Things to do in Wroclaw

written by Maciek Bogdanski

If you come to Wroclaw with no plans yet, We’ve put together a detailed list of the top things to do in Wroclaw, to help you make the most of your trip.

Things to do in Wroclaw Old town

One of the most popular things to see in Wroclaw is the Wroclaw Old Town. It was located in the XIIIth century, and until now, is the heart of the city. It was partially destroyed during the Second World War, and the reconstruction that took place afterward did not cover all the buildings.

Market Square

The Market Square is the heart of Wroclaw and a must-see attraction. It is one of the largest market squares in Europe, and is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings with colourful facades. The square is also home to the iconic Gothic-style Town Hall, which houses a museum and offers panoramic views of the city from its tower. Visiting the main square is definitely on of the best things to do in Wroclaw.

St Elisabeth Church

A good place to see the whole Rynek is St. Elizabeth Church. It was built in the Gothic style at the beginning of the XIVth century. It stands out in the panorama of Wrocław, because of its monumental shape, original roof, and 91 meters high tower. The church was built on the site of a smaller temple whose patron was St. Elizabeth.

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St Elisabeth Church Tower

The viewpoint on the St Elisabeth Church Tower is opened April to October, 10am -7pm. The ticket costs 10 PLN (5 PLN reduced). It offers a great view of the Old Town.

Things to do in Wroclaw - Wroclaw Old Town
Things to do in Wroclaw – walk around Wroclaw Old Town

Wroclaw University Museum

The University of Wroclaw is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Poland, and is a great place to visit for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts, but not only for them. The main building is a beautiful Baroque-style palace, which is surrounded by lush gardens and offers stunning views of the city. The museum houses the monumental historic interior of the Leopoldine Hall, the former music room, the Oratorium Marianum and the Mathematical Tower, which offers a good view of the town.

The Four Temples District

The Four Temples District, or The Four Denominations District as it is also called, is not a history-based name. It was invented in 1995, to underline the unique character of the area between the streets Kazimierza Wielkiego, Sw. Mikołaja, Pawla Wlodkowica and Sw. Antoniego. If you want to see the multicultural city, walking around the district is the top thing to do in Wroclaw.

It derives from wonderful sacral architecture, as in the range of 300 meters you may find a Roman Catholic temple (the church of St. Anthony of Padua), Orthodox church of Nativity of Theotokos, Synagogue Pod Białym Bocianem and an Evangelical church of Divine Providence. In 1996, the Council of the Mutual Respect District was created in order to encourage cooperation between the religions.

In 2005, a cultural route was created to connect the temples and the area between them was included in the urban development plan, and since then, the district is considered to be a historical monument. In 2012, the Cristal Planet statue was exhibited on the corner of the streets Kazimierza Wielkiego and sw. Antoniego street. The sculpture created by Ewa Rossano, an artist from Wroclaw, is now another symbol of the District.

Things to do in Wroclaw – Panorama Raclawicka

This is one of the most famous Polish paintings, and probably the only one designed to be viewed in 360-degree panorama. It shows the Battle of Raclawice during one of the Polish Uprising against Russia. To see Panorama Raclawicka you need to book your ticket well in advance, but it’s worth it, as this is one of the special things to see in Wroclaw – not to be seen anywhere else.

Things to do in Wroclaw - Panorama Raclawicka
Things to do in Wroclaw – seeing Panorama Raclawicka

Things to do in Wroclaw – visit Ostrow Tumski

If you’ve read our articles about Poznan, you’ll be familiar with this name. Don’t be confused, both Poznan and Wroclaw have Ostrow Tumski, and in both cases, this is an important part of the city. Ostrow Tumski is the oldest part of Wroclaw. It used to be an island (“ostrow” means “island” in old Polish) but is not any more. The most significant buildings in Ostrow Tumski are churches: St. John the Baptist Archicatedral – believed to be the first gothic church in Poland, St. Idzi’s Church – the oldest church in Wroclaw that still exists. Another place worth visiting is the botanic garden belonging to the University of Wroclaw. If you happen to be in Ostrow Tumski in the evening, look around. You may find the lighter-man – who walks around and sets gas street lamps on fire.

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Thigs to do in Wroclaw - visit Ostrow Tumski
Thigs to do in Wroclaw – visit Ostrow Tumski

Archcathedral of St. st. John the Baptist

The so-called mother of Silesian churches, the Archcathedral of St. st. John the Baptist in Wrocław is a unique monument of Gothic sacred architecture. It is worth seeing the chapels and tombstones of Silesian rulers and clergymen. The decoration of the cathedral is a mannerist altar funded by Archbishop Andreas Jerin.

In the church, you may visit the chapels (20 PLN) and the Viewpoint (10 PLN). The combined ticket costs 28 PLN.

Things to do in Wroclaw – count Wroclaw’s dwarfs

During the communist era, Wroclaw was the centre of the “Pomaranczowa Alternatywa” (Orange Alternative) movement. Its main purpose was to oppose communist restrictions, but to do it in a witty or absurd way. One of them was painting the image of the dwarf on a paint spot covering anti-communism slogans. The painted dwarf soon became one of the symbols of the movement. The first figures of dwarf appeared in Wroclaw in 2005. Then new dwarfs – including private or commercial – were put in the streets of Wroclaw. Now more than 600 figures of dwarfs appeared in the city, and each year about 50-100 are added. So each year there are more interesting things to see in Wroclaw streets.

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Things to do in Wroclaw - count Wroclaw Dwarfs
Wroclaw Dwarfs

Hydropolis

Hydropolis is a modern, multimedial museum dedicated to water located in a 19th century underground water reservoir. There are 7 thematic zones in Hydropolis, including exploration of the depth, life in the oceans and what water is being used for by people. It is a great place to come to and spend 2-3 hours, not only for children but for the whole family.

Things to see in Wroclaw - Hydropolis
Wroclaw Hydropolis

Wroclaw Zoo

Wroclaw Zoo is the oldest Zoo in Poland. It was opened in 1865, when Wroclaw was ruled by Germany, and except for two periods of closure, works until today. In 2014, a new part of Wroclaw Zoo was opened – Afrykarium, which presents animals living in Africa – both on land and in water. This is the only place like that in Poland.

Wroclaw Zoo
Wroclaw Zoo

Centennial Hall

Centennial Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the most impressive examples of modernist architecture in Europe. The hall was built in 1913 for the centennial exhibition of the defeat of Napoleon, and features a stunning dome that is made entirely of reinforced concrete. Visitors can also explore the beautiful gardens and fountains that surround the hall.

Wroclaw Multimedia Fountain at the Pergola

Located next to the Centennial Hall, the Wroclaw multimedia fountain at the Pergola is the largest and most famous such fountain in Poland, and one of the largest in Europe. From May to October, every day there are 8 daytime and 3 evening shows with different genres of music. The multimedia fountain at the Pergola in Wrocław was opened on June 4, 2009, on the 20th anniversary of the first free elections in post-war Poland. It has almost a hectare of floor space, 800 light points, 300 water jets and 3 fire nozzles. The shows last 4-16 minutes and are accompanied by both classical and modern music. All the shows are free.

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