Wrocław is a large city located in southwestern Poland on the Silesian Plain. Prior to 1945, it used to be a German city named Breslau. After the war, many of the refugees from the former eastern provinces of Poland found a new home in the ruined city, including the faculty of the University of Lviv with its world-famous Mathematics Departament. Despite its destruction, the city has rebuilt into one of most modern cities in Poland, and you can admire many rebuilt monuments and works of art.
There are definitely many attractions in Wrocław. These are mainly historical monuments with the surrounding buildings, but also modern facilities for both children and adults. The capital of Lower Silesia has long been at the forefront of the most popular cities for tourists in Poland. Wrocław can boast not only historic architecture, but also many cultural sanctuaries, interesting green areas and a rich nightlife.
The difficult history of this city made it multicultural, which makes it much more interesting for visitors. The attractions of Wrocław are also local museums, galleries and theaters as well as numerous viewpoints. The city is located in a place where, apart from the Oder, five other rivers flow through it. For this reason, there are over 100 bridges and several dozen footbridges here, which only add to the attractiveness of the capital of Lower Silesia.
Attractions of Wrocław
Not only history fans will find themselves in Wrocław, but also young people who like to spend time in clubs and bars. The city does not fall asleep after dark, so there is nowhere to play. The capital of Lower Silesia also tempts all kinds of gourmets who will not be indifferent to local delicacies served in numerous restaurants and cafes. It is also worth adding that it is in Wrocław, on the local market, that one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Poland is organized annually.
Sightseeing of Wrocław
Wroclaw can actually be visited on foot. Most of the most important attractions and monuments are situated relatively close to each other, within the range of shorter or longer walks. However, if there is such a need, you can use public transport, which in the capital of Lower Silesia consists of bus and tram lines and even a cable car (Polinka). However, it is not worth moving your own car, not only that the city has terrible traffic jams at the communication peak, but there is also a problem with free parking spaces.
See also the greatest monuments and attractions of Krakow.
You need at least two days to visit Wrocław so that you can visit all its most important places. Therefore, the capital of Lower Silesia is an ideal place for a weekend getaway or a short trip. The number of attractions and interesting objects here is so large that probably a week of time would be too short to see everything. Therefore, it is worth planning before the trip what you want to visit first, and the rest you can visit during your next trip to Wrocław.
The city can be visited all year round. Of course, the most tourists are in summer, when the weather is usually good. However, it is worth remembering that Wrocław is one of the warmest places in Poland, so if the temperatures soar, exploration may not be a very pleasant experience. For those who do not like hot weather, a better date is later spring or the beginning of autumn. On the other hand, tourists who want to experience the festive atmosphere of this city with their own eyes must visit Wrocław in December.
Monuments of Wrocław
Let’s start exploring Wrocław from the greatest monuments.
Market Square in Wrocław
One of the most popular historic places in Wrocław is the local market. It has an area of almost four hectares and is the third largest in Poland (after Kraków and Olecko). The market square in Wrocław has been one of the most beautiful old towns in the country for years. It is surrounded on all sides by 60 colorful houses, and in the middle is the medieval Old Town Hall. Today it houses the Museum of Burghers’ Art.
Adjacent to the building of the Old Town Hall is the New Town Hall, where the Mayor of Wrocław and the City Council reside. In front of this building there is a characteristic glass fountain “Zdrój”, while on the other side there is a copy of the pillory from the 15th century. Among the many tenement houses on the market square, two connected with each other – Hansel and Gretel, definitely stand out, but it is also worth paying attention to the Kamienica pod Gryfami (Griffons’ Tenement House) or the Kamienice pod Złotym Słońcem (Golden Sun’s Tenement House), which in turn houses the Museum of „Pan Tadeusz” („Master Thaddeus”, a 19th century epic poem considered the national poem of Poland, even though it takes place in Lithuania and most of the characters consider themselves Lithuanian). While strolling around the Wrocław market square, we will also come across the majestic St. Elizabeth with a gothic tower, which offers a fantastic panorama of the entire city and the statue of Aleksander Fredro (19th century Polish playwrigth), transferred here from Lviv.
