things to do in wroclaw

14 Unique Things to Do in Wroclaw, Poland

Discover the vibrant allure of Wroclaw, uncovering its eclectic blend of youthful energy and historical charm. From the quaint Old Town to the neon-lit side galleries, I’m sharing my favorite spots to indulge in Polish cuisine, explore architectural wonders, and hunt for whimsical dwarves.
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I’ve had a soft spot for Poland since the first time I ever visited Warsaw in 2015, and every time I return and see more of the country, it reels me in a little bit more!

When I first visited Wroclaw, I have to be honest, I knew nothing at all. I was only stopping through on my way from Warsaw to Krakow (what I naively assumed to be the only “worthwhile” places in Poland) to visit a friend of mine who lives there. It only took me about 3 hours after getting off the train to realize how stupid I was, and how lucky I was that I had found myself in Wroclaw!

ostrow tumski wroclaw things to do in wroclaw

Wroclaw (pronounced Vrahtz-swav) isn’t exactly “off the beaten path” but it certainly isn’t as popular as Warsaw or Krakow, and so it does have a bit of an “authentic” feel to it. As a university town, Wroclaw is teeming with youthful energy and cool cultural offerings—from weekend markets to craft beer!

It’s a great place to visit if you enjoy Polish food, Christmas Markets, great museums, cool architecture, and nice city vibes. Basically, it’s a place for everyone.

This Wroclaw travel guide is comprised mainly of things my Wroclawian friend took me to do while I was visiting her, as well as a few things that were on our list but we ran out of time to do—so you can rest assured this is about as close to a local’s take as you can get from a fellow visitor!

Whether you’re trying to spend a few days in Wroclaw, or just want a whirlwind one day in Wroclaw, this post has you covered with all the best things to do in Wroclaw, plus my favorite spots to eat and my top hotel picks!

This map was made with Wanderlog, for making itineraries on iOS and Android

Delve into Poland

How to Get to Wroclaw

  • By plane: There are direct flights into Wroclaw from most of Europe, and select long haul flights too. However, for most people traveling from further than Europe you’ll have to count on a connection flight (this is actually true for most destinations in Poland, by the way!).
  • By train: There’s a major train station in the center of Wroclaw (Wrocław Główny), so if you’re on a larger journey throughout Poland or Europe, that would be my preferred way to get to Wroclaw. I just find train travel to be way less hassle and more stress free. For trains from other Polish cities, you’ll need to book at the Polish railways website, which can be difficult to use because it’s only half in English. From trains from other European cities outside Poland, I recommend booking tickets in advance via Omio or Trainline. (Keep in mind that prices vary like airfares, so the sooner you book, the cheaper your tickets will be!)
  • By car: If you’re doing a larger trip in the region you may want to consider renting a car. I’m a loyal Discover Cars user, and I always love having a car at my disposal if I’m doing a multi-city trip so I can change my itinerary and have flexibility with my plans!
things to do in wroclaw 1

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Cool, Local-Approved Things to Do in Wroclaw

1. Explore the Old Town

The Old Town is an ideal place to start your exploration of things to do in Wroclaw. You’ll be able to see a good amount of all the most well known sights in Wroclaw, as well as enjoy people watching, shopping, and eating at some great spots.

things to do in wroclaw old town

I’m definitely wary of spending too much time in the Old Town of certain European cities, because they’re often quite touristy, but Wroclaw didn’t feel that way to me, so I enjoyed hanging out there and it’s definitely worth seeing if you only have one day in Wroclaw. Buckle up, because I have a lot to cover in the Old Town section!

The main Market Square is one of the coolest in Europe, and definitely my favorite I’ve seen in Poland. The colorful renaissance buildings are in many cases centuries old, and the Old Town Hall is actually from the 13th century, which is crazy! Don’t miss the Astronomical Clock in the center of the building.

The square is also one of the oldest in Europe, which is a fun thing to think about when you’re standing there looking in awe at the space.

The Salt Market Square is just to the side of the main Market square, and is also super charming.

It gets its name from back when the salt wagons would come here in the Middle Ages. Today, you can find a 24/7 flower market! 

