Europe, Poland

A Weekend in Wroclaw: Your Perfect 2-Day Wroclaw Itinerary

February 28, 2023

Wrocław (pronounced  “Vrots-Wav”) is not a city that immediately comes to mind when you think of Poland. But, after spending a wonderful weekend in Wrocław earlier this month, I can think of countless reasons why it should be.

Wrocław boasts an abundance of beautifully preserved historic buildings, a compact and walkable city centre, a stellar craft beer scene, a huge array of cosy independent cafes and coffee shops, and a ton of quality restaurants serving every type of cuisine you could possibly imagine.

Add to that the fact that the cost of living in Poland is still below the European average, which means that sightseeing, using public transport and eating and drinking remains noticeably cheaper than it is in the UK.

Here are a few unusual facts about the city:

  • It’s known by the Poles as the ‘Venice of the North’ due to the huge number of bridges in the city.  Considering that only a few rivers run through the city, there are over 112 bridges.  In Europe, only Venice, Amsterdam, and St. Petersburg have more than that.
  • It’s home to the second largest market square in Poland.
  • One of the oldest restaurants in Europe (Piwnica Świdnicka) can be found here.
  • Its market square houses one of the oldest town halls in Poland.
  • In 2016, Wroclaw was awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture.
  • Wrocław is one of only two cities in Europe that still employs a lamplighter (the other being Brest, Belarus).
  • The city is home to over 600 tiny bronze dwarf sculptures.

Interested to find out more?  Here is my tried and tested two-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Wrocław.

Ancient and modern in Wroclaw

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. All this means is that if you make a purchase through one of the links I have provided, I will earn a small commission as a result but the cost to you will remain exactly the same.

A Weekend in Wrocław | Getting There

The primary reason I ended up spending a weekend in Wrocław this month was because I found cheap flights there from my local airport.  And when I say cheap, I mean just £37 return! (which is ridiculously cheap in today’s economic climate).

Flying from and returning to Birmingham airport at really sociable hours also meant that I had more flexibility with regards to the trains that I booked to and from the airport and could take advantage of the availability of advance fare rail tickets (one of my money saving tips for travelling around Britain by train).  So, my return train journey cost me just £9.90.

Once I arrived in Poland, my bus fare from Wrocław airport to the centre of the city, just minutes from my hotel, was only 4.6 PLN (86 pence).  Yep, that’s right — the entire journey from my doorstep in Shrewsbury to the doors of my hotel in Wrocław, Poland had come in at under £50!

Ossolineum, Wroclaw

I always head to Skyscanner to research and book my flights. Their ‘UK to everywhere’ search function is an invaluable tool that I use to plan all my cheap city breaks.

You can fly direct to Wrocław from 11 UK airports, with a flight time of roughly two hours.  Ryanair and Wizz Air are the two main airlines serving the route.  I flew with Wizz Air from Birmingham.  Boarding was efficient and organised, both flights left on time and the landings were a lot less ‘bumpy’ than I’ve found Ryanair’s to be.  Wizz Air’s cabin bag allowance is also a little more generous than Ryanair’s (40 x 30 x 20cm compared to Ryanair’s 40 x 20 x 25).  I travel with my Cabin Zero cabin bag on all Ryanair, Wizz Air and Easyjet flights.  It fits easily under the seat in front of me and has a massive 28-litre capacity, which is more than enough for a weekend in Wrocław.  Or, in fact, for any short (under a week) trip or city break.

A Weekend in Wrocław | Transfers from Wrocław Airport to City Centre

In order to begin your weekend in Wrocław, there are a few ways that you can travel from Wrocław airport to the city centre:

