My 15 Favourite Things to Do in Wrocław, Poland

For as long as I can remember, whenever I was considering a Polish city break, the #1 recommendation was Wrocław. We were initially planning to go in 2018 to check out the famous Wrocław Christmas market, but we cancelled. Two years later, when we had to put our big travel plans on hold, I thought it’d be the perfect chance to finally explore Wrocław. The city is very aptly nicknamed Wroclove, as I really did fall in love with it during our time there. I feel like we covered a lot of ground in three short days, so here’s a round-up of my 15 favourite things to do in Wrocław…

The entrance to the Monopol Hotel in Wrocław, Poland
The exterior of two pastel blue and pink houses in Wrocław, Poland
A large mural located in the Nadodrze district of Wrocław
A special phone booth where you can listen to an audio guide to the Nadodrze district of Wrocław
The Church of Sts. Dorothea, Wenceslaus, and Stanislaus in Wrocław, Poland seen from below
A group of people sitting inside the historical Jaś i Małgosia tram in Wrocław

1. Hunt for dwarfs

A really fun way to explore Wrocław is by following the trail of these tiny adorable creatures that occupy the city. I found it really interesting to learn that this unique tourist attraction started out as an anti-communist initiative! Nowadays, there are a few hundred of them scattered all around Wrocław and the number keeps growing.

A figurine of a sleeping gnome guarding a secret gate in the Old Town area of Wrocław, Poland

If you want to see as many as possible, you can get a paper map or download an app. We just played it by ear, which turned out to be the perfect choice for me. I absolutely loved this wave of excitement whenever we turned a corner to spot yet another dwarf! You might think it would get repetitive after a while, but I just couldn’t resist stopping by every single one. I mean, just look at these little cuties…

A close-up shot of a dwarf figurine holding up a goblet in Wrocław, Poland

2. Wander around the picturesque Old Town Market Square

Although the Market Square may sound like an obvious choice, this list simply wouldn’t be complete without it. Wandering around Wrocław’s Old Town is the perfect starting point not only for your gnome hunting journey, but for any trip in general. With its cobblestone alleys, charming facades, and vibrant terraced restaurants lining the Main Square, it completely won me over.

A girl in a pink dress walking past colourful townhouses in the Old Town Market Square in Wrocław
The tenement house Under the Griffins in Wrocław's Old Town seen from below

What you should know is that the Market Square in its current form is an outcome of massive rebuilding efforts. It was essentially turned to ashes during WWII, with the majestic 13th-century Town Hall miraculously escaping devastation.

A replica of an old stone pillory in front of the Town Hall building in Wrocław's Market Square
An old sign warning pedestrians that vehicles may be emerging from an entrance in Wrocław, Poland
Rows of tables and chairs outside the New Town Hall in Wrocław, Poland
Various colourful flower baskets outside a 24-hour flower stall on Salt Market Square in Wrocław
The outside of the Feniks Department Store in Wrocław, Poland

If you’re after that Instagram shot, head to Jaś i Małgosia – two miniature tenement houses that separate the Market Square from St. Elizabeth’s Church. Jaś i Małgosia is essentially the Polish equivalent of Hansel and Gretel, which, in my opinion, is very fitting. The second you leave the Market Square, it feels as if you went through a portal that transported you smack dab into the middle of a fairytale. I may have gotten a little too snap-happy, but can you really blame me?

A girl in a maxi dress walking towards the gate between the Hansel and Gretel Houses in Wrocław
Woman in a black and white dress walking between the Hansel and Gretel tenement houses in Wrocław

3. Look for witches on the Penitent Bridge

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you might know that wherever I go, I’m always on the lookout for the best place to see the city from above. I initially had my sights set on a different observation spot in Wrocław, but when my boyfriend told me about this little footbridge 45 meters above the ground, I immediately knew it was the one.

Penitent Bridge connecting the two towers of the St. Mary Magdalene Church in Wrocław, Poland

The Penitent Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Witches, connects the two towers of the St. Mary Magdalene Church. Legend has it that a young lady was once forced to sweep the bridge until the end of time as a punishment for her vanity. She was eventually released with the help of a kind witch, but the bridge remained as a warning to all lazy women.

