Located in south-eastern Poland, Zalipie is definitely one of the country’s most visited destinations by local visitors and foreign travelers – and for good reasons. While other destinations are famous for their luxury hotels, impressive attractions, and fantastic shopping, Zalipie has none of this. The village’s international recognition stems from its small wooden cottages, all painted in stunningly beautiful colors.
No other village in Poland can boast the unique features that Zalipie offers. International media can’t get enough of its beauty, idyllic place where every house has its own lovely artistic design. Everywhere you turn, there’s always something unique to capture for your Instagram folks.
So how did all this start?
Many homeowners love to beautify their homes, but only a few can match the expertise and decorating skills of the people of Zalipie. The history of decorating homes in Zalipie dates back a hundred years ago. The local women in this south-eastern village in Poland started this home décor with not just a single color but with a range of attention-grabbing floral patterns that covers the entire exterior, including the roof.
Legend has it that the traditional painting started when smoke from the hearths would escape from the ceilings, blackening the walls and anything that crosses its path. The village women tried whitewashing to get rid of the spots of soot, but that didn’t give them the desired result, so they had to improvise by adding different colors and painting patterns.
Other villagers loved the idea and copied it. This set of village women created an art movement that unknowing to them would attract tourists and local visitors in the years to come.
With modern kitchen equipment and better ventilation, Zalipie women no longer have to whitewash the walls. Despite that, Zalipie still maintains its century-old tradition even till this present day. The intricate designs have now extended to other items and sectors such as dog kennels, water buckets, bins, and many more. Zalipie’s bridge was also not left out – the bridge is greatly enhanced with these floral paints.
One woman worthy of mention is Felicja Curylowa. Her obsession with the art movement made her create flower patterns on every surface, including pillow covers, ceiling, wall, and furniture in her home. Tourists flock to the home to catch a glimpse of the impressive artworks.
The Annual Competition
Each year, the village holds a contest known as Malowana Chata (Painted Cottage) to celebrate this century-old tradition. The competition attracts different local painters who come together to showcase their artistic skills. This gives visitors a chance to see how these village women create intricate designs of the exterior, doors, and windows of houses. This annual competition takes place in late spring. The first contest dates back to 1948 and then every year since 1976.
What to See in Zalipie
Zalipie is home to a good number of interesting sights, especially colorfully designed buildings. Don’t expect to see a high street that takes you to the best restaurant, shopping centers, or convenience store. As a visitor, you’re expected to come to this place fully prepared prepare and with a lunch pack. Most of the popular sites in Zalipie are within walking distance. Check out the museums which house some exciting paintings and history. Top on the list of sights to see include
The House of Felicja Curylowa
This house is home to Zalipie’s most famous painter. Inside the building lie stunning floral paintings on the walls, clothes, cutlery, mattresses, furniture, and every available surface. Your tour guide will tell you interesting stories about the history and unique traditions of locals in Zalipie. Make sure you don’t miss this one.
The House of Women Painters
Are you interested in more beautiful artworks by painters in Zalipie? Then make sure you visit the House of Women Painters. This place houses lots of impressive artworks done by both ancient and modern artists. Here you’ll find artists creating the designs right in your presence. You can either ask them to help design a customized painting or buy from the available ones. No matter what, do not leave here without a piece of art.
Once you’ve crossed off these two attractions from the list, then make sure you take a stroll around the countryside to explore other beautiful designs, artworks, and decorations. The village is home to more than 20 painted houses that are worth visiting.
One of the ways to get the most of your visit to Zalipie is by combining it with a trip to Krakow. Located just 100km apart, it takes around 90 minutes to drive from Krakow to Zalipie.
You can also opt for public transport- a train plus a local bus. Take a train from Krakow to Tarnow. From here, you can take a local bus to this charming village, Zalipie. This option is cheaper but more time-consuming.
The best option in this regard is with your own car. There are lots of car rental companies in Krakow. Find the one that best suits your needs and budget. Since you’re not familiar with the roads, a GPS or map will definitely come in handy.
Driving from Warsaw to Zalipie takes almost 4 hours.
It is, however, important to note that Zalipie is a village with no eating establishment or accommodation.
You’ll probably spend a couple of hours here hence it is recommended that you come with some food. Get ready to get up close with mother nature here.
Best Time to Visit
Zalipie welcomes visitors to its corridors all year round. However, if you’d like to see the village as it’s most colorful with paintings retouched and flowers booming, then late spring and summer.
Here are some things you should know before traveling to Zalipie
- Only a few houses in Zalipie are adorned with artworks and painting designs.
- Though easily explored on foot, you may have to walk a few distances or drive around to find them.
- Most modern houses feature these paintings and designs and not just the traditional wooden houses.
- Do not miss the museum for any reason – it is a must-see for all.
- These painted houses are residential properties. Respect their privacy and only visit upon invitation.
- For peace of mind, make arrangements for a knowledgeable tour guide here.