The Eye of the Sea
Morskie Oko is arguably the most beautiful of the Tatra lakes, and it is certainly the largest. It covers about 35 hectares in all, stretching some 860 metres in length, and 566 in breadth. The lake is entered through a small pass, and once inside, you are entirely surrounded by the mountains. It is very much as if you are in a huge crater, and hence the name, the eye of the sea,
Morskie Oko has delighted travellers since the region was first discovered one hundred and fifty years ago, and it remains amongst the most popular places to visit in the Tatras. It is also one of the most easily accessible, with a swift route from Lysa Polana (accessed by bus) followed by a walk of about one and a half hours. There is now even an asphalt turf running along this short stretch - a reality that will leave many hikers feeling crestfallen. However there are other routes, and the final goal is certainly a marvel of nature.
The lake itself is fifty metres deep and it is the only one with a natural stock of fish, in this case river trout. The prospect of the surrounding mountains is stunning. The most captivating peak is Mnich, which literally means 'the Monk'. It is called thus as its sharply pointed peak resembles that of a monks habit. Only the hardiest climbers can scale these heights, and you need a special certificate from the mountaineers association before setting out.
Concealed above you to the south lies the magnificent Czarny Staw (the Black Lake), which is raised on a high escarpment. Heading west you could then follow the blue trail to the Valley of the Five Lakes (Dolina Pieciu Stawow). Alternatively you could do a loop back to the Mickiewicz waterfalls, and then follow the green trail on to the lakes. Another option would be to press on to Mount Rysy, the highest peak in the Tatras. This is a five hour hike that would involve an early start.
Ants from United States Reply
I admit I was naive when I was told it was an easy 30 min horse and cart trip to the lake.... What I didn't expect was to see two horses pulling a big carriage that sits up to 12 people with no weight limit. After 20 minutes into the journey the horses were already showing signs of a struggle and all the walkers that we're going back downhill kept looking concerned to the horse on the left. Just at the point where I was ready to literally jump off as I could hear both horses struggling and they were both sweating profusely the carriage driver pulled up to let them rest for a few minutes and wipe them down. I was falsely secured by this act as they set back off for an even steeper climb that lasted a further 20 minutes. By the time the trek ended I was very upset so as I got off the carriage I asked if I could stroke the horses (for a piece of mind and to check their condition) however I was rudely pushed away by the carriage driver!!!!! It was another 20minutes walk to the lake which non doubt was absolutely beautiful however I ask that anyone that does this trek does it on foot if able as the suffering I witnessed runined my day to be quite frank!!!!
Ants from United Kingdom Reply
The lake was stunning and I'd recommend anyone to take the trek up there however I am very disappointed and upset to admit that I travelled up to the lake on the horse drawn carriages. I was naive as to the trek as I was told it was a relaxing half hour horse and carriage to the lake. What I didn't expect was to be left traumatised and really concerned about the horses welfare after witnessing them trek up a constant steep incline for over 40 minutes. At one point I was holding back tears and about to get off when the horses stopped and were wiped down and allowed a short rest by the carriage driver. However this relief was short lived whe I witnessed yet another 15 minutes of a steep hill climb with both horses sweating and one of them limping. Never again!!!! If anyone has the ability to walk then please avoid using these poor horses and walk up to the lake. Yes it takes a good 2 hours but I promise you will not be disappointed at the summit! Plus the walk back down will be a breeze! How this obvious abuse of animals has not been stopped is so sad
Stephanie Attard from Malta Reply
Can I use a stroller during this hike?
Guest from Malta Reply
can this be reached by a car or by bus only?
You can arrive to the beginning of the trail by car OR bus, however it is an approx 1.5 to 4 hr walk (depending on ability) in order to reach the actual lake and mountain hut.
mary from United States Reply
We hiked for 2 hours uphill in light rain to this gorgeous lake. Actually - that made it easier. If it was a hot clear day, I would have been exhausted. (I live at sea-level) When we finally arrived it poured rain and everyone ran for cover at the restaurant, buying colorful plastic ponchos. Steve and I had ponchos already and were happy to stand for awhile. Because of the fog and rain - we never got to see the total Morskie Oko view except for glimpses as clouds shifted. Still we were very excited with everyone else crowding around the restaurant and pleased and after an hour or so walking around in the rain we headed back down. Yes, we saw the horse carts, but we preferred to walk both ways. It was such a beautiful place. My favorite place visited in 2015.
