The amazing thing about visiting a new place with a friend who used to live there is that they can bring you to the best the city has to offer. I spent a bit less than 3 days in Wrocław, in the south west of Poland, and they were filled with adventures, discovery and delicious food. All thanks to my lovely friend ‘I’! While this is no ‘complete guide to Wrocław’, these are the fun things I did based on the recommendations of a local.
I spent about £70-80 on that weekend, treating myself to brunches, drinks, museums and a few souvenirs. So it should be easy enough to budget for Poland! And as a last tip before I start, I’d say that while the city centre is very walkable, I’d recommend taking the bus or tram to get to a few of the following suggestions.
Here are the 10 things I would recommend you do in Wrocław:
1. Walk along the Market Square (free)
One of the first thing you’ll probably do upon arrival in Wrocław is spot Market Square. It has the beautiful typical tall and colourful European houses. In the winter, it was adorned by a lot of Christmas lights and trees, but in the summer I hear it’s full of terraces. And as it’s mostly pedestrian, you can just stroll around, admiring the houses, and picking which delicious restaurant you’ll try. There you’ll also find two city halls, which are the biggest ones in Poland (according to Wiki…).
2. Panorama of the Battle of Racławice (30zł)
This is possibly the most touristy thing we did, but I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. The Racławice Panorama is an impressive circular painting depicting the (you guessed it) battle of Racławice, when the Poles won against the Russians in 1794. It was the idea of painter Jan Styka, but he was helped by many other artists. It is 15 meters tall and 114 meters long, and took 9 months to create. The Panorama was first housed in Lvov, but after the WWII, it came to Wrocław, where it is today housed in the small rotunda.
It was honestly breathtaking! The talent and the time it must have taken to make this, wow! There are many different scenes depicted at once, with different perspectives, lighting, and details. And one of the best things about the experience is the fact that it morphs into reality with added lighting from the museum as well as ground décor which blends with the painting.
3. Visit the museum of the University of Wrocław (10zł)
The University of Wrocław was founded in the late 17th century by Jesuits. The main building, built in the baroque style (pictured) is one of the most impressive ones I saw in Wrocław. It stands right by the water and really makes a mark in the landscape. It is in that building that you can visit the museum of the university. The ticket gives you entrance to multiple rooms around this large building, including a viewing platform at the top tower.
The visit is composed of a concert hall, chapel, classrooms and exhibitions, which teach about how life used to be in Wrocław and at the university. I especially loved seeing old photos, it showed just how much Polish people have rebuilt their country and it’s beautiful and inspiring.
4. Walk along Ostrów Tumski and go up the tower of Wrocław Cathedral (free and 7zł)
Ostrów Tumski means cathedral island, as it is where the Wrocław cathedral is situated. You’ll probably first cross the Tumski bridge, a beautiful turquoise steel bridge, where love locks are attached, to arrive on the island. It is surrounded by the River Oder, and it is said to be the origin of the city of Wrocław, its oldest parts. It’s a beautiful walk because the architecture is impressive, colourful, gothic and beautiful.
For a few złoty you can go up one of the towers of the Wrocław Cathedral and it provides a lovely view over the city. I highly recommend it. Oh and they have a lift so don’t worry about making the steep climb up the tower stairs!
5. Have a dwarf hunt (free)
Wrocław’s dwarfs are in fact quite famous. They started appearing in the streets of the Polish city back in 2005, and it has rapidly expanded. Apparently, nowadays there are nearly 400 dwarfs dotted around the city.
Apparently dwarfs hold an important role in Polish folklore, but it is said that these dwarfs actually came after the Orange Alternative, a Polish anti-communist movement, was commemorated with a big dwarf statue (their symbol). The smaller sized ones came a few years later.
It’s a perfect activity for all ages! It felt a bit childish, but we had so much fun spotting them around town. My goal was to spot 30 and we spotted 33 I think. I especially loved when they were in the midst of an act, like on the window ledge of a bakery, trying to steal bread.
6. Go relax or have fun at the Wrocław aquapark (27zł)
This is a true local tip! My friend used to go there often after work and when she mentioned outdoor heated pool, I was sold right away. We headed there after a day of visiting and had so much fun!
They have everything! A lazy river, a jacuzzi, a wave pool, slides, and outdoor brine pool. I LOVED being in the outdoor pool with the steam coming up, looking up at the dark sky. It felt magical!
7. Visit the National Museum of Wrocław (included in panorama ticket price)
If you have one museum to visit, please go to the Panorama. However! there is a nice deal that if you buy ticket to one, you get access to the other. So we bought one ticket and did both the national museum and the panorama (they are situated just across the road from each other).
This museum is of course part of the national museums of Poland. I love always fitting in one museum to see the art specific to a country and I was not disappointed with this one. From Stanisław Wyspiański to Aleksander Gierymski, from Silesian art to Polish and European art, there is lots to see and learn.
8. Eat some delicious pierogies in town (14-25zł)
My friend wasn’t all up for this, but this was one thing I was adamant about: eating pierogies. We headed to Pierogarnia Stary Młyn, situated in the Market Square, one evening and the queue was massive. We took the ‘cold table’ next to the door and ordered ALL our pierogies. I tried a few different kinds and also a dessert one and I loved it! I would eat pierogies all the time!
9. Treat yourself to a lovely brunch (5-25zł)
I’d not been to such a good brunch since I left North America last year! On the first day we brunched at Charlotte (pictured above) and on the second day we brunched at Giselle. Can you sense the theme here? 😉 It’s French brunch crossed with Polish fresh produces. On the third morning I was leaving early but we picked up some pastries from Charlotte.
Charlotte makes their own preserves and jams and serve their breakfast with an assortment of bread and pastries which was delicious! Giselle is a bit more typical brunch, with french toasts, bacon, bagels with avocado and tomatoes.
10. Don’t miss having a good drink
Poland is renowned for its good drinking! I’m not one for much alcohol – I don’t drink beer at all – but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the options in Wrocław. One afternoon we stopped at a local student bar and my friend made me try the warm beer and I’m now a convert! SO good!
On the last night we went out with some old friends of my friend and we went about town. We went to this weird house/rave party, but left quickly to head to Szajba. I highly recommend going out there. It has a dancing area, an outdoor terrace, and lots of seating. It was such a good atmosphere! If only I didn’t have to wake up at 4.30 the next day for my flight!
Szajba is located right across the square from Charlotte (see #9). Charlotte also turns into a wine bar at night and we dipped in there too and it was a really nice relaxed atmosphere.
Have you visited Wrocław? What was your favourite part?xx