  • By public bus.  The number 106 bus leaves from a stand just outside Wrocław airport (exit the airport, take a right and it’s the second stand you’ll get to (the first is for the express bus)) every 15 minutes, and stops multiple times on the way to Wrocław’s train station (Dworcowa).  If you’re staying in Wrocław’s Old Town, you’ll need to get off at Renoma.  The 106 bus runs between the hours of 4:29 a.m. and 11:18 p.m. and the fare is just 4.6 PLN, as mentioned above (correct February 2023).  You can buy your ticket from the machine at the bus stop (you can choose English instructions, too), but you’ll need to pay on card.  Once you’re on board, the upcoming stop will be highlighted by a red dot on the screen inside the bus and you’ll need to press the ‘stop’ button in advance of arriving at your destination; the bus won’t automatically pull up at every single bus stop.  If you’re arriving at Wrocław during the night, you’ll need the number 206 bus instead.  The fare is slightly cheaper at night.  The whole journey should take approximately 30 minutes.
  • By express bus.  The express bus leaves from the stand just before the 106 bus.  It departs every 50 minutes, but only stops at two stops: Galeria Dominikańska (shopping mall located just outside Wrocław’s Old Town) and Dworzec Autobusowy (Bus Station), so the journey itself is a bit shorter (although, not by much).  Tickets cost 10 PLN and can be purchased online or from the driver.  The express bus runs between 4:10 a.m. and 01:00 a.m.
  • By taxi.  I didn’t enquire about the price of a taxi on my way into Wrocław’s city centre when I arrived, because I wasn’t in a particular rush to get to my hotel. My flight had arrived on time and I’d got through passport control really quickly.  I also wanted to keep costs to a bare minimum on my weekend in Wrocław.  However, I did enquire at my hotel, about the price to the airport (more out of curiosity than anything else), and I was quoted “around 100 złoty” (£18.58).  Wrocław airport is approximately 11 kilometres from the city centre/Old Town, so a taxi journey between the two should take around 23 minutes — according to Google Maps.

I don’t see any real benefit in taking the express bus over the public bus, and I would only advise you to book a taxi if you have mobility issues or a lot of luggage to transport.  The public bus is ridiculously cheap, runs very frequently, and buying a ticket is easy as pie.  It’s a no-brainer!

Good to know: When you’re heading back to the airport, the bus leaves from the location marked on the map below.  Don’t make the mistake of getting off at the stop ‘Strachowice General Aviation,’ as this is the old airport.  A new, larger airport was built in March 2012, known as Port Lotniczy.  This is the stop you’ll need to disembark at.

A Weekend in Wrocław | Where to Stay

I’m so pleased with my final accommodation choice for my weekend in Wrocław.  I toyed with the idea of staying in an Airbnb just north of the river and then with staying in a serviced apartment block with shared bathroom (to keep the costs down as low as possible), but finally decided upon a new hotel right next to Wrocław’s Market Square.  The Korona Hotel is housed inside an old tenement house that was called ‘Under the Golden Crown’ (‘korona’ is Polish for ‘crown’) and only opened its doors as recently as 2019.  Considering its fantastic location, it was one of the cheapest accommodation options available when I booked my weekend in Wrocław, around three weeks prior to my departure date.

I booked the only single room, expecting a pokey little cupboard with a single bed in the corner, but when I swiped my door card as I arrived, what I walked into was actually a spacious, immaculately clean room with a large double bed and walk-in shower.  I’ve no idea whether I’d been given a free room upgrade (it being low season ‘n’ all) or whether single rooms have been given an upgrade in themselves in more recent years, but either way, I was very pleased!

My room at the Korona Hotel, Wroclaw

I always prefer not to have to walk too far at night when I travel solo, especially after a couple of drinks with my evening meal.  So, it was a huge bonus being so centrally located and having such a wide variety of restaurants and bars right on my doorstep.  I’ll talk more about Wrocław’s excellent selection of eateries later in this post!  But, one thing I will say is that you absolutely do not need to pay for breakfast at your hotel, because Wrocław’s selection of breakfast and brunch spots is both inexpensive and delicious — probably much more delicious than your standard hotel offering.

A Weekend in Wrocław | Day One

Breakfast at Dinette

Start your day with breakfast at Dinette.  You’ll find this chic, modern eatery, with its cool 50s-inspired interior, opposite the Opera tram stop on the corner of Świdnicka and Plac Teatralny.  Their seasonal menu is based on local ingredients with a modern twist, and features dishes from various corners around the globe, such as Shakshouka from Northern Africa, blini with herring from Russia and spicy nduja omelette from Italy.