Both squares are also where you can find the Christmas Market, which I highly recommend visiting if you’re here it.

krakow day trips things to do in wroclaw

Stare Jatki is worth a stroll as you explore the Old Town. This former butcher street is now mostly full of galleries and artist shops, but you can see the memorial to the animals that were butchered there for years. On your way to Stare Jatki, you should make sure to walk by the Hansel and Gretel Houses, which are two medieval buildings joined by an archway, and made to look like they’re holding hands.

hansel and gretel house things to do in wroclaw

If you want a stellar view of the Old Town, I recommend climbing to the top of the Bridge of Penitents, The University Mathematical Tower, or St Elizabeth’s Church Tower. I personally prefer the bridge as it feels more unique!

2. Hunt for the Dwarves

Probably one of the most notable, and charming, things you’ll notice about Wroclaw is the presence of hundreds of miniature dwarf sculptures all over the city. I’ve seen estimate dwarf counts ranging from 400+ to 800+, so I’m not confident in an exact number, but rest assured, they’re everywhere. And searching for them will probably be one of the most fun things to do in Wroclaw!

find the dwarves in wroclaw things to do

The dwarves came to be in the 1980s, when they began to appear as a part of the underground Polish anti-communist group called “Orange Alternative,” who used to graffiti the dwarves all over the city in protest. Fast forward, the first dwarf sculpture appeared in 2003, and the rest is history!

wroclaw dwarf hunting

The best thing about the dwarves is that they’re all totally unique, and pretty detailed! Every single dwarf has a unique job, outfit, or scene playing out in the sculpture. One of my personal favorites was the one in the train station.

You can find dwarf maps to try to spot as many as possible, but personally, I found it to be more enjoyable to just keep my eyes peeled and see how many we could spot!

They’re really so fun, and once you start finding them, you’ll never want to stop. And if you’re wondering what to see in Wroclaw in one day, this is it—you won’t be able to miss them all around the center!

Tucked into a courtyard at Ruska 46c is one of the coolest (and most off-the-beaten-path) things to see in Wroclaw. 

The Neon Side Foundation has been buying and preserving old, Soviet Era neon signs, and reinstalling them in this otherwise unassuming, gray courtyard.

The idea is very similar to the Neon Museum in Warsaw, but much more casual, given that it’s free and totally outside.

The ideal would be to walk through in the evening to see the Neon in all its glory, but I’ve also gone through in the daylight and found it to be really cool still. 

krakow day trips to wroclaw things to do in wroclaw

The space is also a hub for all sorts of cultural organizations and galleries. It’s a bit of a hipster paradise, really, and one you shouldn’t miss.

4. Indulge in Cafe Culture

wroclaw cafe sidewalk terrace

Personally, I don’t believe that a trip to any European city is complete without at least one afternoon spent wasting the day away at a cafe, people watching, reading, or chatting with whoever you’re with. 

Wroclaw is a city that really prides itself on having a great cafe scene, and from personal experience, I agree that coffee lovers will be at home here, so a bit of cafe hopping absolutely belongs on your Wroclaw itinerary.

Because Wroclaw is a relatively young city (by population) you can trust that these cafes will meet both the quality and vibe check.

My personal favorites are Vinyl Cafe, Galazcafe, WUWA Cafe, Cafe Rozrusznik, Kiosso, Kwiaty Kawy, and Tajne Komplety.

5. Eat all the Polish Food

When I talk to most people about visiting Poland, they’re usually shocked to hear that the food is a major draw in my opinion! Polish food is good, and incredibly underrated. In fact, one of my top favorite meals I’ve had in Poland was in Wroclaw!

Konspira is my top choice for where to enjoy authentic, delicious Polish food with generous portions and very reasonable prices. The main dining room gives the impression that it’s just another Polish restaurant, but there’s a “secret” room that’s decorated like an old living room, communism and all!

things to do in wroclaw krakow day trips wroclaw polish food
our feast at Konspira

Another great way to sample Polish food in an authentic way in Wroclaw is to visit some milk bars! A “milk bar” is a cafeteria style restaurant usually popular for daytime meals. They became such a staple of the Polish food scene in the Communist era, when they offered government-subsidized food at a low cost.

I didn’t try any milk bars in Wroclaw (I’d had a big fill in Warsaw) so I can’t speak to them, but I’ve heard good things about Bar Karmazyn in Hala Targowa.

