Wrocław

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Wrocław Town Hall

Wrocław (pronounced Vrots-waf; also known as Breslau, its German name, and English name until 1945) is the largest city in Lower Silesia in Poland. It is home to 630,000 people within the city limits and the metropolitan area has a population of 1.2 million making it the largest city in Western Poland.

Wrocław is also the historic capital of Silesia and it has changed hands repeatedly over the centuries. At different points throughout history, Wrocław has been in the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia and Germany. Since 1945 the city became a part of Poland once more as the borders of Poland were moved westwards in the immediate aftermath of World War II. More recently, the city came to international fame as it hosted a number of football matches during the Euro 2012 Championships and is also set to be the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Like many cities in Central Europe, it is a city with a troubled past, having seen much violence and devastation. Prior to the Second World War, Breslau was the capital of the German province of Prussian Lower Silesia. It became Polish territory when, after the War, the Soviets moved the German/Polish border westward to the Oder/Neisse Line and ethnically cleaned the area of Germans. Breslau was almost completely destroyed during the end of the War as the Red Army fought its way into Germany towards Berlin, being declared a "Fortress City" by Hitler. However, it has been wonderfully restored and can now be counted among the highlights of Poland and of all Central Europe.

Talk[edit]

The official language is Polish. It is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, and serves as Poland's secondary (to Warsaw) financial services centre. Thus, you should be able to a find sufficient number of English speakers to get by. Do note that German is probably much more widely spoken and understood than in some other regions of Poland.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Copernicus Airport Wrocław (IATA: WRO) is served by:

LOT - Frankfurt, Gdansk, Munich, Warsaw (seven times a day except Sundays when there are five flights)

Lufthansa - Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich

Scandinavian Airlines - Copenhagen

Ryanair - Alicante, Bologna, Bournemouth, Bristol, Brussels-Charleroi, Chania, Cork, Dublin, Girona, Glasgow-Prestwick, Liverpool, London-Stansted, Málaga, Malmö, Malta, Milan-Bergamo, Nottingham/East Midlands, Oslo-Rygge, Paris-Beauvais, Pisa, Rome-Ciampino, Shannon, Treviso, Zadar

Wizz Air - Doncaster/Sheffield, Dortmund, Eindhoven, London-Luton, Oslo-Torp, Paris-Beauvais

From the airport, bus 406 operates from the terminal building to central Wrocław between 05:13 and 23:14 roughly every twenty minutes (schedule). There is also a night bus 249 (schedule). The night bus will take approximately one hour to get to the city centre. If you are not sure how to get to your final destination in Wrocław by public transport, it might be helpful to use the journey planner. Single-ride tickets from Wrocław Airport to the city center cost 3.00zł (or 1.50zł for students or ISIC/EURO 26 Holders) and can be purchased at the automatic ticket vending machine at the stop or on board.

By train[edit]

Wrocław is a major hub in the Polish rail network, with several trains a day to all large Polish cities (route planner). There are about ten daily departures to Warsaw. Travel time varies from five hours by an InterCity train, up to almost seven hours with a TLK (cheap) train. As well as Warsaw, there are quite a lot of trains to Poznań from which you can go on to Warsaw or Berlin. Several trains a day go to Kraków. There are also international trains to Hamburg (via Berlin), Prague, Dresden, Kiev (via Lviv) and Budapest.

By bus[edit]

Wrocław is a stop on the Eurolines international coach network. All international and national buses stop at the PKS Centrum station which is located directly behind the main train station (timetable; click "Odjazdy autobusów z Dworca Centralnego PKS").

PolskiBus operates routes to Prague and Warsaw (via Łódź). Tickets are only available online, but traveling with them is comfortable. Buses are brand new and free Wi-Fi is available on board. Tickets are cheap when bought in advance. One-way tickets are available from 1zł (plus 1zł for reservation).

