Last updated on June 27, 2023
While Wrocław is a relatively popular place with tourists, it remains overshadowed by more famous counterparts like Kraków or Warsaw. In fact, it took me a while to visit Wrocław too, but the moment I did, it instantly shot to my list of the best places to visit in Poland.
I’ve since returned to Wrocław and I’m already planning my next getaway. It’s a place you simply cannot miss when crafting your Poland itinerary. Whether you’re coming for a weekend city break or an extended stay, Wrocław has something for everyone. From exploring Gothic architecture to the vibrant Old Town Market Square and a river winding through the city, it offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern delights.
In this travel guide, I’ve curated the 19 best things to do in Wrocław, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this enchanting city. I encourage you to bookmark or pin this post, as I will continue to update it with new Wrocław attractions after every single trip!
1. Hunt for dwarfs
A really fun way to explore Wrocław is by tracking these tiny adorable creatures that inhabit 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.
If you want to spot as many as possible, you can grab a paper map or download an app. We just winged it, which turned out to be the perfect choice for me. I loved the wave of excitement whenever we turned a corner to spot another dwarf! You might think it would get repetitive after a while, but I couldn’t resist stopping by every single one. I mean, just look at these little cuties…
2. Stroll 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 adventure, but for any trip in general. With its cobblestone alleys, charming facades, and vibrant outdoor restaurants lining the Main Square, it completely won me over.
What you should know is that the Market Square in its current form is a result of significant rebuilding efforts. It was virtually turned to ashes during WWII, with the grand 13th-century Town Hall miraculously avoiding devastation.
If you’re after that Instagram shot, head to Jaś i Małgosia – two tiny 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 right into the middle of a fairytale. I may have gotten a little too snap-happy, but can you really blame me?
3. Look for witches on the Penitent Bridge
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might know that wherever I go, I’m always on the hunt 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 knew instantly it was the one.
The Penitent Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Witches, links the two towers of the St. Mary Magdalene Church. Legend says 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 group 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!
4. Walk under the pergola surrounding the Centennial Hall
This early 19th-century hall is a multi-purpose venue that now hosts an array of exhibitions, conferences, concerts, and sports events. It recently got a cool update to include interactive exhibits, even featuring virtual reality sets. So, if you’ve ever dreamed about flying, this could be your moment!
We decided to stay on the ground, which isn’t too bad when you’re surrounded by so much beauty. The semi-circular pergola, draped in ivy, creates the perfect setting and leads you to one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in Wrocław. The Multimedia Fountain isn’t just the biggest fountain in Poland, but it also ranks amongst the largest in Europe!
If you’re visiting the city between May and September, you can catch one of the free hourly shows. With 300 water jets, 800 lights, and the ability to create pyrotechnic effects, the fountain stages some truly spectacular displays.
During special shows, animations and videos are projected onto water screens. There’s also a café nearby where you can enjoy an ice-cream or an iced coffee on a hot day and partake in some casual people-watching. We missed the show, unfortunately, but that just gives us an excellent reason to come back!
5. Find a piece of Japan in the heart of Wrocław
While you’re in the area, I highly recommend a visit to the Japanese Garden tucked just behind the Pergola. From April to October, for a small fee of 8 PLN (£1.40), you can briefly transport yourself to the Land of the Rising Sun. With a traditional Japanese bridge, a tea pavilion, and hundreds of different types of oriental plants, this tranquil corner provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
6. Spend an afternoon exploring African fauna
If you’re wondering why I’m talking about Africa when we’re in Poland, let me explain… Wrocław is home to the world’s only aquarium dedicated exclusively to African fauna! It’s located within the zoo grounds, and one ticket gets you into both. The zoo didn’t quite hit the spot for us as we felt the enclosures were too small. However, the Africarium seemed promising and well worth the money.
When we arrived, the line stretched around the building. Other visitors joined the queue, chuckling and taking photos of the surprisingly long line. It took us nearly an hour to get in, but once inside, the experience made up for the lengthy wait. We watched turtles mate, cooed at adorable penguins (huge Pingu fan right here), and observed the mighty sharks from a safe distance. And that’s just the beginning…
If you’ve been following this blog, you might recall the post about my visit to the Malta National Aquarium where we missed a perfect photo opportunity with swimming stingrays. Little did I know that my dream would come true 3 years later, and much closer to home! I could’ve happily spent an entire afternoon wandering around the Africarium, and the photos we took still bring a smile to my face.
7. Get in touch with nature in the stunning Botanical Garden
We nearly passed on visiting this location, thinking it might not be much different from the Japanese Garden we’d seen earlier. Lucky for us, Mac’s sister called him and insisted that the Botanical Garden was a must-see, leading us to call an Uber and explore what quickly became one of our favourite spots in Wrocław.
