There are many dedicated companies offering specific ski orientated activities including snowboarding and Poland’s favourite winter sport of ski-jumping which is extremely exhilarating to watch as well. The ski-jumpers hurtle down a slide track on a steep hill then lunge into the air and travel, fly or jump over 130m at times. You may remember Eddie The Eagle from Cheltenham, UK who competed in the Winter Olympics, he became such a legend that a film was made in 2016 about his unusual life as the only ever British ski-jumper much in the same way as the Jamaican bobsleigh team that hit the headlines.
Zakopane which is just over an hour drive from Krakow is a hugely popular ski and resort area for both the Polish and tourists. The whole area has everything you could possibly wish for from adventure log cabins to 5 star hotels, well- being spa centres to après ski nightclubs plus every conceivable type of ski, bob, sled and jump. This town is also a popular sport destination for training camps, as there is a quality Olympic Preparation Center there, which caters for swimmers, football players, ski jumpers, and even rugby – you name it (btw- Poland’s most famous rugby festival– the KRF- takes place in Krakow which is only 110km from Zakopane ).
Myślenice is situated between Krakow and Zakopane, a favourite place for locals to ride the pistes after work, so to speak as the town does not have a train station which makes it less popular with tourist accessibility although ski tour operators will provide transfer services.
Szczyrk again within a comfortable distance from Krakow to spend a day skiing some impressive ski slopes. The Polish Winter Olympic competitors use the Szczyrk facilities for upcoming competition preparation especially the ski-jumpers.
All of the above places are easily reached from Krakow to enjoy a full day of skiing activity, all required equipment and clothing can be hired, ski lessons with qualified instructors for all levels and plenty of hotels and B&Bs should you wish to remain overnight or longer.
One particular activity that is available in Krakow is snowmobiling, pass a few hours in the Ojcow National Park on the “skutery” or snow scooters with a pillion passenger and take it in turns driving but only if you are holders of valid driving licenses. Zakopane has an extensive snowmobile course that runs through the Tatra Mountain range as does the Szczyrk track. The snow scooter agents offer a full service with return transfers, campfire plus grilled food and a splendid day of riding these powerful snowmobiles. If you are interested in booking a group tour for and your friends to any of the mentioned destinations you can check this link: https://partykrakow.co.uk/krakow-stag-do-activities/snowmobiling-stag-do-activities (although it says the company caters for stag parties in Krakow, it obviously organises trips for any organised groups, and not only stags)
Husky Sled Ride, If you have always wanted to try the exciting husky sled then you must go to Witow which is very close to Zakopane. The adventure and thrill of being on a sled pulled by huskies is amazing and you may be invited to actually lead or drive the dogs on the course but pay attention as you could end up in Slovakia if you give the wrong order to the dogs as Witow is close to the border. This town also has plenty of winter tourism attractions just like the places mentioned above.
Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride, Again in the Tatra Mountains and near Witow and Zakopane the Chocholowska Valley which is the largest one in the region. The scenic ride covers more than 10Km in the valley which is famous for it natural wild crocus plants when the winter snow clears and highlander oscypek cheese making huts called Blaszyński chata. There is also a purpose built railway to use during the warmer months. The sleigh ride is also available in the Ojcow National Park in the vicinity Krakow’s city limits..
Back in Krakow the magnificent Christmas Market on the main square, Rynek, in the Old Town. Here you find all the cheer and festive fun of the yuletide season with rows of stalls offering hot mulled wine or beer, pierogi, pulled pork and artisan goods that include souvenirs, sheepskin gloves and coats plus handmade Christmas decorations and the Szopki or Cribs. The Szopki tradition dates back to Medieval times and a competition for the best Szopki is held too. The Krakow Christmas Market attracts thousands of visitors and runs from the end of November until the early days of the new year.
Ice Skating Rinks, There are usually two rinks to visit with the larger one situated in Nowa Huta by the Cultural centre and the smaller but more central rink set up beside Galeria Krakowska Shopping Mall. Open from December to February weather permitting of course.
Ice Park Krakow, This massive fun park features a skating rink of over 1000m2, kiddies ice-skate area of 400m2 and a skater’s alley course of 350m to test your speed and manoeuvre skills. All necessary equipment can be hired. After an exciting workout grab a coffee and sweetmeat in the on-site café in Krakow’s Park Jordana near Blonie. Open from December to February.
All of the places mentioned are open all year round and different activities are available according to the season in question, go hiking on the many trails, horse riding, swap sleighs for carriages, canoeing, rafting, rock climbing and many more. Krakow in the snow-laden winter is truly a magical sight and whether you are a ski enthusiast or not it has something for every visitor, tourist or local to experience.