Every day a fast bus runs between Wrocław and Kraków. The bus leaves at 8:50PM and arrives in Kraków around 11:50PM. On Thursday, Friday and Sunday there is also a fast bus service leaving at 3:30PM and arriving in Kraków at 6:30PM. On Monday an additional service to Kraków leaves Wrocław at 11AM arriving around 2:15PM in Kraków. Tickets cost 39zł and can be bought on board. Reservations can be made by sending an SMS indicating the date and time of departure and your name to +48664670191.

Another company that rides to Kraków and back, with a stop in Katowice, is Lajkonik. Three buses run everyday in each direction. A one-way ticket costs 43zł, and there are some small discounts available for students.

Get around[edit]

The centre of Wrocław is navigable on foot, but the city has an excellent public-transport system for access to the suburbs and outlying attractions, with 57 bus lines, 22 tram lines and 13 night bus lines. As well as that, taxis are readily available and quite affordable, even for those on a budget.

By bus or tram[edit]

Tickets[edit]

Tickets are sold in lots of places. Look for "Ruch" kiosks, post offices. You should be able to buy them in most newsagents also. In the city centre you can find lots of ticket machines offering all types of tickets [1].

In every bus and tram there is a ticket machine installed too [2]. Payment is only possible by credit or debit card (Visa/MasterCard/American Express). Maestro cards are not accepted. You must validate all tickets on boarding the bus or tram, or you'll face a 120zł fine if caught by an inspector (100zł if paid within 7 days). A period ticket only needs to validated on the first vehicle that you board. After that, you just need to keep it on you for inspection.

Ticket prices There are 2 types of tickets (prices: normal fare/discounted fare):

  • Single tickets: for normal lines 3.00zł/1.50zł, for express lines or night bus - 3.20zł/1.60zł.

These tickets are not time-based or route-based - you must pay each time you enter a different vehicle.

  • Period tickets: 30-minutes - 3.00zł/1.50zł, 60-minutes - 4.40zł/2.20zł, 90-minutes - 6.00zł/3.00zł, 24-hours - 11.00zł/5.50zł, 48-hours - 20.00zł/10.00zł, 72-hours - 26.00zł/13.00zł.

If you travel with large bags (such as backpacks or suitcases), a bicycle or a dog, you must buy a 1.50zł ticket for it. On the ticket machines, simply choose the option for a discounted ticket as there is not a distinct option available for bags, bicycles and dogs.

If you're planning to stay longer, check out the Urbancard offer [3].

Full ticket info available on website [4]

Route numbers[edit]

  • 0-33Plus — trams
  • A,C,D,E,K,N — express buses (ticket costs 3,20zł)
  • 100-149 — normal buses
  • 3xx — normal buses, peak hours only
  • 4xx — fast buses
  • 6xx — suburban buses (if outside town, ticket costs 3,20zł)
  • 240-259 — night buses (ticket costs 3,20zł)

By taxi[edit]

  • List of Taxi companies [5].

See[edit]

