Zakopane lies in southern Poland, an increasingly popular winter ski resort that is fast grabbing the attention of travellers from Western Europe. It is an attractive village of wooden chalets cobbled streets, surrounded by ancient forests and high, snow-capped peaks. It is known to many as Poland’s ‘winter capital’. But it is far from being just a winter town. In summer, Zakopane transforms into a paradise for hikers, mountain bikers, climbers…and white water rafters. Fancy a Zakopane white water rafting trip? You should.
In summer, the snow melts and the stunning valleys around Zakopane open up. The town lies in the Pieniny range, close to the Dunajec Gorge. This deep river gorge is one of Poland’s biggest tourist attractions, and a centre for white water rafting and kayaking.
People have been rafting through the Dunajec Gorge since the 19th century, when they travelled on rickety wooden rafts slung together with rope. On the lower parts of the river, people still take rafting trips on wooden rafts, paddled by a guide. But further upriver, you’ll find the real rafting action.
The white water on the Dunajec is relatively shallow and calm, but it is white enough to provide a thrill. Enjoy the clear air and water, and some of the best views in Eastern Europe. The Dunajec Gorge is characterised by huge, sloping limestone cliffs, that provide plenty of atmosphere. As the river widens, the water calms down, and you can enjoy a gentle float back home.
Zakopane white water rafting might not be the most high-octane ride you’ll ever have, but it is still fantastic fun. It’s also one of the best ways we can think of to explore this attractive part of the world.