There are loads of things to do in Wroclaw. More than first meets the eye. That’s partially why we’ve decided Wroclaw is Poland’s best city.
Wrocław (the ł is pronounced as an English W) is a Polish city at its most charming. Home to one of Europe’s most beautiful Town Squares, known as the Rynek or Market Square, Wroclaw offers hours, and even days, of exploration for curious travelers. Colorful by day, and brightly glimmering at night due to hand-lit gas lamps, the Old Town in Wroclaw is sublime.
That’s just the start of things to do in Wroclaw. Let’s have a look at the full list, which you will find below. Keep scrolling further down to read when the best time to visit Wroclaw is, where to stay once in the city, and what to eat.
By the time you are done, we think you’ll agree that Wroclaw is one of the best places to visit in Poland.
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Things to Do in Wroclaw
Wroclaw is situated on the Odra River and is home to over 100 bridges connecting 12 islands. It is also home to dozens of churches and beautiful Renaissance mansions. Wroclaw was bombed during WWII, and then meticulously rebuilt. Keep that in mind when exploring, and marvel at the resilient nature of the human spirit!
With that in mind let’s get into all the things to do in Wroclaw.
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Explore Wroclaw’s Old Town Square
Wroclaw is home to one of the most charming and colorful town squares in all of Europe. To step into the Rynek is to enter a picturesque recreation of times long gone.
The Rynek is bright and colorful, lined with townhouses and cheery facades. It’s quite large and extremely photogenic. Spend time here watching tourists and taking pictures. It’s important to remember that this entire square was bombed to ruins during World War II. Let’s give thanks for all the hard work it took to rebuild this lovely pit of Wroclaw.
One thing you SHOULDN’T do in Wroclaw’s Town Square is eat at any of the restaurants. Trust us, these places all have jacked up prices, and serve mostly mediocre food. There are far better places to eat in Wroclaw so save some money and do your dining elsewhere.
Adjacent to the Market Square you will find a small square, called Plac Solny. There are a few restaurants and bars here, but the main draw is the farmer’s market. This is a great place to get some fresh fruits and veggies during harvest and summer months. There is also a flower market here if you want to get romantic by giving someone a bunch of dying plants.
Wroclaw’s Old Town Hall
Visiting the Old Town Hall is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Wroclaw. This majestic Gothic structure dates way back to the 13th century and is the crown jewel of Market Square. The Town Hall is probably the most photographed structure in Wroclaw, and it’s easy to understand why. The building is straight out of a fairy tale.
Once used as a residence of kings, the Town Hall now serves as the Museum of Bourgeois Art. It’s a decent museum with a low entry price, so if you are interested in art you should check it out.
But there’s more. Located in the cellar of the Town Hall is Piwnica Świdnicka, which claims to be one of the oldest restaurants in all of Europe. We personally did not eat inside, and likely wouldn’t eat there even if it was free, as it seems to be a tourist trap. But we wouldn’t fault you if you were curious to take a peak inside.
[Editor’s Note – This restaurant is now closed. What it will be replaced by we don’t know, but that’s one tourist trap less in the town square!]
The Krasnale of Wroclaw
One of the quirkiest attractions in Wroclaw can be found all over the city. Literally.
Wroclaw is home to over 300 statues of dwarves or gnomes (known as krasnale in Polish). These little guys and gals can be found scattered across the city, and they are up to all sorts of mischief.
The cheeky bronze statues are a fairly new addition to the city, but they’ve captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Can you find them ALL?
Read more about the krasnale of Wroclaw here.
Ostrow Tumski – Cathedral Island
Cathedral Island is not technically an island these days, but it used to be. It’s also the oldest part of Wroclaw. This is where the city began, as a fortified encampment on the Oder River. Today the area is connected to the rest of Wroclaw by a multitude of bridges, the oldest of which is the Most Piaskowy (Sand Bridge).
Cathedral Island is so called due to the high amount of religious buildings located within. The most prominent of these are the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Holy Cross. Both churches are worthy of exploring, as they contain some beautiful relics and gorgeous stain glassed windows.
The island is a great place for a contemplative walk, as it is peaceful and tranquil. You might run into some tourist groups but otherwise, it feels a world away from the bustle of Old Town, and the Rynek.
Wroclaw’s Botanical Garden
Located right next to Cathedral Island is Wroclaw’s Botanical Garden. This tranquil oasis is only open from April to November, but if you are visiting in those months definitely stop by here. You can simply wander its paths, or bring a book to its cafe, where you can relax in peace.
The garden is home to a variety of fauna, a pond, and some picturesque bridges. If you are looking for a place to chill out on a nice day in Wroclaw, consider the Botanical Garden.
The Raclawice Panorama is a 140 meter long painting housed within a curious crown-shaped building. The painting depicts the famous Polish military hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko and his forces battling Russians for independence in 1794.
