After my latest visit to Wrocław saying “Wroclove” took on another level for me and it became quite obvious that you have to love the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. I have been there before in this beautiful city on the Oder River, but as a teenager during a school trip. It was pretty interesting being able to compare memories and how I felt about the city back then with what I see now as a grown woman. I came back to a few places, a few were totally new but what stayed the same was happiness from finding little gnomes all over the city (I explain that later on).
Some of those 11 places on my list may be obvious, some less, but I am certain that if you are there for the first time those are the spots to check out for sure. The list of attractions is very long, but this particular list is perfect for a weekend getaway. Lots of walking though, so prepare your comfy shoes and let’s get started.
1. Market Square
Every city has its own and every single one has a very unique atmosphere. Wrocław’s Market Square is surrounded by 60 beautiful historic tenement houses that will catch you eye with theirs colors and architecture. Besides many bars and restaurants, you will also find the Pillory, a monument of Aleksander Fredro – Polish poet, as well as the “Zdrój” Fountain.
The biggest attraction is of course the Town Hall. This gothic building with a 66-meter-tall tower was built during a period of 250 years and the oldest part was built around 1299. Wrocław’s Town Hall is one of the best-preserved town halls in Poland and located in its cellar was the oldest European restaurant – Piwnica Świdnicka, but it was closed last year.
2. Observation Deck at St. Elisabeth’s Church
This Gothic church has a tower which has a height of 91.46 meters and on the 75th meter, an observation deck is located. It gives you a panoramic view of the city itself and much further. To get to the deck you need to first climb over 300 stairs on an extremely spiral staircase. Trust me passing other people on these can soften even the strongest legs????.
The basilica is currently under ongoing renovation so the view may be distorted by scaffolding, but it is still totally worth going up.
Entrance fee cost 7 PLN (2 USD).
3. Witches’ Bridge in St. Mary Magdalene Church
It is no surprise that this is a gothic style building as well. Witches’ Bridge (Mostek Pokutnic) connects the two towers of this church and it is located 45 meters above street level. Stairs leading to the top are not as steep as the ones in St. Elisabeth’s Church, but there is still quite a few to climb. Legend about this particular bridge says that souls of women who did not want to get married and have a family, but instead wanted to have fun, were cursed and seen on this bridge as their punishment.
Do not let this discourage you, because the view is breathtaking and entrance cost only 5 PLN (1.50 USD).
4. Cathedral Island – Ostrów Tumski
Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of the city and originally was a small island. It is very peaceful place where you will very easily forget about the rush of the city.
In this area you will find Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew (Kolegiata Świętego Krzyża i Kościół św. Bartłomieja), Monument of St. John Nepomucene (Pomnik św. Jana Nepomucena), Archbishop’s Palace (Pałac Arcybiskupi) and gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Katedra pw. Jana Chrzciciela).
Well known and often photographed is also Tumski Bridge that connects Cathedral Island with Sand Island (Wyspa Piaskowa). If Tumski Bridge does not really ring a bell maybe Lovers Bridge will. It is called this because over the years it became a place where couples hung locks with their initials or love confessions as a symbol of their everlasting love.
5. Wrocław’s Dwarfs
Wrocław is famous for its friendly relations with dwarfs what can be observed by their existence in the city. Even though I personally prefer version about the mean gnome that was living in the area and played tricks on locals and helpful dwarfs took care of him and sent him away, the actual reason of their existence is a little different (as they say ????)
The actual history of dwarfs is connected with anti-communism movement by activist of “Pomarańczowa Alternatywa” in 80’s. They would paint the shape of dwarfs on Wrocław’s buildings. The Papa Krasnal monument was made as a reminder of that event and stands on Wrocław’s street since June 1st 2001. As of 2005 the next 5 dwarfs were placed on the streets and since then their population is still growing.
Searching for those small creatures can be very exciting and not only for kids, trust me I know what I am talking about ????. You need to be very watchful because you will never know when they will decide to jump out of nowhere just in front of your feet.
6. Japanese Garden in Szczytnicki Park
If you are in Wrocław this is a place you cannot miss. It might not be the biggest, but certainly is very unique. Every detail has its importance in this garden and what important to me is that Japanese specialists were overlooking the setup of this garden. In the central part you will find a pond – the biggest attraction. In the water you will spot many giant Goi carps. The Japanese Garden is a very relaxing place that delights with colors and the smell of flowers.
It is open from April 1st thru October 31st from 9 am to 7 pm and entrance cost 4 PLN (1.10 USD).
7. Railway embankment on the Bogusławski street
I was lucky enough to pass by it walking from the bus station to the Market Square and it got my attention instantly. Such a cool and unique spot. Lots of pubs and small restaurants and all that with a train track overhead. This unusual location is in my opinion the greatest attribute of this place. Awesome hangout spot.
8. Panorama of Racławice Battle
Extraordinary 19th century mass culture work done by nine outstanding artists, based on idea of Lviv painter Jan Styka. Depicts the Battle of Racławice during the Kościuszko Uprising.
This huge painting – 15 x 114 meters – is located in the circular shaped building, so the viewer that stands inside would feel the reality of it. This is surely something you should see at least once in your life, especially if you are in Wrocław.
Entrance cost 30 PLN (8.50 USD).
9. Market Hall (Hala Targowa)
Market Hall is a monument of engineering art from 1908 situated on the Piaskowa street. It attracts you with the number of vendors, fresh fruits and colorful flowers. This place is worth checking out, especially that it does not cost you anything.
10. Bastion Ceglarski
It is only a fragment of what used to be a part of city’s fortification system that was built in 1585. It is located just a few steps from National Museum in Wrocław. Nowadays is great viewpoint on Ostrów Tumski and is part of the walking promenade of Wrocław.
11. ZaZoo Beach Bar
After a long day you have to relax. In this case you should visit the city’s beach ZaZoo. It is located next to the Wrocław’s Zoo, right after Zwierzyniecki Bridge where Oder River connects with Old Oder. You can totally just hangout on the hammock or sunbed and you can grab a drink and snack to enjoy the atmosphere of this place.