“Wrocław is one the sunniest cities in Poland,” tells Wrocław local Jan while sitting in the cosy Klubokawiarnia Mleczarnia cafe, “they even have vineyards is this region!” During a lucky golden Polish autumn, I explored this lesser known old Polish city. Wrocław (pronounced as ‘”vrots-waf”) is situated on the banks of the Oder river and is made up of 12 islands and more than 100 bridges. Much of life is concentrated around the rivers and the colorful and photogenic central market square. Wrocław is an underrated destination, but it does deserve a spot in your itinerary. Here are 6 reasons why Wrocław is worth visiting!

Updated: January 2023

Why Wrocław is worth visiting

1. It’s beautiful

Polish cities are beautiful. Wrocław is no exception and beauty is another reason why Wrocław is worth visiting! The old town is a maze of cobblestoned alleys. The vibrant central market square is picture-perfect with colorful buildings painted in bright green, yellow and pink hues. It’s one of the largest market squares in Europe. Only a short walk from the market square lies Cathedral Island, one of the oldest parts of the cities, which feel like an open-air museum with baroque and gothic architecture. It’s one of the only two places in Europe with gas lanterns. If you come around sunset you may even meet the lamplighter who, dressed in traditional clothing, uses a pole to ignite more than 100 lamps manually on the island. A beautiful tradition continues.

  • Tip: You can get the best view on the square from the Mary Magdalen church
  • Tip: Explore Wrocław by night
  • Tip: Explore the city running. I love going for a run when I’m abroad and Wroclaw is perfect for it. Run along the banks of the Oder and around Cathedral Island and the Market square
Wroclaw market square
The beautiful and colorful market square of Wroclaw on a sunny autumn day.
The Wroclaw market square by night.
The Wroclaw market square by night.

2. It’s off the beaten track

As you know, I love not-so-touristy places. If you want to experience a beautiful Polish city without the crowds, Wrocław is the place to go. Even though Wrocław was voted ‘European Best Destination’ 2018 and receives a few millions visitors annually, it’s much less popular than other big Polish cities. Wrocław has kept its charm and its hospitality. It’s an easy-going, family-friendly city. In restaurants, we often found ourselves to be the only tourists! However, things may change fast as other people start to discover the charm of Wrocław!

Cathedral Island Wroclaw with traditional street gas lamp.

3. Stay at something cool!

Although not exclusively in Wrocław, the Puro hotel is a true gem of a hotel. It’s hip, beautiful and extremely comfortable. The breakfast buffet is extensive and you can even order a la carte Shakshuka or Eggs Benedict. It’s located it the vibrant Four Denomation district, which got her name from the fact that an Evangelical Church, an Orthodox Church, a Catholic Church and a Synagogue are all located within walking distance from each other. A visible remain of multicultural Wroclaw. These days, the Four Denomation district is well-known for its nightlife. There are also cool hostels in Wrocław such as the Mcleczarnia hostel.

4. It could be your perfect city-mountain break

Only about 2 hours from Wrocław you will find the beautiful Sudeten mountain range running along the Polish-Czech border. The Polish Sudeten (or Sudety) is divided into smaller geographic massifs of which the most well-known are Gory Izerksie, Karkonosze (also known as the Giant mountains, has the highest peak of the Sudety mountains: Mount Sniezka), Rudawy Janowickie and Gory Kaczawskie. In Sudety you can find weirdly-shaped rock formations, steep cliffs, wildlife (foxes, deers), minerals and beautiful views. Both hiking and cycling trails are available and you can even spent the night in a mountain hut. Due to its proximity from Wrocław, you can easily combine both! Read more about hiking in the Sudeten mountains here.

Only 2 hours from Wroclaw you can enjoy hiking in the Sudeten mountains

5. Meet Wroclaw’s resilient, unpredictable and adorable dwarves!

“Dwarves… really?” At first I was bit a sceptical. “How could this be a highlight?” However, meeting Wrocław’s dwarves (or gnomes or Krasnale in Polish) turned out to be of my favorite things of Wroclaw. In the eighties, an underground anti-communist movement ‘The Orange Alternative’ started a peaceful protest against the suppressive regime, ridiculing them by painting funny dwarves on propaganda posters and making dwarf graffiti’s in the streets. Dwarves became the symbol of the anti-communist protests. In 1988, thousands of people marched through Wrocław wearing dwarf hats, which resulted in the police chasing these ‘dwarves’, which was exactly the effect the protesters wanted to achieve: ridiculing the regime with this absurd-looking chase.

These days, Wrocław is the City of the Dwarves with over 700 (no one knows exactly how many) miniature dwarf statues spread over the city doing everyday jobs and activities, some in plain sight and some hiding in dark corners. When you spot one (this can be everywhere!), I promise it will bring a smile on to your face.

Dwarf in Wroclaw
Dwarf or gnome in Wroclaw. More than 700 dwarves are spread out over the city. Can you find them all??

6. Explore the artsy, hip and alternative siDe of Wrocław!

Green rooftop bars, beach bars, hipster cafe’s, craft beers pubs, contemporary art museums, vinyl bars, vegan restaurants, vintage shops… As a true student city Wrocław has a lively art and food scene. Unfortunately, two days was not enough to experience everything, but I really loved my visit to Bez Lukru (Igielna 14), a cool, alternative vegan restaurant with walls full of arts and delicious pancakes, burgers and dessert. Another cool place was Lava Cafe (Więzienna 7). Of course, there also plenty of options for more traditional Polish food (e.g. in milk bars)! Wrocław also has plenty of museums and cultural events.

Enjoy the alternative scene of Wroclaw.
Enjoy the alternative scene of Wroclaw.

I visited Wroclaw and Sudeten in collaboration with Visit Poland. Views and opinions remain my own.

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Why Wroclaw is worth visiting



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