I decided to try a traditional Polish dish of smoked cottage cheese with poached eggs, radish, red onion, dill, hazelnuts, and bread.   I’m not normally a huge fan of cottage cheese (so I was well aware I was taking a bit of a risk by ordering it) but, accompanied by the lovely selection of fresh artisan breads, it was actually really nice.  The poached eggs were also perfectly cooked, which is always a good sign of the chef’s expertise, because poached eggs are so hard to get right!

Breakfast at Dinette, Wroclaw

Dinette have their own on-site bakery, where they bake all the breads they serve with their breakfasts, on a daily basis.  Of course, you can also pop in and purchase freshly baked loaves from their bakery counter.

Address: Plac Teatralny 8, 50-051 Wrocław, Poland | Opening times: Mon-Wed 08:00-21:00, Thu-Sat 08:00-23:00, Sun 09:00-18:00

Wrocław Dwarfs

Once you’re fuelled up with some delicious food in your belly, you’ll need to fire up your dwarf radar for the next item on the itinerary, because we’re going dwarf hunting!  Although this sounds like an activity aimed at kids, I guarantee you it’s as much fun for adults, too!

Yep, one of Wrocław’s most iconic attractions is not a cathedral, castle or monument, but an army of little people.  Well, not actual people (now that would be weird!) but miniature (most are around 20-30cm tall) bronze sculptures —affectionately known as dwarfs or gnomes.

Wroclaw Dwarfs

Back in the early 1980s, a far-left anti-Communist movement was started in Wrocław, known as the Orange Alternative.  Led by Waldemar Fydrych (a student at Wrocław university), the Orange Alternative used absurdity and nonsense to stage peaceful, yet subversive protests.  Their intention was to ridicule the Communist regime and promote independent thinking.  By defacing Communist propaganda and covering it with surrealist-inspired dwarf graffiti, the dwarf soon became their calling card and their slogan subsequently read:

“There is no freedom without dwarfs!”

Wroclaw Dwarfs

The movement ended in June 1988, and a statue of a dwarf, dedicated to the memory of the movement, was erected in 2001.  Papa Krasnel is significantly larger than all the other dwarfs, and can be found on Świdnicka Street, not far from Dinette.

Papa Krasnel, the original Wroclaw dwarf

There are now literally hundreds of dwarfs scattered around the city (600, as of 2019) and you can ‘hunt’ them by downloading an app (simply called ‘Wrocław Dwarfs’).  I picked a route entitled ‘Market Square and Surroundings,’ which would apparently take me five hours but promised that, after said time, I would “know Wrocław quite well.”  It’s also possible to pick up a map from the Tourist Information Office.

Wroclaw Dwarfs - the 'University' collection

Wroclaw Dwarfs - the 'trade' collection

Wroclaw Dwarfs - the 'Traveller' collection

If you fancy learning some more about the Communist regime and Wrocław’s dwarfs, I recommend that you consider booking a place on this free walking tour with Walkative.  I used this company for a street art tour of Warsaw, and absolutely loved the experience!

The dwarf hunting route above will take you past all the following attractions.  I skipped the bit of the walk that goes over to Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island), as I knew I had that on the following day’s itinerary.  You may want to do the same, to save a bit of time.

Market Square and Town Hall

Life in Wrocław’s Old Town centres around its medieval Market Square (Rynek) — reportedly one of the most beautiful market squares in Poland.

Town Hall, Wroclaw

Flanked with colourful gothic and renaissance-style tenement houses and home to an impressive Gothic Town Hall that looks like it’s been plucked straight from the pages of a fairy-tale book, this large pedestrianised area at the heart of the city’s Old Town is somewhere you’ll find yourself returning to on multiple occasions during your weekend in Wrocław.

A large number of Wrocław’s dwarfs can be found here, too.

Colourful tenement houses in Wroclaw's Market Square (Rynek)

Wroclaw's Market Square

St. Elizabeth’s Church

Dating back to the 14th century, St. Elizabeth’s is one of the oldest churches in the city and also the tallest building Wrocław’s Old Town.  But, it’s not the church itself that’s the main draw for visitors; it’s the view from the top of the tower.

