Zakopane – Wonderful Tourist Trap [Kult America]

Published by Darron Toy on


On today’s episode of Kult America we explore Zakopane, Poland. My expectations for Zakopane were very similar to my expectations for the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty. I thought that these monuments would be so much bigger and grander than they actually were when I saw them with my own eyes So coming to the city was a little bit of a strange experience because you think about it being quaint, quiet, with very specific mountaineer architecture, and regional food, and regional dialect in Polish, but the reality what I found when I reached Zakopane was like, yes, these things existed, there was a lot of regional flavor and kind of local uniqueness, and a local charm, but it was completely overrun with tourists. Zakopane is a town that has an indigenous population of about 28000 people. Yet it’s visited by over 2,5 million tourists every year. It’s a very huge number for a town that doesn’t have a very urban style transit system so you notice that there’s not a whole lot of space in Zakopane. Sure you could visit it in the off-season, you’d have to deal with off-season kind of weather, but if you go when it’s prime time when everyone wants to go, the reality of situation is that you find yourself sitting in very tight restaurants, walking down very tight streets that are overcrowded with people who also had this vision in imagination of visiting a place that would be as romantic and quaint and moving as any other great global landmark. What did I love about visiting Zakopane? Well, the first thing is the ski jump. I didn’t actually see any skiers jumping off of this but when you climb to the top of that hill and, actually, get a prospect of what those people deal with, what those athletes deal with when they do jump, you can’t help but really respect how brave they are for attempting it because for a billion dollars I wouldn’t go down that hill, and it’s pretty cool to see a place that not only has this happening in reality but boasts it as one of their local prides when from my point of view it’s a completely insane sport, you know you can get killed ski jumping. The other thing I really really liked was the oscypek cheese. This is very very local and specific cheese made from goat milk and smoked. And the first time you try it, you notice that it’s got kind of a waxy texture when you chew it, it makes a very specific kind of squeaky sound almost in your teeth. One of the things that I found novel about Zakopane was how much activity tourist could indeed do. Though you have to struggle with the place being overcrowded by other tourists so doing those activities is a little bit off-putting, but if you wanted to visit an aqua-park or go skiing or watch some local performance, these things are all available to you, and it’s not only in the wintertime, there’s plenty to do in the summer. So my conclusion about Zakopane, it is indeed an overcrowded tourist trap like Disneyland. But I’ve never heard about a child that was disappointed in there childhood trip to Disneyland, and Zakopane has a lot of the same magical appeal. Yes, you struggle to find a place to sit down in a cafe, you have to wait in lines, but at the end of the day, the artful soul of the city wins. And I would definitely recommend that anyone head to Zakopane, check it out, spend a nice evening there, or a weekend, or a week or whatever. That was Kult America. Please like, comment, subscribe, send me your show suggestions on Twitter and Facebook. I will see you next time.


82 Comments

Dawid Dubanosow · March 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm

well zakopane is overpriced and over crouded place. Even Szklarska Poręba is better, there r not so many ppl, and u can find same amount of atractions, and culture is also a bit diffrent. There r diffrent mountains, i know that, but still, i prefer to go there instead of zakopane.

And btw, im telling u for like 5th time now XD u should visit Gdańsk and look after its history and how it hanged in modern days.

Shina Keld · March 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Bardzo fajny i ciekawy film, pozdrawiam 🙂

Anna Pilch · March 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm

I te nieszczęsne konie pod Morskim okiem

Roman Pilipenko · March 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Why do you travel in PolandUkraine area mostly? Are you trying to promote Slavic culture or what?

uhspuch · March 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Goat milk arę you serious? Finding Real oscypek in Zakopane is like finding a surfer at baltic sea… Cheers

Luke Minecarft · March 15, 2016 at 4:21 pm

lel ja jade za miesiąc do zakopanego na zieloną szkołę

Krzys Balanowski · March 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

byłem z
5 razy

Kocham Koty · March 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Trzeba wiedzieć kiedy jechać i gdzie jechać.W sierpniu na przykład odbywa się co roku Festiwal Folkloru Ziem Górskich,gdzie przyjeżdżają artyści z całego świata i przedstawiają kulturę folklorystyczną charakterystyczną dla swojego regionu,ponadto różne wystawy i koncerty.Jeśli ktoś chce pochodzić po Krupówkach i popatrzeć na stragany to niech idzie,dla mnie to nic ciekawego.Dla mnie ten rejon to przede wszystkim szczyty,polany i doliny.Polecam kiedyś pojechać i trochę powędrować-wtedy z pewnością odpoczniesz i zaznasz ciszy i spokoju 🙂 .Ale niestety wśród turystów są wyjątki,gdzie ludzie nie umieją zachować się na terenie Parku Narodowego,nie wspominając o biednych koniach,które wożą często tłuste dupska ludzi,którzy spokojnie mogliby dojść na własnych nogach.

