Zakopane’s Most Famous Trail – Hiking to Lake Morskie Oko

Hiking to lake Morskie Oko was our main goal behind the trip from Krakow to Zakopane! Morskie Oko is a large beautiful lake surrounded by the Tatra mountains, and surprisingly enough the largest one as well. These chain of mountains serve as a beautiful natural border between Poland and Slovakia.

A direct translation to the name would be “The eye of the sea”. This is because from a height, it is seen as a small sea enclosed by mountains. Located at 4,577ft above sea level, the lake is said to change colours throughout the year, while being completely frozen in the winter months.

Hiking to lake morskie oko

How Difficult is it?

We read quite a lot of reviews from people who had previously done it, some of them for more than once. Believe me, 99% of them were positive and so encouraging. So, we automatically went for the hike instead of the carriages, without doing any further research. At the same time, we had never experienced snow before. So, we weren’t prepared, at all!

We may be casual walkers but we are no hikers. So, little did we know that the depth of snow found on the way up was going to cover our feet. It was actually like walking on a sandy beach, just deeper and MUCH colder! What encouraged us the most was that along the way, we could see people of every age hiking all the way up, from little kids to elderlies. Don’t let this misguide you to thinking getting there is easy!

Hiking to lake morskie oko

Should You Attempt Hiking To Lake Morskie Oko?

Yes! DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER MISSING IT! However, we strongly encourage you to be fully prepared for it. Besides fleecy winter clothes, two of the most important things to take on with you are waterproof hiking boots and a pair of trekking poles. Also, prepare yourself with snacks and water for along the way as it took us almost 4 hours to complete the trail.

Getting to the starting point of the hike is an adventure itself. If you don’t have your own car, getting there by minibus is your only option. It costs around €3 per journey. You’ll need to keep an eye out for a van having a Morskie Oko sign on the windshield and hailing it as if hailing a yellow cab. The best spot to do so would be the road between the Bus Terminal and Zakopiański Bar. It’s a 30-minute journey, and for the last 10 minutes, the driver will drift around each and every corner on the hill as you’re climbing the way to Palenica Bialczanska. It’s so fun!

Hiking to Lake Morskie Oko: From The Starting Point

From Palenica Bialczanska (the starting point), you have two options:

1. Hiking to Lake Morskie Oko all the way up

2. Riding a horse carriage. It costs around €10 per person, but we felt very sorry for them as they have to carry six people or so along with the carriage up that steep hill!

Prior to going, we had heard about how they mistreat and abuse the carriage horses and that is most definitely honest. We could see them with our eyes struggling to climb up the trail carrying that load, therefore felt even happier with our decision to physically climb the trail!

Although we regret to this day how much unprepared we were considering it was the middle of February, it was one of the most beautiful adventures we’ve endured so far but it would have been much easier with a proper waterproof hiking boot.

Hiking to lake morskie oko

One can find a small café at the horses resting place where you can snack on some well-deserved food. Then, it’s just a 15-minute walk to reach the end of your journey. The scenery up there was 100% worth it. It was actually A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!


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