The painting might not be the greatest work of art ever put to canvas, but its sheer size, and the moment in history it tries to capture, are impressive indeed. Presentations take place every half a hour when the building is open to the public. Headsets are available in numerous languages to follow along with the recorded 25 minute presentation.
All history buffs should add this to their list of things to do in Wroclaw.
Wrocław University Museum and Observatory
For stunning views of Wroclaw’s Old Town we highly recommend paying a visit to the Wrocław University Museum and Observatory. The exterior of the museum is stunning in its own right and begs to be photographed.
Inside you will find three main halls, or exhibits. The Aula Leopoldinum and the Oratorium Marianum offer Baroque art and architecture and are worth the price of admission if you like such things. The main draw for us was the Mathematical Tower, which houses some cool astrological instruments from the 18th century.
Finally, you will gain access to the Observatory, which gives you some nice views of the rooftops of Old Town. We took some really cool photos from that spot, and recommend it as one of the best places in Wroclaw to snap a great picture.
Learn more about the museum here.
Lookout Tower of St. Elizabeth’s Church
If you want to attain even loftier views climb the 300 steps it takes to summit the tower at St. Elizabeth’ Church. You literally can not miss the tower. It looms over everything else in Wroclaw’s Old Town.
The views are worth the effort of walking to the top. so if you are fit enough to go this is one of the main things you should do in Wroclaw.
Eat Fresh Pączki
One of the most delicious pastries you can buy in Wroclaw is the Polish version of a doughnut. Stuffed with Nutella, or fruity fillings, these pastries are as yummy as they are addictive. Yes, they are essentially fried dough with a ton of sugar, but boy are they good!
Get them while they are fresh out of the fryer at these locations in Wroclaw.
Take a Tour of Wroclaw!
Sometimes a tour of a new destination can be very informative. Here are some of our recommendations for great Wroclaw tours.
Best of Wroclaw 3-Hour History and Culture Walking Tour – 3 hours of history and culture, but three hours well spent if you are visiting for a short time!
Day Trip Tour from Wroclaw – Discover the best of the Lower Silesia region. Explore the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica. Admire the Ksiaz Castle and take a stroll around its beautiful gardens. This tour will take all day, so only book it if you are spending at least a few days in Wroclaw.
Beer Tour in Wroclaw – An obvious choice for beer lovers like us!
Restaurants in Wroclaw
Wroclaw is developing into a great destination for those of us who love to eat. From some great Thai food to nice vegan option, to traditional Polish cuisine, there’s something here for everyone.
Below are some of our favorite, and best, restaurants in Wroclaw –
- U Gruzina – Sublime Georgian food, maybe the best Georgian restaurant in all of Poland.
- Pad Tha Thai – Delicious Thai food with a great price tag. If you love Thai you’ll love this place.
- Prewar – Polish snack food. Recommended to try if you want some Polish cuisine.
- Vega – Amazing vegan food, right in the center of town. Definitely try the vegan pierogi. Has a nice lunch buffet as well.
- Konspira – Delicious Polish food, cool decor.
Nightlife in Wroclaw
With plenty of bars and some interesting clubs, the nightlife in Wroclaw can be pretty exciting. It’s certainly not the top party destination in Eastern Europe, but you can get up to no good here if you fancy that sort of thing.
We highly recommend NOT visiting any of the adult entertainment establishments in Wroclaw, however, Especially not those found in the Old Town. You run the risk of supporting sex trafficking and getting drugged on top of all of that. We wish the city would just get rid of these sketchy places, but alas, this doesn’t seem to be a realistic expectation.
Weather in Wroclaw
One thing you WON’T find in Wroclaw is amazing weather. This part of Europe is often cloudy and rainy in winter, and it rarely gets all that hot (as of 2020, who knows what we’re going to see in the coming decade, weather wise). That said, you can most certainly get day upon days of sun and blue skies from May to September!
Read more about the weather in Wroclaw here.
And there you have it folks. Our guide to things to do in Wroclaw. We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to visit this beautiful Polish city. As always, happy travels, and we’ll see you on the road!
Where to Stay in Wroclaw
No matter your budget there are plenty of fantastic options when it comes to where to stay in Wroclaw. Here are our top recommendations.
Hotel Monopol – If you want to splash out…and by that we mean rates starting at €118 a night, then we highly recommend this stunning hotel. It’s located less than 500 meters from Main Market Square, has a fitness center with a sauna and steam bath, two restaurants, and incredibly stunning rooms! More info here.
Hotel Traffic Wrocław – If your budget is a bit tighter but you still want to stay in a sweet hotel then this is a fantastic option. Hotel Traffic Wrocław has a 24 hour front desk, free WiFi, and beautiful rooms with city views. Rooms at this highly rated hotel start around €55 a night. More info here.
Hostel Mleczarnia – If hostels are more your speed then look no further. Hostel Mleczarnia is centrally located, and decorated in an old-fashioned (but beautiful) Polish style. Plus, beds start at €9 a night! What more could you ask for?
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