Finally, there’s a thriving craft beer scene in Wroclaw, making a visit to a brewery one of the top things to do in Wroclaw! We visited AleBrowar (down the road from the Neon Side Gallery) while we were in town, and really enjoyed the beers we had there.

6. See the Charms of Ostrow Tumski

Ostrow Tumski, also known as Cathedral Island, is the oldest part of Wroclaw and a must on your Wroclaw itinerary.

You’ll quickly notice that it’s no longer an actual island, but that hasn’t seemed to stop the prevalence of the nickname. Sitting just across the river from Old Town, Ostrow Tumski is still one of the most important parts of the city in terms of history, culture, and architecture.

Aside from simply wandering around this quaint part of the city, the best part of Ostrow Tumski is the nightly lamplighting. Roughly 30 minutes before sunset, a lamplighter (like a literal man whose job it is to light the street lamps) does his nightly walk to light up all 103 original gas lamps.

lamp post in ostrow tumski wroclaw things to do in wroclaw

Absolutely insane! This is the only city in Poland where this happens, and one of the only cities in Europe as well.

7. Get Off the Beaten Path in Hipster Nadodrze

Often compared to the famously trendy Kazimierz in Krakow, Nadodrze, which sits just across the river from the Old Town, is an emerging and up-and-coming neighborhood in Wroclaw.

For much of its history Nadodrze was considered a bit seedy, and certainly was neglected (think, pre-war tenement houses in varying states of disarray) in comparison to the rest of the city. However, much like Praga, Warsaw, or Kreuzberg, Berlin, it has undergone years of gentrification, and is now a bit of a hipster/alternative hub.

Nadodrze things to do in  wroclaw poland

As you might expect from this kind of neighborhood, it’s full of artists’ galleries and street art. You’ll also find plenty of concept stores and boutiques, not to mention cafes and restaurants. 

One particularly interesting aspect to this neighborhood rests in its history: up until WWII, Wroclaw was actually a German city, known as Breslau. You can see traces of this relatively recent history in the faded German ghost signs found all around the area.

8. Spot the Plethora of Architecture Styles

Architecture enthusiasts are in for a treat as they explore Wroclaw. The vast array of different styles you’ll see across the city are a direct reflection of the long and storied history of Wroclaw through the eras. From Gothic, to Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau, Modernist, Brutalist and more, there’s endless visual interest to discover.

wroclaw art nouveau architecture

Some of the more notable buildings and areas to explore to get a full picture of the architecture of Wroclaw are: 

The Old Town square, which is a mix of different eras of stunning architecture.

The WUWA District, built for a 1929 exhibition. This area was created to showcase minimalist and affordable accommodations, and it’s done entirely in the Bauhaus style. A very unique experience to explore!

Communist blocks that remind us of the post-war realities of Poland.

Keep your eyes peeled for all of these, and see what else you can spot on your exploring! 

9-12. Spend a Day Wandering a Museum:

9. Wroclaw Contemporary Museum (MWW)

Located in Wroclaw’s largest WWII-era German air raid shelter, this contemporary art museum is one of the best in Poland, and is unique as it features the art of up-and-coming Polish artists in media ranging from photography to graphic design to sculpture.

Don’t miss the fascinating vertical train sculpture out front, or the rooftop cafe where you’ll be able to take in excellent views of Wroclaw to round out your visit!

10. Depot History Center (Centrum Historii Zajezdnia)

The Centrum Historii Zajezdnia in Wroclaw, located in an old bus depot to the south of the city center, may not be the most well-known museum in Wroclaw, but it is one of the best history museums I’ve ever visited, so if there’s one thing I recommend making it a mission to do on your visit—it’s coming to this museum!

The permanent exhibition at the Depot History Center was installed to mark Wroclaw’s tenure as the European Capital of Culture in 2016. Almost all of them are interactive, meaning you’ll learn loads about the city, its people, and its social movements from 1945 to the present in a way that really keeps even the most reluctant museum-goer engaged.

