Poland is one of the countries that we’ve heard people rave about the most. “You have to go to Poland,” they’d tell us. “It’s so beautiful and the food is amazing!” So after months of hearing about how great Poland is, we couldn’t wait to finally visit our first city in Poland: Wrocław.
One of the first things that we learned about Wrocław is that its name is not pronounced how it looks. In fact, the pronunciation of this beautiful city regularly trips people up. It’s pronounced ‘vrohtz-wahv.’ Don’t worry if you’ve been saying it all wrong…it took us an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure out how to pronounce Wrocław properly.
Perhaps because its name is so tricky to pronounce, Wrocław is a city with lots of nicknames. The Venice of Poland, the city of 100 bridges, the city of dwarves… these are all names that have been used to refer to Wrocław at one time or another.
Even though Wrocław is only the 4th largest city in Poland, it has certainly made its mark on the world. In 2016, it was the European Capital of Culture. The architecture in the city center is also some of the most beautiful and colorful we’ve ever seen!
Here are some of our favorite things that we did while visiting Wrocław, Poland.
11 Best Things To Do In Wrocław, Poland
1. Explore Market Square
Market Square is the main square in Wroclaw’s city center. It has some of the most beautiful and colorful buildings we’ve ever seen! You could spend hours just wandering through the streets and taking pictures. In fact, we did just that!
There are also a bunch of great restaurants and shopping in this area. Plan to spend a while exploring the cobblestone pedestrian only streets of Market Square!
2. Rent kayaks to explore the Oder River
The Oder River is the river that runs right though Wroclaw’s city center. If you head over to Gondola Bay, you can rent kayaks to explore the river. The prices are very cheap–we rented a double kayak for an hour and it cost only about $5 USD. They also accept credit cards so it’s very convenient.
We paddled down the river a little ways and passed under a few of the bridges that Wroclaw is so famous for. It was really cool seeing the city from the river and getting a good arm workout in at the same time.
3. Eat at a Milk Bar
A milk bar is a government-subsidized cafeteria style restaurant that originated during communist times in Poland. Today, you can still eat at milk bars throughout the city. The food is really good and the prices are unbelievably cheap! We picked up a fresh veggie salad with chicken and a plate of delicious pierogis for about $6 USD.
A few of the most popular milk bars in Wroclaw are Bar mleczny Miś, Mewa, and Mishmash.
4. Explore Cathedral Island
Cathedral Island (or Ostrow Tumski) is a beautiful neighborhood that is known as the origin of Wroclaw. Surrounded by the Oder River, Cathedral Island has countless amazing cathedrals within a couple block radius. There are also beautiful museums and galleries.
5. See how many tiny gnomes you can spot
Wroclaw has hundreds of tiny “dwarves” (they are really gnomes) hiding throughout its city center. Some are on fire hydrants, and others behind sidewalks or planters. Keep your eyes peeled for these cute little sculptures as you explore the city center! Supposedly, there are over 300 of them!
6. Visit the Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall in Wroclaw is a gothic building with unusual architecture. It was built back in the 13th century and still stands today in the middle of Wroclaw’s Old Town. We stood marveling at this building for a good 10 minutes it was so incredible!
7. Watch a fountain show at the Multimedia Fountain
Wroclaw’s Multimedia Fountain is the largest fountain in all of Poland! It has 800 lights, 300 water jets and 3 fire jets in the basin. Shows are put on every hour, though the night shows are supposed to be the most spectacular.
We checked out a fountain show one sunny afternoon and loved it. They played all sorts of music and it was great to see how everyone in the area stopped what they were doing to enjoy the show, too.
8. Visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is one of the best known cathedrals on Cathedral Island. It is known for its beautiful stained glass windows. Entrance to the cathedral is free, so it’s worth it to visit and see the beautiful stained glass windows for yourself.
9. Visit the Japanese Garden of Wroclaw
The Japanese Garden is one of the prettiest and more peaceful places in Wroclaw. It’s the perfect place for a quiet stroll to clear your mind while admiring the surrounding nature.
10. Take a walk along the Oder River
The Oder River runs right through Wrocław’s city center, and there are tons of walking paths to explore. It’s a great thing to do if you want to explore more unknown parts of the city. We picked this path up near our Airbnb and followed it all the way into Old Town. Along the way, we saw tons of locals out for a walk or a bike ride.
Wrocław is also incredibly bike friendly–people bike everywhere! Another option is to rent a bike and have a bike ride along the river.
11. Go shopping at one of the many amazing malls
There are a TON of massive shopping centers in Wrocław, Poland. They have big stores like H&M, Zara, and T.J. Maxx, but also more local stores as well. It’s a nice option for a day when the weather maybe isn’t so nice.
Wrocław was an awesome first city for us to visit in Poland. The city center is beautiful and the food really was incredible, just like everyone told us it would be!
Don’t forget to check out our other posts from Poland:
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Poznań, Poland
- 11 Best Things To Do in Poznań, Poland
- The Foodie’s Guide to Wroclaw, Poland: Best Restaurants & Polish Foods To Try
- 11 Best Things To Do in Wrocław, Poland
- 13 Incredible Restaurants in Poznań, Poland
- 7 Polish Vodkas To Try (Vodka Tasting in Warsaw, Poland)