At nearly 300km away from Krakow, Wroclaw(pronounced “vrahts-wahv”) is a city that you’re going to want to spend at least one or two days exploring.
In Wroclaw, for example, you’ll find plenty of signs that go into detail about the building you’re standing in front of, the bridge you’re crossing, or the church you’re looking at.
Every sign is in English and Polish and there are many different tourist offices and information booths across the city that will help you plan a trip and find the best things to see and do.
There are countless maps around town and whether you’re arriving by plane, train, or bus, all transportation routes to the city center are well marked.
The Best Things To Do in Wroclaw, Poland!
If you’re lucky enough to visit one of Poland’s most beautiful and welcoming cities, here are some of the best things to do in Wroclaw.
The Old Town Market Square
Without a doubt one of the first things you’ll stumble upon while visiting Wroclaw is the Old Town Market Square.
This enormous square, one of Europe’s biggest, is situated in the very center of town and is impossible to miss. The Market Square is lined with various shops, restaurants, clubs, and a variety of tourist related businesses.
In the very center of the square stands the Wroclaw Town Hall, a few houses, and more retail businesses that were built in the early 1900s.
If you only have time to visit one part of the city the Old Town Market Square should be your only stop.
It’s one of the best things to do in Wroclaw and the square is sure to leave a positive impression on you. It’s typical of other European squares with its brightly colored buildings and unique Polish architecture but the size and grandeur of all the buildings make it completely unique.
From here you’ll be able to find one of the many free walking tours being offered, get lunch or dinner, and buy a souvenir or trinket to bring home with you.
Much of the square was actually destroyed during World War 2 but was painstakingly rebuilt by locals over the years following the war.
Ostrow Tumski and the Wroclaw Cathedral
A short 15-minute walk from the Market Square, Ostrow Tumski (or Cathedral Island) is one of Wroclaw’s hidden gems.
It is by far the oldest part of the entire city and is situated on a widening in the Oder River.
Starting sometime during the 8th century people started living on the bank of the island and eventually began building religious wooden structures.
None of them remain but the oldest building in Wroclaw can be found here. The Church of St. Giles was completed in 1242 and still stands today.
You’ll want to make your way to Tumski Bridge, one of the oldest in the city, and start your walk from there across the island. You’ll pass by many old religious buildings and end up at the Wroclaw Cathedral.
Also known as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the building has stood in place since 1272 but experienced heavy damage during World War 2. It’s a great example of gothic and neo-gothic architecture and is one of the most popular and recognized landmarks in the entire city.
Walking around Ostrow Tumski is like going back in time.
The streets are still made of the older, thicker cobblestones and very few cars drive on the island, which keeps the entire area very silent.
The majority of the buildings were built hundreds of years ago and it’s one of the few places in Europe where you can stop for a moment and forget where you are.
Ostrow Tumski is my favorite place in Wroclaw and a trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without spending at least an hour walking around the entire island.
Wroclaw Centennial Hall
About 5km away from the city center is the Wroclaw Centennial Hall.
Completed in 1913 when the city still belonged to the Germans, the Centennial Hall is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Wroclaw. It is completely surrounded by a beautiful park and is currently used for a variety of sporting events, concerts, and other live shows.
It might not look like anything special but the Centennial Hall is one of the leading examples of reinforced concrete architecture in Poland.
This has given it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and it’s worth a visit if you want to see something cool or you’re just into architecture.
Even if you just want to check it out for a quick photo there is still a large park surrounding the entire building where you can relax and enjoy the weather on a nice day.
Wroclaw Town Hall
Since the 1500s the Wroclaw Town Hall has stood in one form or another.
Today, it’s arguably the most impressive building in the Market Square and is a great example of Polish gothic architecture.
Walking around the structure you’ll see many interesting aspects of it such as the colorful clock, gargoyles, and gabled roof. Since only 10% of the building was damaged during World War 2 it still retains much of its original look and design.
The bottom portion of the Town Hall is the oldest and most original so keep an eye out for the brick foundation and the other interesting features it has retained.
Admission to the building is free for the permanent exhibits but they aren’t properly labeled or very interesting so it’s best to enjoy it from the outside.
Search for the Wroclaw Gnomes
Back in 2001 as a way to commemorate the end of the communist regime in Wroclaw a small dwarf, or gnome, was placed near the intersection of Swidnicka and Kazimierz Wielki streets.
Since then the tradition has rapidly grown into one of the most interesting tourist attractions anywhere in Poland.
Today, there are over 300 dwarves and gnomes hidden across the city. You can find them partaking in a variety of random activities from delivering the mail to gambling at a casino.
Businesses in Wroclaw can get the gnomes and dwarves commissioned on their own and the city doesn’t mind if they’re thoughtfully placed outside of the business.
For example, outside of the Wroclaw Train Station is a dwarf carrying a backpack. Near the post office you can find a small gnome carrying a letter and a bag of mail.
There are even small doors and tiny structures that have been created for the dwarves as well. It’s fun to walk through the city and make an attempt to find as many gnomes and dwarves as you possibly can while still enjoying all the tourist sights and attractions.
The Market Hall
Built in 1908, the Wroclaw Market Hall has stood as a market place for locals for over 100 years. Here you can find some of the best local food, flowers, and a variety of small shops selling everything from underwear to electronics.
On the ground floor are many different bakeries and delis where you can get cookies, sweets, and many different cuts of meat including deer and boar.
The interior of the Market Hall is another example of Polish reinforced concrete architecture.
Similar to the Centennial Hall the interior of the Market Hall isn’t anything special to look at but when it was designed and built it was all the rage in Wroclaw.
Today it’s a good place to stop for lunch or a quick snack on your way to Ostrow Tumski.
Tips for Visiting Wroclaw, Poland
I was unfortunate to experience some poor weather during my visit to Wroclaw so I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted.
However, I spent a few hours walking around and I got the chance to check out all the major sights and important attractions.
I definitely plan on going back so I can spend more time enjoying the city and walking its historic roads and laneways.
Regardless of how long you’re there for these are some of the best things to do in Wroclaw.