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
  • The Rynek, or central square, is the architectural centre-point of Wroclaw, and its most obvious attraction. It is one of the biggest town squares in Europe, and is lined on all sides with photogenic and interesting buildings. Centre of tourist life, place where tourists drink beer.
    • Town Hall, ul. Sukiennice 14, south side of the Rynek, open 11AM-5PM (closed Monday), admission 4zł. It now serves as the Museum of City Art. Construction of the town hall began in the 14th century. It was one of the few major buildings in Wrocław to survive World War 2. The interior features stunning Gothic interiors.
  • Salt Square pl. Solny, formerly salt market, now flower market.
  • Ostrów Tumski, a group of islands on the Oder River with beautiful Cathedrals and a few hundred year old buildings, for those who would have romantic evening, walking through mystery brick stoned streets it is a MUST. It is complete with hand-lit oil lamps lit nightly.
    • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, ul. Katedralna, open 10AM-6PM (closed Sundays), admission 4zł, tower admission 5zł. Dating from the 13th century, featuring stunning architecture and the largest church organ in Poland. Has elevator to the top, so this is the one to go to if you can't climb. Good river views from this one.
  • St. Elizabeth's Churchul. Elżbiety 1. 9AM-4PM (1PM-4PM Sundays). On the northeast side of the Rynek, this is a large and imposing medieval building with a 90m high tower with spectacular views over the old town. Tower admission (no lift) 5zł.
  • St. Maria Magdalena Church. The big church a block south of the Rynek, you can also climb this tower for 5 zł. Between the two towers, there is a small bridge known as the Pennants' Bridge, where you can walk along and enjoy the cityrama. Views are great, but if you can only do one, St Elizabeth is probably the one to do. However, the bridge makes a good story to tell people at home.
The Centennial Hall
  • The Centennial Hall, a historic building, constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911-1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.
    • The Wrocław Fountain, a multimedia fountain located within in the Pergola next to Centennial Hall in Wrocław. The one hectare fountain incorporates about 300 jets to create a screen of water for animation display. There are also 800 lights. When frozen in winter, the fountain is a 4700 square meter ice skating rink.
    • Wroclaw Aiguille - a distinctive object placed close to the Centennial Hall.
Japanese Garden
  • Park Szczytnicki, East-central Wrocław. Very large, spanning over a few kilometers, it's a common place for walks. Becomes incredibly colorful in autumn and should not be missed if you travel there in late September or October.
    • Japanese Garden. A part of Park Szczytnicki, open 9AM-7PM April - October, admission 2zł. A remainder from the 'World Expo' of 1913 held in Wrocław, this is a large landscaped garden restored post-flooding with the assistance of the Japanese government.
  • Eastern Park (pl: Park Wschodni) on the bank of Oława river is a masterpiece of design, but left forgotten for decades. After few years of restoration it's now a true gem especially worth visiting in April when wetland flowers are blooming or autumn when vegetation turns into picturesque blend of reds, yellows and gold. As it borders semi-wild forests and has plenty of water, you may even watch swans taking care of their nests just few meters from the walking path.
  • Synagogue "Under the White Stork", 19th century synagogue.

Museums[edit]

  • Panorama Racławicka. Ul. Purkyniego 11, open 9:30AM-5PM (Tuesday-Sunday), admission 25 zł (student and family discounts apply). Perhaps the most-visited tourist site in Wrocław, it consists of a large canvas painting wrapped around a viewing rotunda. It creates a 360 degree view of the Battle of Racławice (1794) between Russian troops and Polish insurrectionists. The battle was a victory for the Poles, however the Russians ultimately won the war. Visits are conducted in tour groups roughly every half-hour and foreign-language audio guides are available.
  • City Museum of Wrocław. Has several subsidiaries:
  • National Museum in Wrocław. Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 5, open 10AM-4PM (closed Monday), admission 15zł. Features a large collection of Polish art. since 2011 there is a new Gallery of Contemporary Art in the attic.
  • Wrocław Contemporary Museum. Pl. Strzegomski 2a, open Mon. 10-12, Tu. closed, Wed.-Sun. 12-20. Admission 10 zł, reduced 5, Thu free. Until 2016 museum is located temporarily in a WW2 air-raid shelter. Contemporary art, photography, also a club and a cafeteria with nice views.
  • Museum of Architecture. Ul. Bernardyńska 5. Mon. closed, Wed. free. Tickets 10 zł, reduced 7 zł. Museum is located in a 15th century post-Bernardine Gothic buildings - St Bernardine of Sienna Church and a monastic quadrangle with a garden.
  • Ethnographic Museum. Ul. Traugutta 111/113. Mo. closed, Sat. free. Located in the former summer Palace of Wrocław Bishops. Collection concentrates on folk art.

Do[edit]

Go to the rope park on Opatowicka island, Opatowicka Wyspa Przygody.