Tysia 53 · March 15, 2016 at 5:04 pm

oglądam te filmiki ze względu na angielski 🙂 czy byłoby dla ciebie dużym problemem zamieścić transkrypcje (angielski pisany) pod filmikiem czy gdziekolwiek indziej podając link? ….oprócz treści merytorycznej zawartej w filmikach…..materiał ten byłby też atrakcyjniejszy dla uczących się angielskiego:)

TheVixo · March 15, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Will you go to Sandomierz ?

Jazz Band · March 15, 2016 at 7:16 pm

One day I will be there _

AlicJA Ziemlińska · March 15, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Ja mieszkam w Zakopanem, więc widzę to nieco inaczej…

Matvey Kiselenko · March 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

What do you think about creating a video for St.Petersburg?

Bartek Ryszka · March 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

Jestem z Poland i mieszkam plisko zalkopanego

Beat_Boxer · March 16, 2016 at 2:25 am

Wonderful place)

Klaudia W. · March 16, 2016 at 6:26 am

I love Zakopane 😊 the mountains are SO beautiful. congratulations on 20k :)x

przepraszam · March 16, 2016 at 2:36 pm

what's the name of music in the background?

Rip Hunter · March 16, 2016 at 6:29 pm

How can support your youtube activity?

Sol · March 16, 2016 at 7:12 pm

''zakopani'' xd

Mleczna Milka · March 17, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Mieszkam w Zakopanem, nic ciekawego.

LuzerkaVixenMice · March 18, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Byłam tam w poprzednie wakacje. Szkoda, że wyprawa nad Morskie Oko zajęła tyle czasu i nie zdążyłam zwiedzić miasta 🙁

TheAbdul1993r · March 19, 2016 at 1:47 am

Może i Zakopane jest ok..Ale, zakwaterowanie zdecydowanie polecam w miejscowości "Murzasichle" niedaleko zakopanego a, jest tam dużoooooo ładniej i spokojniej idealne miejsce dla kogoś lubiącego piękne widoki a, do Zakopanego można udać się w każdej chwili naprawdę nie jest daleko a, zdecydowanie ładniej ciszej taniej i przyjemniej (nie, nie jestem z tej miejscowości 🙂 )

Iryna Pidhorna · March 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

І в Закопаному лижі –
Місця щасливих людей…

Kulturalnie z Anią · March 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Zakopane w stosunku do Szczawnicy jest przereklamowane. polecam poszukac tam (w Szczaqnicy) jakiegos pokoju, jak nastepnym razem bedziesz jechal na ferie… kto wie, moze sie spotkamy 😀

szymeek terefere · March 21, 2016 at 11:06 pm

thanks you for this movie, it's my one of the methods of learning english

P.C Show Jumping · April 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm

ile koni 😍kocham konie 😍😍😍😍😍

K 86 · April 19, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Oscypek is supposed to be lamb milk not goat milk.
Also, there is so much to see there… when you go to Zakopane you don't stay on Krupowki all day… you go to hike the mountains, see the lakes and creeks, and enjoy the nature. I do not understand people who go there and stay in the town center area and only shop and eat…

prządlak · April 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Górale to złodzieje

Lidia Scott · May 6, 2016 at 8:53 am

Hi l like your film and how you promote my lovely and unique town but OSCYPEK is sheep milk product and have to contain minimum 60% of this milk then can be named oscypek cheese and have certificate in UE, it isn't goat cheese as you said Sir regards from UK

L.B.W · May 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm

fuck you!!!

oliweria · June 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm

I najważniejsze……góry dookoła, liczne szlaki górskie, Morskie Oko, Giewont, Orla Perć, Kasprowy Wierch 🙂

lidd69 · August 10, 2016 at 7:54 am

I was there in the month of April, weather was very nice, food was excellent, and mountains and views were beutiful, what a great place to visit, I would love to go in winter time, and if you travel to Poland it is a definite must to see!!

TratiPL · October 21, 2016 at 6:06 pm

I think you need to know where to stay and eat in Zakopane, if you don't like other tourists and see most interesting places (they are mostly quiet and dont known, like Willa Koliba or Willa pod Jedlami).

YummYakitori · November 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm

A good place to visit if you want to see something similar to Zakopane (the Tatra Mountains) minus all the tourists would be the Carpathian Mountains in Western Ukraine – in Bukovel (Буковель) and Yaremche (Яремче). There is an indigenous population there (the Rusyns) with their own regional dialect and distinct culture.

Having been to Zakopane myself, I loved it because in my opinion it sort of resembled the Swiss Alps and tourists in Zakopane were mostly Polish – not the Chinese tourists you find strewn all over Switzerland (and in fact most of Western Europe) nowadays. Also it was low season when I was in Zakopane so it really did feel quite peaceful and I really enjoyed myself there; hence I don't really consider it a tourist trap.