Another historic place in Wrocław is Ostrów Tumski, which is one of the oldest parts of this city. It is led by the Tumski Bridge, chosen by couples in love by hanging padlocks on it as an expression of their unbreakable love. There are many interesting monuments in Ostrów Tumski, including the Church of St. Giles, which is the oldest temple in the city.
In addition, it is worth visiting the Archdiocese Museum, where you can see the Book of Henryków, in which the first sentence in Polish was written. It is also worth entering the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew, built in the Gothic style. In front of this temple there is an equally interesting statue of John of Nepomuk. There is also a small Gothic church of St. Martin and, interestingly, the Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław.
However, the most important temple of Ostrów Tumski is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Built in the 14th century in the Gothic style, it is distinguished from a distance by two twin towers (over 90 meters high). You can enter one of them and admire the panorama of Wrocław. Inside, however, it is worth listening to music from one of the largest organs in Poland.
See also the most important monuments and attractions of Warsaw.
Hall of the century
Another important monument in Wrocław is the Centennial Hall. It is a show and entertainment facility that was built in 1911-1913 and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Centennial Hall is, in a way, a symbol of Wrocław, which was built in order to organize the Centennial Exhibition in its interiors, which was to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon at Leipzig.
At one time, its scale must have been impressive, because the 42-meter-high hall was covered with a dome with a diameter of 67 meters. Over the years, it has witnessed many historical events, but later it housed the largest cinema in Wrocław. Currently, it houses opera performances on a grand scale. In front of the Centennial Hall there is a steel spire, a memento of the Recovered Territories Exhibition. However, nearby there is an artificially created pond with a multimedia fountain and a large ellipse-shaped pergola.
Tourist attractions in Wrocław
The monuments are now behind us for more tourist attractions in Wrocław.
Panorama of the Battle of Racławice
One of the greatest tourist attractions of Wrocław is the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice. Tourists can see the largest painting in the country, painted by Jan Styk and Wojciech Kossak and their team. The work depicts the Battle of Racławice, in which Polish troops under the command of Tadeusz Kościuszko defeated the larger Russian army.
The image of the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice was placed in a rotunda-shaped building specially designed for it. The work itself has considerable dimensions – 15 meters high and 114 meters, so you can almost feel like inside the events presented on it. These impressions are enhanced by three-dimensional models and a lecturer explaining the entire staging.
Zoo from Africarium
Another big attraction for tourists in Wrocław is the zoo, along with the Africarium. It is the oldest zoo in Poland, occupying an area of 33 hectares. There are over 10,000 animals in it. Tourists can visit 12 pavilions, including monkey houses, crocodile houses, elephant houses and butterfly houses. There is also a separate facility where the youngest can touch and stroke farm animals.
However, the biggest attraction of the Wrocław zoo is undoubtedly the Africarium. Its popularity was determined not only by numerous swimming pools and aquariums, but also by the idea of gathering animals inhabiting only one continent in one place, i.e. in this case Africa. In Africarium you can see penguins, crocodiles, manatees, hippos and mongooses, among others. The most impressive, however, is the underwater tunnel, where huge rays, sharks and octopuses swim over the heads of visitors.
See also the top attractions and monuments in Prague.
An undoubted attraction of Wrocław are also small statues of dwarfs located all over the city. Currently there are around 360 of them, each with their own name and role. In Wrocław, you can come across celebrity dwarfs, firefighters, craftsmen, and even witches. You just need to keep your eyes peeled, because they are situated in parks and shops, near the train station or on the market square.
The number of Wrocław dwarfs is variable as they are rearranged and replaced with new ones. The first sculptures began to appear in the city in the 1980s. They were an expression of opposition to the communist authorities, and their originator was the Orange Alternative movement. Today they are such a popular attraction that you can take a guided tour in their footsteps. You can also try to find at least a few dozen dwarfs in Wrocław, the website https://visitwroclaw.eu/wroclawskie-krasnale (in Polish only) helps in finding them.
What is worth seeing in Wrocław?
What else is worth seeing and visiting in Wrocław, apart from the previously mentioned monuments and tourist attractions?
