Zalipie is a charming tiny village located in the heart of the Polish countryside, about an hour from Krakow, which over time has earned the reputation of being the most beautiful village in Poland.
For over a century, the inhabitants of Zalipie have had the custom of decorating their homes (and others) with showy floral motifs and other decorations in bright colors. The result was that the whole town (including bridges, churches, fire station etc.) is decorated like a fairy tale!
Immersed in a pleasant rural landscape, among quiet villages, farms and country houses, Zalipie today preserves over 40 traditional houses, many of which can now be visited and house museums or local handicraft shops.
What you will find in this guide to visiting Zalipie:
- Some interesting facts about Zalipie
- What to do and see in Zalipie
- How to get to Zalipie from Krakow
- Best Hotels in Zalipie
Some interesting facts about Zalipie
The village of Zalipie is located in southeastern Poland, about 80 km from Krakow. Nestled in the peaceful Polish countryside, between farms and vast fields, Zalipie is one of the most picturesque villages in Poland and due to its pretty colorful houses, many local craft shops, and the relaxed charm of the place, it is the ideal destination for a day trip from Krakow, away from the most tourist destinations.
Zalipie has become famous as “the painted village”, for its wooden houses painted and decorated with floral motifs and bright colors. This custom originated about 100 years ago, when the village women began decorating their homes to hide the soot stains that the stoves created on the walls.
In particular, the beginning of the tradition is attributed to Felicja Curylowa, who was the first to adopt this technique. In fact she was the first to paint the whole house with these wonderful floral paintings.
In a short time all the women of Zalipie and also those of the neighboring villages began to paint their houses, internally and externally. Initially, rather rudimentary techniques, tools and materials were used: they created brushes and brushes with the hairs of the cows’ tails, they created the paint with cooking grease, or they used natural pigments.
In a short time every wall, every building, every facade or even every piece of furniture became full of flowers and colors. It thus became an important local custom, which continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Over time, thanks to better techniques and paints, the paintings are getting bigger and more colorful.
In the village of Zalipie, painting competitions are also regularly organized today, the most important of which is the “Malowana Chata” (Painted House) competition, which rewards the home with the most beautiful decorations.
This competition, which has been held every year since 1948, was instituted immediately after the Second World War to raise the spirits of the population, involving them in this competition held between the end of May and the beginning of June, the week following the religious celebrations of Corpus Domini.
What to do and see in Zalipie
Zalipie is a real open-air museum. Everything is richly decorated with flowers and bright colors: houses, fences, dog kennels, bridges and even the cemetery!
The village can be easily explored on foot, with a pleasant walk of a couple of hours. The starting point for the visit to the village is the Dom Malarek (House of the Painters), where even today women gather to create wonderful traditional objects and paintings.
If you arrive in the morning, here you can admire the women during their work and see how these works are created. Workshops are also organized, at the end of which it is possible to buy what has been produced. Here you can also get a map of the village, where the main houses and places are marked. Here you will also find tips for visiting and you can get excellent information on the history of the village and its traditions.
Among the most characteristic places to visit, there is the House of Felicja Curylowa, which after her death in 1974 became a museum. In fact, the painter was the first to decorate all the rooms in her house, from the walls, to the ceiling and the furniture. In particular, the kitchen deserves a visit: it is a very colorful room, the beautiful blue stove covered with floral motifs stands out.
The other rooms are also rich in decorations, with a great variety of colors and floral bouquets. In addition, a traditional dress made by hand by Felicjia is also exhibited, also entirely decorated as per tradition. Admission costs 8 PLN (Reduced 5 PLN) and includes a guided tour. Admission is free on Tuesdays.
Adjacent to Felicjia’s house, there are other 19th-century buildings, such as Stefania Łączyńska’s charming decorated hut and the “Chata Biedniaka” cottage. The latter is very different from all the rest due to the thatched roof and lime walls. The only decoration are the paintings on the external walls.
Continuing the walk, you arrive at the fire station, kindergarten and elementary school, which are also fully decorated and colored. Also worth a visit is the village church, dedicated to St. Joseph, whose interiors are beautifully decorated and even the clothes of the priests are covered with floral motifs.
How to get to Zalipie from Krakow
Zalipie is located in a rural area, in the heart of the Polish countryside, making it a bit difficult to get there if you don’t have your own car. There are no buses or trains from Krakow to Zalipie.
There are great guided tours from Krakow though, which include round-trip transport, entrance fees, and an English or Polish-speaking guide. There are also some very interesting tours that allow you to visit both Zalipie and the wonderful Bochnia Salt Mines in a day. It is a great idea for total immersion in the enchanting Małopolska countryside.
A good alternative could be to rent a car in Krakow: the DK79 road leads to Zalipie in about 1 hour and a half driving. Here you’ll find a Guide to the Best Car Rentals in Krakow.
Best Hotels in Zalipie
Kogutowo Agroturystyka is located about 10 km from the village of Zalipie and offers accommodation equipped with every comfort. The rooms are in very characteristic wooden chalets. Free parking and a children’s play area are available. In the garden there is also a swimming pool, an area equipped for barbecue and a shared lounge area.
Stajnia Alado is located in Radgoszcz, about 30 km from Zalipie. This very characteristic country house offers accommodation entirely built in wood, in what were once stables. It offers a kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator and a large garden where you can relax, admiring the surrounding nature and the beautiful horses of the property. There is also the possibility to take bicycles and take a tour of the surroundings.
Apartamenty Róża Wiatrów
Apartamenty Róża Wiatrów is located 20 km from Zalipie and offers entire apartments fully equipped with every comfort. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen, private bathroom, living room and bedrooms also for groups of people. Guests have access to a large garden, with an area equipped for barbecue, free private parking and the opportunity to walk around the countryside.
Useful Tips for Your Trip
Many people choose to visit Zalipie on a day trip from Krakow, so here you can find the best useful tips to better plan your trip to Krakow and the wonderful region of Southern Poland: