What to see in Wroclaw
Below we suggest where to find such attractions and spots in Wroclaw and its nearest surroundings that will make you satisfied with this summer, even if you had to resign from all-inclusive holidays far away in the world.
Market Square: Heart of the city
The Wroclaw Market Square occupies the area of almost 3.8 ha, being one of the biggest old market squares in Poland. It attracts people with the charm of its historic houses and the vibrant atmosphere of an exceptional European metropolis centre.
The Late Gothic city hall with a 66 metres tall tower is the most imposing building of this kind in Poland. Its basement is still home to Piwnica Świdnicka – one of the oldest restaurants in Europe. And one of the restaurants in which the Market Square abounds. Many of them have outdoor gardens that draw crowds on warm summer days. You can learn more about the history and attractions of this place, e.g., during a guided sightseeing tour.
Zoo and Africarium: Fauna from the remotest corners of the world
The Wroclaw Zoological Garden is the oldest attraction of this kind in Poland. The number of animals living there is estimated at 14,000 – these are representatives of over 1,100 species. You can visit the animals every day between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. (ticket offices are open from 5:00 p.m.).
A fantastic part of the zoo is the Africarium – the world’s only oceanarium devoted exclusively to the fauna of the Black Continent. 15 million litres of water fill up 21 swimming pools and aquariums in which around 350 species of fish and representatives of various African ecosystems live. This is a must-see attraction.
In the middle of June, the Zoolandia Rope Park was reopened in the zoo (7 days a week, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.).
Hydropolis: Water trip into science
The water knowledge centre is a marvellous presentation about water without which there would be no life on Earth – from functions performed in the human body to the ocean currents that shape the climate of Earth. Hydropolis combines educational benefits with a modern exhibition form. It is an exceptional attraction for persons of every age and a great example of the regeneration of a former industrial facility. The exhibition about water is located in a 19th-century underground pure water tank.
Visitors are welcome: Mon–Fri 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (last entry: 6:00 p.m.), Sat–Sun 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (last entry: 7:00 p.m.).
Centennial Hall Complex: Alliance of history and modernity
The monumental Centennial Hall is one of the greatest architecture works of the 20th century. The original construction designed by Max Berg and opened in 1913 on the 100th anniversary of the victory of troops of the anti-French coalition over Napoleon Bonaparte’s army in the Battle of Leipzig was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006. Today it serves as a venue for concerts, shows, fairs, sports games and other events.
Right next to it, you can take a stroll around the Pergola, which was built as a part of the 1913 Centennial Exhibition according to the design by architect Hans Poelzig. Today it is also a popular site for photo sessions or concerts. Built in the shape of half of an ellipse, it surrounds a half-elliptical artificial pond near the Centennial Hall, on which you can see spectacular shows of a multimedia fountain that has 800 illumination points, 800 water jets and 3 fire jets. Day shows: from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m., evening shows: from 6:00 p.m. till 9:40 p.m.
Another former part of the Centennial Exhibition in 1913 that stands proudly in the area of the Centennial Hall is the Japanese Garden – today a part of the Szczytnicki Park. Created with the help of master gardener Mankichi Arai, it is a magnificent reference to Japanese culture and art.
With its original plants, a pond with huge carps and other fish and a sukiya-type house where tea brewing shows and other events are held, the Japanese Garden is one of the most popular strolling and relaxation places in Wroclaw – available to visitors between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. from 1st April till 31st October.
Ostrów Tumski: In the cradle of Wroclaw
It is the oldest part of the city, where the remains of the first 10th-century settlement were found. Associated with the church authorities, which have had an important seat there for centuries, it is also an atmospheric strolling place and a tourist treat for visitors today.
The oldest building in this area is the cosy Late Roman (early 13th c.) Church of Saint Giles. While visiting Ostrów Tumski, you must enter the Gothic cathedral of John the Baptist, which was almost entirely destroyed during the siege of Festung Breslau. Today it serves as the “mother" of Lower Silesian churches. Its pride is the silver altar of Bishop Andreas Jerin made in 1591; in 1945, it was dismantled and hidden from the approaching Red Army. A few years ago, many of its elements were discovered in the cathedral vault. After the reconstruction of the missing fragments, it was made available to visitors again in December last year.
There are many more interesting buildings to be found in Ostrów Tumski; in the Archdiocesan Museum, you can see the famous Book of Henryków with the first sentence written in Polish. Another popular tourist attraction is the Tumski Bridge.
Four Denominations District Symbol of mutual respect
In the immediate vicinity of the Market Square, there is an exceptional area limited by Kazimierza Wielkiego, Św. Mikołaja, Pawła Włodkowica and Św. Antoniego streets, called the Four Denominations District since 1995. It is a place of meetings, dialogue, mutual respect and... many unforgettable culinary experiences.
The uniqueness of the Quarter is determined by magnificent gems of sacred architecture. It is the place where the Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Most Blessed Mother of God, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Anthony of Padua, the White Stork Synagogue and the Evangelical-Augsburg Church of Divine Providence are located next to one another.
Being home to many restaurants, cafés, pubs and music clubs, the Four Denominations District is one of the most magical meeting places for Wroclaw inhabitants.
Viewpoints: City from a bird’s eye view
It is worth looking at Wroclaw from a different, quite high perspective to see an extensive and beautiful panorama of the city and its surroundings. You can do this from such locations as:
- the Penitent Bridge – a footbridge between the two towers of the Church of Mary Magdalene (ul. Szewska) at a height of 45 m
- the lookout tower of the Archcathedral of St. John the Baptist (Ostrów Tumski) offering a view from a height of 97 m
- the lookout tower of the garrison church (near the Market Square) from a height of 90 m
- the lookout point at Sky Tower (ul. Powstańców Śląskich), where you can see even Ślęża, Chełmiec or Śnieżka from the 49th floor
The Mathematical Tower on the roof of the University offers a view of the Słodowa Island and Old Town from a height of 42 m.
City beaches: Relax with music in the background
Such places can be found in almost every part of the city, close to the Oder banks. City beaches offer relaxation on deckchairs, cold drinks, often a bite to eat, and much good music. So, after the whole day of sightseeing, it is worth spending a nice afternoon and evening in such locations as: Forma Płynna Beach Bar (Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego), Przestrzeń Pub Pizza Plaża (in the corner of ul. Mickiewicza and ul. Paderewskiego at Sępolno), Basen Beach Bar (ul. Pasterska near the Trzebnicki Bridge), Stara Odra Beach Bar (ul. Zawalna, near the Trzebnicki Bridge), ZaZoo Beach Bar (Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego, close to the zoo) and the biggest man-made city beach in Poland (15,000 sq. m., ul. Wejherowska).