In Wrocław, it is definitely worth visiting Hydropolis, an interactive center of knowledge about water. It shows the liquid most necessary for all life, in various shots and scenes. The seat of Hydropolis is a 19th-century neo-Gothic underground reservoir. The whole thing is divided into eight thematic zones, and it all starts with a short 360-degree projection about the genesis of water on our globe.
In Hydropolis you can see, for example, a replica of the Trieste bathyscaphe that dived in the Marian Trench in 1960, or a school of tuna suspended from the ceiling with a shark. There are 64 interactive installations waiting for visitors here, while outside there is a large water printer that creates various water curtains. Hydropolis is an ideal place in Wrocław for a trip for the whole family.
Another place worth seeing in Wrocław is the Japanese Garden. It is a separate part of the Szczytnicki Park and is a unique green urban area on a national and European scale. All this because the Japanese Garden in Wrocław was designed by the Japanese and is a living element of their culture. The whole thing is exactly like the parks that can be found at the foot of Mount Fuji.
In the Japanese Garden, as many as 26 species of plants that grow only on the island of cherry blossoms have been planted. In addition, the whole concept follows the basic principles that apply in Japanese gardens. There is, for example, a division into male and female cascades. Both lead to a pond surrounded by lush vegetation. However, the pond itself is separated by an extremely photogenic wooden bridge. The Japanese Garden in Wrocław is an ideal place for a moment of rest and relaxation after a day of sightseeing.
During the tour, it is also worth seeing the National Museum in Wrocław. It is the most important museum facility, not only in the city, but also in the whole of Lower Silesia. The main building of the National Museum is located in a neo-Renaissance building, charmingly covered with ivy. There are over 200,000 exhibits in its collection. They are mainly paintings and sculptures, with an emphasis on Silesian artists.
At the National Museum in Wrocław, you can admire collections of Silesian, Polish and European art on three floors. The collections include paintings and sculptures from different periods, as well as works transferred from Lviv. You can also see glass and ceramics as well as drawings and photographs. In addition, of course, temporary exhibitions are organized here.
Interesting places in Wrocław
All the attractions and monuments that we have listed are not all. See also other interesting places.
Sky Tower viewpoint
An interesting place in Wrocław is the Sky Tower viewing point. It is located on the penultimate floor of the Sky Tower, which measures over 200 meters, making it the tallest building in the city. It is here at the height of the 49th floor that an observation deck has been created, which can be accessed by a high-speed elevator that will take us there in a minute.
The viewpoint itself can accommodate 50 people, so tickets are sold here for a specific time. The ticket office itself is about 20 meters from the Sky Tower (located at the entrance to the shopping mall). From the very top you can admire not only the panorama of the entire city, with the old town or even the meanders of the Oder, but also supposedly Śnieżka (one of the highest mountains in Poland) in good weather.
An interesting place in Wrocław is also Kolejkowo, a place where you can see supposedly the largest railway model in Poland. The property is located in the Świebodzki Railway Station building, about 800 meters from the Market Square. In Kolejkowo, you can see not only models of the reduced city of Wrocław, but also areas from all over Lower Silesia.
On a scale of 1:25, the Wrocław market square, the meteorological observatory on Śnieżka and the Swiss shelter in Rudawy Janowickie are built here. The exhibition is not static, there are both cars, trams and trains. Even visitors can launch some elements themselves. An additional attraction of Kolejkowo is a large playground for children, where they can control their own queues and cars.
Wroclaw Multimedia Fountain
Yet another interesting place in Wrocław is the Wrocław Multimedia Fountain. It was placed next to the Centennial Hall and surrounded by a historic pergola. The entire structure covers an area of almost one hectare and consists of 300 water jets, three fire jets and 800 lights.
In the evening, there is a real water-music-light show here every hour on the hour (until 10pm). However, it is worth remembering that the shows take place only in the season, which usually ends at the beginning of November (starts at the end of April / beginning of May). In winter, however, there is simply a city ice rink here.
Check also the website of Wrocław to find out more.
Tourist map of Wrocław attractions
On the map below you will find the greatest attractions, interesting places and monuments of Wrocław: