people who also had this vision in imagination of visiting a place that would be as romantic and quaint and moving as any other great global landmark. What did I love about visiting Zakopane? Well, the first thing is the ski jump. I didn’t actually see any skiers jumping off of this but when you climb to the top of that hill and, actually, get a prospect of what those people deal with, what those athletes deal with when they do jump, you can’t help but really respect how brave they are for attempting it because for a billion dollars I wouldn’t go down that hill, and it’s pretty cool to see a place that not only has this happening in reality but boasts it as one of their local prides when from my point of view it’s a completely insane sport, you know you can get killed ski jumping. The other thing I really really liked was the oscypek cheese. This is very very local and specific cheese made from goat milk and smoked. And the first time you try it, you notice that it’s got kind of a waxy texture when you chew it, it makes a very specific kind of squeaky sound almost in your teeth. One of the things that I found novel about Zakopane was how much activity tourist could indeed do. Though you have to struggle with the place being overcrowded by other tourists so doing those activities is a little bit off-putting, but if you wanted to visit an aqua-park or go skiing or watch some local performance, these things are all available to you, and it’s not only in the wintertime, there’s plenty to do in the summer. So my conclusion about Zakopane, it is indeed an overcrowded tourist trap like Disneyland. But I’ve never heard about a child that was disappointed in there childhood trip to Disneyland, and Zakopane has a lot of the same magical appeal. Yes, you struggle to find a place to sit down in a cafe, you have to wait in lines, but at the end of the day, the artful soul of the city wins. And I would definitely recommend that anyone head to Zakopane, check it out, spend a nice evening there, or a weekend, or a week or whatever. That was Kult America. Please like, comment, subscribe, send me your show suggestions on Twitter and Facebook. I will see you next time.


Reader Comments

  1. well zakopane is overpriced and over crouded place. Even Szklarska Poręba is better, there r not so many ppl, and u can find same amount of atractions, and culture is also a bit diffrent. There r diffrent mountains, i know that, but still, i prefer to go there instead of zakopane.

    And btw, im telling u for like 5th time now XD u should visit Gdańsk and look after its history and how it hanged in modern days.

  2. Trzeba wiedzieć kiedy jechać i gdzie jechać.W sierpniu na przykład odbywa się co roku Festiwal Folkloru Ziem Górskich,gdzie przyjeżdżają artyści z całego świata i przedstawiają kulturę folklorystyczną charakterystyczną dla swojego regionu,ponadto różne wystawy i koncerty.Jeśli ktoś chce pochodzić po Krupówkach i popatrzeć na stragany to niech idzie,dla mnie to nic ciekawego.Dla mnie ten rejon to przede wszystkim szczyty,polany i doliny.Polecam kiedyś pojechać i trochę powędrować-wtedy z pewnością odpoczniesz i zaznasz ciszy i spokoju 🙂 .Ale niestety wśród turystów są wyjątki,gdzie ludzie nie umieją zachować się na terenie Parku Narodowego,nie wspominając o biednych koniach,które wożą często tłuste dupska ludzi,którzy spokojnie mogliby dojść na własnych nogach.

  3. oglądam te filmiki ze względu na angielski 🙂 czy byłoby dla ciebie dużym problemem zamieścić transkrypcje (angielski pisany) pod filmikiem czy gdziekolwiek indziej podając link? ….oprócz treści merytorycznej zawartej w filmikach…..materiał ten byłby też atrakcyjniejszy dla uczących się angielskiego:)

  4. Byłam tam w poprzednie wakacje. Szkoda, że wyprawa nad Morskie Oko zajęła tyle czasu i nie zdążyłam zwiedzić miasta 🙁

  5. Może i Zakopane jest ok..Ale, zakwaterowanie zdecydowanie polecam w miejscowości "Murzasichle" niedaleko zakopanego a, jest tam dużoooooo ładniej i spokojniej idealne miejsce dla kogoś lubiącego piękne widoki a, do Zakopanego można udać się w każdej chwili naprawdę nie jest daleko a, zdecydowanie ładniej ciszej taniej i przyjemniej (nie, nie jestem z tej miejscowości 🙂 )