What if I told you we actually did see a coven of witches when we were at the top? Don’t worry though, they were just a couple of fans of this legend who dressed up for the occasion 😉 Although this legend frankly has little to do with the truth, the bridge is a must-see for the unparalleled views of the Old Town and the surrounding areas!

A bird's eye view of the Old Town in Wrocław seen from the Penitent Bridge

4. Walk under the pergola surrounding the Centennial Hall

This early 19th-century hall is a multi-purpose space currently used for various exhibitions, conferences, concerts, and sporting events. It has recently been renovated to feature interactive exhibits, including virtual reality sets. So, if you’ve ever dreamed of being able to fly, now’s your chance!

Woman in a black and white dress and a pink jacket walking towards the Centennial Hall in Wrocław
A woman in a black and white maxi dress walking under an ivy-covered pergola

We chose to stay on the ground, which isn’t half bad when you’re surrounded by so much beauty. The semi-circular pergola covered in ivy makes for a perfect backdrop and leads you onto one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in Wrocław. The Multimedia Fountain is not only the largest fountain in Poland, but also one of the largest in Europe!

Centennial Hall in Wrocław seen from one of the surrounding ivy-covered pergolas

If you visit the city between May and September, you can catch one of the free hourly shows. With 300 water jets, 800 lights, and pyrotechnic capabilities, it brings to life some of the most spectacular installations. During the special shows, various animations and videos are even displayed on water screens. There’s also a café where you can cool down with some ice-cream or an iced coffee on a hot summer’s day and engage in a spot of people watching. We sadly missed the show, but it gives us all the more reason to come back in the future!

Multimedia Fountain in Wrocław with the Centennial Hall and the Iglica seen in the background

5. Find a little bit of Japan in the middle of Wrocław

Whilst you’re in the area, I would highly recommend making a stop in the Japanese Garden nestled right behind the Pergola. From April to October, you can briefly transport yourself to the Land of the Rising Sun for a mere 8 PLN (£1.40). With a traditional Japanese bridge, a tea pavilion, and hundreds of different varieties of oriental plants, this tranquil place provides the perfect escape from the city.

Japanese characters carved on the entrance gate to the Japanese Garden in Wrocław
A large pond inside the Japanese Garden in Wrocław with a bridge and various trees in the background

6. Spend an afternoon exploring the African fauna

If you’re confused and think I got the locations all mixed up, let me offer you a word of explanation… Wrocław houses the world’s only oceanarium dedicated solely to the African fauna! It’s located within the grounds of the zoo and you can visit both of them with one ticket. The zoo missed the mark for us, as we thought that the enclosures were too small. The africarium, however, looked like it was going to be worth every single penny.

A giraffe at the Wrocław Zoo with the Centennial Hall building in the background
A giraffe at the Wrocław Zoo looking straight at the camera, with an ostrich walking right past
An animal sleeping inside its enclosure at the Wrocław Zoo
An ivy-covered terrace of a restaurant inside the Wrocław Zoo
A flock of flamingos standing under a willow tree at the Wrocław Zoo

Well, other visitors clearly thought the same. When we got there, the queue went around the building. People observed the situation in slight amusement, snapping photos and videos as they joined the queue. It took us nearly an hour to get in, but what we experienced inside more than made up for the frustratingly long wait. We got to watch mating turtles, gush at the adorable penguins (#1 Pingu fan right here), and admire the majestic sharks from afar. And that’s not even the best part…

A couple of tortoises lounging under lamps at the Africarium in Wrocław
A close-up shot of a tortoise leaning against a stone inside the Africarium in Wrocław

Again, if you’ve been reading this blog, you may remember the post about my visit at Malta National Aquarium. I was absolutely gutted when we failed to snap the perfect shot with stingrays swimming right next to us (I just really like stingrays, okay?)… Who would’ve thought my dream would finally come true 3 years later, and much closer to home! I could’ve easily spent an entire afternoon walking around the africarium and the photos we took that day still put a smile on my face.

7. Get closer to nature in the gorgeous Botanical Garden

We almost skipped the next place on this list because we assumed it wouldn’t differ much from the Japanese Garden we’d previously visited. Thank goodness my boyfriend’s sister called him on the last day and said the Botanical Garden was a must-see! We called an Uber shortly after to explore what soon became one of our favourite places in Wrocław.