St. Elizabeth's Church, Hansel and Gretel Houses and a brightly coloured building next to the Town Hall, Wroclaw

I’d read that St. Elizabeth’s Church tower is only open between April and October, but I rocked up on a freezing day in February to find that the door was, in fact, unlocked, and admission fees were being collected by a Polish lady wrapped up in multiple layers, sat in the booth adjacent to the entrance.

It’ll cost you 10 PLN (£1.87) to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, and it’s a bit of a squeeze if you happen to meet someone on their way down, but, I promise you, it’s worth the climb to be able to admire Wrocław from 91 metres above it.

View from St. Elizabeth's Church tower, Wroclaw

A word of warning though: it’s extremely windy up the top, so hold on to your hat!  I kept being blown off balance every time I crouched down to try and take a photo.

Wrocław Market Hall

I love wandering around markets when I travel.  They’re a fantastic places to witness snippets of local life and to get an idea about the kind of foods eaten in the country you’re visiting.  Designed by Richard Pluddemann and Heinrich Kuster, Wrocław’s Market Hall (Hala Targowa) was built between 1906 and 1908 and is well worth a look from an architectural standpoint as much as a cultural one.

Word on the street is that Wrocław’s Market Hall is gradually expanding to become more food hall than PRL-era market; there’s already a coffee roastery and a few bars and restaurants inside —including a craft beer pub in the cellar.

Bridge of Penitents

Also called the Witches’ Bridge, this footbridge connects the two towers of St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, 45 metres above the city.  Legend has it that the bridge is haunted by the ghost of Tekla — a young girl who, as punishment for her laziness, recklessness and vanity, was kidnapped and sentenced to wash the wooden bridge until the end of her life.

Views from the Bridge of Penitents, Wroclaw

I hadn’t planned to make the climb to a second viewpoint in Wrocław’s Old Town, but I’d learned that one of Wrocław’s dwarfs was located up on the bridge, and that sold it to me.

There’s actually a few dwarfs on the route I followed that I couldn’t tick off due to them being located in restricted areas or buildings, so I wasn’t going to let a mere 247 steps and 10 PLN (£1.87) admission fee deter me from finding this one!

Mostek Czarownic (Witches' Bridge) dwarfs, Wroclaw

Street art mural

Although Wrocław isn’t known for its street art, you’ll find a few pieces scattered around the city (mostly in the Nadodrze neighbourhood, on tomorrow’s itinerary), one of which is the mural below.

Street art mural, Kotlarska 19-23, Wroclaw

Located at Kotlarska 19-23 and actually on the Wrocław Dwarfs route I followed, this abstract piece is a project by Belgian team ‘Hell’O Monsters.’  Meaning unknown (it look me hours of research simply to locate the artist!), but I rather like it.

Coffee and cake at Vinyl Café or Chimiel Kawe

I visited Wrocław in February, in temperatures of minus four with wind chill, so I made rather a lot of stops in cafés to warm up!  I researched a number of cafés and coffee shops prior to my weekend in Wrocław, so that I could simply slot them into my itinerary, depending on where I was in the city and when.

If you follow the ‘Market Square and Surroundings’ dwarf hunting trail (as I did), you’ll pretty much walk past both Vinyl Cafe and Chimiel Kawe, at different stages of the route.

You’ll find Vinyl Cafe just before or just after (depending on which direction you choose to follow the route in) Lo Gnomo Italiano (below left), and Chimiel Kawe just before or just after Kibice (below right).

Wroclaw dwarfs

Although quite different from one another, I loved these two cafés.

Vinyl Café has a dimly-lit, old fashioned, musical-inspired interior, with cosy armchairs, black and white photos of musicians from bygone eras adoring the walls, and old gramophones resting on tables.  There are books you can read or borrow and crates of vinyl LPs through which you can rifle, in order to select a 45 of your choice to be played on the café’s record player.  They also serve top-quality coffee from Brazilian company Moema, and a good selection of tempting cakes.  Incidentally, they do have a licence, so if you prefer an alcoholic tipple, you’ll be right at home here too.