Festivals[edit]

Nowe Horyzonty (New Horizons) - International Film Festival. Best Film Festival in Poland. Ten days of films, concerts and exhibitions. End of July

Dialog Festival - International Theatre Festival. October

International Festival Wratislavia Cantans - oratorio and cantata music in Wroclaw's historical venues. September

Learn[edit]

Polish for foreigners is taught in several schools.

Work[edit]

Wrocław is a major financial services centre, with headquarters of several companies from the sector, most importantly the Getin Holding.

Buy[edit]

Travellers' Bookshop, ul. Wita Stwosza 19/20. Maps, guidebooks, travel books.

Eat[edit]

Budget[edit]

Pierożek, Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 20 (next to the Casino, close to the Scandic Hotel) - according to many Wroclavians, the best pierogi in Wrocław, priced at about 10 zł for a small portion (you may need to order two if you're hungry). Try pierogi ruskie (with potatoes and cottage cheese) with kefir and barszcz (borscht) and "nalesniki" (crêpes) to experience what real Polish food ought to taste like. The place is small and basic, you may need to wait for a seat, but the food is top-notch.

Cultural note: the "bars" listed below are in fact self-service canteens, known as milk bars (bar mleczny), offering inexpensive and traditional Polish meals. They are a gastronomic and cultural experience. They should be open even on national holidays. Expect short queues.

Bar Miś, 48 Kuźnicza Street, 700 ft. north of Rynek (Market Place or central square). M-F 7-18 and Sa 8-17. Offers an ample and diversified menu, including meat-based dishes. Students, staff and professors of the University of Wrocław usually eat there, together with homeless people, elderly and pensioners. After entering go to the cash desk (at the left corner) and order your meal (Polish only). Turn right, go to the food counter and handle your receipt to the person serving the meals. Mains 1.50-4.50 zl.

Bar Bazylia, Kuźnicza Street / corner of Uniwersytecki Square, 300 ft. after bar "Miś", inside the building of University's Law Department. Very clean and fast service. Offers a more stylish ambient. Mains 3-9 zl.

Bar Mewa, Dubois Street, 7 minutes walk north from Rynek through University Main Building and Pomorski Bridge. M-F 8-18, Sa & Su 9-16. The cheapest. Offers some dishes only at specific hours: pirogi - 13:00, pancakes - 14:00, pirogi with cabbage - 15:00, potato pancakes - 16:00. You pay directly at the food delivery counter (Polish only).

U Beatki, Rynek-Ratusz 13/14 (entrance on the northern side of the Town Hall). Open every day from 9AM until the last guest leaves. May feel a bit small and old-fashioned inside but it's very clean and the staff are friendly, plus there's a beer garden open in the summer. Great and cheap pierogi, potato pancakes and soups.

Mid-range[edit]

Amalfi, Więzienna Street. A place serving authentic thin-slice Italian pizza from a proper, scorching-hot wood oven. About 15 zl for a pizza for one person. Italian owners.

Oregano, Igielna Street. Inexpensive restaurant with pizza and a variety of other dishes.

Piramida, Wita Stwosza Street. Egyptian restaurant. Kitschy interior and big portions.

Gruzińskie Chaczapuri, Mikolaja Street (nearly adjacent to Market Square), a budding franchise originating from Kraków, serves Georgian food (khachapuri). Try lawasz z adżapsandałem (dough filled with a tasty mix of tomatoes, bell peppers, aubergines, garlic and goat cheese) for about 15 zl.

Mexico Bar, Rzeźnicza Street. As long as you are willing to eat a somewhat modified version of Mexican cuisine, you should enjoy the large, rich portions at Mexico Bar. You might want to order the "hot" (na ostro) version of your dish, as the regular dishes are surprisingly mild. This is a small, popular place, so you may have to wait for your seat at the bar. It is best to call ahead and make reservations especially on the weekends.