Miriam from United Kingdom Reply
Unfortunately I took the horse cart not realizing what a struggle it would be for the two horses. I was horrified. They were really struggling to pull such a heavy cart with 12 people on it up a mountain with no rest at all, not even to get their breath back. After 45 minutes, they stopped for literally 30 seconds to drink water. It made me think about how many minutes I can walk up a mountain without stopping for breathing, and that is without pulling such a massive weight. You could see their sweat evaporating from their bodies and the effort they had to make was totally obvious. I asked the driver to stop so the horses could have a quick rest, but he refused to. Then I asked him to stop so I could get off, but he refused again. I tried to jump off the cart, and then he called me an idiot. By now, we were arriving at the top, and everyone in the cart was laughing at me. On the way back, I refused to take the cart, so I walked the 10 km down in the dark, in spite of being a woman and on my own. That made me feel slightly better about myself.
Silvia from Spain
Your post has shocked and liked me a lot... I am happy to see there are sensitized people with animal feelings. They are alive, like us, and they deserve all our respect. I am organizing a trip to Morskie Oko and when I saw that there is an option to climb the mountain in a horse cart, that idea has horrified me immediately. I would like to congratulate you for your decision. All people in that cart should have done the same as you... I thank you in the name of that horses :-)
David Gilchrist from Canada Reply
I have the lakes 3 times. First time in 1997 from the peak of Rysy, then again in 2004 after walking up from Lysa Polana and the last time was 2 yrs ago again from the summit of Rysy. Such spectacular scenery is not visible in many places anywhere in Europe. I would strongly suggest a visit!
Editor from Poland Reply
Unfortunately, bicycles are forbidden on the road to Morskie Oko, the road is just too crowded, and there were several accidents with down speeding bikes crashing into pedestrians, too. The best way to get to Morskie Oko with kids is to take a horse cart up - cost ca. 50 PLN per person.
Kasia from Poland
IT IS NOT the best way to take a horse cart! These horses are horribly and unhumanely abused pulling 2tone carts up the mountain! You surely must know that people from all over the country are protesting against it and yet you recommend ANIMAL ABUSE?!!!!
Polish from Poland
The best way to get to Morskie Oko WITH KIDS, can't U read? They didn't mean driving up everyone's fat assess, obviously, which is animal abuse, I agree...
Sindy from Netherlands Reply
Hello! We are planning a visit to Morskie Oko in August. Can anyone tell me if its allowed to use citybikes to travel from Lysa Polana to Morskie Oko? We want to travel there with two children under the age of six. Thank you!
sue from Netherlands Reply
2010- 1 week in poland. After a wedding, long days of sightseeing and very little sleep, early one morning with the car to Zakopane. walking, shopping and found comfortable Climbing shoes (free socks). After a few hours sleep the walk began. At times i wanted to stop, it was heavy but am so glad i went on. The morskie oko is the most beautifull thing i have ever seen. So every time i open my fridge i see my magnet with foto of the Morskie oko and feel so much joy. One day i hope to go back. Thingking of standing so high and looking at so much beautifull nature, makes me feel like the happiest person in the world.
jerry from United States Reply
i am traveling to poland in sept-oct and have been to morskie oko before,this time im head'n up to the black lake area is there any over nite camping permitted ?
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hello Dear,Morskie Oko can be reachable by walk even in winter.But be aware that the weather may be not nice (fog,windy,snowing or all together )to enjoy the sightseeing, and be well equipped and prepared as Temperatures are very low there and a lot of snow/ice make trhe walk to Morskie Oko and to the next lakes above more difficult and dangerous.Here is a link to see the view/weather now in Morskie Oko: http://kamery.topr.pl/kamery.html#Morskie_Oko_kamera_2 You can write down as well the phone number of rescue team in mountain: +48 601 100 300 Hope the answer helps.Staff of Apart-center and Ogrodygorskie residence ( 3 residences of 26 comfy apartments in and around Zakopane)
LIU from Taiwan Reply
hi, I'm Leo I have some question about Morskie Oko. My friends(European) and I will go to Zakopane next week. I don't know it a good time to see the eye go the see or not. I just afraid that the weather will not so good, I cannot see clearly. Also, the route to the lake is open in this time? We will meet some problems if we want to climb the mountain for two hours? Thanks
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hello Sergio, Happy New Year to you. About what you wrote about, it seems that unfortunately you have experienced the Highlander customer service given of course by some highlanders(specially on that day, where almost everything closed before(shops, activities)).It is really a shame that they did not accept to bring you down from Morskie Oko as highlanders have to go down that hill anyway to go home.I do not inderstand why they behave like this.(specially they would not have brought you down for free...).However that situation, I may assure you that not all highlanders and Zakopane inhabitants are not behaving that bad way and may even help and respect other people and specially tourists to sort out their problems while in Zakopane.Hope you will come back anyway one day in Zakopne. Best wishes for 2013.Staff of Apart-center and Ogrodygorskie residence ( 3 residences of 26 comfy apartments in and around Zakopane)
Sergio from Italy Reply
When you get to the lake is really beautiful, but to get there..Well, I am 63 and not that trained to climb a mount with snow and ice!! We were there on dec 31,2012: loooot of people and really, for me, very tough! People should be told that yes, there are some 9 kilometers but: up the mount! And, moreover: being exausted I wanted to take the horse sledge on the way back, well: notwithstanding they had said they would finish their job at 5pm, at 4,45 pm they left us and many others to walk down in the dark of the evening! Not fair, because finally I could make it, but: what if I or someone else had serious problems? People could have gone up with the sledge relying to take also the ride back but.. This is why my rating is..average...!