  6. Zakopane w stosunku do Szczawnicy jest przereklamowane. polecam poszukac tam (w Szczaqnicy) jakiegos pokoju, jak nastepnym razem bedziesz jechal na ferie… kto wie, moze sie spotkamy 😀

  7. Oscypek is supposed to be lamb milk not goat milk.
    Also, there is so much to see there… when you go to Zakopane you don't stay on Krupowki all day… you go to hike the mountains, see the lakes and creeks, and enjoy the nature. I do not understand people who go there and stay in the town center area and only shop and eat…

  8. Hi l like your film and how you promote my lovely and unique town but OSCYPEK is sheep milk product and have to contain minimum 60% of this milk then can be named oscypek cheese and have certificate in UE, it isn't goat cheese as you said Sir regards from UK

  9. I najważniejsze……góry dookoła, liczne szlaki górskie, Morskie Oko, Giewont, Orla Perć, Kasprowy Wierch 🙂

  10. I was there in the month of April, weather was very nice, food was excellent, and mountains and views were beutiful, what a great place to visit, I would love to go in winter time, and if you travel to Poland it is a definite must to see!!

  11. I think you need to know where to stay and eat in Zakopane, if you don't like other tourists and see most interesting places (they are mostly quiet and dont known, like Willa Koliba or Willa pod Jedlami).

  12. A good place to visit if you want to see something similar to Zakopane (the Tatra Mountains) minus all the tourists would be the Carpathian Mountains in Western Ukraine – in Bukovel (Буковель) and Yaremche (Яремче). There is an indigenous population there (the Rusyns) with their own regional dialect and distinct culture.

    Having been to Zakopane myself, I loved it because in my opinion it sort of resembled the Swiss Alps and tourists in Zakopane were mostly Polish – not the Chinese tourists you find strewn all over Switzerland (and in fact most of Western Europe) nowadays. Also it was low season when I was in Zakopane so it really did feel quite peaceful and I really enjoyed myself there; hence I don't really consider it a tourist trap.

  13. <3 Zakopane! The best place in the world, for me 🙂
    I recomend September for mountain climbing or spring – you will still have snow on Kasprowy, so you can go skiing or snowboarding and you will have great weather down the city with thousands of purple crocuses on the fields. Amazing.

  14. I have different feeling about Zakopane – this is a place, where festival never ends ! You have everything you may want – tourist crowded Krupowki restaurant street, Gubalovka mountain with many children attractions, or, Kasprowy wierch mountain with many breath taking High Tatra mountains walking trails. It is so beautiful, indeed.
    If you like some quiet place, go Poprad in Slovakia, it is not far from Zakopane.

  15. I wouldn't touch "kozi oscypek". It's not only oxymoron but there's also nothing tasty in it at all 😛
    P.S. So it's true! There are white bears walking down the street in Polish towns! 😀

  16. Zakopane is an ulcer. This city is dirty, ugly, crowded, full of greedy local inhabitants, who just want to get more money from tourists. Just pass it by and go to the Tatra Mountains.

  17. Thank you for posting this. Zakopane is somewhere I heard my parents talk about when I was young. It's the Polish equivalent of the Lake District in England but there's more activities. It's certainly on my bucket list and I'd go as much for the walking as for enjoying the place itself. Thanks again

  18. Would it be possible for those of you who perpetuate hatred actually grow up and stop it? It serves no purpose in 2017 except to continue what was done years ago and will never end unless you become adults and realise that was then this is now. It is time this was all buried and people move on.

  19. Comments below seem to start another war. Come now, If Americans can live with so many different cultures and religions (too many to name) than I am sure you Poles can cope with the different terms pertaining to "Slavic."

