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While the colorful city of Wroclaw has plenty of beautiful buildings, the most memorable and iconic attractions are not a cathedral or monument, but more a plethora of lovable gnomes. Being a lover of all things unique and adorable, when I first discovered that the city of Wroclaw has had a serious invasion of dwarfs, I knew I had to visit! What started out as a silent yet witty protest by an anti-communist group, has now turned into a kitschy tourist attraction for the city. And I’m not gonna lie, I was one of them who fell in love with the dwarfs! After all, how could I not? 

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The Dwarfs of Wroclaw - The Gnomes of Wroclaw - Hunting for Dwarfs in Wroclaw - Krasnal - Wroclaw, Poland (3)

What might seem like a gimmick to attract tourists to Wroclaw has actually been around since the 1980s! These cheeky munchkins are simply ubiquitous, some easily found, others well hidden. The small bronze gnomes known as “Krasnal” in Polish,  were the absurd calling card for the Orange Alternative, an anti-communist group. Searching for a peaceful way to oppose the authoritarian communist regime, they found it by painting dwarfs in ridiculous actions, much to the dismay of local authorities. The goal was to ridicule the police and the establishment, forcing them to paint over the anti-government graffiti. 

My favorite bit our tour guide from the free walking tour which made the entire group giggle was when the Orange Alternative found more creative ways to protest against the regime. At a time when grocery stores were practically empty and every thing was scarce, they distributed sheets of toilet paper forcing the police to go around and confiscate them, ultimately making complete fools of themselves.

In 2001, local authorities honored the Orange Alternative by placing a figure on Świdnicka Street, after which, the dwarf craze exploded. The next five dwarfs were designed by a graduate art student, Tomasz Moczek and since then have multiplied with more being added every year!

If you want to see more of these cheeky munchkins, there are several Instagram accounts: krasnale_wroclove and krasnale.

Today, there are about 300 bronze statues, both legal and illegal many of which are easy to simply stumble upon while others require an observant eye. Technically, there are only 165 legal dwarfs as there is an official process the city requires people or businesses to go through before acquiring their dwarf. But not everyone is so patient because they’re just so dang adorable and it’s great for advertisement! So what do you do when you find out there are 300 of these cheeky dwarfs? You go find as many as you can, right? 

Typically, each of the little fellas are a foot tall, depicting a variety of activities, from eating an ice cream in front of an ice cream shop to mocking tourists or riding motorcycles. You can find them in corners, on window seals, on lamp posts or by the entry step of a shop. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled, both high and low and try to imagine where you might hide if you were a dwarf! Finding Krasnal is definitely an unusual thing to do in Wroclaw, or in any city really, but definitely one of a kind!

Some dwarfs, though not political or for financial gain, are actually there to bring awareness to a certain organization or service. For example, a tourist dwarf sits outside of the tourist office while three handicapped dwarfs sit near the City Hall as part of the Wroclaw Without Barriers campaign to help identify ‘Disability friendly places’ within the city. 

You can find them on your own with gnome maps from the local tourism office or take a guided dwarf walking tour. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Wroclaw, hunting for dwarfs is a fun way to explore Wroclaw for the whole family, easily keeping kids entertained. Wroclaw really is the epitome of being a family-friendly city in Europe! The added bonus of going on a dwarf hunt encourages tourists to explore more corners of Wroclaw that might otherwise be missed. A funny one is the dwarf behind bars which can be found in the old city prison! 

The question is, can you find them all?

Not having the time for a second free walking tour just to find some of the dwarfs, we opted to casually find them ourselves while walking around. It’s quite easy and we found around 50 or so! However, should you take a generic free walking tour, your tour guide will at least give you some background information about the dwarfs of Wroclaw. 

The town even loves their dwarfs so much that there is even a Dwarf Festival held yearly in September! For three full days, you can participate in wood carving, learning to draw dwarf graffiti or even watch a parade. Sadly, we were just three weeks shy of enjoying this! Just another reason to go back and find more! 

I especially loved the cheeky gnomes mocking the behavior of tourists who like taking photos of everything, or every.single.gnome! Sometimes I don’t mind falling into the same habits as a million other people! 

Sometimes, a gnome is dedicated to someone of or from the city, for example there is even on for Sigmund Freud near the University of Wroclaw. 