samia eldib from Australia
I would have to agree. If you intend on returning from the lake by horse cart, do not rely on the last departure time given to you. Arrive a little earlier. We were left having to walk back from the lake in the dark as we missed the last horse cart. Probably one of the most frightening moments in my life as it was just myself and and a girlfriend and as it was November, there were not as many tourists. Thus, we had to walk the 9km alone in the dark.
Samia eldib from Australia Reply
I visited Morskie Oko approx. three weeks ago during a three day stay in Zakopane. While I have a profound love for Poland and its culture, I underestimated its capacity to deliver when it comes to offering beautiful mountain scenery. This was until I decided to give the Polish Tatras a go and, I must say, the landscape in this area of Poland is just breathtaking. Unfortunately, I was only able to visit Morskie Oko but I would have liked to have visited Czarny Staw as it was highly recommended to me by someone living in Poland. For those just visiting Morskie Oko, I would definitely suggest walking the nine or so kilometres to the lake rather than catching the horse taxi. Much more rewarding for those who are capable and you would be saving 40 or 80 PLN depending on whether you choose to do it one way or a return trip. It is recommended also that if you are taking a bus from zakopane to visit the lake, check and double check the bus timetable. We mistakenly relied on the information given to us by another polish tourist...consequently, we missed the last bus by a good two hours and we were left asking for a lift back to zakopane from a german couple. We were extremely fortunate as they were one of the last cars to leave the parking lot for the evening. Really careless on our part, though, and a good reminder that at this time of the year the days are quite short so it is probably good to start as early as possible so you can spend more time enjoying the mountain backdrop and taking many photos. Aside from this, the day was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone going to Poland or Europe in general.
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
That is right: the scenery is amazing and it is a very nice area to relax and dream awake about the chance to be there to admire that beauty Nature.The view is even more amazing from the lake located on the top level of Morskie Oko.An other nice view on those 2 lakes is from the Rysy peak.Also, the valley of 5 lakes located not too far from there offer a great scenery too on Tatras most beautiful lakes.Staff of Ogrodygorskie residence of apartments
James from United Kingdom Reply
Was here last Saturday. The scenery is quite breathtaking!! Been to Zakopane many many times, but this was my first trip to Morskie Oko. It won't be my last, that's for sure.
sue from Netherlands
Hi James, so nice to reed comments of the Morskie Oko that i also decided to wright something. This message to you is because you are from the UK and me too, but i live in Holland.
Irena from Canada Reply
Hi, I was visiting Poland this year in July with my husband. We started our journey to Morskie Oko from Lysa Polana. Our plan was to see Morskie Oko but then we were encouraged by two young girls to get the chance to see The Valley of the Five Lakes. So we did. That day we were hiking for eleven hours. I will never forget the beauty The beauty and scenery of the Tatra Mountains. The day will stay in my memory for ever. It was such a good feeling to see the beauty around breathing the fresh, sharp air. We were very proud of ourselves to achieve the goal, to finish the day walking on the rocks for so many hours and had the beautiful feeling of feeling as a free birds flying in the sky. Just to let you know that bouth of us are over 60 years old. So if you are younger then us, never think that you can not do it. I love Zakopane and I love Poland. It is such a beautiful country!!!
