Complete Guide to Hiking Morskie Oko in Zakopane Poland

Zakopane Poland

What was once a tiny mountain village in Poland has since become a famous ski resort and hiking paradise! The week we spent this summer exploring Zakopane Poland was absolutely incredible, and far exceeded our expectations for the Polish Tatra Mountains. The most popular way to enjoy this area is by doing the Morskie Oko hike. Once you’ve walked the two hours and made it to the amazing lake, you’ll see why it’s one of the best hikes from Zakopane! If you’re looking for even better views continue on with us as we hike around Morskie Oko and up to Czarny Staw pod Rysami.

Poland Travel Inspiration

Getting to the Morskie Oko Hike from Zakopane

The start can be a little confusing especially if it’s your first time hiking in Zakopane. If you’re not going to drive yourself then there are public shuttle buses thats only job is to take hikers back and forth all day. There are several bus stops that pick up on the way to the Morskie Oko hike, but the main bus terminal of Zakopane Poland is the best place to go.

From 7am and on you’ll find dozens of buses lined up here ready to leave as soon as they’re full. Simply look for the Morskie Oko name on the sign in the front windshield and hop on! The cost is just 15 Zolty ($3.30 USD) each for the 30 minute ride, and you’ll pay the driver as you exit the bus.

Zakopane Travel Tip: Since this is considered one of the best hikes in Zakopane and is extremely popular you should try and go early. We got on the very first bus to the Morskie Oko hike and the path was already full with people. Still, this is nothing compared to the crowds that come later in the day!

Zakopane Poland Tatra Mountains

Round Trip Morskie Oko Hike Distances

  • Main Entrance to Morskie Oko: 16.2 km /10 miles
  • Walk to Morskie Oko + Circling the Lake: 18.7 km /11.6 miles
  • Walk to Morskie Oko + Circling the Lake + Czarny Staw pod Rysami: 19.7 km /12.2 miles

Morskie Oko Hike Packing List

Water: There will be water for sale once you reach Morskie Oko (2 hours of walking), so pack at least enough to get you there.

Lunch or Snacks: There is food for sale, however, we recommend packing your own lunch and having it by the water. Just remember to only take what you can carry in and carry out! There are next to no trash cans within the park.

Hand Sanitizer & Tissue:  You can find several porta-potties along the Morskie Oko trail… Enough said!

Comfortable Shoes and Athletic clothing: This is a long walk (4+ hours round trip) that at times has a slight incline. You should definitely wear athletic shoes and proper attire.

Money: The price to get into the park is only 8 Zloty, but you may want to bring some extra for the restaurant and bar overlooking the lake.

Polish Tatra Mountains Zakopane Poland

Why is Morskie Oko the Best Hike from Zakopane for Families?

With so many amazing hikes in Zakopane, how could you possibly just pick one? Well, many call the Morskie Oko hike more of a walk which makes it one of the best for families in Zakopane Poland. Typically we wouldn’t be into a main paved trail that’s referred to as a hike, but it’s cool to see how many families were on it!

We saw countless strollers and parents with younger kids that pick this one because of its ease. Also, when you get to the famous “Eye of the Sea” you’ll see it’s one of the most beautiful places in all of Poland! If you’re looking for something more challenging this walk is definitely a good way to get warmed up for the longer and more difficult trails.

Once you reach Morskie Oko there are half a dozen trails that cut right up into the mountains and off the paved path. You can extend your hike by walking around the lake, climbing up to Czarny Staw pod Rysami, or simply grab a snack and enjoy the views.

Morskie Oko Hike

Start of the Morskie Oko Hike

After you jump off the bus you’ll see a long paved pathway heading towards the Polish Tatra Mountains. It’s mostly flat and smooth with only a slight incline in the road as you get towards the end of the Morskie Oko hike. We loved the feeling of being surrounded by nature with the mountains directly ahead of us!

