City breaks in Poland are so popular for two main reasons. First, it’s cheap if you’re travelling from a western country. And second, the cities are packed with history and colourful buildings which are beautiful. Wroclaw, Poland is one of those cities. But why visit Wroclaw above other more popular cities like Warsaw and Krakow? Is Wroclaw worth visiting? Yes! And spending 48 hours in Wroclaw or one weekend is the perfect amount of time.
Wroclaw (pronounced vrots-wav) is Poland’s fourth largest city. Its historic centre is fairly compact and walkable with cobble-stoned streets, river views, street art, and tons of craft beer bars and brunch restaurants. It’s a hipster’s paradise! You’ll also love browsing Wroclaw’s Christmas market in the Old Town and staying in a cool boutique hotel that would have been out of your price range if you were staying in any other city.
This 48 hours in Wroclaw itinerary will tell you all the best things to do in Wroclaw over a weekend break. It will tell you where to stay, how to get around Wroclaw, what to see in 2 days, and the best time of year to visit.
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The Best Time to Visit Wroclaw
Poland, like most other countries in Central Europe, experiences four distinct seasons. These countries enjoy warm and sunny summers with highs of 30°C (87°F) in August and cold, bitter winters with lows of -8°C in January (18°F).
If you want guaranteed amazing weather, visit in summer. But this is when Wroclaw is at its busiest, and the price of accommodation and flights will be at their highest too. Winter and early spring (January – March) will be the cheapest time to spend 48 hrs in Wroclaw and also the quietest but the weather will be very cold.
The best times to visit Wroclaw are either the shoulder season or the two weeks before Christmas. The shoulder season is April – June. Accommodation and flight prices are cheaper than in the summer and the weather is pleasant. But May is also the wettest month so pack an umbrella! Christmas is a magical time to be in Wroclaw as the markets in the Old Town square are phenomenal. Wear your thickest knits and enjoy mulled wine, pierogi, and sweet treats under the festive lights.
How to Get Around Wroclaw
Wroclaw’s Stare Miasto (historic centre or city centre) is like a quaint fairytale village. It’s super small so if you don’t have any accessibility issues you’ll be able to walk everywhere with ease. Both private and public transport vehicles are uncommon in this part of the city anyway. There are only three tram stops inside the historic centre.
Wroclaw doesn’t have an underground metro system but it does have 120 bus lines and 60 overground tram lines. Wroclaw’s main railway station is one of the best hubs to catch multiple buses and tram lines around the city. Single public transport tickets cost around 3zł (the złoty is Poland’s official currency) though night buses cost slightly more. You can buy these from ticket machines at tram and bus stops or the railway station and then punch them in the machines once you get onboard.
Taxis are super cheap, like everything in Wroclaw, so they are a great option if you have accessibility issues. Wroclaw also has Uber so there’s definitely no need to hire a car during your 2 days in Wroclaw.
Where to Stay in Wroclaw
Two of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Wroclaw are The Four Temple District (also known as the Jewish Quarter) and Wroclaw Centrum, the heart of the Old Town. You’ll find most of the main attractions in these neighbourhoods as well as plenty of bars and restaurants. Nadodrze and Poludnie are also good locations.
Grampa’s Hostel – Wroclaw is a great choice for anyone travelling on a budget, but if you’re backpacking then you’ll be able to find lots of cheap accommodations like hostels. One of the best hostels is Grampa’s Hostel in the Nadodrze neighbourhood. Because of the name, you might sound like a drab, old-fashioned place but it’s far from it. You’ll find modern yet homely hostel dorms and private rooms, a huge and bright communal kitchen and daily social events.
PURO Hotel Stare Miasto – PURO hotels are one of Poland’s best hotel chains. Their rooms are minimalist yet cosy and take advantage of the latest technology to improve your stay. Yes, you can control the lights in your room from a tablet by your bed and tons of other useful features! It’s in a fantastic location in the Four Temple District near all the best brunch spots.
Art Hotel – Want to stay in a four or five-star hotel in Wroclaw? There are lots of options and it might be cheaper than you think. Wroclaw’s Art Hotel is right in the centre of Wroclaw Centrum in a 14th-century townhouse and the rates start from €70 per night. Contrary to what the hotel’s name might suggest, this hotel’s decor is elegant, clean and bright and resembles a country cottage more than it does a city centre hotel.
Things to Do in Wroclaw
Keep an Eye Out for Wroclaw Gnomes
No Wroclaw itinerary would be complete without searching for gnomes as you walk around the city. Officially, there are 163 bronze gnomes around 30cm tall dotted around the city but unofficially, there are closer to 600. Some are playing the piano, others are pulling a suitcase, and some are simply posing for the tourists that crouch down to get a closer look.
So, why the heck do these quirky statuettes exist? The first krasnale (meaning dwarf in Polish) is Papa Krasnale situated in Old Town. He looks very different (and much taller) than the other gnomes because he was the original symbol of an anti-communist group called the Orange Alternative in the 1980s. Over time, more and more dwarfs/gnomes kept popping up as a type of peaceful protest. Nowadays, they’re a fun thing to watch out for as you wander around the city. You can even download an app to help you find them all!
Wander Around the Market Square
You haven’t been to Wroclaw if you haven’t spent any time wandering aimlessly around Wroclaw’s Market Square. This is where you’ll find the St Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Parish Church, the Old Town Hall, the Hansel and Gretel houses, and the Christmas Markets in December.
There are also lots of traditional Polish restaurants, bars, galleries, and souvenir shops in Wroclaw’s Market Square too. Walk along Stare Jatki if you love art because there are tons of galleries. And there are also street art murals near this street, too!
