Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Wroclaw, Poland, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Wroclaw is one of the largest cities in Poland, located in the southwestern part of the country. The city is well-known for its cultural and historical significance.
Several of Wroclaw’s most famous landmarks have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2016, the city was named as a European Capital of Culture.
If you ask me, Wroclaw is one of the best places to visit in Poland. The city is rich in history and as a tourist, you’ll likely find the price level to be more affordable than many other European cities. There is also something for everyone, no matter interest.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Wroclaw as well as activities and attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting the city.
Find the gnomes of Wroclaw
At first glance, you may not notice the cheeky legion of statues scattered throughout Wroclaw, but when you go looking for them, you’ll find that there actually over 300 of these gnomes (though reports suggest the city has lost count!).
Standing at no more than a foot tall, the quirky gnomes each have their own personality, adopting the roles of postmen, bankers, or even a tiny doctor holding a mini stethoscope.
The tiny statues were first put in place to recognize the work of the anti-Soviet resistance movement, Orange Alternative, in helping to take down the communist regime that reigned in Poland in the 1980s. Nowadays, finding the gnomes have become something like a local sport and it’s a fun activity for all ages.
Stroll around the Old Town
Wroclaw’s Old Town is a must-see for any visitor. Think quaint cobbled squares, avenues filled with charming shops, a skyline filled with old-world church spires, and streets lined with pastel-hued buildings.
Immerse yourself in history at Market Square (Rynek), where you can marvel at a reconstruction of the stone pillory (where people were once flogged) or rub the tongue of the unusual Breslau Bear, a ritual said to bring good luck
. Nearby is Plac Solny, where you’ll find a multitude of 24-hour flower stalls showcasing a paradisiacal array of colors, day and night.
Admire different styles of architecture
Travel to a by-gone era as you discover Wroclaw’s stunning architecture, showcasing the country’s comeback from wartime destruction and political unrest.
For a taste of modern architecture, visit the huge, mid-12th century Church of Our Lady of the Sand on Piasek Island, which attracts visitors for its unique year-round nativity scene.
Or perhaps you’ll wander the WUWA housing estates, created in the 1920s for poorer communities. The WUWA estates, a German abbreviation of ” A residence and a workplace”, were praised for their multi-functionality and now serve as a collection of modernist buildings worth taking a look at.
See the view from the St. Mary Magdalene church
Built between the years of 1226 and 1232, The Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene is one of Wroclaw’s oldest religious buildings. The church has prospered through a turbulent past and today the huge Gothic basilica boasts glorious stained-glass windows and a plethora of religious art.
The main attraction, though, is the Penitent Bridge. Standing at 45 meters high, the open-air bridge connects the two towers of Mary Magdalene church and is one of Wroclaw’s most treasured relics from the 12th century.
At the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Old Town, allowing you to see this dynamic city from an entirely new perspective.
Join a boat cruise or rent a boat
The beautiful Odra River, the second biggest in Poland, offers a unique way to explore Wroclaw. Joining a boat cruise allows you to hear tales of the city, its history, and its legends from a knowledgeable guide.
From the boat, you’ll be able to spot monuments such as the Grundwaldzki suspension bridge, Pressure Tower, and Szczytniki lock. If you prefer to explore on your own, rent a kayak, canoe, or small motorboat for the day and meander down the river, taking in the idyllic sights and sounds of Wroclaw.
Visit Ostrow Tumski
No trip to Wroclaw would be complete without visiting Ostrow Tumski or ‘Cathedral Island’. Surrounded by the River Odra, Ostrow Tumski is the oldest part of the city and widely known as the prettiest area of Wroclaw.
There’s so much to see and do on this former island: stroll around the twee Botanical Gardens; explore churches and royal buildings; walk part of the Amber Road, an ancient trade route, and so much more.
By night, the cobbled streets are illuminated by antique gas lamps while the trees glimmer with fairy lights, giving Ostrow Tumski a magical glow.
Wroclaw Market Hall
A stone’s throw away from Ostrow Tumski is Wroclaw Market Hall, selling everything from Polish delicacies to fresh flowers to delicious sweets. Delight in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this bustling market, where you can experience life as the locals do.
The interesting neo-Gothic architecture of the Market Hall attracts many visitors for its impressive exterior, but it also houses over 190 shops with different vendors across two floors.
Opened in 1913, the Centennial Hall is a landmark of modern architecture and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The multi-purpose exhibition hall was designed by Max Berg and, at the time of its construction, it housed the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world.
The arena was originally designed to accommodate the needs of the community and is now used to host a variety of events with room to host up to 10,000 people. Why not take a quick walking tour of the hall to learn of its history and architectural significance?
Embark on a journey into the miniature world of Kolejkowo, an artistic venture that features a range of tiny model trains and local landmarks. Visiting Kolejkowo is one of the best things to do in Wroclaw with kids.
