Kasprowy Wierch skiing

The Ultimate Guide to Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch is one of the best ski resorts in Poland, set on the soaring peaks overlooking the charming town of Zakopane, two hours from Krakow.

Kasprowy Wierch is one of the main peaks that you can see in the front range of the Tatra Mountains south of Zakopane. It’s best-known for the PKL gondola that goes to the top, but it also has ski runs and loads of hiking trails to get stuck into.

This guide runs through all you need to know about exploring this awesome summit. It’s got info on the ski field that drapes over the top of it – with details from the ski season dates right down to the Kasprowy Wierch ski pass price. We’ll also take a look at the top hiking paths on Kasprowy for those coming in the drier, warmer months, and even some places to stay that are perfect for getting on the trails (either the snowy ones or the trekking ones!).

This article may contain affiliate links to hotels, services, and other extras that will earn us something if you click through and book. It’s what helps us keep offering great info on Krakow, so thanks for that!

This is just one part of our ultimate guide to Zakopane and skiing in Poland

Where is Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch is one of the most identifiable mountains in the main ridge of the Tatra Mountains that flanks Zakopane town. It’s located about 4.8 miles to the south and a touch to the west of the town center in total, right on the Slovakian-Polish border. That places the peak within the boundaries of the Tatra National Park.

How to get to Kasprowy Wierch from Zakopane

Signpost to Kuznice

If you’re planning on taking the famous cable car to the top of Kasprowy Wierch, then you’ll first need to get to the base station. That’s in the village of Kuznice. It’s possible to walk there from the center of Zakopane – it takes around 25 minutes from Krupowki Street and a little less from the south side of the town.

Alternatively, take the bus. They run very frequently from the central station in Zakopane – we’re talking like every 20 minutes. They aren’t large urban buses like the ones you get in Krakow but rather minivans that do loops around Zakopane. Tickets are a standard 5 PLN ($1) per person, per ride. They can get busy but also could be totally empty – it just depends who’s waiting. The drive to Kuznice takes about 10-15 minutes.

The Kasprowy Cable Car

Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car

The Kasprowy cable car is undoubtedly one of the main attractions in Zakopane today. It’s a fantastic thing, lifting visitors a mega 1,985 meters above sea level to a ridge right on the Slovak border. The ride itself is amazing in its own right. You’ll go from the small village of Kuznice over the low pine forests of the valleys of the northern Tatras. Look down – you might just spy the odd hiker on the paths between the trees.

Soon, the car gets over the 1,000 meter mark and you’re above the tree line, where hardy mountain goats and bears are known to roam. There’s a vertiginous drop on both sides, and the car makes an audacious last ascent to the cable car cabin.

At the top, there’s a panoramic restaurant with – quite frankly – ridiculous prices. Mainly, though, you’ll get access to walking paths that span a ridgeline all the way along the Slovakian border, offering amazing views along the way. This is also the ticket to the Kasprowy ski field (more on that below).

The history of the Kasprowy cable car

The idea for a cable car to Kasprowy Wierch was first proposed in 1924. However, due to financial constraints and technical difficulties, the project was not realized until several years later. In 1936, construction of the cable car finally began, and it was completed in 1938.

The original cable car was a simple construction, with two cabins that could carry up to 18 people each. It was powered by a steam engine located at the base of the mountain, and the journey to the summit took about 30 minutes.

During World War II, the cable car was damaged, but it was repaired and resumed operation in 1946. Over the years, the cable car was upgraded and modernized several times, with new cabins and engines being installed.

In 2017, the cable car was completely renovated and replaced with a new, modern system. That’s the one you’ll ride today. It’s a swish number, capable of carrying up to 60 people in each cabin and a total of 3,850 people per hour!

Kasprowy cable car tickets

The cost of a round-trip ticket to the top of Kasprowy on the cable car is currently 129 PLN (about $30). Of course, you can also go just one way, which will cost you 109 PLN ($25).

Skiing in Kasprowy Wierch

Kasprowy Wierch is the only truly alpine ski resort in all of Poland. It’s also the only place to offer skiing within the borders of the Tatra National Park.

