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“Dolina koscieliska - national park near Zakopane in Poland”

Dolina Chocholowska
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Reviewed September 3, 2017

We tried to go to Morsky Oko in August but even at 9am, the police were stopping cars driving up and getting them to park at the bottom of the hill. There were so many cars and coaches we gave up and decided to drive 40 minutes to Dolina koscieliska on the other side of Zakopane - a very pleasant cross country drive.
This has plenty of parking - small charge.
You can take a horse drawn cart up the hill - I think they charge a lot for english tourists but I am sure you can barter for it. The ride was worth it - 6 km up hill. Alternatively, you could get the cart down only or both ways.
We then walked further up 40 minutes to a cafe/rest area which was good.
Then 2 hour walk back down.
Beautiful scenery and very high mountains with a river running all the way.
There are signs about bears but we certainly did not see any.
There are various paths and one is to some caves which we did not do but the pictures looked very good so worth doing that if you have time.
There are good paths so no walking boots required but good sensible shoes - trainers etc. There were families with small children and older relatives doing the walk.
Plenty of porta loos on path and also toilets at the cafe.

Date of experience: August 2017
1  Thank lyndac00per
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5 - 9 of 59 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2017

The biggest (in terms of distance) valley in Polish Tatras ending with chalet/hostel where you can rest enjoying cold & hot drinks and meals. One way walk takes approx. 2 hours. At the valley entrance there is car parking available. In the high season however the valley is very crowded and those who prefer intimate contact with nature may feel distracted. The best time to see this place is late March / early April when enormous amount of violet flowers (Crocus scepusiensis) begins blossoming. At that time the glades and meadows look like violet carpets :-)

Date of experience: April 2016
Thank Ryszard S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2016 via mobile

There are a few car parks leading g to the entrance, we arrived before 9am so parked in the one nearest to the entrance, 10PLN parking charge.

Also there are bicycles to hire by the car parks, we did not, but they look in good condition.

The walk itself is generally low altitude and flatish, with a few steeper inclines and is really nice, though it is mostly cobbled type path, so a bit of a pain for a push chair (and probably wheel chairs too) but we managed to get to the end.

There is a good cafe at the end of the walk and a good amount of seating.

Some very nice sheep cheese on sale from the locals as well.

Date of experience: September 2016
Thank asa300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2016

This is beauty part of land ideal for walking lovers when you can hear a bears and feel a real Tatra mountains

Date of experience: October 2015
Thank Daniel K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 5, 2015

Dolina Chocholowska is the last valley leading into the Polish side of the Tatra Mountains, on the west side of the National Park. It is the longest valley in the Park, with an imposing mountain hotel at the end. We visited the area in August, at the height of the tourist summer season.

For me, this is the most appealing part of the Polish Tatra Mountains. The valley ascends gently among the ever taller peaks and lush forests. The Chocholowski Potok stream narrows down as you walk into the valley, as the feeder streams peel off to the sides. The walk begins at the end of the access road that's available to all traffic, and continues on a paved road for about 4 kilometers. At that point, the pavement ends and the trek continues on an easy, wide forest road. That first 4 kilometers can be covered in as little as 10 minutes, if you choose the tractor drawn tram ("kolejka"), which departs every half hour or so. The cost is very reasonable, and taking the tram significantly increases the time that you have to enjoy the most beautiful part of the valley, which really starts once the pavement ends.

At the end of the valley is the Polana Chocholowska, a large clearing where there are a number of mountain huts for livestock, and the Schronisko Gorskie PTTK na Polanie Chocholowskiej. It's the biggest, and most imposing mountain hotel on the Polish side of the Tatras. There are a number of these scattered through the National Park, making it easy to hike across the mountain range, staying one or a few nights at different locations. Each of these features accommodations ranging from dormitory-style rooms to rooms for two, with a restaurant. The Dolina Chocholowska moutain hotel is arguably the most impressive. The imposing stone and wood structure was built in the 1950's, after the original building burnt down. We visited the restaurant there, but did not stay overnight. It's worth noting that even though this was the height of the summer vacation season, there were still beds available at the hotel for the night that we were there. The restaurant offers a large selection of items, all hearty and nicely prepared. Even though the restaurant is closed for the night, a late arriving hiker can always get boiling water, for tea, coffee, or soup, 24h a day.

A number of hiking trails originate at the mountain hotel. One interesting hike follows the walk taken by Pope John Paul II during one of his visits to the Tatras. The Pope loved the mountains, and there are many places in the Park commemorating his many visits. Another short, rewarding hike is to the nearest mountain, the 1,600 meter Grzes peak. Our ascent took about one and a half hours, and the descent about an hour. It's an easy hike of about 500 meter elevation gain, on a well maintained trail. It's popular, so you'll meet many fellow hikers; on our ascent, we met folks from Poland, Slovakia, Germany, and France. The views from Grzes are fantastic, spanning a 360 degree vista of the western Tatra Mountains.

Topping off our great day in Dolina Chocholowska are the crowds, or, rather, lack of. Compared to the Morskie Oko area in the eastern part of the mountains, the Chocholowska Valley gets less than one tenth the crowds. And once you get off the main trail leading to the Schronisko Gorskie, you start getting the sense that despite Zakopane being such a popular tourist destination, you can still find plenty of places in the Tatras where you can be alone for hours.

To get there, take the minibus service from in-front of the Zakopane train station. The minibus stops at several locations before it leaves Zakopane. Alternatively, there is plenty of (paid) parking for private cars at the end of the public road access.

Dolina Chocholowska - a magnificent place well worth a visit.

Date of experience: August 2015
8  Thank BordRestaurant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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