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Morskie Oko - Real Marvel of Nature

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Morskie Oko (the Eye of the Sea), covering the area of 34.5 ha, is regarded as the most beautiful lake in the Polish part of the Tatra Mountains and the biggest lake in the Tatra Mountains. It is also the fifth deepest lake (though the Highlanders refer to it as a tarn). As it is situated at the altitude of only 1393 m above sea level, the mountain peaks which surround the lake tower over the its surface for over a thousand meters. It is here that one can admire the steep slopes of Rysy (2503 m), Mieguszowieckie Szczyty (2438) and Cubryna (2376) rising from the water of Morskie Oko. This picturesque location of the lake is one of a few reasons Morskie Oko is famous for. What also makes the site unique is the presence of the river trout in Morskie Oko – the one of the few places where this fish can be found in the Tatra Mountains. Thus, the first Highlanders visiting the site used to call it the '' Fish Tarn'' (Rybi Staw).

Siwa Polana (Grey Clearing) as the starting point
morskie oko zakopaneWeather permitting, it is a good idea to walk around Morskie Oko. It takes about an hour and is highly recommended as the stroll is a perfect opportunity for admiring the picturesque views of the towering mountains, taking splendid photographs of the lake's surroundings which cannot be seen from the front of the Morskie Oko Mountain Hut (Schronisko nad Morskim Okiem) and taking a good look at the steep walls and screes around the lake.

How to get here
To get to Morskie Oko from Zakopane, one needs to come to Palenica Bialczanska, where a huge car park is situated. The best idea is to take the PKS bus (which in the high season runs several times a day; the journey takes about 50 minutes), the mini bus (bus stops are situated near the PKS Coach and PKP Railway Stations; 35 minutes) or a car. From here the tourist may either access Morskie Oko on foot walking a tiring distance of eight kilometres or take a horse-drawn carriage (in summer) / a sleigh (in winter).  
On foot
If coming on foot, after about 2 hours and 50 minutes one gets to Morskie Oko. What catches the eye first is the Morskie Oko Mountain Hut,dating back to 1908, which offers accommodation, food, beverages, post-office services, souvenirs and books on the Tatra region. From its veranda one can admire the breathtaking views and have a rest before taking a tour around the lake.
Horse-carriage or sleigh ride
If choosing the latter of the options, bear in mind that the price is negotiable and depends on a lot of factors such as the number of passengers, the weather and the highlander's mood. By the cariage, the journey to Morskie Oko takes about one hour and a half, with a short stop over by the Mickiewicz's Waterfalls. Those waterfalls are one of the few examples of the sites named after a world famous poet not just a local notable.
The carriages/sleighs stop 1.5 km ahead of Morskie Oko (at Polana Wlosienica) and the rest of the distance has to be covered on foot.
The way back to Palenica Bialczanska takes about two hours fifteen minutes. The route is easy, though, may be found tiring as the distance is long and the road is covered with tarmac.
Anyway, no matter which means of transport is taken, the efforts put into the hike are worth while.

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