  • Masala Grill & Barul. Kuźnicza 3 (close to the main square),  +48 71 302 69 49. 11AM-midnight. An Indian restaurant. The restaurant is air conditioned, has a seating capacity of 110 and is child friendly. The cuisine is Indian keeping European tastes in mind. The Xpress Lunch combo is a favourite and very reasonably priced with a free soft drink. The main menu has a wide variety of dishes to choose from including soups, salads, starters, Tandoori Grill, special Indian curries, fragrant basmati rice and Indian bread (naan). The bar at the restaurant specializes in a wide variety of eye-catching cocktails and mocktails.
  • Le Bistrot Parisien (French restaurant in Wrocław), ul. Nożownicza I D. Small place, genuine French cuisine, good for dates.

Splurge[edit]

Pod Papugami. At Rynek, next to Spiż Cellar (see above). Offers good meals and a good selection of salads.

  • NovocainaRynek 13 +48 (71) 3436915. Organic-based pizza and pasta dishes. Reservations are necessary, but can be made a day in advance through their website.

Drink[edit]

  • Kawiarnia LiteratkaRynek 56/57. Opens at 10AM and stays open as long as you can drink. Literatka is not exactly a coffee place, because it lacks own cakes and desserts. However, they do have coffee and lots of inexpensive alcohol, as well as book shelfs, free Wi-Fi connection, and nice atmosphere. Good place for a quick coffee, chat, or even evening drink. If you smoke, check the inner smoking room, which is larger and nicer than the outward non-smoking area.

There's quite a significant number of different clubs and pubs in Wroclaw. Most of them are located in the centre of the old town, many good ones however, are situated a few crossings from the Town Square, not within its very borders. The Town Square mostly contains some not very specific, quite expensive restaurants, although it is definitely needed to mention the Spiż Cellar, an interesting mini-brewery with a few tasty kinds of locally made beer and a unique interior design. There are also two discos quite popular among fans of house/techno music - Daytona and Związki. However, pub-wanderers, who want to meet interesting people and/or get involved in some discussions will probably enjoy places situated in some less obvious locations than right in the Town Square. Good examples of such places are:

Mleczarnia (pronounced 'Mletcharnya'), [6], ul. Włodkowica 5 - a bit further from the Town Square but still not too far, near the main courthouse in a quiet street - quite a large pub occupying the basement and ground level of an old fin-de-siecle building. It has unique dark, cozy, wooden interiors and a specific atmosphere. Music played is quite specific and varied - among the styles played are: Jewish music, jazz, progressive rock, film music and others. There are often some cultural events, like discussion clubs or film projections taking place in the basement. They also have a hostel in that same building.

Bezseność (Insomnia), ul. Ruska 51, upstairs. Concerts, film screenings. Popular place.

Setka, ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 50A, on the corner. Supposedly PRL (Communist) style, well - kitschy. But open 24/7 with cheap alcohol (4 PLN for a glass of beer or shot of vodka) and good meals.

There are also clubs dedicated especially to rock music fans, in Wrocław. Most popular are:

Od Zmierzchu do Świtu (From Dusk till Dawn), ul. Krupnicza 15 - located opposite the main courthouse in a basement. You can regularly hear live music there. On Wednesdays there are concerts of young rock bands, on Thursdays jam sessions featuring a bunch of resident performers. Their level varies from great to moderate. On Fridays and Saturdays there are rock parties with a DJ.

There's also plenty of other clubs and pubs in Wroclaw. It's a great adventure to explore them because most have their own specific style and atmosphere.

Beer[edit]

  • Spiż Cellar. See how to brew beer and how delicious it tastes.
  • Świdnicka Cellar. Supposedly the oldest restaurant in Europe. Some people say "If you haven't been to Świdnicka cellar, you haven't been to Wrocław".