Based at Świebodzki Station, one of the oldest railway stations in Wroclaw, this small-scale model wonderfully depicts Lower Silesia, with fabulous reconstructions of some of Wroclaw’s landmarks.
The largest railway model in Poland comprises of over 430 meters of miniature railway tracks, 15 trains, 60 railway carriages, 162 buildings and 1600 figures of people and animals, bridges, tunnels, and more.
Szczytnicki Park is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. After opening in 1783, the former estate park now offers the largest recreational space in the city, boasting around 350 types of trees and numerous animal and bird species.
Moreover, the park is also home to the wooden church called John of Nepomuk. A separate part of Szczytnicki Park, the Japanese Garden, is also very nice for a leisurely stroll in beautiful environments.
Here you’ll find exquisite gardens, water cascades, and a large pond (filled with traditional Koi carp) all created in the Japanese style.
The Cathedral of St John Baptist is an outstanding landmark in Wroclaw, famous for its distinguished spires rising high and adorning the skyline of Ostrow Tumski.
Inside, you’ll find a variety of notable artifacts: a Gothic altarpiece, the largest organ in Poland, and many tombstones of different architectural styles.
Unlike some of the other church towers that you’ll find in Wroclaw, there’s a lift that takes you to the top at Wroclaw Cathedral. Once there, you’ll find panoramic views of the city and a small exhibition of historical artifacts.
Visit the Royal Palace
Since 2009, the Royal Palace has been designated as the focal point of the Wroclaw City Museum. Originally named ‘Spaetgen’s Palace’, today the palace hosts a range of exhibitions, free for anyone lucky enough to be visiting the city.
Delve into Wroclaw’s complex history at ‘1000 Years of Wroclaw’; discover recreations of royal suites and see the Beyersdorf Room, decorated in its entirety with 17th-century Dutch tiling.
After making the most of the free exhibitions, stop for a coffee at the palace’s cafe or stroll around the majestic Baroque gardens.
Visit Wrocław University
Wroclaw University is still a functioning educational institution, but it is steeped in history and one of Wroclaw’s most popular attractions.
The main university building is home to a stunning grand hall – Aula Leopoldinum – one of the only places in Poland to showcase extensive Baroque décor.
Be sure to visit the in-house museum, which exhibits several collections ranging from the 15th century to the present day. Then, head up to the top of Mathematical Tower and out onto the terrace; at 42 meters high, it holds spectacular views of Slodowa Island and the Old Town.
Raclawice Panorama is more than just a painting, it’s a journey that recalls the story of Poland’s most famous battle scenes. The 140-meter long canvas showcases the first victorious battle fought by troops under the command of Tadeusz Kościuszko.
Look closely at this gigantic piece of historic art, and you’ll see an artist’s impression of sword-wielding men riding into battle, villagers praying at the foot of a huge cross, and women tending to bodies of the wounded.
The painting is so revered that an approximate of 1600 people per day go to witness magnificent panorama in person. Viewing this is definitely one of the unique things to do in Wroclaw.
The Multimedia Fountain
Wroclaw Multimedia Fountain is not only the biggest fountain in Poland, but it’s also one of the biggest fountains in Europe. It consists of 800 lights and 300 water jets that dance majestically, creating an enchanting choreographed spectacle to the sound of classical and modern pop music.
Located in Szczytnicki Park, adjoining the Japanese Garden and near the Centennial Hall, the fountain is situated perfectly for travelers and locals alike to enjoy its magical displays, which take place every hour of the day; if you’re lucky, you may be able to catch a show more than one.
List of Museums in Wroclaw
- Museum of the University of Wrocław
- Automobile Museum Topacz
- Panorama Racławicka
- Wroclaw Military Museum
- National Museum
- Wroclaw City Museum
- Museum of Modern art
- Centrum Historii Zajezdnia
- Pharmacy Museum in Wroclaw
- Ethnographic Museum
Parks and Natural attractions in Wroclaw
- Ogrod Botaniczny Uniwersytetu Wroclawskiego
- Odra River
- Japanese Garden – Szczytnicki Park
- Inner City Moat
- Park Południowy
- Park Staromiejski
- Opatowicka Island
- Park Zachodni
- Las Pilczycki
- Park Wschodni
- ROD “Oławka”
Fun things to do in Wroclaw with kids
If you’re traveling to Wroclaw with kids, I’m happy to tell you that there is plenty of fun activities that are family-friendly. One of the best places to visit in Wroclaw with kids is without a doubt the Kolejkow Miniature Train Museum.
Finding all the gnomes is another fun activity right in the city center. A ride with the Funboat along Oder River is also something that I can recommend to experience Wroclaw from a different perspective.
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