Ever heard of Wroclaw? You probably have, but if not, believe us when we tell you you’re missing out big time! Although, to be completely honest, we didn’t know much about the fourth largest city in Poland before our first trip there and that turned out to be a good thing! How so, you might ask? Well, we ended up being pleasantly surprised, fascinated and totally captivated by the beauty of this charming city.
Although being home to many of Poland’s (and Europe’s) biggest attractions and prettiest sights, Wroclaw is still shadowed by its bigger and more known siblings (khm, Warsaw and Krakow, khm). But that is what makes it so much more special! Wroclaw is traditional and authentic while hip and trendy at the same time. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or staying for a few months like we did, the most unique city in Poland will not leave you indifferent.
THERE’S DWARFS EVERYWHERE!
Arguably the most unique thing about Wroclaw is about 300 small dwarfs scattered around the city. It all started in 2001, when the first dwarf was erected in honor of an anti-communist movement in Poland, and soon after new dwarfs started to pop up. Today, krasnale, as called in Polish, adorn the streets, alleys and corners of Wroclaw, bringing out the city’s charming and quirky spirit. To spice your traditional sightseeing up, try and find as many of these little fellas as you can while exploring the city. For the more enthusiastic ones, download a dwarf-hunting app or if you prefer the old-fashioned way, grab a special map at the tourist information center, and let the fun begin! It’s like Wroclaw’s own Pokémon Go!
THE ROOF OF POLAND
Sky Tower is Wroclaw’s only skyscraper and at 212 meters high also the tallest building in Poland. It symbolizes the new and modern Wroclaw and is usually the first thing people traveling to the capital of Lower Silesia see. You have probably noticed by now that we are suckers for a good sunset and in Wroclaw the Sky Tower is the place to be when the sun goes down. At 200 meters high, the 49th floor is the highest you can go (without entering Bruce Willis’s apartment, rumor has it) and is reachable by a less-than-a-minute elevator ride for 11 Zloty (around 2.50€).
360 DEGREES OF BATTLE
We are pretty hard to impress when it comes to museums, galleries, or art in general (I know, what’s wrong with us?), but this three-dimensional, 360-degree panorama painting truly is something to see. Racławice Panorama was painted in the 19th Century and is one of the few panorama paintings left in Europe and the only one in Poland. The greatness and realness of this cyclorama painting takes you back to 1794 and makes you feel like you are standing in the middle of the Polish uprising against the Russian Empire in The Battle of Racławice. Originally, the painting was on display in Lviv, but was moved to Wroclaw after the Second World War. Audio guide is available free of charge in 16 different languages and the entrance fee is 30 Zloty.
THE VENICE OF POLAND
Nested on Oder River, Wroclaw is a city of 12 islands and over 130 bridges! From modern to ancient ones, the bridges of Wroclaw represent a big part of the city and are a great display of its history. While Tumski Bridge adds a little Parisian vibe with over 500kg of love padlocks hanging on its railings, the arches of Oławski Bridge will instantly make you think of Rome. But Wroclaw’s biggest pride is the Rędzin Bridge, the longest and highest bridge in Poland.
Although Cathedral Island isn’t in fact an island anymore, the most common way to reach it is still over a bridge. While exploring the oldest part of Wroclaw by foot surely makes for a beautiful stroll with many great photo ops, our preferred way of taking it in is from the river. For the romantic souls out there, visit at dusk, when a lamplighter lights up 103 gas lamps on the streets of Cathedral Island, making Wroclaw the only city besides Belarusian Brest that has kept this lovely tradition.
EVERYDAY IS PARTY DAY
Here’s a fun fact: every fourth resident of Wroclaw is a student! That makes Wroclaw the second Polish city with the highest percentage of students, surpassed only by Krakow. And to point out the obvious, high volume of young people translates to a lively city and buzzing nightlife. There’s something for everyone in Wroclaw, whether you’re looking for a leisurely evening outing or want to party your pants off. While local beer and vodka come very cheap, some touristic and high-end places will thin your wallet before you can say “Na zdrowie!”
ALL PATHS LEAD TO RYNEK
The foundations of Wroclaw’s Rynek, the largest ancient market place in Poland, date back to the mid-13th Century. While it had to be almost completely renovated after devastating effects of the Second World War, city’s main square still carries that feel of long-ago. When observing the architecture and colorful fronts of the buildings surrounding it, you can easily imagine how this market place looked like when the carriages were the main mean of transportation. Nowadays, the square is the central hub of Wroclaw, offering some of the best coffee shops, restaurants and nightlife in town.
THE MAGIC OF MUSIC, COLORS AND WATER
This must-see summertime attraction was built in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first democratic elections in Poland. The combination of more than 300 water nozzles, numerous lights, lasers and sometimes even fireworks, all of it accompanied by classical and modern music makes for one magical performance. Wroclaw’s Fountain is one of the largest operating fountains in Europe and is on display from May till October with performances throughout the day.
FOOTBALL IS THE LOCAL SPORT
Since one of us is a big football fan (guess who), the largest arena in Polish first football league had to make it into here. Although Ekstraklasa isn’t among the top European football leagues and Śląsk only won two championships so far, the passion between people of Wroclaw and their beloved football club is undeniable. The colors green and white are proudly displayed around the city and even featured on public transportation and local beer.
What is your favorite place in Wroclaw? Do you have any secrets spots you’re willing to share?