Zalipie, Poland

The journey to Zalipie starts easily, just by a bus trip from Kraków to Tarnów. And that’s where easy stops. Getting out from the bus I ask the driver if he could tell me which buses could take me to the Painted Village. He repeats the name a few times in disbelief and tells me he doesn’t know where it is. “Why would you go there, is there something to see?” he asks intrigued. I tell him about the folklore painted houses and he doesn’t seem impressed. From him I go to the next bus driver and to the next one. I guess the fame of the village is worldwide except for the closest city… Finally, one of the drivers calls his company and finds out how I could get there. So from Tarnów I go on a mini bus to Dąbrowa and then on another one to Zalipie. From the road to the actual museum and village it’s still about a 1 km walk.

Firstly, I decide to go and visit the museum of the lady who brought the wall painting of the houses to the next level- Felicja Curyło. She loved the floral ornaments and was a brilliant painter and propagator of the art. Thanks to her and the effort of the generations now, some of the houses are real pieces of art, including her house which is a museum now. It’s run by her granddaughter who is just the most cheerful and charming woman ever. She herself started painting when she was 4. “It’s in my blood, I wouldn’t be able not to paint” she smiled even talking about it. The house although small is really busy with all of the charming folklore art. It turns out that Zalipie is not only about the painted outside. Everything is painted starting from the whole interior, ending on clothes and except for the floral patterns there are also incredible paper curtains and paper spiders which are also very famous here. In the museum even the ceiling is impressive and each pattern is unique. The granddaughter now has an idea of moving a few more houses on the land and creating kind of a folklore antique building museum from them. In the garden I can see the first one which is white and has stunning floral patterns on the walls.

Unfortunately, Zalipie is not a village built around one street but rather big patches of land and houses scattered there. Thankfully the museum has a map where houses with something or everything painted are indicated. And there are 45 of them. Walking in between fields I admire the polish countryside. It seems like time has stopped here. Fiat 126p passes me, then a drunk man and then another one on a bicycle. I guess here you still can’t get things done without any booze. Obviously not all the houses are painted so I pass a lot of normal, modern houses.  But when it’s painted it’s usually all the way.  The painters don’t limit themselves to just their houses, the school, fire station and church are also painted and even some of the abandoned houses. I guess the colors improve the mood in the village, everyone is cheerful and happily wants to talk to me. One lady even drags me into her house to show me how beautiful it is. She won the yearly competition for the most beautiful painted house. Unfortunately, except for oh and ah she wanted a bit of money. I give her 10 zl and she seems happy enough. She even gives me some grapes from her garden. And she is also interested in just one thing: if I am married and why he is not here with me. To every single one of the ladies, I have to explain how he, Jandirk didn’t feel it was something for him. I also try to explain and hide my hands because I know what the next question will be- where is the ring…

How to get to Zalipie?

Firstly, from Krakow to Tarnów. It’s really easy, the buses go from the central station and they cost 15 zl one way. Once in Tarnów you have to take either a direct bus (3 a day at 12.48, 15.10 and 18.40) with destination: Gręboszów/Bieniaszowice or a bus to Dąbrowa. Bus to Dąbrowa costs 2 zl and from Dąbrowa to Zalipie it’s 2.5 zl. All the buses stop exactly in the same spot so you don’t need to search for them. But the problem is the timetable from Dąbrowa to Zalipie. You can check the schedule here.

What to see in Zalipie?

  • House-museum of Felicja Curyło opened daily except for Monday from 10am to 4pm. It will give you a lot of insight into the history and how it all started. And you will be able to see an amazing house which is a piece of art really.
  • Dom Malarek- The Painters’ house is a place where you can admire even more of the folklore art and also see it being done. They also do workshops and they are the only place where you can get a cup of coffee 🙂 you can check when they are open on here
  • The church in the village- it has an incredibly painted tiny chapel that you absolutely have to see!
  • The nice old lady that will show you her house! She is one of the very few who doesn’t mind showing all her work and talking about it. Her house is indicated on our map.
  • Just walk around and explore! 🙂

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