SzaniChan · November 13, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Song in background ?

ulllaaaklara · November 16, 2016 at 1:52 pm

<3 Zakopane! The best place in the world, for me 🙂
I recomend September for mountain climbing or spring – you will still have snow on Kasprowy, so you can go skiing or snowboarding and you will have great weather down the city with thousands of purple crocuses on the fields. Amazing.

perry diab · December 4, 2016 at 3:12 pm

NOOOOOO…i love Zakopane,,,it is so beautiful in July ^_^

mountainhobo · December 21, 2016 at 4:13 am

No, no… Sheep's milk. My favorite cheese. 🙂

Oskars Jurans · December 24, 2016 at 10:22 pm

I have different feeling about Zakopane – this is a place, where festival never ends ! You have everything you may want – tourist crowded Krupowki restaurant street, Gubalovka mountain with many children attractions, or, Kasprowy wierch mountain with many breath taking High Tatra mountains walking trails. It is so beautiful, indeed.
If you like some quiet place, go Poprad in Slovakia, it is not far from Zakopane.

User · January 13, 2017 at 6:08 am

My ancestry is from Ludzmierz. Oldest town in the area and not sell-outs like the Zakopaners.

A bunny that will chew on your cables · January 14, 2017 at 2:10 am

Damn, I love your uploads…

piotreczek39 · January 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Góry to tylko latem! 🙂

Shooketh Peter · February 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

music in the background pleaase?

Anna Orlova · February 5, 2017 at 8:50 pm

MUSIC?? maybe somebody know the name of a group that played in background?

Dariusz B. · February 10, 2017 at 2:05 am

I wouldn't touch "kozi oscypek". It's not only oxymoron but there's also nothing tasty in it at all 😛
P.S. So it's true! There are white bears walking down the street in Polish towns! 😀

blekfut · February 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Zakopane is an ulcer. This city is dirty, ugly, crowded, full of greedy local inhabitants, who just want to get more money from tourists. Just pass it by and go to the Tatra Mountains.

PaulKa · February 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

sorry  a lot of smog there in winter

wonky · March 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Ani słowa o górach….

MyPoint ofView · March 22, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Thank you for posting this. Zakopane is somewhere I heard my parents talk about when I was young. It's the Polish equivalent of the Lake District in England but there's more activities. It's certainly on my bucket list and I'd go as much for the walking as for enjoying the place itself. Thanks again

Diana Smith · April 12, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Would it be possible for those of you who perpetuate hatred actually grow up and stop it? It serves no purpose in 2017 except to continue what was done years ago and will never end unless you become adults and realise that was then this is now. It is time this was all buried and people move on.

outthr · April 14, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Comments below seem to start another war. Come now, If Americans can live with so many different cultures and religions (too many to name) than I am sure you Poles can cope with the different terms pertaining to "Slavic."

Force Horse · May 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

No w sezonie jest mega dużo ludzi, tym bardziej jak są skoki xD.

Andrzej P · May 14, 2017 at 1:00 am

super , those are very cool videos. I was born in Poland and live in US now and I rely enjoy your perspective on Poland

Margit Kühn · May 28, 2017 at 8:21 pm

i will go in June, so I hope it is not so packed as around the Holidays or Ski Season.

Faithful Christian · June 8, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Ryan, I love your hair and haircut by the way. It looks great on you. Is this style for men common in Poland? I think that men/boys like longer hair when they are younger and then when they approach their 30's and early 40's they get tired of dealing with longer hair and the decide to cut it short. Short hair in your 30's for men is usually the most flattering style for men at that age because their face is still young enough to pull it off and they are still young enough to go with a fashionable, somewhat more edgy cut. Then as you get older, I think you grow your hair longer because you get tired of having to get it cut and longer hair mitigates an aging face somewhat. This is, of course, if you still have enough hair in your 50's and 60's to pull off any kind of a look. And I am pretty sure you will. I don't think there are proportionately as many bald men in their 50's and 60's with Eastern European heritage relative to other western countries; but you would know that better than I. Slavic men tend to hang on to the hair on their head; but there are exceptions, of course. I am happy to say that I have!

Sanni Epstein · June 20, 2017 at 2:42 am

Nice horses.

Hanna Kruszewski · June 23, 2017 at 9:55 pm

What is this strange music in background? Not Polish, maybe Russian, só that is not right American tourist .

Tomasz H · July 14, 2017 at 1:38 pm

3:26 ooo proszę nie zabrakło naszego wiecznie zachlanego przyjaciela naciągacza 🙂

Ziut Bryk · July 14, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Byłem tam wiele razy, ale dużo bardziej wolę Tatry Słowackie. A jeżeli chodzi o nasz kraj wolę Karkonosze, zwłaszcza Karpacz. Tam jest po prostu bajkowo.

