Zakopane is a major mountain resort, deluged with visitors throughout its summer hiking and winter skiing seasons. It has been an established attraction for Poles since the 1870s, when the purity of the mountain air began to attract the attention of doctors and their consumptive city patients. Within a few years, this inaccessible mountain village of sheep farmers was transformed, as the medics were followed by Kraków artists and intellectuals, many of whom lived here for several months in the year. In the years before World War I, Zakopane experienced more in the way of belle époque hedonism than Kraków itself, with all manner of poets, painters and composers descending on the place to get drunk, behave outrageously and steal each other's girlfriends. After World War I more mainstream forms of tourism took over, Zakopane becoming Poland's premier skiing centre – a status it retains today. Nowadays its central thoroughfares have the hollow, overdeveloped feel of a major European tourist trap, although the Zakopane of old, with charming timber houses lining leafy streets, still lives on in the suburbs. Above all, the town remains the best possible place from which to access the most stunning scenery anywhere in Poland.