That brings both pros and cons…

On the plus side, it’s high – clocking up altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. It’s also relatively big, packing in a whole bowl of good black runs (veterans of the Alps should read “challenging red runs”), along with another mountainside of long and winding pistes that go from above the treeline right down to the valley bottom.

Kasprowy Weirch is served by a single gondola that goes from the small village of Kuznice just outside of Zakopane. That takes you up to the summit where four runs start. Some are on the north-west facing side, with a single chairlift linking the bottom of a bowl to the top. Others go down the north-east side, running from a ridge on the border with Slovakia to the base station.

We’d recommend getting to the gondola as early as you can. Kasprowy isn’t just for skiers. A ride to the top is popular year-round with travellers, too. Oddly, that can have the effect of keeping Kasprowy nice and quiet on the skiing front, because a lot of the folks there are only up top for the view.

Ski stats for Kasprowy

Here’s a quick look at the basic stats for the Kasprowy ski field:

  • Lifts: 4
  • Runs: 15km
  • Top: 1,987m
  • Best for: Experts/off-piste    

The Kasprowy Wierch ski pass

The Kasprowy Wierch ski pass is actually one of the most expensive options you can go for in the Zakopane area. That’s to be expected though, considering the relative altitude and quality of this resort. Prices start at around the 110 PLN (€26) mark for a full day’s skiing. Yep, that’s almost double other ski fields nearby – like Szymoszkowa, for example. However, you’re paying for challenging runs and natural snow powder. It’s probably worth it for at least one day during your trip if you’re coming here solely for skiing.

The Kasprowy Wierch ski season

The mountain of Kasprowy Wierch soars nearly 2,000 metres, so the weather up top is naturally rather unpredictable. Dominant S-SE winds can batter the summit to oblivion on days when the breeze whips up. Snow has been seen even in the early summer months, and as early as September.

That said, fickle winters can be damaging. A well-known downside of Kasprowy Wierch for skiing is that it’s all within the national park (that’s the Tatra National Park). No snow cannons are allowed in these parts. You’ll be relying totally on natural powder, so check ahead!

The season in Kasprowy Wierch typically gets going in December and winds up around April. But, like we say, that all depends on how the Polish winter is looking. No snow cannons = no riding (or bad riding) on days without dumps. Simple as that.

Best hotels for exploring Kasprowy Wierch

Chalets near the Tatras

Hotel Nosalowy Dwor could be top of the list, what with that swish spa and lovely modern pool facility. Saunas, suites with balconies, and playgrounds for the kids make it an all-round top option for both families and luxury. There’s also Hotel Crocus, which has clean rooms with lovely Tatra views, not to mention a nice pool hidden behind its mountain-style facade.

That said, there are regular shuttle buses running from the main station in the heart of Zakopane town. The bus connection takes about 15 minutes and costs just 3 PLN (40p or so). And it means you can consider bedding down in Grand Hotel Stamary. It’s always been a favourite of ours. You get a gorgeous pool, a top spa, and a fantastic breakfast. It’s a lovely place to retire to after being in the snow.

We actually have a full guide to the best hotels in Zakopane that outlines some of the top options for skiers and hikers in the town.

This article may contain affiliate links to hotels, services, and other extras that will earn us something if you click through and book. It’s what helps us keep offering great info on Krakow, so thanks for that!

Asia K
Asia K

Asia K (the surname is long, unspellable, and very Polish!) is a Krakow native. She lived and worked in the city her whole life before heading off to travel the world. Today, she comes to Krakow as a regular visitor, which is just what's needed to put together expert guides for fly-in visitors and weekend breakers. She's an avid hiker (hello Tatra Mountains) and loves craft beer (mmm Kazimierz)

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    • Bus is best. They go like every 15 minutes from Zakopane’s main station. I think it’s 5 PLN each.

      You can drive but parking fills up fast.

      Can also walk – it’s about 25-30 minutes from downtown Zakopane and a nice walk too.

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