Wroclaw is a beautiful city located in the Southwest of Poland, a city that should be on everyone’s Poland itinerary, especially for those who like to step away from the major tourist destinations such as Krakow and Warsaw. And while Wroclaw is rather small, this city is filled with the most beautiful sights: from stunning viewpoints, an endless amount of beautiful architecture, small cozy alleys filled with cafes to perhaps one of the most beautiful market squares of Europe. A small challenge for those visiting the city might be with the pronunciation of the city as Wroclaw is actually pronounced as “vrohts-waf”, something we sure head to get used to! Climb the church towers for the most beautiful viewpoints over the city, walk along the Oder for the most beautiful sights over the islands of Wroclaw or simply sit back and relax at one of the many cafes and restaurants you will find in Wroclaw, there is something to do for everyone in Wroclaw. Not sure where to begin? Keep on reading to find out which sights you should visit during your 24 hours in Wroclaw…
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24 Hours in Wroclaw – Things to do
1. Ostrów Tumski – Cathedral Island
Start your day by making your way to Ostrów Tumski, the oldest part of Wroclaw. Ostrów Tumski, which translates to Cathedral Island, is a former Island located North from the Old Town. You can easily find Ostrów Tumski the Holy Cross Chuch and the St. John Baptist Cathedral dominate the skyline. Walk through the beautiful small streets and marvel at the stunning architecture. One of the oldest buildings on Cathedral Island is the St.Martin Church, a small brick church which is the only remnant of the Piast Castle (13th century). While admiring the architecture and the beautiful little streets can easily keep you busy for a couple of hours, there is another reason that you should visit Ostrów Tumski, which brings us to activity number 2…
2. Climb the Tower of the St. John Baptist Cathedral
Well, honestly, you don’t have to climb much as, lucky for all of us, there is an elevator installed that will take you to the top of the tower. You have to walk up 40 steps, before a kind man will take you all the way to the top where you can enjoy a spectacular view over Wroclaw. A perfect activity for a sunny day! The viewpoint is a full 360 degrees, with something new to see every few steps that you take. The only downside: there is a large cage like construction, for everyone’s safety of course, but sadly it does influence the view a bit. However, with a bit of creativity, and holding on close to my camera, I managed to get the shot below without the bars in the photo! Needless to say the view was worth the (very small) climb.
Price: a ticket to reach the viewpoint was 8 pln in July 2019.
3. Tumski Bridge
From Ostrow Tumski make your way to the Tumski bridge. This bridge was known to be a bridge where couples would come and hang a lock on the bridge, as a sign of their love. A beautiful bridge that connects Cathedral Island with Piaskowa Island, a place you simply can’t miss during your 24 hours in Wroclaw. However, when we were visiting the city in July 2019 the bridge was closed for construction, and it looked like the locks were in the process of being removed. Maybe a bridge you want to reconsider hanging your love lock on…
4. Marvel at the Architecture of Wroclaw
Cross the Tumski Bridge into Piaskowa Island and slowly make your way to the old town of Wroclaw. But before you leave Cathedral Island and Piaskowa Island behind you, be sure to marvel at the architecture a bit longer. The views from Piaskowa Island over Ostrow Tumski and the Old Town are simply amazing, especially during the early mornings when the water is quiet resulting in near perfect reflections of the skylines. Stunning architecture can be simply found everywhere in Wroclaw, and it sure is one of the reasons Wroclaw should be on your Poland itinerary. From Piaskowa Island, cross the bridge into the old town side of Wroclaw…
5. Stop for a coffee and some lunch
But before you make your way to the Rynek, the market square of the old town, stop for some coffee. Wroclaw is filled with cafes, you can find them simply everywhere! So try one, or two, or perhaps even three, unless you of course are not a coffee lover. Match it with a delicious pancake or a pastry and just sit back and relax, perhaps even get some lunch if you are hungry. While Wroclaw isn’t the biggest city, we got to admit that all this sightseeing can be a bit tiring, right? And lucky for all of us, the cafes in Wroclaw are really affordable. Expect to pay around $2 – $3 for a cappuccino and $5 – $8 for a meal, if you are on a budget you might want to avoid eating at the market square as prices here tend to be a bit higher.
6. The Wroclaw Market Hall – Hala Targowa
Because who doesn’t love a good market hall! Right at bridge that crosses to Piaskowa Island you will find Hala Targowa, the local market hall. Don’t expect street food, instead browse between the flowers, fresh fruits and local treats. Visiting Hala Targowa is perfect to escape the hot sun a bit during the summer, and to either grab another coffee or find yourself a delicious treat to eat. Grab some fruits or snacks to enjoy during the rest of your day and continue your journey to the highlight of the old town: the Market Square.