If you visit in the summer, it’s worth checking the museum’s website for their events programming, as they’ll often do outdoor movie screenings and the like.

things to do in wroclaw like go to museums

11. Museum of Contemporary Art

Also sometimes known as the Four Domes Pavilion (for the grand building it occupies in the middle of Szczytnicki Park), the Museum of Contemporary Art is another must-visit destination for art lovers in Wroclaw.

This museum is slightly more comprehensive than the MWW mentioned above, and features Polish contemporary art from throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, in addition to rotating exhibitions. 

If you plan a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art it’s worth making a day of your time in Szczytnicki Park—you can also stop by the Japanese Garden, the Wroclaw Multimedia Fountain, and Centennial Hall.

12. Museum of Games and Computers of the Past

This is a much more niche (and slightly less official!) museum than the others mentioned above, but it’s a unique and interesting one for those interested! The Museum of Games and Computers of the Past is an enthusiast-led initiative bringing together relics of the technological past—from early Apple computers to handheld gaming consoles and arcade games.

For those wondering… yes, you can play some of the games!

If you want to nerd out here, make sure to purchase tickets in advance and arrive on time. They are for timed entry and there’s only 30 tickets available per 2-hour slot.

13. Wroclaw Guided Walking Tour

While I was lucky enough to have my own personal tour guide to Wroclaw in the form of my local friend, if I hadn’t been with her I almost certainly would have planned to join a Wroclaw guided walking tour.

Although I’m obviously a fan of wandering aimlessly, a tour can be a great first activity on your trip and is definitely one of the top things to do in Wroclaw. It’ll help you get your bearings and set the tone for the rest of your time in Wroclaw. Also, because Wroclaw isn’t the biggest city in the world, you’ll get to see many of the most important sights in the center in an organized way, freeing you up to explore more off-the-beaten-track parts of the city with the rest of your visit.

Wroclaw, having things to see spread over a slightly wider area, also has some electric car tours you might consider as well. Here are my top picks for tours of Wroclaw:

14. Check out the Flea Markets, Vintage and Independent Shops

If you enjoy joining the locals for a weekend market, or popping into a few independent shops to pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir during your travels, Wroclaw is going to keep you very happy.

artist shops in things to do in wroclaw

There are endless opportunities to window shop, hunt for vintage, and people-watch the day away at the shops and local markets of Wroclaw.

Probably the most famous market in Wroclaw is the Hala Targowa, a very standard “market hall” full of produce and meat vendors, as well as locksmiths, dry cleaners, and the like. It’s a place many visitors may not need to visit, but the building itself is interesting looking and impressive, and it will definitely offer a peek into local life and culture without requiring you to get out of the city center. 

If you’re looking for a new vintage clothing piece or two, I recommend checking out several stores in Nadodrze, the hipster (i.e. gentrified) neighborhood of Wroclaw: Not Only Vintage (Von Schpargau), Cindy Vintage, Stay With Me Clothes, Pre-Loved, and L’Attribut Vintage.

There are also plenty of independent shops in Nadodrze, with two of my favorites being Natura Rzeczy and Do Brzegu Records.

And don’t forget to check if the monthly Dobry Design Market is happening during your visit!

If it’s not, though, don’t worry. There’s bound to be at least one Wroclaw flea market or antique market happening during your stay!

There are two excellent antique markets in Wroclaw each month, one at the Iglica on the penultimate weekend of the month and one in Gnieźnieńska on the final weekend of the month. Check out the details (including times and locations) for each here.

florist in wroclaw things to do

For an even more off-the-beaten-track market experience in Wroclaw, there are two more frequent flea markets (where you’ll find everything from vintage clothing, to furniture, to decidedly less exciting stalls with more “everyday” items): Świebodzki Bazaar or Młyn Sułkowice

Finally, there are a few more niche Wroclaw markets that are worth mentioning. 

things to do in wroclaw market

Similar to the Hala Targowa, two other food-heavy markets are the EkoBazar at Browar Mieszczański and Wrocławski Bazar Smakoszy. While, again, visitors won’t necessarily need to do any grocery shopping, just strolling around, people watching, and nibbling on samples can be such a great way to spend a day in a new city, so I recommend checking these out if they’re happening while you’re in town.

