Chasing Dwarfs in Wroclaw, Poland

with 21 Comments
Wroclaw is a city to fall in love with. It has a charming Western atmosphere and we needed constant reminder that we were actually in Eastern Europe. It’s a trend among the Polish cities to be gracefully combine the old and the new in a cute way. We’ve witnessed this in Poznan and in Gdansk as well.
In the last couple of days we repeatedly heard people making comparisons between Wroclaw and Krakow. For what it’s worth, we think Krokaw wins when it comes down to the general feeling, though Wroclaw will always have for us the most beautiful city center between the two. That’s because once we left the few magical streets around Wroclaw’s Town Hall, the architecture lost it’s magic, which wasn’t really the case in Krakow.
From the very moment we arrived in Wroclaw’s newly restored train station, we met one very special traveler. Another traveler greeted us in front of our hotel – Art Hotel Wroclaw.
Arcik the Traveler, the dwarf in front of our hotel  
Later we found out that there were over 200 such little inhabitants spread all over Wroclaw, all with their own rightful name. So I made it my mission to find and photograph as many of them as possible. My husband followed in my footsteps, knowing however that today wasn’t a good day to talk serious stuff with me. 
Prisoner dwarf
While it is true that we weren’t always successful and sometimes the dwarfs seemed to play hide and seek with us, at the end of the day we found exactly 43 little dwarfs. Not bad, huh? I even counted them, just to see how far my craziness goes. Must have inherited my mother. She’s the crazy dwarf lady in the family!
Snorer
As I walked dwarf map in hand, my enthusiasm surpassed any limits. I think this is a fun and interesting way of interacting with a new place and I totally applaud this idea. If it weren’t for the little friends, we wouldn’t have seen so much of Wroclaw. 
Basically this dwarf chase got us out the beaten path and into the unexpected. I don’t say all streets we’ve been on were breathtaking, but as the little creatures could be anywhere (on the ground, on light poles, or on buildings), we really were more aware of our surroundings, processed all the new information on a deeper level and emerged ourselves more in the present moment. 
Besides the little dwarfs of Wroclaw  we also found some pretty unusual bronze statues of animals. They are to be found in a courtyard that used to be a meat market, now  a souvenir gallery, and they are a monument to all slaughter animals. 
Wroclaw has another peculiarity. Its cathedral is not in the city center, but rather on an island. Though the cathedral interior is beautiful but nothing out of this world, walking all the way till there is well worth the trip for two reasons. First, because the reflection of the two extremely tall towers of the cathedral in the river is a glorious sight. 
Second, because close to the cathedral there is an absolutely stunning park.  
And a love lock bridge!
We arrived in Wroclaw on the 4th day of our 1 month long Interrail trip through Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. It was raining and we were worried we wouldn’t get to see the city properly. But the next day, in spite of the weather forecast, the rain stopped and  what was left behind were these puffy clouds that in combination with the north European architecture, reminded me of Vermeer’s paintings.
Wroclaw also surprised us with some incredibly decorated restaurants…
… and pubs (including Art Nouveau ones!).
And we discovered with pleasure that many locals speak English here. Though they really need to get someone to announce the trains in English too. As we were about to leave the city, the train got delayed a few minutes and the platform changed. The only sign we understood were the hordes of people rushing from one platform to another. We followed. But it was madness. 
I really don’t believe that people who travel to countries that speak a different language should learn the language before traveling. If that was the case, nobody would travel anywhere anymore because it’s really counter productive to prepare yourself for years and to learn a language you would use only once during a couple of days holiday to the country where it is used. 
And it’s not because I speak English everybody should speak English, it’s because English is THE international language right now. Before it was French. And next might be Chinese, who knows! Despite the cultural diversity that we, travelers, love and seek, for the sake of humankind I believe one common language would sort out so many differences. Of course, this is just my opinion at 2AM as I’m writing this post on the night train to Warsaw. You can agree to disagree. 

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Though we used the Interrail Global Pass for our journey, it’s worth noting that single country passes are also available. 


21 Responses

  1. Clausito's Footprints
    | Reply

    Wow, beautiful photos, it does look like a stunning place to visit. And the little dwarves are hilarious… I love the one with the ball & chain haha!

    I think this post just added a new city to visit to my bucket list 🙂

  2. Simon
    | Reply

    Amazing photos, as always. I've never visited Poland. Maybe it's time to go…

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Poland really grew on me. I would definitely recommend it.

  3. Greg
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for introducing this beautiful city to me. On our next holiday to Europe maybe later this year, we will for sure consider going to this delightful Polish city that you presented so well. I knew nothing of Wroclaw before reading this posting.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Glad to have inspired you 🙂 Happy travels!

  4. This place looks absolutely charming! (or the city center, at least!) I'd visit there just to check out the cute little dwarfs!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      The dwarfs actually got us out of the city center and we really liked what we've found beyond the main square.

  5. Wow, those colourful buildings are amazing!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      I know, right? This architectural style never seems to get old for me.

  6. A Montrealer Abroad
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos – Wroclaw seems like a really interesting place.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      We loved it, what else can I say? 🙂

  7. Angela
    | Reply

    Beautiful pictures, such a strange and cute tradition!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Thanks, Angela! It's a pretty new tradition, as the first dwarf appeared in the city a little bit over 10 years ago.

  8. Andrea
    | Reply

    Love them – so cute!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      They really are cute. It'a a pity we didn't get to spot them all. Maybe next time, as I'm pretty sure this is not going to be our one and only visit to Wroclaw.

  9. Tiffany
    | Reply

    wow it looks like such a magical city! I love those dwarves. I've never had a huge desire to visit this city but after looking at your photos it's been added to my list 😀

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Yay! In my opinion Wroclaw is the most magical of all cities in Poland.

  10. wow! Your photos are inspiring! I love the little dwarfs – I will be sure to try and spot as many as I can when i get myself to Wroclaw, Poland!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      I'm sure you'll have tons of fun looking for the little fellows 🙂

  11. Jacek
    | Reply

    The Wrocław dwarfs are great! It's a really great idea of the tourist authorities to promote the city! Great you liked the idea!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      I loved this idea! I really got to connect with the city at a different level.

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