Don’t be afraid along the route to take the different cut ups marked for Morskie Oko into the forest. They’re not only shortcuts but beautiful pathways with multi-colored flowers. The walk there is 5 miles long and should take you a little over 2 hours.

Alternate Route: If you’re traveling with young kids or people unable to make the walk you do have the option to take a horse and carriage to Morskie Oko. We don’t recommend this form of transportation, but you should know it’s a popular way to get there.

Travel Tip: Planning your visit to Zakopane already? You can book a bed at the Morskie Oko Mountain Hut which allows you to really venture deep into the Polish Tatra Mountains on your day hikes. The only problem is that the beds often sell out a year in advance!

Morskie Oko Hike Start

Hiking the Polish Tatra Mountains

Exploring the Polish Tatra Mountains

Polish Tatra Mountains Hike

Hike Around Morskie Oko

Once you get your first look at the lake you’ll understand why so many people come to Zakopane Poland. We were absolutely blown away by the colors of the water underneath the massive mountains. It was at this moment that we knew we made the right choice to go hiking in Zakopane Poland!!

After a quick break and taking in the view, you should be ready to circle the lake. The path around Morskie Oko is made of rocks, but pretty flat for the most part. Weave your way through the trees and flowers as you take in the endless views of this beautiful place.

You may even make a few furry friends during your journey on one of the best hikes in Zakopane. On the day we went a huge deer literally walked right out into the path in front of us!

Morskie Oko

What to Pack for Hiking in Zakopane

Hike Around Morskie Oko

Deer at Morskie Oko Polish Tatra Mountains

The Climb Up Czarny Staw pod Rysami

If you’re looking for more of a challenge then it’s time to take on Czarny Staw pod Rysami! About halfway around the lake, you’ll get to an uphill path. The Czarny Staw pod Rysami hike is very steep but absolutely worth it.

It’ll be impossible not to turn around on your climb and be in awe of the views of Morskie Oko below. Take your time and enjoy it! When you get to the top you’ll find another incredible body of water.

The ponds and lakes are protected here so you won’t see any swimming or boats. However, it’s obvious that’s what keeps them so clean and the ecosystem of the Polish Tatra Mountains intact. At the top, we recommend grabbing a seat someplace where you can see both Czarny Staw pod Rysami and Morskie Oko at the same time. You’ve earned it!

→ Looking for more hikes in Zakopane? Check out our guide to hiking Kasprowy Wierch.

Nothing Familiar Polish Tatra Mountains

Polish Tatra Mountains

Czarny Staw Hike from Morskie Oko

Reward for the End of Morskie Oko

If you chose to hike up Czarny Staw pod Rysami like us you’ll probably be exhausted at this point. Yet you still have to walk back to the buses! Whether you consider it a boost or reward could be up for debate, but we think a refreshing drink may be just what you need.

Having a delicious beer is a perfect end to this part of hiking Zakopane. There’s a bar right at the Morskie Oko cabin where they sell drinks and food. We suggest grabbing a beer with berry fruit syrup before you start your long walk back to the bus.

Zakopane Travel Tip: If you didn’t pack food or still find yourself hungry, stop by the Pawilon Gastronomiczny on your way back. The restaurant has a massive grill with everything from pork chops to kielbasa!

Cheers to Hiking in Zakopane Poland

Morskie Oko Hike Restaurants

Hiking in Zakopane Poland Morskie Oko

Should You Hike Morskie Oko in Poland?

Yes! We really loved this hike for several reasons. First off, it’s awesome for families and it was refreshing to see the younger generation out enjoying nature. Also, when you get to the lake there are all kinds of hikes that range widely in fitness levels. The one thing that we can’t help but stress is to go early and try to beat the crowds. You won’t regret it!

Have you ever been hiking in Zakopane or the Polish Tatra Mountains? Let us know your favorite hike in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar
Where To Stay In Zakopane Poland

Ultra Luxury – Aries Hotel & SPA – This high-end hotel is every ski fanatic or hiker’s dream with cozy rooms and luxury cabin feel. It’s close to Zakopane’s walking street so when you’re not out exploring you can swim in the indoor pool, or hit the spa and outdoor hot tubs!