The Botanical Garden was breathtakingly beautiful. We strolled down every path, pausing to admire the variety of plants and beautiful flower displays. Every turn revealed more natural beauty. My personal favourite was a quaint pond, circled by a fountain and set against a backdrop of lush bushes adorned with pink flowers.
There’s a café in one of the buildings where you can have a tea and a slice of cake. Near the entrance, there’s also a shop where you can buy award-winning honey to take home. It’s the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy nature – a place I can’t see myself getting bored of!
8. Feel the romance in Ostrów Tumski
If you pop over to the Botanical Garden, it’s a great chance to check out its neighbourhood. Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of Wrocław and used to be an island! It’s home to some stunning old buildings, including the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew.
It’s probably best known for the Tumski Bridge where lots of sweethearts used to leave padlocks with their names on them, and toss the keys into the Oder River as a sign of their love. Although the padlocks have been removed, the bridge still holds a romantic charm that attracts many. Even if you’re not into overly romantic gestures, the area is still a great place for a relaxing stroll. Consider stopping by the nearby Słodowa Island, a popular local hangout, for a drink or two.
9. Take a cable car ride from one river bank to another
Had enough of the many bridges in Wrocław? How about taking a gondola lift over the river for a change? This fun ride was first set up by the Wrocław University of Science and Technology to connect both parts of their campus. So, if you’re hoping for a long ride with amazing views, you might be a bit let down.
The trip takes just under 3 minutes and the views are pretty ordinary, but for only 3.40 PLN (£0.60) each way, it’s a cool thing to try while you’re in town.
10. Explore a unique artsy backyard on Roosevelta Street
Sometimes the rows of 19th-century tenement houses that populate Wrocław might come off as a bit plain and lifeless. However, one local artist decided to change that and, with a collective effort from all the residents, turned a backyard on Roosevelta Street into a fabulous, one-of-a-kind work of art spread over 1200 square meters!
What I adored about this place was that even though it became popular with visitors to Wrocław, it kept its original character. The street is filled with similar buildings, making it a little tricky to spot. The only clue is the art covering one of the gates – your sneak peek of what lies beyond it.
And what a feast for the eyes it is! Walking through the gate feels like entering a piece of paradise, adorned with tropical animals and ancient dinosaurs. There are portraits of the residents and their pets, mythical creatures, historical figures, and even a section dedicated to late fans of the local football team, WKS Śląsk Wrocław.
This unique installation, blending painting, sculpture, and ceramics – crowned by a giant black cat – is a testament to the power of community projects. And, delightfully, some locals even found they had hidden artistic talents in the process!
11. Book a tour of the local brewery
If you’re a beer lover, a tour of the 100 Bridges Brewery is a must in Wrocław. This local brewery offers a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process, from explaining the selection of ingredients to the final pour. The highlight of the tour, of course, is the beer tasting. You can sample a variety of brews, each with its own unique flavour profile. Before that, the guide explains how to assess beer using your sense of smell and taste, so you can do it like a pro.
Even if you’re not a beer aficionado, the passion and craftsmanship that go into each pint are sure to impress. The 100 Bridges Brewery is actually the most modern craft brewery in Poland, so it’s a great alternative to more commercial experiences. The tours are also held in smaller groups, so you get a unique chance to ask about some things you’ve always wanted to know and talk to the guides.
At the moment, they only run guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can find all information on the brewery’s website. I don’t think they offer special tours in English, but it’s worth contacting them to check if they would organise one for you. Alternatively, you can turn up to any Polish tour and I’m sure the guides will be more than happy to answer your questions.
12. Light up your night at the Neon Side Gallery
Something that really struck me in Wrocław was the city’s love for neon. I learned that there was once a company that produced neon signs, leading to a neon craze in the city during the late 60s and 70s. As the sun set, the city would spring to life, with colourful neons lending magic to otherwise unassuming buildings. Although many of these sites, including the neon factory, have since closed, a local man decided to rekindle the neon sparkle.
The former factory’s exterior, tucked away in a courtyard on Ruska Street, is now the Neon Side Gallery, home to nearly 30 signs from a variety of places including old cinemas, shops, and businesses. It’s a sight to behold during an evening stroll. And with a cocktail bar on site, you can sip a drink or two with friends while appreciating the glowing art. It’s an experience that caters to both body and soul!
13. Visit Poland’s highest panoramic viewpoint
For those who love modern architecture, my next suggestion is an absolute must. Did you know that the Sky Tower in Wrocław held the title of Poland’s tallest building up to mid-2020? The 49th floor is also home to the country’s highest panoramic observation deck, open all year round. As you can guess, I simply couldn’t resist such an attraction!