Hggjkk Kllbgz · August 29, 2017 at 5:21 am

Disneyland is a creation for tourists. But zakopane is a real place with his own people and mentality.

tiulip tiulip · September 5, 2017 at 7:13 am

Im coming on fabuary

iLolek · October 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Zakopane Zakopane… Słońce góry i Górale
Zakopane Zakopane…Spaceruje pani z panem.

Lisa Burns · October 15, 2017 at 10:09 am

I absolutely loved Zakopane. It was such a beautiful place to visit. Tourists or not who cares, it's an awesome place and the Polish people are the best

max karski · October 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm

For those who are interested in Polish mountains, our history and traditions, you should see this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdj29B8v38I&t=488s Ryan I think you should too 😉

Michał Bukowski · November 10, 2017 at 11:13 pm

Mieszkam tam 🤗

KoneK XD3 Pamiontech · November 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm

najlepsze sa gory
doliny itd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO4GzKJhptI&t=134s

n UMCS · January 4, 2018 at 11:50 am

Ja wraz z żona jesteśmy w Zakopanem każdego lata nie tyle dla samej miejscowości co dla gór które są wspaniałym miejscem dla osób które uwielbiają kontakt z przyrodą. Sama mieścina owszem ale nie Krupówki tylko obrzeża. Kawiarnie i karczmy które są w bocznych uliczkach. Jeśli ktoś chce spotkać góralszczyznę z krwi i kości wystarczy wyjść poza główne ulice i odczuje wspaniały góralski klimat.

Robert Soto · January 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm

In '94, the streets were very quaint, mostly locals and very few tourist. Locals were very friendly to us. We shared many 'piwos' together. Food was great, loved the quiet & hospitality.

ДРУЖБА НАРОДОВ · January 17, 2018 at 1:35 pm

I live in Zakopane and in my opinion this city is incredible!!!

Martin Hayward · January 22, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Go to Slovakia

Dr. Mark in Texas · January 28, 2018 at 11:37 pm

Fantastic 👌🏽

MPZ0103 Z · March 7, 2018 at 10:17 pm

Its the worst tourist trap in Poland, hands down. Only two roads atm lead to the town and you will get stuck in traffic 100% even before you get there. The small mountaineer town-style climate that you are discribing at the beginning of the video was there, but 100 years ago. Now it's just absurd. Shit from China all over the place and insane amounts of people. You will not find a souvenir not made in China. Only the mountains and traditionally themed museums are worth seeing. You gotta know which trails to follow that are not crowded as hell. The mountains are really beutiful and it's the only raeson you should go there. Absolutely don't go there without someone who knows this place. I strongly advise you to find a hotel outside Zakopane and take a bus or rent a car to go in and out. If you are not lazy, that is. There you go, 100% honest advice from soneone who lived there and whos family originates from Podhale.

Pan Marian · March 24, 2018 at 2:47 pm

U need to come to Zakopane during ski jump tournament and feel sport atmosphere

Raquel P Fonseca · April 27, 2018 at 11:14 pm

Try to go in the summer or spring, you just made the role of another tourist, because its high season is the winter

Łukasz Kałczuga · September 21, 2018 at 9:39 pm

I am polish but I live in UK. Almost every year Im going to Poland in summer and every year I need to spend some days in Zakopane. My home town is arround 240km from it but still I love to go there. It's true, there is a lot of turists in summer and winter but Im going ther for hiking not walking in the town. True Zakopane and Krupowki are beatiful but mountains are the best.

Vladimir Minakov · September 24, 2018 at 4:39 pm

IMHO – Zakopane is best to visit in August/September. That is if you're more into mountain hiking rather than skiing. Absolutely love it. 10/10, will visit again.

kam · November 22, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Ja jestem wychowany niedaleko Zakopanego so please stop. Also it's sheep's cheese not goat cheese.

kam · November 22, 2018 at 7:38 pm

and a second thing Polish in Warsaw is not the same Polish in Zakopane. You could never speak it.

ADAM ZIĘBA · January 6, 2019 at 11:51 pm

gadajże po polsku

ADAM ZIĘBA · January 6, 2019 at 11:52 pm

nie wymądrzoj sie

Jeffrey Down · February 9, 2019 at 9:51 pm

He has a "vision and imagination of visiting a place that is as romantic and quaint and moving as any other great global landmark" and yet is put off by the fact that there are TOURISTS there? Think about what you are saying! This place is as great and important as the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower as a WORLD LANDMARK. It is a bummer, for sure, but no surprise. Call something a "World Landmark" and wonder why everyone wants to go there? Better yet, put it on YouTube!! I freaking LOVE Zakopane, but I haven't been there in over 20 years, so what do I know? It could be Diznejland by now.

Ali Ahmeszowski · July 4, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Just moving out to krakow,nice place

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