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Wroclaw

City of gnomes!
 

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Poland is a country that, in our opinion, is overlooked far too often when tourists are exploring Europe. Cities like Prague and Budapest are fantastic, and deserve the huge hype that they get, but Polish cities are cheaper and just as beautiful in so many ways, but get far less recognition.


Wrocław (pronounced Vrot-swav, and often spelt Wroclaw) isn’t a major tourist hotspot, especially not for British people - but we can’t see a reason why. It’s a city packed with affordable food and drink spots, pretty sights and culture hotspots. Find out more about what Wroclaw is really like below.


From pristine cathedrals and traditional gardens to street carts selling fresh Polish doughnuts (paczki), this city has a huge range of different experiences. If you want a short break to just relax, drink great coffees, eat delicious food and maybe even try a few very affordable vodka shots, Wrocław is absolutely the place for you to visit. But if you’re looking for history, culture and well-preserved traditions, you’ll definitely find these here too. 


The stunning pastel houses in the market square in Poland
Market Square

Don’t miss the main market square, full of pastel-coloured houses and pretty churches. In this square, you could easily sit for hours just watching the world go by, but there are also plenty of attractions, cafes, bars and restaurants to keep you occupied. In Winter, you’ll find stalls selling mulled wine, perfect to warm you up from the inside out. This square feels peaceful despite being one of the main tourist areas in the city, and is perfectly picturesque. The market square is also the main spot for any public events or performances, so stick around for a while if you see a stage or a crowd forming!!



The main market square in Wroclaw, Poland
The pastel houses in the market square

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wroclaw, Poland
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

As well as beautiful squares, in Wrocław, you’ll find a gorgeous Cathedral Island which houses the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It’s accessible on foot over a bridge, and it’s a key part of the city centre. The streets of Cathedral Island are lined with old, gas street lamps. At dusk, the lamplighter comes out and wanders the streets, lighting each street lamp individually in the traditional black cape and hat. Wrocław is the only Polish city that still honours this tradition! It’s especially magical in the winter months, when the streets are lined with crisp, white snow. 




The Lamplighter of Wroclaw on Cathedral Island
The Lamplighter of Wroclaw on Cathedral Island

Another tradition unique to Wrocław is the adorable gnome statues that you’ll find on every corner of the city centre! There are more than 600 across the city, and more and more keep appearing for locals and tourists alike to find. Not only is this a brilliant tourist attraction, especially for families, and incredibly fun to wander around and try to spot them all, they actually link to culture and history too. The tradition of gnome statues in the city originates from a political rebellion group in the 1980s, and has been faithfully continued ever since. 


SETKA bar, Wroclaw
The vibrant interior of SETKA Polish Bar, Wroclaw


Not only can you experience rare traditions in Wrocław, you can enjoy eating and drinking in brilliant spots for a fraction of the price than you do in other European countries. Some great examples of places to visit are SETKA, a traditional bar where you can get cheap Polish food and a huge range of Vodka shots (try the hazelnut-chocolate, it tastes just like a Ferrero Rocher!). Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try some Polish Vodka with pickles, or a meat dish you’ve never heard of before. There's a great nightlife in Wrocław, and you can explore this further on a guided pub crawl.






Pizza and wine at Iggy Pizza, Wroclaw
Iggy Pizza


Another great foodie find is Iggy Pizza, a very Instagrammable restaurant specialising in pizzas and Italian spritzes. We know this isn’t Polish food, but this city has an abundance of pizza and pasta restaurants. There's also a great, fast and affordable pasta bar in the city centre - Buonissimo. The owner himself lived in Italy and the pasta is absolutely delicious - not to mention the wine. Italian cuisine is very popular in Poland, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!






There’s even a brilliant viewpoint - Sky Tower - where you can have a view of the entire city below. It’s the first skyscraper in Wrocław and also houses offices. It's a little bit of a walk from the city centre, but for only 49 zł (around £10) per person for a ticket, we’d recommend giving it a go. When we visited, it was still quite a new building, so the viewing terrace felt a little unfinished, but it wasn’t anything that would prevent us returning. The view speaks for itself!



The view from Sky Tower, Wroclaw
The view from Sky Tower, Wroclaw


To top it all off, there are some incredible places to stay at brilliant prices. We stayed at Joyinn Aparthotel, which was absolutely perfect for a city break or even a longer stay - as the standard rooms all include an en-suite bathroom and a kitchenette. The location is also ideal, close to lots of bars and restaurants and a short walk to the main square.


Wrocław is a city that definitely surpassed our expectations and made us want to return to Poland to explore further as soon as possible. It’s a city that's affordable, picturesque, and really has a lot to offer for all interests. We think it’s absolutely perfect for a European city break, or maybe even part of a longer trip exploring the rest of Poland. Maybe this pretty city could be your next destination?


Additional information:

Getting there: Wrocław is easy to access by air, as it has an airport only half an hour's drive from the city centre. There are regular direct flights from several airports in the UK, and they’re generally pretty affordable too. You can also access Wrocław easily by train or coach from major cities in Poland and surrounding countries.

Visas: Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Poland for a stay of up to 90 days.

Currency: The currency of Poland is the Polish Złoty. The conversion rate is around 5 Złoty= £1 (GBP).

Language: The official language of Poland is Polish, but English is widely spoken across the country, especially in major cities such as Wrocław.

Time zone: Poland is in the Central European Time Zone, usually an hour ahead of the UK.


Ready to go?

- Search for somewhere to stay in Wrocław on booking.com

- Look for things to do in Wrocław or day trips from Wrocław to other destinations on GetYourGuide here

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