Fun Vacation – Hotel Aquarion – Zakopane is all about hiking in the summer and hitting the slopes in the winter. So what better way to relax after a long day than at a hotel connected to the town’s water park? Aquarion features modern rooms, on-site spa with Turkish baths, and is a quick walk to the hiking/ski shuttles.

Hostel Life –MTB Hostel – Just a short bus ride from town, MTB Hostel is in a large home surrounded by nature. Spacious rooms, kitchen, winter sauna, and sun terrace are all available. It’s also a great base for hiking, skiing, or mountain biking.

For more places to stay in Zakopane Poland you can explore the latest prices here!

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Morskie Oko Zakopane Poland Guide

Poland Travel Planning 

Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. Book a Chopin Concert in Old Town Warsaw, skip the line at the Wawel Castle in Krakow, or enjoy Zakopane with Hot Bath Pools

 Flights: We always find great flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Poland, there are many beautiful cities and mountain towns to experience. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
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12 Comments

  1. Patricia Astrid Imhof
    February 14, 2024 / 3:42 pm

    Looks very nice 🙂

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      February 14, 2024 / 4:11 pm

      Such a beautiful hike in Poland!

  2. Walter Stanek
    August 21, 2023 / 6:25 am

    I hiked from the of parking lot area to Morskie Oko.. We parked the car at the base and were on the trial by about 7:30am. At this time, on a Saturday, the trail was busy but not overcrowded. I’m 71 and in reasonably good shape. I was able to maintain a good pace throughout the hike to the lake but I had to stop to take some pics (and rest a bit). The scenery is so beautiful!
    On the way up I used the five stone trails. The steps can be difficult but it probably cut off about a mile of walking on the paved trail.
    When we got to the top, we took the 3km hike around the lake. Very few people appear to do this because we found we were by ourselves several times.
    WE got back to the chalet, got some eggs with kielbasa with some coffee then started the walk down the trail. By this time it had become much busier and we saw many more carts going up and down. The trails was much, much busier. I’m glad I started early.
    Overall it took about 5 hours and we walked 21.6km.
    As a descendant of “Gorals”, this was on my bucket list. This was a great hike, even though on a paved road, and an experience I will never forget.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      August 21, 2023 / 6:27 am

      So glad you enjoyed it Walter! Thank you so much for sharing your experience 😀

  3. Chuck Pelshaw
    May 18, 2023 / 8:48 pm

    Going to Zakopane and not doing Morskie Oko – you will miss the best part! I’ve done it twice in my late forties/ early fifties… but admit I did take the carriage up/ down saving my energy to fo the Czarny Staw climb… which is tiring!! Another great thing is the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      May 19, 2023 / 3:34 am

      We loved Kasprowry Wierch as well! Zakopane is amazing (-:

  4. Lily
    January 31, 2023 / 1:30 pm

    I’m traveling to Poland this year and this will definitely be on my chek list. Thanks for sharing

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      January 31, 2023 / 10:15 pm

      Of course! Enjoy Poland (-:

  5. Radhika
    August 14, 2022 / 11:11 am

    Hi, just giving an update for the prices (August 2022): The bus is now 15 zloty one way, the entry to the park 8 and the horse carriage (not recommended tho) is 50 for the way down!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      August 14, 2022 / 11:54 am

      Thank you for the update! We can’t wait for our next visit

  6. Lurdes MILU Cannataro
    August 21, 2019 / 9:03 pm

    Wow, wow, wow.who knew?
    What a beautiful world we live in
    Thanks guys for opening our awareness, and guidance.
    Love, peace, and happy travels

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      August 23, 2019 / 9:39 am

      It is such a beautiful world! Thank you for the kind words and safe travels to you too!

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