Overall, it was a LOT of fun to search for dwarfs in Wroclaw! It was definitely a unique experience and spiced things up during our sightseeing! If I were a business, I could see the appeal in having one to easily bring foot traffic to my door! Hunting for Krasnal is definitely one of the top things to do in Wroclaw and can easily pass the time if you get obsessed with trying to find all 300+! They’re just so dang lovable that even Gdańsk is getting a few of their own! 

Where to Stay in Wroclaw

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Qubus Hotel Wrocław – Just off from the Main Market Square and just opposite the Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene, our hotel offered easy access into the city, provided comfortable rooms and an amazing continental breakfast and the option to make your own waffles! 

The Dwarfs of Wroclaw - The Gnomes of Wroclaw - Hunting for Dwarfs in Wroclaw - Krasnal - Wroclaw, Poland - Things to do in Wroclaw - Family friendly activities in Wroclaw - Things to do with kids in Wroclaw - California Globetrotter

If you’re interested in visiting Poland and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Day Trips from Wroclaw:

Experience the Charm of Wroclaw

The Beguiling Charm of Gdańsk 

Pretty Pozńan

A Foodie’s Guide to Eating in Poland

Where to Find Street Art in Gdańsk

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Replies to The Dwarfs of Wroclaw: How Many Can You Find?

  1. I can only imagine the adventures I would have looking for these. I love that they all tell their own stories and are so unique. LOL at the legal vs. illegal dwarfs. So many questions about that. Do they allow all illegal dwarfs to stay? Who got defiant and put up the first one? Do they do it at night so nobody knows? Who decides which dwarf is legal? Do they recommend changes before granting a dwarf? As I said… so many questions. LOL

  2. Oh my..these dwarves are so adorable. How neat to go on a walking tour to find these around the city. It’s a great way to sightsee and do some sort of scavenger hunt. This is beyond cool that even my teens will actually get a kick out of looking for and taking photos of gnomes.

  3. This is hilarious!! And exactly how I’d like to spend a day traveling – hunting down cute dwarves! There’s a similar thing in Ann Arbor in Michigan… they have hidden “fairy doors” all around town, and some even have windows you can look in and see the tiny houses!

  4. This is so awesome! I have read many ties about the dwarves of Wroclaw but I cannot stop to be fascinated with them. You found a lot of them! I like that there are both legal and illegal ones. Isn’t it crazy that there are even illegal dwarves in this world? Anyway, I hope there are plenty of dwarf souvenirs in Wroclaw because I would like to take home some. #WanderfulWednesday

  5. OMG, they are so adorable and cute! I don’t mind spending the entire day or weekend searching and photographing these gnomes in Wroclaw 🙂 Great photo essay, Lorelei! #FarawayFiles

  6. This is such a fantastic and fun idea. You get to learn a bit about the history of the place and explore the city all at the same time. I love the story behind how the dwarves started cropping up in the area. The idea of peaceful resistance is really appealing and there’s so much humour behind this too. I’d love to find the dwarves with my two boys. #FarawayFiles

  7. Ok, I’m gonna be honest. Personally gnomes kind of spook me out, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post for its historic take. So interesting. And I love that they mock all the tourists, very funny! #farawayfiles

  8. Didn’t knew about this tour! It is awesome, saved it as I am about to visit Wroclaw later this year. I also like free walking tours, not exclusively, but I go for them when there are available, thanks!

  9. I love things like this about cities – such a unique attraction and a really cool way to explore the city! Would love to visit Poland and Wroclaw wasn’t somewhere that was on my radar but definitely will be on my list now!

  10. Haha, love the little dwarfs of Wroclaw. You managed to photograph so many more than I did. I clearly missed a few, but when there’s that many it’s hard not to. Great guide Lori!

  11. Just hilarious, they’re so cute (for the most part). 300 of them, and they’re so detailed. I’d heard about these little guys before but your photos really make it clear. Gorgeous!

  12. Oh my goodness, just love those cheeky Wroclaw Dwarfs. Their poses are hilarious and I would walk around the city to find them all. Funny how some illegal dwarfs are showing up…businesses just tired of waiting. Thanks for taking me on this journey through Wroclaw. Pinned for later. #feetdotravel

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