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16 Interesting Things to Do in Wroclaw, Poland

16 Interesting Things to Do in Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw is a little more off the beaten track for the standard tourists in Poland, but it absolutely must be a stop on your Poland itinerary, especially if you are interested in the history of this complicated country. 

Originally from Poland, I lived and gave birth in Poland while spending as much time as possible exploring the country, so I have plenty of local experience to share with you including some of my favorite spots!

In a city of so much rich history there is a lot to see, so let’s get into it!

1. See the Market Square

The very first thing you should do when visiting Wroclaw is to head to the Old Town and see Market Square (Rynek). It’s simply one of the best places to visit in Poland.

This area of the city was restored to its former glory right after World War II. Just wandering around and snapping pictures of all the pretty buildings is a good start, but to really understand the history of this city, I recommend you join a guided city tour

Luckily for you, Market Square is always a hive of activity, with outdoor cafes, open-air art galleries, and street performers filling the streets at night, there is a special atmosphere here at all times. 

Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is plenty to see, so here are some extra special buildings you should look out for during your visit. 

  • Old Town Hall – Houses the city museum and is a great place to learn about the city’s history.
  • Hansel and Gretel houses – Two medieval houses in the northwest corner of Market Square connected by a walkway. Nothing actually ties these pretty houses to the story except their colorful appearance of joining “hands”.
  • Stone Pillory – A decorative pillar once used for public floggings, now this beautiful feature is a common meeting place.
  • Aleksander Fredro Statue – Large bronze statue dedicated to the famous playwright and poet.

Recommended Tours:
Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Walking Tour
Small Group e-Car Tour and Audio Guide

2. Experience the Raclawice Panorama 

The Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice is an incredible painting that depicts what it was like during the Kościuszko Uprising.

Here you will find a unique cylindrical building which you can enter and walk in a circle to see the incredible artwork. 

There are also explanations in many languages to explain the history of both the battle and the painting which shows the Polish victory over Russia

3. Visit the Museum of Bourgeois Art 

Located inside the Old Town Hall, this beautiful museum collects art from all throughout Polish history and displays them in such a way that you can see how the city has evolved throughout time. 

The intricately decorated City Hall itself is considered part of the exhibitions as its late Gothic architecture is some of the best in Europe, with stunning features in every room. 

4. Enjoy the Multimedia Fountain

For a bit more of a modern attraction, the Wroclaw Multimedia Fountain in Szczytnicki Park puts on a 25-minute musical show with 30,000 liters of water per minute and nearly 300 LED lights every weekend. 

Images are projected onto the streams of water to tell a story of the history of the city but the colorful lights and music itself if enough to entertain people of all ages. 

These two fountains are programmed to perform this eye-catching choreographed routine on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 pm in May, June, and July, whereas in August the show is at 9 pm and in September, 8:30 pm. 

In winter they use streams of light instead of water which is still a beautiful spectacle but doesn’t quite have the full effect.  If you’re looking for a guide, this tour offers transfers and a tour guide to enjoy the experience as well as spotting some other major attractions along the way.

5. Visit Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island)

Dating back to the 10th century, Cathedral Island is the oldest part of the city and contains countless churches, monuments, museums, and beautiful gardens

While it’s not actually an island anymore, you reach Ostrów Tumski by walking across the Tumski Bridge to find a beautiful neighborhood full of history. 

The center point of this part of the city is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Wrocław Cathedral). This beautiful church is the seat of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw and is famous for its 16th-century altarpiece and incredible stained glass windows.

Recommended Tours:
Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Guided Walking Tour
Ostrów Tumski and Old Town Highlights Private Tour

6. Explore the Historical Museum and Medallion Art Museum

Nestled in the heart of Wroclaw’s vibrant historical center lies the Historical Museum and Medallion Art Museum, a gem that history buffs and art enthusiasts alike will love! 

Housed in the Royal Palace, everything you look at here is simply a work of art from the interactly decorated rooms to the vast collection and incredible manicured gardens. 

The exhibitions showcase the city’s history from its medieval roots to the present day with the Medallion Art being a particular highlight. These intricate works of history tell stories in a way that’s both personal and profound.

7. Go Statue Hunting

little statues in Wroclaw Poland

Walking around the city you may notice there are quite a large number of statues and monuments scattered throughout. Because of this, going statue hunting is a super fun way to explore the city while learning a little more about its history. 

Perhaps the most unique statues to find are the Wrocław dwarves. No one knows how many of these adorable creatures are scattered throughout the city but I can tell you that there are a lot (over 600) hiding in plain sight. You’ll find them all throughout the old town dressed as various characters and hiding in the most peculiar spots.

Some other statues to keep an eye out for are the Monument of an Anonymous Passerby and the Unknown Soldier Monument.

8. Learn at the Ossolineum Institute

Started in 1827, this is the oldest continuously running publishing house in Poland and is an integral part of Polish history. 

The Ossonlineum published many of the country’s most famous works including works by Nobel Prize winner, Henryk Sienkiewicz, and today, the institute is also a cultural foundation. 

You can visit the extensive library which houses original manuscripts of important works, but the gardens are also worth a visit as they are a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of a busy part of the city. 

