Zakopane is located at the foot of Tatra Mountains in Podtatranska valley. There are several waterways on the territory that flow into Zakopjanka river, the tributary of Biały Dunajec. Zakopane is the highest located city in Poland. Tatra Mountains (the highest peak in the suburbs of the city is Świnica, 2,301 m) and a significant part of Tatra National Park are situated within its administrative borders. The focal point of the city (crossing of Krupówki and Kościuszko streets) is located at the altitude of 838 m above sea level.
Zakopane emerged at a place of seasonal shepherd's settlements who led the flocks of sheep to Tatra mountains. The earliest documents mentioning Zakopane were attested in 1578 by King Stephen Báthory, but they were lost. Initially Zakopane belonged to the Polish King and after the Partition of Poland — to the Austrian Empire. In 1824 the settlement was sold to Homolacs family. In the second half of the XIXth century the city started prospering. In 1876 wood carving school was opened here and in 1886 the settlement gained the status of health-resort. After World War I Zakopane again has become the part of Poland and in 1933 it got a city status. During World War II in 1940 the third methodological conference between Gestapo and NKVD was held in Zakopane, dedicated to the issue of occupation and partition of Poland between the Third Reich and the USSR. The prison of Gestapo was located in the dungeon of the hotel 'Palace'.
Zakopane is one of the largest settlements at the foot of Tatra mountains, one of the most famous tourist settlements in Poland, important centre of winter sports at the European scale. Annually ski jumping World Cup is held on Wielka Krokiew mountain. In addition, Zakopane is regarded as a centre of family winter holidays, though here one can find the tracks of various difficulty. In particular here are such centres of alpine ski tourism:
The slopes of Zakopane are perfect both for those who get on ski for the first time and for experienced skiers and snowboarders. Many professional instructors who teach skiing on the slopes of various difficulty work here. Ski area at the northern slope of Kozinec is designed for beginners and amateurs. The ski area Antałówka in Zakopane is situated on the southern and northern slopes of the mountain peak of the same name. Owing to easy tracks and not too steep slopes, the ski centres, situated here, are great for beginners and amateurs. In the city centre there is a ski lift which leads to Gubalówka (1,120 m). Also here the cable car works, by which one can reach the observation platform with a magnificent view on Tatra Mountains.
The best place for experienced skiers and snowboarders in Poland is the peak of Zakopane, Kasprowy Wierch. One can reach here from Zakopane Kuznice. The cable car travel lasts up to 10 minutes with a change in Myślenickie Turnie (1,325 m). There are two ski tracks and separate chair lifts. One of them is called Hala Gonsienicka, it has a length of 1400 m and the elevation drop is around 400 m. Here a modern four-chair funicular works which can carry up to 2,400 persons per hour. The second track on Hala Goryczkowa has a length of 2,000 m and 600 m of altitude drop. Chair lifts for two people work here which can carry 730 people per hour.
There is a water park in Zakopane where visitors can use two indoor pools: swimming and recreational. The outdoor pool filled with thermal waters is also available for visitors. From this pool the visitors can see the panoramic sights of Giewont mountain and all western ranges of Tatra mountains. The other side of the pool offers the views on Gubalówka and its surroundings. There are also water slides, jacuzzi, children's pool, a 'wild river', a complex of saunas, bowling etc.