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hello, the best for you is to take the bus from the bus station.Check the windscreen of the buses and the bus stop signs where it should be written.You may also ask bus driver or tourists waiting there, which bus you have to take to get to Morskie Oko.Hope my answer helps.Staff of Ogrodygorskie residence of apartments in Zakopane
Rodrigo from Portugal Reply
Anyone knows which bus do I have to take in zakopane to go to morskie oko?
Marek from Canada Reply
Zakopane, Zakopane Słońce, góry i górale !!!
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hello Jane, if you do not have a GPS, it may be quiet hard to find unless you ask to people on the road.It is on the way to Slovakia, but on the roads on left side of Zakopane, roads passing by the tatras mountains.To go around and to MorskieOko, as the weather forecast is very good , it is not required to have a guide .But what is required: warm clothes, start your trek early as at 4 pm, it is getting dark.Don't you want to meet Teddy Bear living in tatras mountains ;-).
R from Netherlands Reply
The walk is uphill all the way. Via a tar road taking short cuts on hikers paths cutting corners. Or, take a horse cart up to the lake.
Jane from United Kingdom Reply
Hi All, Please can anyone tell me if it is easy to walk the trails and lakes without a guide. Im staying in Krakow and have hired a car, so once I get in the Zakopane vicinity, will i be able to find the lake / walking trails myself? Thanks
Alwyn from Canada Reply
The most beautiful trail Ive ever seen the air is so fresh I made my family laugh when I asked what is that smell I'm smelling lol really shows how we have destroyed our climate that you can not says your air is this fresh we did manage to get to see some deer when we went up
Monica from United Kingdom Reply
Has there been any visions, miracles or unsual sightings on or near the lake?
Paul from United States Reply
Went there in June and loved it. Going on foot is definitely more enjoyable. We would have stuck around there longer if it was not raining.
John Maverick from United Kingdom Reply
I am going to visit Zakopane with my girlfriend next week and after reading all the comments here included I am even more excited! Does anyone have any suggestions regarding hiking to the top of the mountains neighbouring the lake for non-climbers? Many thanks!
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hello, Jorge, if you want to go Saturday, it is possible if you take a bus early Saturday morning or you may arrive Friday night and sleep one night in a pension.Check also the weather forecast on http://www.promocja.zakopane.pl/?strona,menu,pol,glowna,0,0,1517,prognoza_pogody,ant.html Not good weather expected for the weekend with thunder and storm. The Morskie Oko bottom hill can be reached by bus from the Zakopane bus station an dthen there is a trace of 9km to get to the lake which you do by walk, horses, bike. Hope it helps.Ogrodygorskie staff(residence of comfy apartment in and around Zakopane)
Jorge from Spain Reply
I want to go to morskie oko on saturday. I´m living in krakow. How should I do? Can I do the trip in one day from Krakow?
Adamek from Poland Reply
Hello Bob, you are right.Eye of the sea is beautiful specilally from the top.I think you can find a priest to do the celebration there and about accomodation , if you stay there, itwould be shelter , so not the best for guests.Anyway, for now, Eye of the sea is not accessible because of the snow , so we say see you in Spring to Eye of the sea.
Bob Janes from United Kingdom Reply
I walked up to the lake with my fiance it was amazing walk and spectacular views, and the lake spectacular, Photos do not do it justice we saw it in may with snow around totally beautiful.we hope to get married up there.
Richard Syrda from United Kingdom Reply
I visited in 1991.I was born in Birmingham,UK.My mum and dad were both Polish and like others came after the 2nd war ended.Dad was part of the French resisitance helping to get prisoners of war over to the UK for safety.My family suffered in many ways.That why when he took me to Poland,i was expecting nothing. In fact i got everything.Warmth, affection, a great acceptance that now, 30 years on i still cant or dont see anywhere else. The Morski OKO? OR Sea Eye still gets to me.Forget what peole say.If you want to hitch a ride on a horse,remember.If the horse isnt used it gets retired or worse,if the horse is used, walk up to a grass verge and pick some gtras and feed it.Thats whats known as THE IRCLE OF LIFE. Treat the animals with respect and appreciate all the the Tatra Mountains have to offer. They talk of the Trevi Fountains in Rome??? The Tatra Mountains region has so much more to offer.Not leat the beauty.
Suzanne from United States Reply
Morskie Oko is absolutely beautiful, but I agree with an earlier comment - travel by foot - not horse - those horses work all day long hiking with 14 people on the cart. If you want to go, go by foot.
