Wrocław is a Must for Every Bucket List
Did you know that Wrocław has only been part of Poland since the end of the Second World War? Before that, the city was known as Breslau and was part of the German Empire. But Germany’s eastern neighbors deserve credit: they took great care of this beautiful city. Although, they had problems mending their relationship for a long time, today both countries welcome visitors with open arms.
Incidentally, Wrocław is a very popular destination for German tourists, given its proximity to the border. It is also a student city – inhabited by students from different nationalities.
You don’t have to be a student or German to discover the great things this city boasts of. Think about Berlin’s vibrant energy combined with Lisbon’s warm locals, the cool bars in Amsterdam, and Vienna’s impressive architecture. This is what to expect when you visit Wrocław, the fourth-largest city in Poland. Of course, it is not a tacky imitation of other famous cities, Wrocław’s unique charm is in a league of its own.
Just in case you are not already sold, check out our list of reasons to put this Silesian city on your bucket list.
The Stunningly Beautiful Old Town of Wrocław
Taking time to wander around the old town is one of the easiest, and at the same time, one of the interesting things to do in Wrocław.
The Main Market Square Rynek-Wrocławiu is one of the biggest not only in Poland, but also in the whole of Europe! Its size is not only impressive: its pastel buildings and breathtaking architecture make this place, in our opinion, the most beautiful marketplace in Poland.
One of the striking features of the Old Town is the Hall. The building is made up not of a single hall, but it encompasses a group of Gothic buildings, all of which are connected in a building complex.
On the east side you will find an enormous 16th century clock. Visit the free museum inside the building to learn about Wrocław’s history. The basement is home to the Piwnica Świdnicka, which was once a German beer cellar and is now one of the oldest restaurants in Europe.
You will also find a wide range of bars, restaurants, and cafés in Rynek- Wrocławiu, making it a wonderful place to spend your afternoon.
Follow the Old Market’s cobbled alleys to reach a gorgeous flower market known as “The Shambles”. It used to be a street full of butchers, but today it houses some cute animal statues dedicated to the animals slaughtered for the butchers that were once here. You will also find many bars, and restaurants, offering a unique blend of Gothic and Baroque architecture.
The Cathedral Island – “Ostrow Tumski“
The Cathedral Island is the oldest part of the city and is home to the most impressive buildings in Wrocław. On this small island you will find, among other things, the Wrocław Cathedral of St. John. Climb up to its viewing platform for just five Polish Złoty (a little over one euro). Here you will also find three other churches, two monasteries, and a small palace. If you are looking to enjoy a quiet walk, Cathedral Island is definitely the place to be.
The Small Dwarf Figurines of Wrocław
One of Wrocław’s most interesting features is its dwarfs! Officially, just over 350 of these little dwarfs are scattered all over the city. But in truth, nobody really knows exactly how many of them are hidden around the area.
The Wrocław Dwarfs first adorned the city’s streets in 2001 to commemorate a Polish anti-communist movement, of which the dwarfs were a symbol. What started as a student project became more widespread over time, with dwarfs popping up all over the city.
The coolest thing is, with so many dwarf variations, we have not found two of the same kind. Spot the gnomes lurking in alleyways, swinging on lampposts, drinking from vodka bottles, or in various other situations. Unbelievable, but we have seen a dwarf riding on a pigeon in the street. These dwarfs come in many forms: from butcher to banker, drunkard to doctor, and professor to mailman. Each dwarf is a unique piece and, as we have found, some are very hilarious
The poles of Wrocław are extremely fond of their dwarfs. In winter, they even knit tiny little knitted hats for the dwarfs and put scarves on them to protect them from the cold. Pretty cute, right? Any place with such heart-warming quirks is surely worth a visit!
If you plan to visit Wrocław in September, don’t miss the International Festival of Dwarfs. This is a three-day event where stonemasons show how the city’s dwarfs are created. Jugglers, artists, and storytellers also come together to entertain the whole city. Make sure to watch the so-called “Great Wrocław Dwarf Parade” across the city. This fantastic celebration includes singing, theater, face painting, and much more. It’s 100% worth a visit to see for yourself just how much Wrocław cherishes its tiny inhabitants.
Bright and Colorful Houses
As soon as you set foot on the Old Town, the market, or Cathedral Island, you will be captivated by the bright pink, red and bright blue houses. These colors add a special beauty to the market square and also create a perfect backdrop for pictures. No matter what the weather is like, the vibrant colors nip any bad mood in the bud.
Explore Hidden Tourism
Mass tourism is a huge problem, but the way to combat it and relieve popular European cities is simple. Be part of the solution by visiting the lesser known places for a trip that is just as wonderful but only half crowded.
There is more – getting a real feeling for the country you are visiting is special. Although, Wrocław’s population is over half a million, the city has remained almost untouched by tourism, so visitors get to experience “real Poland”. Moreover, you don’t have to avoid the hordes of tourists that you would most likely encounter visiting other cities.
Practically speaking, most of Wrocław’s sights are easily accessible by foot. In fact, we hardly used any means of transport during our visit. But if you get tired from walking, have a rest on one of the city’s many park benches, and if your feet are beginning to ache, you can always use the tram or bus.
Wrocław is a dream for many budget-conscious backpackers. Why? Because the city is extremely cheap. Granted, it is not as cheap as various countries in Southeast Asia but, by Central European standards, Poland is really cheap. And yes, we deliberately say “Central Europe”. You should not make the mistake of calling the locals Eastern Europeans, they won’t be happy.
A comfortable hostel bed will cost you just five euros, and a glass of beer only costs around one or two euros. Simple meals cost around three euros in a Polish restaurant. We recommend that you try the delicious pierogi during your visit, which is by far the most delicious and versatile dish we have ever eaten in our lives. But the Poles have a lot of other delicacies to see and taste as well.
Wrocław is an impressive and lovely city. Fortunately, it is not yet overrun by mass tourism, and we sure hope it stays that way. Allow the city’s dwarfs, beauty and colorful buildings win a place in your heart during your visit. The locals very welcoming of all visitors and, what’s more, you won’t break the bank.
So, if you want to get off the beaten tourist track, add Wrocław to your bucket list and fall in love with this amazing city from the moment you arrive. Just make sure not to use the phrase “Eastern Europe” in the presence of a Pole, unless you want to be driven out of the city with torches and pitchforks. But we are sure it won’t come to that!