Chimiel Kawe is a fairly new addition to Wrocław’s café scene (so new, it’s not yet listed on Trip Advisor!)  This one’s got a modern, industrial-style interior with exposed brick walls, floor to ceiling windows (great for people watching), a living wall and an abundance of plants, either hanging from the ceiling or in pots on shelves and tables.  They serve coffee from The Mała Czarna roastery (eastern Wrocław, close to the Olympic Stadium), as well as Nitro brew made with hops for the hotter days.  The latter sounded so unique and something I really fancied trying, had it not been below freezing outside!

Dinner at Khinkalnya

I ate at highly-rated Pierogarnia Stary Mlyn when I arrived on the Thursday evening, and ordered a mixed plate of baked and boiled vegetarian pierogi.  Whilst they were enjoyable, and I loved the decor and ambience of the place, the pierogi here weren’t a patch on those I ate in Poznan

However, the meal I ate at Khinkalnya, following my first full day in the city, was amazing!  Hence why I’m recommending it here.

Khinkalnya is a Georgian restaurant, located in Wrocław’s Old Town.  I spent 10 days in Georgia a few years ago and not only did I fall head over heels in love with the country, I was completely bowled over by the quality and flavour of the food there.  And, Georgian wine is some of the best I’ve tasted.  So, as soon as I spotted a Georgian restaurant in Wrocław, I knew I had to go!

On their website, Khinkalnya say that they want to “transfer you to Georgia, so that you can discover its taste, feel the atmosphere and experience a real Georgian feast(Supra).”  And, having dined there, I would wholeheartedly agree that they have they have successfully achieved this goal.  The only thing that’s missing is some live Georgian folk music and, unfortunately, the restaurant is a bit small to accommodate that.

Wroclaw dwarf musicians

The head chef, Levan Meparishvili is actually from Kutaisi, Georgia, where his grandmother taught him to cook.  He trains all his chefs personally, in order to maintain the same quality standard in all 49 Khinkalnya restaurants (located in Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia and Poland).  There’s an open kitchen at the Wrocław restaurant, so you can watch staff making the iconic Georgian khachapuri while waiting for your food to arrive.

I ordered eggplant phali, an eggplant salad (yes, I like eggplant!) and a large glass of house red wine, and it was so good that I was tempted to return the following evening for the khinkali I didn’t get around to trying when I was actually in Georgia!

Georgian food at Khinkalnya, Wroclaw

A craft beer or two at Kontynuacja

Seeing as though Wrocław’s city centre is so small, assuming you’re staying in some centrally-located accommodation, you won’t have far to stumble home at the end of the night.  And, considering that Wrocław has such a good craft beer scene, it seems a shame not to sample a couple of the city’s craft beer offerings during your weekend in Wrocław.

Drinking dwarfs, Wroclaw

Kontynuacja was one of the very first pioneers in the craft beer scene in Wroclaw when they opened in 2013.  And, of the two craft beer bars I visited (I was travelling solo; a heavy drinking session was not really on the agenda!) on my weekend in Wrocław, Kontynuacja was definitely my favourite.  It’s just got a really chilled vibe, lots of choice, and staff who really know (and are passionate about) the beer they serve.

A Weekend in Wrocław | Day Two

Breakfast at Gniazdo

You’ll need to head in the same direction as yesterday for breakfast this morning.  Walk around 50 metres past Dinette and you’ll arrive at Gniazdo — a friendly, hipster café that serves a selection of tasty breakfast options as well as healthy lunch bowls with protein, grains, and veggies, delicious cakes, and quality coffee (including drip, aeropress, and chemex).

After being rather experimental with my breakfast yesterday, I went for a solid favourite this morning of scrambled eggs on toast with avocado and a side salad, and it was just what I needed to start the day.

If you need to work while in the city, you’ll be pleased to know that Gniazdo (meaning ‘The Nest’) offers fast wifi and plenty of conveniently-located plug sockets.  When I popped in for a coffee later on that day, I saw quite a few people on their laptops, with a single coffee in front of them — people who were still there when I departed, and who were not being pressured to leave despite the café being quite busy at the time.

