We spent just a couple of days in Wroclaw, but it was one of the Polish cities we liked best. Like so many Polish cities, it’s been rebuilt since World War II to look like it did before. It’s full of both old world charm and modern whimsy (you’ll see why soon!), and it’s a great stop to make on a trip around Poland. Here are the eight best things to do.
Take the Old Town Promenade
This is a lovely path all the way around the Old Town, and it’s a pleasant place to walk or run. The route circles the old city, where the city walls once stood. There are maps posted along the way to point you to important sites and help you get your bearings, and you will definitely see some of Wroclaw’s famous Dwarfs along the way!
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Visit the Main Town Hall
Originally built in the 13th century, this town hall with its tall clock tower really can’t be missed–even if you tried! It’s open as a museum, and when the weather is good, you can also go up in the clock tower to get the view. It took 250 years to actually build it, and in that time, parts were added and floor plans changed, which is why it almost looks like a totally different building from the front as opposed to the back. It’s worth stopping in while you’re exploring the town.
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Get the View from the Church of Mary Magdalene Tower
You know I love a good view! Most of the tall buildings in Wroclaw have a great viewpoint for you to visit, but not all of them also have Dwarves and a legend associated with them! The church was built in the 14th century, and over the years it’s been a Catholic Church, Evangelical Church, and is now part of the Polish Catholic Church. You can go inside the sanctuary for free, but it’s worth the 15 zlotys to climb the stairs up to the Penitent Bridge for the view, and to see their resident Dwarves.
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Visit the Churches
Speaking of churches, St. Mary Magdalene is not the only one in town! There are many all around Wroclaw, and they are all a little different. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist just across the bridge from the Old Town was a favorite of mine. It’s a beautiful one for architecture photography, and it’s been around since 1272!
Admire the Architecture
Speaking of architecture photography, there are so many beautiful buildings all over the Old Town squares and beyond. The colorful facades pop against blue skies, and they’re some of the most charming in Poland. Those rooflines! Those details! Those arched doorways! It may make you think of gingerbread houses and Hansel and Gretel. Be sure to also stop into the Architecture Museum while you’re here to learn more about it!
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Find the John and Margaret Houses
These are also called the Hansel and Gretel Houses, and you can find them at St. Elizabeth’s Church, just off of the Main Market Square. The houses are joined by an archway, and are all that’s left of the similar houses that used to be all around the church cemetery. The pink house has a small gift shop inside, and a Dwarf with a heart right outside the door. Stop into St. Elizabeth’s while you’re here, and consider paying your respects at the monument to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the church courtyard as well.
Very helpful info: The Ultimate Guide to Train Travel in Poland
We had some of the best food of our trip in Wroclaw! My personal favorite was Wroclawska, where we had the biggest pierogis that I think have ever existed. In fact, the waitress actually tried to warn me that it was big, and I thought, “She is really underestimating just how much I can shovel in after a day of traveling with luggage on our backs.” But she was right! Steve had the “Proud Henry” Polish Sausage, and we had to share the pierogis because it was just so much. Good thing we came hungry. You should, too!
Keep eating: Where to Eat in Wroclaw in 2 Days
Find the Dwarves
So much of Poland’s history is sad and dark; there’s no way around it. But these little Dwarves of Wroclaw are the perfect little bits of delight all over the city! They were part of an anti-Communist movement in the 1980s and 1990s, but they made a bit of a revival in 2001. Little (very little) bronze dwarf statues have been popping up (hundreds and counting) all over the city since. Some are doing normal things like working on a laptop; some are super cool, like the one on a motorcycle right outside St. Mary’s; there’s a big group of them in a band on the Old Town Promenade; and this cutie next to the Margaret House is just full of whimsy!
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