9. See Centennial Hall

This 23m high dome building is recognized by UNESCO as being a landmark in concrete architecture

While the building isn’t as beautiful to most as some of the more decorative structures in the city, built in 1911 by architect Max Berg, this exhibition building was a feat of modern engineering at its time. 

Most of the time you can go inside to learn more, but if it’s closed for events you can still wander around the war memorial surrounding the structure.

10. Get a Good View of the City

Whenever I go to a new city, I’m always looking for the best viewpoints to snap some pictures. Luckily, Wroclaw has a few great spots that you can get high above the city for a good view. 

You can visit any of these on your own but if you want to be guided to all the best spots, taking a panoramic tour is a great option as you will have access to someone who can point out all the city’s landmarks.

  • Tower of the Garrison Church – At the top of the tower is a viewing terrace that is accessible by climbing a number of narrow stairs. The viewpoint is open from April to October. 
  • Penitent Bridge – Connecting the two towers of the Mary Magdalene Church, 45 meters above the ground. This footbridge (also called the Witches Bridge) is a great place to get a birdseye view. Be warned, you will need to climb 247 stairs to get here. 
  • Mathematical Tower – Another 200-stair climb rewards you with a unique view of the city from the Mathematical Tower. Not only will you get a good view but also can enjoy the intricately decorated ceilings of this beautiful building. 
  • SkyTower Skyscraper – As the tallest building in the city, you can’t get a better panorama than from the viewing deck at the SkyTower. Tickets cost around 30 złoty ($7.50) and allow you a 20 min slot.

11. Wander through Wroclaw University

Wroclaw University isn’t just for students! This prestigious university is not only known for its academics but also boasts some seriously Instagram-worthy architecture.

The grand Baroque buildings look like they’ve been plucked straight out of a fairy tale and you can visit many of them either on a tour or en route to the university’s collection of museums where you can explore its rich history dating back to the 1700s. 

Make sure not to miss the university’s main building, Aula Leopoldina, it’s a feast for the eyes with its lavish, gold-trimmed interior and incredible frescoes. You can also head to the Mathematical Tower which offers a panoramic view of the city. 

12. Take a Boat Cruise

In a city where the river is such a prominent feature, it’s only natural that taking a boat cruise should also be on your list of things to do here. 

As you glide along the Oder River you can soak in the stunning views of the city’s skyline and green riverbanks getting a unique vantage point of Wroclaw’s historic bridges and beautiful architecture

Most of the river cruises have some sort of commentary to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best sights throughout the day. 

Recommended Tours:
Sightseeing Cruise on the Odra River
Short City Walk and Cruise

13. See the National Museum

The National Museum in Wroclaw is another cultural gem that showcases an impressive collection of Polish art. 

As you wander through its halls, you’ll encounter masterpieces spanning from medieval times all the way up to now but the museum’s stand out is definitely its Silesian art collection which showcases a beautiful range of the region’s artistic heritage. 

The building itself is also special, its elegant architecture is quite different from other buildings you will commonly see throughout the city and is covered in beautiful vines that change color throughout the year.

14. Ride the Polinka Cable Car Across the River

If you want to try a more interesting way to cross the river in Wroclaw, the Polinka cable car offers a short but scenic transport option. 

The cable car connects two key parts of the city and takes around 2 minutes to travel the short 380m. While it’s not the most exciting activity if you have been on some of the more dramatic gondolas throughout Europe such as the Aiguille du Midi, it’s a fun trip for kids and offers some great panoramic views of the city. 

15. Take the Kids to Wroclaw Zoo

Another activity that kids will love is a visit to the Wroclaw Zoo. This huge zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Poland and is home to quite a diverse range of animals. 

If you’re looking for a stand-out attraction to justify the trip, the Africarium is an incredibly unique tunnel aquarium that focuses on African wildlife and marine ecosystems. You’ll not only learn about the marine animals of Africa but also about the conservation efforts in place to protect these species.

16. Enjoy a Day Trip to the Lower Silesia

things to do in wroclaw

if you have a little extra time during your visit taking a day trip to visit the region surrounding Wroclaw is well worth the effort. There are plenty of castles and churches to explore but one particular stand out is the Olesnica Castle (pictured above). 

This historic castle is a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture and its impressive red-brick façade and elegant interiors will take you back in time. Inside the castle, you’ll find regally decorated rooms, a museum displaying local artifacts, and the occasional art exhibition or cultural event so it’s worth checking what’s on before visiting. Before you leave, don’t miss the chance to take an afternoon stroll in the gardens!

In addition to Olesnica Castle, here are some other places of interest:

  • Ksiaz Castle – The third largest castle in Poland, this famous castle has hosted a huge number of big names throughout the years and boasts a large mix of architectural styles that are interesting to see in harmony.
  • Church of Peace – This UNESCO World Heritage site is not only the largest timber-framed religious building in Europe but also has a beautiful collection of regligious art.
  • Wałbrzych Palm House – A beautiful botanical garden that is home to some rare plants.

Recommended Tours:
Lower Silesia, Ksiaz Castle & Church of Peace Tour
Pearls of Lower Silesia Full-Day Private Tour

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