Taste the Local Cuisine
Polish food, like other Central and Eastern European cuisines, is characterised as being hearty and full of different meats and heavy carbs. But it’s not bland as the Polish love their herbs and spices. Pierogi dumplings are one of the most well-known Polish dishes but stews and potato pancakes are popular too. You can find traditional Polish food in many restaurants across Wroclaw.
You might be surprised to hear that brunch dishes, Italian food, and craft beer are also staples in Wroclaw. The local media have dubbed Wroclaw the Polish Little Italy because of its high number of Italian migrants and those with Italian heritage. Head to the Jewish Quarter for the best brunch restaurants, craft beer bars, and Italian eateries.
Places to Visit in Wroclaw
Cathedral Island (And Other Islands)
Wroclaw has over 112 bridges across the River Oder because it has a surprising number of islands. Ironically, Cathedral Island is one of the most popular islands to visit and it’s not really an island! Cross the Instagrammable Tumski Bridge to see the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew. Other islands worth checking out are Sand Island and Malt Island.
Hala Targowa Market Hall
Visiting Wroclaw’s Market Hall will be like stepping back a few decades in the past. Browse around Hala Targowa’s multi-coloured tiled floors and learn what groceries the locals buy here. Walk up to the top floor to buy yourself some local crafts and jewellery for bargain prices.
Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice
Some might say it’s just a painting, but to Wroclaw, it’s so much more. This building houses a huge 360-degree painting depicting the 1794 Battle of Raclawice. You get an audio guide that explains everything happening in the painting and learn why it’s so important to the city’s history.
National Museum in Wroclaw
Traditionally, a country’s national museum is in the capital city which, in Poland’s case, would be Warsaw. But Poland has a few, including one in Wroclaw. This one is an art museum with lots of paintings, sculptures, and crafts. It’s across the street from the Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice so you won’t have far to walk!
Wroclaw has one UNESCO World Heritage Site and its Centennial Hall in the sprawling Szczytnicki Park. You can walk around the beautiful park (designed to resemble a Japanese garden) before marvelling at the impressive cultural events venue.
Tours to Do in Wroclaw
Craft Beer Tour
The craft beer boom that’s taken over the world in the last couple of decades didn’t skip over Wroclaw. In fact, it has a thriving craft beer scene and even an annual craft beer festival. On this tour you will be able to taste 10 different craft beers (yes, 10!) as well as some snacks in several different bars. The groups are always kept small so you’ll feel like you’re just going for a few drinks with your friends.
When you only have 48 hours in Wroclaw, you want to make the most of them. See all the top sites and attractions with a knowledgeable, local guide on this walking tour. While bike and segway tours are fun, Wroclaw is a relatively small city so walking is ideal. This tour will concentrate on Wroclaw Centrum and you’ll learn about the history behind the brightly-coloured buildings.
Instagrammable Places Tour
No one can deny that Wroclaw is a beautiful city and you don’t have to look too hard to find that beauty. But this tour can help you dig even deeper into the hidden gems like the street covered in neon signs and the best places to visit at Golden hour.
48 Hours in Wroclaw
Start your Wroclaw 2-day itinerary with breakfast at Central Cafe in the Four Temples District. They serve bagels, pancakes, and more so it’s a great way to start your day. Next, head to Market Square to wander around the gorgeous multi-coloured buildings and take lots of photos. You’ll spot the Old Town Hall here, the Hansel and Gretel houses, and Stare Jatki as well as the Church of St Elizabeth. Head up the tower of the church (and 300+ steps) to be rewarded with beautiful vistas across the city. You’ll find the original Papa Dwarf in the Old Town too.
Head to Pierogarnia Rynek 26 for a traditional Polish lunch of pierogi and sauerkraut. Yes, it might look like a tourist trap but it’s a popular spot for good reason. After lunch, make your way north and have a browse around Hala Targowa Market Hall. You’ll mostly find fresh food on the bottom floor but head up the steps and there are a few hidden gems selling locally made crafts. Cross over to Sand Island and then walk along the Tumski Bridge to Cathedral Island.
Spend the rest of your afternoon wandering around the churches and crisscrossing through the Islands before making your way back to Wroclaw Centrum and enjoying a few slices at Iggy Pizza for dinner. Join a craft beer tour at night or do a self-guided one by enjoying a glass or two at AleBrowar and Pod Latarniami craft beer bars.
Ready for some culture? Start your day with a more sophisticated brunch at Dinette. There are a few locations around the city so choose the closest one to you. Then, spend your morning soaking in the exhibitions at the National Museum in Wroclaw and walking around the Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice.
Head north again to enjoy a cheap lunch at Kawiarnia Coffilm, a canteen that serves sandwiches, soups, and other light bites. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather stays dry as you wander over to Szczytnicki Park to enjoy the Japanese gardens and bridges. Here you can admire Centennial Hall and hopefully join a tour to see the interiors.
Hop on a bus or tram back to the city centre for dinner at Konspira which serves traditional Polish cuisine and receive a bonus history lesson about Poland during the communist regime. While waiting for your food, browse through your photos and count how many gnomes you spotted and how many street art murals you walked passed too. If you’re not too tired, Malgosia Drinks is a cocktail bar where you can try lots of different local Polish vodkas. Responsibly, of course!
Recommended tours in Wroclaw
- Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour from Wrocław
- Wroclaw Old Town Guided Walking Tour
- Private Walking Tour of Wroclaw
- Delicious Wroclaw Vodka Tour
- Famous Islands of Wroclaw – Cathedral Island and Sand Island Private Tour
- Private “Top Attractions Of Wroclaw” Tour
- Wroclaw Old Town Private Tour
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