Various trees and pink ivy-covered buildings at the Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław
A pink building at the Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław with various plants out front
Various types of cacti inside a greenhouse at the Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław

It’s safe to say the Botanical Garden took my breath away on more than one occasion. We tried to leave no stone unturned, stopping in every alley to marvel at the diverse plant species and flower arrangements. And just when we thought we’d seen it all, we would turn another corner to be met with even more natural wonder. My favourite place was hands-down the little pond with a circular fountain surrounded by luscious bushes with pink flowers.

A big maturing pumpkin growing inside the Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław
A figurine of a dwarf playing the trumpet with a red rose tucked under his arm

One of the buildings houses a café so that you can refuel with a cuppa and a slice of cake. Right by the entrance, there’s also a pavilion where you can purchase some award-winning honey to take home with you. It’s the perfect place to escape the city life for a while and embrace nature – and one I don’t think I could tire of!

Man in a navy jacket touching a huge circular bush at the Botanical Garden in Wrocław
Empty bench at the Botanical Garden in Wrocław surrounded by green trees and bushes

8. Feel the romance in Ostrów Tumski

If you decide to visit the Botanical Garden, you should take this opportunity to explore the area it’s located in. Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of Wrocław that actually used to be an island! It’s home to some real architectural gems, including the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew.

A small skybridge in Ostrów Tumski, Wrocław

It’s probably most well-known for the Tumski Bridge where many sweethearts would leave padlocks with their names engraved on them, and throw the keys into the Oder River to profess their love for each other. The padlocks have since been removed, but the bridge remains a couple-favourite due to its romantic vibe. Even if you’re not really into the lovey-dovey stuff, I would highly recommend it for a leisurely afternoon walk. You can always stop on nearby Słodowa Island, a popular hangout spot among locals, for a drink or two.

The Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew in Ostrów Tumski, Wrocław
A paved alley lined with trees leading to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wrocław
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wrocław seen from below

9. Ride the cable car from one river bank to the other

Tired of the omnipresent bridges in Wrocław? Why don’t you use a gondola lift to get across the river for a change? This fun little attraction was initially developed by the Wrocław University of Science and Technology as a way to connect both parts of their campus. Therefore, if you’re expecting a lengthy trip with spectacular views, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Polinka Cable Car of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology

The journey takes just under three minutes and the surroundings are rather plain, but for only 3.40 PLN (£0.60) each way, it’s an interesting thing to cross off your list nevertheless.

10. Explore a unique artsy backyard on Roosevelta Street

Rows of XIX-century tenement houses that can be found all around Wrocław can sometimes feel dull and characterless. Thankfully, a local artist came up with the perfect way to breathe some life back into one such area on Roosevelta Street. With the collective effort of all its inhabitants, he transformed the backyard into a one-of-its-kind piece of art spanning over 1200 square meters!

House façade covered in paintings depicting a big city skyline

I loved that although the place understandably became an instant hit among people visiting Wrocław, it retained its original character. The street is lined with similar-looking buildings and it takes a bit of figuring out to know where to turn. Only the art that covers one of the tenement house gates is a slight giveaway of what’s right past it.

Art installation on the façade of an old tenement house in Wrocław depicting a paradise garden
A woman in a pink dress looking at an art installation on the façade of an old tenement house

And what a feast for the eyes it is! Once you walk through the gate, there’s a fragment of a paradise garden with tropical animals and prehistoric dinosaurs. There are portraits of the people whose livelihood is contained within these walls alongside their pupils. There are mythical creatures, historical figures, and a section dedicated to the deceased fans of the local football team, WKS Śląsk Wrocław.

This unique art installation combines elements of painting, sculpture and ceramics, with a giant black feline towering over the area. I’m all for such incredible social initiatives – and the best part is that I learned some locals discovered new talents and passions in the process!