  20. super , those are very cool videos. I was born in Poland and live in US now and I rely enjoy your perspective on Poland

  21. Ryan, I love your hair and haircut by the way. It looks great on you. Is this style for men common in Poland? I think that men/boys like longer hair when they are younger and then when they approach their 30's and early 40's they get tired of dealing with longer hair and the decide to cut it short. Short hair in your 30's for men is usually the most flattering style for men at that age because their face is still young enough to pull it off and they are still young enough to go with a fashionable, somewhat more edgy cut. Then as you get older, I think you grow your hair longer because you get tired of having to get it cut and longer hair mitigates an aging face somewhat. This is, of course, if you still have enough hair in your 50's and 60's to pull off any kind of a look. And I am pretty sure you will. I don't think there are proportionately as many bald men in their 50's and 60's with Eastern European heritage relative to other western countries; but you would know that better than I. Slavic men tend to hang on to the hair on their head; but there are exceptions, of course. I am happy to say that I have!

  22. What is this strange music in background? Not Polish, maybe Russian, só that is not right American tourist .

  23. Byłem tam wiele razy, ale dużo bardziej wolę Tatry Słowackie. A jeżeli chodzi o nasz kraj wolę Karkonosze, zwłaszcza Karpacz. Tam jest po prostu bajkowo.

  24. I absolutely loved Zakopane. It was such a beautiful place to visit. Tourists or not who cares, it's an awesome place and the Polish people are the best

  25. For those who are interested in Polish mountains, our history and traditions, you should see this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdj29B8v38I&t=488s Ryan I think you should too 😉

  26. Ja wraz z żona jesteśmy w Zakopanem każdego lata nie tyle dla samej miejscowości co dla gór które są wspaniałym miejscem dla osób które uwielbiają kontakt z przyrodą. Sama mieścina owszem ale nie Krupówki tylko obrzeża. Kawiarnie i karczmy które są w bocznych uliczkach. Jeśli ktoś chce spotkać góralszczyznę z krwi i kości wystarczy wyjść poza główne ulice i odczuje wspaniały góralski klimat.

  27. In '94, the streets were very quaint, mostly locals and very few tourist. Locals were very friendly to us. We shared many 'piwos' together. Food was great, loved the quiet & hospitality.

  28. Its the worst tourist trap in Poland, hands down. Only two roads atm lead to the town and you will get stuck in traffic 100% even before you get there. The small mountaineer town-style climate that you are discribing at the beginning of the video was there, but 100 years ago. Now it's just absurd. Shit from China all over the place and insane amounts of people. You will not find a souvenir not made in China. Only the mountains and traditionally themed museums are worth seeing. You gotta know which trails to follow that are not crowded as hell. The mountains are really beutiful and it's the only raeson you should go there. Absolutely don't go there without someone who knows this place. I strongly advise you to find a hotel outside Zakopane and take a bus or rent a car to go in and out. If you are not lazy, that is. There you go, 100% honest advice from soneone who lived there and whos family originates from Podhale.

  29. Try to go in the summer or spring, you just made the role of another tourist, because its high season is the winter

  30. I am polish but I live in UK. Almost every year Im going to Poland in summer and every year I need to spend some days in Zakopane. My home town is arround 240km from it but still I love to go there. It's true, there is a lot of turists in summer and winter but Im going ther for hiking not walking in the town. True Zakopane and Krupowki are beatiful but mountains are the best.

  31. IMHO – Zakopane is best to visit in August/September. That is if you're more into mountain hiking rather than skiing. Absolutely love it. 10/10, will visit again.

  32. He has a "vision and imagination of visiting a place that is as romantic and quaint and moving as any other great global landmark" and yet is put off by the fact that there are TOURISTS there? Think about what you are saying! This place is as great and important as the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower as a WORLD LANDMARK. It is a bummer, for sure, but no surprise. Call something a "World Landmark" and wonder why everyone wants to go there? Better yet, put it on YouTube!! I freaking LOVE Zakopane, but I haven't been there in over 20 years, so what do I know? It could be Diznejland by now.

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