7. Rynek – Wroclaw’s Market Square
One of the most beautiful places in Wroclaw must be the Market Square. Filled with rows of colourful buildings, an endless amount of cafes, the townhouse, shops and so much more. The perfect place to just sit down for a bit and the awe at all that is happening at the square. You will find the square coming to live in the late afternoons, it is a place you will probably find yourself keep on coming back to, as every time you visit the square, it seems to have something new to offer. But your day of exploring has not ended just yet, as there are a couple of more things to see in Wroclaw that deserve your time and attention.
8. Buy Flowers at the Salt Market Square
The Salt Market Square, Plac Solny, is located right next to Rynek, the market square we talked to above so it is almost impossible to miss this square. While at first glance it just seems like the former Salt Market Square is just a smaller version of Rynek, it is the flower market that actually earns this square a spot on the list. The flower market here is opened every day, from early in the morning to late in the evening, a perfect spot to buy your loved one (or just for yourself) some beautiful flowers to make your trip to Wroclaw an unforgettable one. From Plac Solny start one of the most unique activities you will find in Wroclaw…
9. Go Gnome Hunting
During your walk around the city you might have noticed the little gnome statues, they seem to be simply everywhere. If you are not careful, you might actually stumble over one, as they can be found in the middle of the footpaths, in alleyways, on the square, it is quite hard to miss them. There are over 350 gnome statues in Wroclaw, with new ones appearing every single year, so to find them all it might actually take you a bit more then 24 hours but you can sure give it a try to find as many as you can. However, the gnomes have not just appeared in Wroclaw without a reason, curious why there are so many gnomes in Wroclaw? Read a little bit more about it here in an article of the BBC.
10. The hidden garden – Barokowy ogród Ossolineum
After you have successfully spotted a gnome or twenty, it is time to go look for the hidden garden, named Barokowy ogród Ossolineum. While Wroclaw has many beautiful locations, hidden locations like these are our personal favourites. Tucked between the colourful buildings it might be a bit of a challenge to find at first. There is a cafe located in this garden as well, in case you fancy another cup of coffee or perhaps something a little bit more refreshing! A quiet oasis in the middle of the city, the perfect spot to end your day of sightseeing in Wroclaw, after all there is only one last activity left on the list…
11. Enjoy the food
And that is of course to enjoy the delicious food in Wroclaw, and perhaps even a couple of drinks. You will find restaurants almost everywhere, from the quiet little alleyways to the main market squares, there is something to eat for everyone. We walked past vegan restaurants, burger places, restaurants serving traditional Polish food, Thai restaurants, Indian restaurants but in the end we settled four our favourite: Mexican food. As we knew we had a bit more time left in Poland we left the traditional Polish food for Krakow, and opted to get some Mexican food at Panczo instead where we enjoyed some delicious quesadillas with a classic margarita. Just simply order at the bar and sit back and enjoy your drink while you wait with your “beeper” till your food is done, the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing in our opinion!
BONUS: Enjoy a light show
There is a beautiful light show to be seen in the evening as well, but sadly the weather wasn’t too great the evenings we visited Wroclaw so we didn’t see it for ourselves. So to be sure that you don’t have to miss out on it like we did, we thought we would still add it to our 24 hour itinerary as it might still be something that would interest you! The Wroclaw Multimedia Fountain is located a bit out of the centre, but it is one of the biggest fountains in Europe, so it might be worth your effort. Read a bit more on the multimedia fountain here to see if you would like to add it to your own itinerary of Wroclaw!
Where to stay in Wroclaw
As most of Wroclaw activities are located around the old town I would personally recommend staying in this area, this is also where you will find most of the restaurants and bars so you will be within walking distance from your hostel or hotel! As we were on a budget we stayed at City Central Hostel ŁACIARSKA, but we would personally not recommend it. While the location was great, the rooms were rather small, and very warm during the hot summer days we visited, so we are sure there are some better options out there instead!
Transport in Wroclaw
While most sights in Wroclaw are within walking distance, getting in and out of the city is a bit far on foot. Lucky for all of us Wroclaw has an amazing public transport system, consisting of trams and buses. We found the trams the easiest way to get around. Single fare tickets were 3.40 pln in July 2019 (roughly 0.90$). Just don’t forget to validate your ticket at the “time stamp machine” inside the buses and trains as without validating your ticket you can still get a fine. Not sure which tram to take? Use Google Maps to plan your journey! You can find more info on ticket prices and the public transport system in Wroclaw here.
For those who are carrying big suitcases, traveling with multiple people or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of the public transport system, use Uber instead. We paid roughly 12 pln for a ride from the old town to the bus station. A quick and very affordable option as well!
Where to go after Wroclaw
While Wroclaw is absolutely beautiful, and there might be many more cafes and sights to be explored, one of the reasons you should visit Poland on your next trip to Europe is because it truly has so much to offer. Head into the mountains from Zakopane, or perhaps explore the city of Krakow, there is so much to see and to do in this beautiful country that it could keep you busy for weeks! What is your favourite destination in Poland? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below!