My road trip around Poland continues with Wrocław, a city located in the south-west of Poland, on the river Oder. For those of you having trouble pronouncing its name, it’s something like “vrotzlav” (hope that’s correct 😀 ).
Although this is one of the biggest cities in Poland, I only first heard about it roughly three years ago, when I started my current job and found out the company had offices there. And despite seeing some images and talking to co-workers who lived there, I’ve never really thought of it as a city with tourist potential. Boy, was I wrong.
Luckily, since I had co-workers there and wanted to meet them, I made sure to have some time to spare, which was probably the best choice, giving us more time to enjoy this beautiful city.
We got there in the late afternoon and spent the evening in and around Rynek (Market Square). As with every other location, the city centre was easily reachable by public transport and in this case, even by foot, which is why we walked…a lot 😊
Day 1 – get acquainted
Anyway, it was Thursday evening, and finding myself in Market Square I couldn’t help but think “the whole of Wrocław is here”. The crowds, the buzz, the everything-happening-at-once felt like all my senses were being overstimulated. Weirdly, I wasn’t as bothered by this as I usually am. It was more like a “glad to be alive” feeling. The crowd wasn’t a mob, but a party, the buzz wasn’t noise, but music to the ears. Mostly literally. Each corner of the square had at least one performer: live music, dance, magic, acrobatics, fire performances… All the restaurants were full and if you were passing by close enough, you could smell delicious food of all kinds: traditional Polish, Czech, Asian, French, burgers, etc.
After having a delicious dinner at one of the main restaurants of the Market Square, located in a cellar – Piwnica Świdnicka, we headed back to our hotel to rest and recover, getting ready for the following day.
Day 2 – see ALL the churches and some other things too
We started the day visiting a church – the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Parish. An imposing red-bricked structure, with beautiful stained-glass windows.
We walked around Market Square again, admiring it in daylight and discovering more and more of the dwarves that can be found everywhere in Wrocław. The dwarves are made of iron, are usually quite small, and mark not only important places but can be found in unusual spots too. Some of the most well-known dwarves are at the top of the Saint Mary Magdalene Cathedral on the Bridge of Penitents. Although I’m not a big fan of climbing stairs, this was worth it. The view from above is perfect.
After this, we reached the river and the three small islands on the river Oder. Crossed them and found ourselves in a place called Ostrov Tumski – a lovely part of Wrocław, where we saw two other churches: Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wrocław.
After getting enough of the churches, we walked along the river, and relaxed on a bench on Bulwar Wrocławski before heading to the water museum – Hydropolis. But before we got there, one building worth mentioning, which I didn’t see the inside of but I swear the outside was my favourite – The National Museum in Wrocław. Gorgeous.
The water museum was a nice experience, definitely recommend taking your children there, as some of the exhibits are interactive. I left Hydropolis with a somewhat weird knowledge of clouds. You know, enough to obsessively stare at the sky and name the type of clouds I can see. Hey, who said I’m not fun? 😀
After all the walking, it was already late afternoon when we got back to the hotel and had a “lunchinner” at a Vietnamese restaurant nearby, called Hong Ha. Now, the building of this restaurant doesn’t look like much. A bit like one of those places that are not exactly inviting. However, don’t let appearances fool you. The food was very very good and the staff was very friendly.
Later on, I had drinks with a co-worker at a rather hip restaurant in the Jana Pawła II area. If I remember correctly, the place was called Eight Bowls – also an Asian restaurant. But having eaten earlier, I’ve only enjoyed a nice, refreshing cocktail.
Day 3 – relax and eat some more
As we exhausted ourselves on the second day in Wrocław, we decided to take it slower this time, so we took a boat ride on the river Oder.
TIP TIME: There are several boat “stations” along the river. The main ones you’ll find on the small islands, but we got on a boat just under the Pomorski Bridge. The ride took around 45 minutes and honestly, I wouldn’t have minded if it had been longer. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the landscape and relax at the same time.
After this, we had lunch at one of the hip restaurants on Świętego Antoniego street. I can’t remember which one exactly, but most of them had a cool vibe, with fusion cuisines and hip brunch menus. It’s a good place to go with friends, so it was perfect to meet another colleague there to catch up.
The day ended with a dinner with friends at a Czech restaurant in Market Square, called Bernard. The food looked so good and was so delicious I inhaled it before getting a picture. But if you ever go to that restaurant, I can tell you I had something called “svícková na smetaně” which was roast beef drowned in a sour cream sauce with traditional Czech bread.
A final walk around the Main Square and a brief stop on Ruska, the “party street”, concluded our lovely time in Wrocław and Poland. And if it wasn’t clear to this point and you’re looking for a rating, Wrocław – 10/10 would recommend. Put it on your travel list, add it to the top, buy your tickets, book your room and get going.
Next stop: Vienna, Austria.