We booked tickets for our final night in the city – at just 18 PLN (around £3.20), it was too good to pass up! (Just a heads-up, the price has since gone up to 30 PLN / £5.80.) Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side that day, and a foggy, rainy day meant that once we reached the top, we could hardly see a thing. We had hoped for a cocktail bar at the top, but, as we found out, there was none – no chance of a consolation drink.
I think there’s a wealth of potential here, and I hope they’ll broaden their offerings soon. Imagine having lunch or a cocktail with such a view – that would definitely attract more visitors. Despite our initial disappointment, we’re determined to return and catch what we missed!
14. Step into history at the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice
If there’s one thing you absolutely MUST do in Wrocław, it’s visiting the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice. This gigantic circular painting shows a defining moment in Polish history, when around 2,000 peasants armed with scythes defeated the Russian forces during the Kościuszko Uprising. The 360-degree view, coupled with clever lighting and props, is so lifelike you’ll feel like you’re standing in the middle of a battlefield.
I’ve honestly never been this impressed with a painting before, and I found it hard to fathom that a group of people actually painted this in under 2 years. If you’d like to see it too, make sure to pre-book on the National Museum of Wrocław website as tickets tend to sell out fast. They currently cost 50 PLN (around £9.60/€11.20) each, and grant you entry to the permanent exhibition in the National Museum in Wrocław, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Four Domes Pavilion Museum of Contemporary Art for 3 months from the purchase date.
15. Explore the art collection of the National Museum
The National Museum in Wrocław houses one of the largest collections of Polish art spread across 3 floors. Each room takes you to a different era, from the medieval period to the present day.
Even if you’re not especially keen on paintings and sculptures, the ivy-covered building itself is worth a visit. It looks even more impressive on the inside, with a stunning neoclassical atrium and arcaded galleries making for a perfect photo backdrop.
It’s particularly a no-brainer if you have a ticket to the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice, as you can then explore the permanent exhibition free of charge.
For an additional fee of 10 PLN (around £1.90/€2.20), we also got to see a temporary exhibition called Fashion under Martial Law. It’s a fascinating journey through a time of political turmoil in Poland, where fashion became a symbol of defiance.
It features jumpers knitted from leftover industrial wool, dresses crafted from home-dyed cotton, and coats bursting with colourful appliques.
And the best part? These pieces were not just created by big-name Polish fashion designers, but also by complete amateurs for everyday use.
The exhibition is on until 30th July 2023, so if you’re a fashion enthusiast, it’s a must-see to see how creativity and resilience flourished amidst restrictions!
16. Find a hidden oasis at the Ossolineum Garden
If you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, I’d highly recommend heading to the baroque Ossolineum Garden. It was built at the end of the 17th century as a monastery garden before being turned into a playground for the neighbouring grammar school.
Today, it belongs to the Ossoliński National Institute and it’s the perfect resting place in the heart of Wrocław’s Old Town that many tourists are not aware of. There isn’t much to see, but you can relax with a book on one of the benches or enjoy a cup of coffee from the nearby café.
17. See the stunning Aula Leopoldinum and the Mathematical Tower
The main building of the University of Wrocław holds several attractions: Aula Leopoldinum, Oratorium Marianum, the Exposition Hall, and the Mathematical Tower. We mostly wanted to see the Aula, as it was closed for renovation the last time we were in Wrocław.
With its ornate baroque interior, it genuinely feels like stepping into a royal palace. Honestly, if I could study in a stunning place like this, I would have enjoyed my university experience much more!
As you can only buy a ticket for a minimum of 2 halls, we chose to climb the Mathematical Tower for a panoramic view of the city, especially the islands on the Oder river. It was formerly an Astronomical Observatory, and you can currently see a collection of sundials on your way to the top of the building.
18. Sample the vibrant food scene
From the moment I began researching our trip, I knew that the food scene in Wrocław would be a real treat. Despite my best efforts, narrowing down my list was a challenge, and we barely made a dent. But every restaurant we visited was a hit. The pizza we had in Wrocław might even be the best I’ve ever tasted – including those in Naples!
We haven’t had a single bad dining experience in Wrocław, and we’re keen to return for more. For some culinary inspiration, I’ve written up reviews of all the restaurants we visited in a separate blog post, so do check it out!
19. Pay a visit to Princess Daisy’s former home
Finally, if you have some extra time, it’s well worth venturing out of the city to visit the former residence of Princess Daisy.
Książ, the largest castle in Lower Silesia, is only an hour’s drive from Wrocław. I was so charmed by it that I immediately ordered Princess Daisy’s diaries after our trip to learn more about its intriguing past. You can even stay overnight in the castle – something that’s firmly on my to-do list! In the meantime, I’ve created a mini guide to organising a day trip from Wrocław to Książ, to assist with your own planning.
Were any of these attractions a surprise to you? Which ones would you add to your Wrocław itinerary?