Mary from Colombia Reply
es un lugar maravilloso, lastima que no lo pude disfrutar tanto por una fuerte lluvia que cayó justo cuando llegué. pero al fin y al cabo todo hizo parte de la diversion. Zacopane es mi mejor recuerdo.
von from Australia Reply
Unfortunately "Morskie Oko" has its dark side as well. You may want to see this terrifying video showing a horse dying of exhaustion while forced to pull an overloaded carriage to the Morskie Oko lake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMYTh2pdMys. Unfortunately it wasnt the first incident and this cruel procedure is still continuing. So please, if you want to see the lake let your feet to carry you there.
agnieszka from United States Reply
Jessica from United States Reply
This is wayyy more beautiful in real life!! I went there in June a couple of years ago.. and there was snow at the top and it was almost 80 degrees!! So pretty!! Going back in a couple of weeks!!
Sally from United Kingdom Reply
Beautiful picture. Hope its that beautiful in real life!
Aiga from Latvia Reply
Skaisti ir Polijas Tatri, tikai ļoti ēl, ka pastaigāt pa tiem nedrīkst kopā ar suni. Speciāli devāmies ajā braucienā ar savu ģimenes mīluli, bet e tev - pie katras takas zīme, kas norāda, ka suņiem ieeja aizliegta. Līdz ar to arī o Jūras aci mums ieraudzīt neizdevās.
Ania Crawford from United States Reply
Morskie Oko is one of the most amazing and mesmerizing natural "wonders" of the polish landscape. As you climb the mountains, and look down on Morskie oko, it touches your soul and you feel closer to the spirit of God... I hope to go back there again.
James Holman from United States Reply
One of those places with a special sacred atmosphere. The Tatry mountains of Poland is a hiking paradise. A majestic beauty worth going around the world for. Jestem tak wdjecnie do Polski Ludzi za wszystko. Moj ulubione meijsce i ludzie na swiecie!
Danuta from United States Reply
I live for over 33 years in Rocky Mountains in Colorado, near Vail, and I love it, but still , I miss Polish Mountains, because they as beautiful, as Rocky Mountains. The only thing We don't have in Polish Mountains, is as much of sun as in Colorado, average is, 300 days a year. Danuta
Aleksandra from Albania Reply
...one of the most beautiful places of earth. Looking forward to go back there in summer!!!
Di from Latvia Reply
Nav tādas bildes, kas ir skaistāka par o ezeru, esot tuvumā liekas, ka tas nemaz nav tik liels, ūdens vienmēr ir ļoti skaidrs, un pie krasta visu laiku uzturas arī mazas zivtiņas, turpat tuvumā arī ir skaista kafejnīca, kur var arī nopirkt daas piemiņas lietiņas kas raksturīgas tikai morskie oko, o vietu var apciemot atkal un atkal, bet tā neliekas garlaicīga. Vienīgais vietas trūkums, ko redzu ir pārmērīgais tūristu pieplūdums, kas traucē o vietu apskatīt vientuļākā gaisotnē.
valdis from Latvia Reply
vienkāri brīniķīgas vietas...
James & Marzena from United Kingdom Reply
we visited this in depths of winter and it was totally frozen over. it was incredible at this time of the year. we crossed the entire lake. I really want to go in the summer and climb up and over foreground peaks. Really is the most beautiful place.
Tomasz Zalewski from United States Reply
This is the most beautiful place on earth. Worth all the pain walking up about 9 kilomters to it, but the view is breathtaking. Walking around the whole lake, and climbing up farther to Czarne Stawy and the view from up there is amazing. The water in the Czarnew Stawy are crystal clear and amazing to drink =] Tomek- BIALA GWIAZDA!!!!
Daria from Canada Reply
Words can't describe this breath taking view. It's just beginning to be discovered by many foreigners.
Danka from United States Reply
About 3 hours uphill exosting walk to the lake is more than worth the trauble. Its like giving birth- wants you are ther you forget the pain and only feel happines. No picture can discribe the amazing beauty!! HIGHLEY recomended.
Jimmy from Ireland Reply
Just go there to see it!!! Amazing!!!
olivka from United States Reply
zakopane podhale i Tatry to najwspanialsze miejsce na ziemi polecam
majka from Poland Reply
jest tam naprawde pieknie.warto pojechac i zobaczyc.nie ma nic piekniejszego.ja mieszkam w okolicach zakopanego,teraz w uk,i bardzo tesknie.