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Wroclaw was my home town for many years before I moved to the UK 11 years ago. Despite the fact I used to live there, I did not have the chance to explore many of the beautiful Wroclaw landmarks. When I visited Wroclaw again to see my family, I decided that it would be a good idea to become a tourist for the day. I also wanted to introduce my husband to this amazing, cosmopolitan Polish city and show him the best places to visit in Wroclaw.
Wroclaw might not be as popular a Polish destination among travellers like Krakow (you can read about my visit to Krakow here) or Warsaw, but I think its equally if not more interesting. Wroclaw is very well known not only for its colourful Market Square but also for its Gnomes! At the moment there are 352 Gnomes hidden around the city with many more to pop up in the future. Gnomes in Wroclaw even have their own festival. If you want to find out more about the Gnomes you can read all about it here.
Best places to visit in Wroclaw- Ostrow Tumski
We started our tour by walking around Ostrow Tumski. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Wroclaw. Ostrow Tumski is about 20 mins walks from the main square or around 40 mins from the train station. Surrounded by the Odra river, this is the oldest part of Wroclaw where apart from admiring stunning architecture, you can also visit places like: like St Martins church– a first wooden church dating back to 10th century.
Wroclaw Cathedral of St John The Baptist built in 1272 was the 4th church built in Ostrow Tumski. For a small fee of 10 PLN, you can go to the top of one of the towers and discover the basilica. The view of Wroclaw from the tower is absolutely stunning. Entrance to all churches in Ostrow Tumski is absolutely free.
I will highly recommend visiting Ostrow Tumski in the late afternoon, early evening. Why? This is the time when the lantern man in a black top hat and cape, comes to light 103 gas lantern one by one.
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- Tumski Bridge
Built-in 1889 is the steel bridge connecting Ostrow Tumski and Piaskowa Island. Tumski Bridge is also called Lovers Bridge. This is where loved up couples lock their love to each other with a padlock and throw the key to Odra river. I think Tumski Bridge has more padlocks than Paris or Zurich.
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- Market Square
This is where the magic happens. I love spending time in the square. It’s colourful, full of beautiful architecture, bars and restaurants. In the summer almost every bar and restaurant has a garden at the front where you can sit and people watch while sipping on Tyskie or a nice cocktail 😉 Also during the summer, there is always lots going on with music festivals and live shows. In the winter you can do your Christmas shopping as the whole square turns into a Christmas market full of hand-made products from local suppliers. We love this place so much, we even got married here a few years ago 🙂
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- Botanical Gardens
Part of the Botanical University of Wroclaw. The gardens are not only fantastic to learn about local nature, but also to take time out from the noise of the city. With many benches around and a little cafe, it’s very easy to spend their entire day just chilling. Especially, if the weather is nice. I will recommend visiting the gardens during the week as they can get quite busy on the weekend. Ticket cost 15 PLN
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- Raclawice Panorama
That’s definitely something you will not see anywhere in the world. Raclawice Panorama is a cyclonic painting showing the battle of Raclawice. The painting is 15 m tall and 114 m long. The painting is divided into 4 different parts representing the battle. The whole presentation lasts around 30 mins with a detailed explanation of each part of the painting and its history. the ticket cost is 30 PLN. You will also be able to use the same ticket to enter the National Museum. More on Raclawice Panorama here
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- National Museum
Established in 1947, the National Museum is part of Poland’s National Museum system. The museum is free to enter on Saturdays or with a ticket from Raclawice Panorama, otherwise is 15 PLN. The National Museum holds the biggest collection of temporary art in Poland. Split into 4 different sections, segregated by art periods.
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- Town Hall
You can not miss the Town Hall when you are in Main Square. This 13th-century gothic hall is one of the main landmarks of Wroclaw. The Town Hall is mostly closed to visitors although it does open to the public during specific events. At the back of the Town Hall, you can find the original Gnome shop where you can not only buy merchandise but also a gnome map if you fancy going on a gnome hunt.
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- Multimedia Fountain
One of the other best places to visit in Wroclaw. Build in 2009, it’s currently the largest operating fountain in Europe. Over 300 water jets “dance” to music and light to create a spectacular water show. For the full effect, I will recommend you visit the fountain in the evening. Shows start every hour and are free to enter. The length of the show range from 4 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of music played in a specific hour. For a better view, you can buy a ticket to enter the viewing terrace. Tickets are only 5 PLN. More about fountain and showtimes here
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- St. Mary Magdalena Church
There is a lot of Catholic churches in Wroclaw with many looking rich, sometimes a bit over the top, but not this one. St Mary Magdalena church looks actually empty inside compared with the rest of the churches. It also looks like it could do with a renovation, especially inside. You probably wondering now why I added this to the list of best places to visit in Wroclaw. The reason is the view from the top of the tower. For a small fee of 5 PLN and battling 100’s of stairs, you will not get a better view of the main square anywhere.
Best Places to visit in Wroclaw- ZOO & Afrykarium
I love going to the Wroclaw ZOO and Afrykarium. This is a day trip on its own as the ZOO covers over 82 acres of land with over 10,500 animals. I remember when I was little, they even had their own TV show every Sunday morning. Wroclaw ZOO is the oldest ZOO in Poland. The ZOO also has its very own Afrykarium– Oceanarium dedicated entirely to African fauna. The tickets prices to the ZOO & Afrykarium costs 45 PLN. For more information and opening times head over here
Best places to visit in Wroclaw- How to get around
Wroclaw has a very good public transport system. You can get almost everywhere using buses or trams. Public transport is not expensive and you can buy tickets at almost every stop. There are a machine or kiosk shops located at busier stops. I will highly recommend getting the Wroclaw Tourist Card as this will entitle you to free public transport and also give discounts to many of the Wroclaw landmarks, bars, restaurants and hotels. The card prices start from 60 PLN for 48 hours.
Go on a golf buggy tour. If you are short on time and want to see as much of Wroclaw as possible, I will recommend going on a golf buggy tour. This tour will cover all the best places to visit in Wroclaw in only a few hours, with a private tour guide covering the history of every monument visited. With the premium package, you will also have dedicated time to go to explore the landmarks.
If you have comfortable shoes and like walking, I will recommend doing that. This will give you the opportunity to explore in your own speed, look at the stunning architecture and discover many paths that would not be covered by your regular tour guide. Walking around the town is my favourite way to explore as it let you feel the vibe of that location. Not including the ZOO, we managed to see all the landmarks in one day starting exploring around 9:30 am. Altogether we walked 23km but it was definitely worth it 🙂