The town lies at the foothills of the Tatra Mounatins on the Podhale plateau. It is the highest situated Polish town. Zakopane was founded as a settlement on the site of seasonal shepherds' settlements. In the 19th century Zakopane became an important cultural centre where renowned Poles lived or stayed: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Wladyslaw Orkan, Stanislaw Witkiewicz, Stefan Zeromski, Kazimierz break -Tetmajer, Jan Kasprowicz, Mieczysław Karlowicz, Karol Szymanowski, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz and many others. Stanislaw Witkiewiczis the author of so-called „Zakopane Style“ of architecture (it is also well-known as a „Witkiewiczký Style“).

The most famous monuments are: baroque wooden church with nearby historical cemetery Pęksowym Brzyzku, traditional wooden Highland (Goral) houses and villas in the „Zakopane style“ (e.g. Koliba, Pod Jedlami and Atma).

The Ski Jumping World Cup is held annually in Wielka Krokwa. The town was a venue of the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1929, 1939, 1962 and Alpine World Ski Championships in 1939. Currently Zakopane is one of the candidate towns for the Nordic Siing World Cup in 2017.

Zakopane has a wide range of spas, accommodation and recreational facilities. The Tatra Mountains remain the main attraction.