No one can remember exactly why, 200 years ago, the women of Čičmany began painting crosses, hearts, zig-zags and other patterns across the village's timber houses. These geometric patterns give Čičmany a distinctive folkloric air, unique among the villages of Central Slovakia. The designs are so much a part of national culture that they have featured on the clothing of athletes representing Slovakia in multiple Olympic Games.
Despite the fairy-tale appearance, life in this logging and farming community has often been tough. Numerous fires in the early 20th century razed large parts of the village, and many residents rely on money from tourism to stay afloat. Steeping yourself in village life only requires a day, though you can hang around to hike the hills or ski with the locals.