A dog lounging on a windowsill in an old tenement house covered in paintings
A giant sculpture of a black cat in the backyard of an old tenement house in Wrocław

11. Book a tour of the local brewery

Now, this activity is something we didn’t technically do… As I mentioned in my post on how I planned my first trip since lockdown, we waited before booking our tour of the 100 Bridges Brewery to avoid losing money in case we were forced to cancel our trip. Sadly, when we finally went to check their website, we saw all tickets had sold out. At the time, they only had one date available for each month, so it left us with no option to search for an alternative time slot.

If you’re in the same boat, you can do what we did – go for a beer tasting at their pub instead! We headed there on a rainy afternoon, and it appears this option is just as popular no matter the weather, as we managed to snag the last table available in the little outdoor beer garden. I’ve read that those lucky enough to be seated inside can observe the brewing process, which sounds like a great pre-taste of the tour experience. There’s also an option to purchase a little something to enjoy in the comfort of your home from their shop – we would’ve definitely taken advantage if it hadn’t closed early!

12. Watch the city light up at the Neon Side Gallery

One thing I noticed when we were in Wrocław was the abundance of neons gracing various buildings around the city. As I later came to learn, a company producing neon signs operated there for several decades. The late 1960s and 70s saw a kind of “neon boom” in Wrocław. Once the sun went down, the city would truly come to life, with dozens of neons breathing charm into the unobtrusive facades. Many of these places, including the neon factory itself, have since closed down, but a local man decided to give the legendary signs a new lease of life.

A mural and neon signs at the Neon Side Gallery in Wrocław

The exterior of the former factory, tucked away in a courtyard on Ruska Street, is now home to the Neon Side Gallery. It’s a collection of nearly 30 signs from various sources, including former cinemas, shops, and companies. You should definitely go see this unique place in full glory on your evening walk. There’s also a cocktail bar, so you can enjoy a drink or two with friends as you contemplate art. Something for the body and something for the soul!

People looking at neon signs at the Neon Side Gallery in Wrocław

13. Visit the highest panoramic viewpoint in Poland

My next suggestion is a real treat for the fans of modern-day architecture. Did you know that Wrocław’s Sky Tower used to be the tallest building in Poland in terms of height to roof and height to top floor until mid-2020? The 49th floor also houses the country’s highest panoramic observation deck available all year round. You can probably tell by now I’m not one to say no to an attraction like that!

Sky Tower Viewpoint in Wrocław seen from the ground

We booked tickets for our last evening in the city. At only 18 PLN (around £3.20), it seemed like a real no-brainer! (The price has since increased to 23 PLN / £4.) Sadly, it ended up being rainy and foggy for most of the day. When we finally ascended to the top, visibility was virtually zero and we could not see a single thing. We also made the rookie mistake of assuming there would be a cocktail bar at the top. As we came to discover, there was literally nothing, so we couldn’t even have a consolatory drink.

I feel like there’s a lot of wasted potential and I hope they will expand their offer in the nearest future. Adding the option to have lunch or a cocktail with a view would definitely help draw in more visitors. Still, we will definitely be back another time to see what we missed!

14. Explore the vibrant food scene

I knew from the moment I sat down at my laptop to do trip research that food-wise, this trip was going to be something else. Narrowing down my list proved to be an impossible task, so we barely managed to scratch the surface. As we ticked off one restaurant after another, we kept hitting jackpot after jackpot. The pizza we ate in Wrocław was probably the best I’ve ever had, including the ones in Naples, and that says something!

I don’t think we had a single negative experience in Wrocław and I cannot wait to be back for more. I reviewed all the restaurants we visited in a separate blog post, so if you’re in need of some inspiration, head over there!

A table and two chairs outside the Jolie Brasserie in Wrocław, Poland

15. Visit Princess Daisy’s former residence

Finally, if you have more time to spare, I would highly recommend venturing outside of the city to visit the former residence of Princess Daisy.

Książ is the largest castle in Lower Silesia, located an hour away from Wrocław. I personally found it so mesmerising that I ended up ordering Princess Daisy’s diaries shortly after our trip to learn more about its fascinating past. You can even stay inside the castle, so this is definitely next on the agenda! In the meantime, I put together a mini guide on how to organise a day trip from Wrocław to Książ to help you plan a trip of your own.

Książ Castle in Wałbrzych, Poland seen from the road leading to the underground tunnels

Did you find any of these attractions surprising? Which of these would you add to your Wrocław itinerary?

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