And of course, every Christmas you’ll find (really, you won’t be able to miss) Wroclaw’s famous Christmas Market in the Market Square right in the middle of Wroclaw’s Old Town. This market is such a staple of Wroclaw—even if it only happens a few weeks a year—that I’d be remiss not to mention it!

Where to Stay in Wroclaw

As a hip, young city, it’s no surprise Wroclaw has some very on-trend options for hotels and apartment stays. And even though Wroclaw is a popular day trip destination, I highly recommend spending at least one night here—if not to get off-the-beaten-track in this very cool city, at least to check out the fantastic accommodations. Here are a few of my favorites!

hotel altus palace wroclaw

Hotel Altus Palace

€€ | 5 Star | Palatial Beauty | Spacious Rooms

Nestled within a green, canalside park right on the edge of Wroclaw’s Old Town, Hotel Altus Palace is the perfect place to relax and take a breath of fresh air without sacrificing proximity to all you want to do. The hotel features modern decor that perfectly complements its historic architecture, and the onsite spa and fine dining restaurant mean you might need to force yourself to go exploring.

Photo: Booking.com

puro wroclaw stare miasto

PURO Wroclaw

€€ | 4 Star | Urban Luxury | Plush Furnishings

As part of Poland’s premiere affordable luxury hotel chain, PURO Wroclaw is certain to please. You’ll be located just steps from the city center and retreat each evening to sophisticated digs that don’t feel at all stuffy. And don’t forget to take of PURO’s free walking tours and bike rental!

Photo: Booking.com

prestige apartments 12 wroclaw

Prestige Apartments 12

€ | 4 Star | Spacious Units | Outdoor Space

If you’re looking for a self-catering option in Wroclaw, look no further than Prestige Apartments 12. These apartments, sleeping between 4 and 12 people, are not only decorated to make you feel like royalty, but feature full kitchens and seating areas—and some even feature a sauna or jacuzzi tub!

Photo: Booking.com

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Wroclaw worth visiting?

Without a doubt it’s worth visiting Wroclaw. Wroclaw is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been to in Poland. It has all the old town colorful charm you could want, while also having lots of hipster, local spots, fascinating architecture, and incredible museums and culture. 

It’s not as well known/visited as Warsaw or Krakow, so it feels a lot less touristy, and you’ll definitely be able to have a more authentic experience, even if it’s not exactly “off the beaten path.”

Visiting Wroclaw is something I recommend everyone tries to fit into their Poland trip.

things to do in wroclaw

How many days in Wrocław is enough?

I would say that two days is probably the minimum amount of time you’d want to spend in Wroclaw. Three to four days is the sweet spot to see everything this cool and underrated city has to offer. 

I spent three days in Wroclaw the first time I visited, and I found that, after taking it at a leisurely pace, I still had plenty that I wanted to explore, and I wished I had longer! 

Is Wroclaw better than Krakow?

This is always a tricky question to answer, because ultimately comparing cities I like feels a bit like comparing apples to oranges, you know? That being said, if you’re a first time visitor to Poland, I think Krakow is your best bet, no question. 

Krakow is just pretty quintessentially Polish, and definitely has a lot more going on than Wroclaw. However, if you’ve been to Krakow already and want to explore more of Poland, I say visit Wroclaw before you go back to Krakow.

Is 1 day enough for Wroclaw?

If you only have one day available to dedicate to Wroclaw, then I think it’s worth doing. However, if possible, I think it’s ideal to spend at least two days in Wroclaw, if not three or four, ideally. If you want to read more about day trips in Poland, check out my day trips from Krakow post.

things to do in wroclaw

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Are you ready to explore things to do in Wroclaw?

I hope that this post about what to see in Wroclaw has been helpful in planning your trip to Wroclaw, Poland! As I said before, Wroclaw is literally teeming with cool and unique things to do and see. Plus, in my opinion, it’s far too underexplored by most tourists!

Plus, if you’ve been around here much before, you’ll know how much my perfect city exploration day revolves around one big activity (like a museum!!), a little (window) shopping, and a nice relaxing coffee/snack break. Wroclaw is basically scientifically perfect for an ideal day IRL.

If you have any feedback or want to share your experience with exploring Wroclaw, please leave me a comment! 

As always you can always find me on Instagram (tag me in your travel content!), Youtube, or Pinterest.

Happy traveling!

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