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Alien Hostelul. Sienkiewicza 31 PL +48 519 115 075, EN and DE: +48 781 180 911, e-mail: . English, German and Polish speaking staff. From 50 PLN, no dorms.
  • Boogie Hostelul. Ruska 35 +48 71 342 44 72, e-mail: . Offer you cheap accommodation in comfortable conditions in the very centre of Wrocław. You are welcome to choose from 19 and very spacious but cosy rooms both private (for 1, 2, 3 or 4 people), as well as for many people (8 or 10).
  • HiWay Hostel. Price form: 35 zł (8 bedded dorm). Apparently the smallest hostel in Wroclaw. Comfortable facilities, WiFi, Internet, free breakfast, laundry, friendly staff. Only few minutes walk from Ostrow Tumski and Panorama Raclawicka. About 15 minutes from the Main Square.
  • Hostel Babel (Formerly called The Stranger Hostel). Just around the corner from the train station. Sheets, lockers and Internet are provided. There is a media lounge where you can watch DVD movies and play video games. Dorm bed from 45 zl.
  •    U Szermierzyul. Zygmunta Krasińskiego 30b (By the large brown doors under the 'U Szermierzy' sign is an intercom; enter '55' and the receptionist will buzz you in. Walk directly ahead (through a large corridor and a second identical set of large brown doors) into the courtyard, where you will see the hostel entrance straight ahead.),  +48 71 343 49 89. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Treading the line between hostel and cheap hotel, "U Szermierzy" has 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-bed rooms, the more expensive ones equipped with en suites and televisions. Dilapidated but clean, and less than 1 km from the Old Town Market. Free parking available, enter via ul. Generała Romualda Traugutta, 150m east of the intersection with ul. Zygmunta Krasińskiego. Free Wi-Fi internet access. single from 70 zł, double with bathroom and shower 90 zł.
  • Premiere Classe Wroclaw Centrum

Mid-range[edit]

  • Qubus Hotel Wrocław. Four-star hotel located in the heart of the city, near a beautiful Market Square. There is also a fitness centre with bodybuilding gym, sauna, jacuzzi and swimming pool.
  • Hotel System. Is one of the newest hotels in Wroclaw, conveniently situated close to the city centre but at the same time not far from major roads, (E67 8 Wrocław - Warsaw, and E261 5 Wrocław - Poznań).
  • Scandic Wrocław. Is the first hotel in Poland managed by the most popular Scandinavian hotel chain, ideally situated in the very centre of Wrocław, close to the Old Town and to the Railway Station, easily accessible from the A4 highway.
  • Campanile Wroclaw Centrum
  • Orbis Hotel Wroclaw
  • Hotel im. Jana Pawła II
  • HP Park Plaza
  • Best Western Hotel Prima Wrocław
  • Orbis Hotel Wroclaw
  • Novotel Wrocław

Splurge[edit]

  • Sofitel Wrocław Old Townul. Św. Mikołaja 67 (Stare Miasto). Check-in: 14:00-00:00, check-out: 07:00-12:00. Just 50 metres from the Rynek Główny. PLN 216 and up.
  • Radisson Bluul. Purkyniego 10 (Stare Miasto). Check-in: from 15:00, check-out: until 12:00. A bit farther from the Old Town, but right in front of the Panorama of Racławice. PLN 184 and up.
  • Art Hotel. Is the best hotel in Wrocław in 2005 according to "Forbes".
  • Hotel Monopol. Located in the very centre of the city. Room prices are generally around 250 zł for a single room and 400 zł for a double room. The hotel is located next door to the recently restored opera house.
  • The Granary - La Suite Hotel
  • Europeum Hotel
  • Puro Hotel
  • Mercure Wrocław Centrum

Stay Safe[edit]

Wrocław, like most of Poland, is a very safe city but you should exercise the usual caution and keep guard of your valuables especially around crowded places or places popular with tourists like the main train station or the town square (Rynek).

Go next[edit]

Routes through Wrocław
Forst ← Border PL/DLegnica  W A4-PL.svg E  OpoleKatowice


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