Address: Świdnicka 36, 50-068 Wrocław, Poland | Opening times: Mon-Sun 08:00-20:00

Monument to the Anonymous Passersby (also known as ‘The Passage’)

This is one of Wrocław’s sights that is stuck out on a limb a little.  It’s not really close to anything else worth visiting.  However, it is a really poignant, chilling sculpture that is worth making a short detour to see.

The Passage was created by artist Jerzy Kalina and depicts group of 14 people sinking into the ground on one side of Swidnicka Street, and re-emerging on the other.

Monument to the Anonymous Passersby, Wroclaw

Whilst there’s not a huge amount of information online about the meaning behind the art installation, located on a busy intersection just south of the Old Town, general consensus is that it illustrates the difficulties people faced living under Martial law.  On one hand, it is a memorial to those who were killed or went missing, and on the other hand it symbolises the achievements of the anonymous people who fought communism underground, and the subsequent changes that took place in Poland.

Panorama of the Battle of Racławice 

Whilst I love modern art museums, I’m not a huge fan of traditional art or museums per sé.  However, this particular museum in Wrocław houses a very important piece of artwork.  The cycloramic painting — depicting General Tadeusz Kościuszko’s victory over the Russian forces at Racławice in 1794 —is one of only a few preserved relics of a genre of 19th-century mass culture, and is the oldest in Poland.  It’s also massive — 15 x 114 metres!

As you can imagine, it’s nye on impossible to capture the scale of it on camera (so I didn’t try!), but take my word for it that it’s definitely worth seeing in person.

Visits are solely by allocated timeslot (you can either book in advance or turn up and be given the next available timeslot), and are accompanied by a 30-minute commentary (an English audio guide is available).  Ticket prices in February 2023 were 50 PLN (£9.26).

Nadodrze — Wrocław’s ‘alternative’ neighbourhood

Just north of the river, you’ll find Nadodrze.  Once a run-down, slightly shady part of Wrocław, Nadodrze has been the focus of a huge urban revitalisation/overhaul project over the past decade.

Whilst not immediately obvious on the surface (it’s missing the aesthetic of Wrocław’s Old Town), delve a little deeper and you’ll find some real hidden gems here:

  • If you’re a movie buff, you may be interested to know that the east Berlin scenes in Steven Spielberg’s 2015 film, ‘Bridge of Spies’ were primarily shot in Nadodrze, Wrocław — more specifically on the Kurkowa and Ptasia streets.
  • If you’re interested in German history then this area will also be of interest to you, because, until 1945, Wrocław  was a German city called Breslau.  And Nadodrze is one of the few parts of Wroclaw that was not destroyed too much during the Second World War.  So, you’ll find a lot of old German buildings here.
  • As is often the way, run-down areas become those favoured by the creative crowd.  And Nadodrze in Wrocław is no exception.  This is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s street art offerings.   The three pictured below can all be found along Pomorska.

Street art in Nadodrze (far right artist is Blu; others unknown)

  • If you’re a fan of street art, I’d also recommend that you head to 14–16 Roosvelta Street, to check out the colourful courtyards at the back of the houses here.   The artwork you’ll find here — a combination of ceramics, painting, and sculpture — is by local residents, in cooperation with Wroclaw artists and students of the Academy of Fine Arts.

Colourful courtyards, 14–16 Roosvelta Street, Wroclaw

  • Hidden behind the innocuous facades of Nadodrze’s old buildings, you’ll find an array of art galleries (check out the free exhibitions at Miejsce przy Miejscu 14), as well as studios where you can practice all manner of arts and crafts from sewing to upcycling old furniture.  I also stumbled upon a lovely little shop (no noticeable sign, but I happened to be looking in the direction of its windows at exactly the right time) selling some beautiful, unique, locally made ceramics, soaps, jewellery and art.

Independent shop in Nadodrze, Wroclaw

  • Some of the best ice cream in Europe can be found here, in Lody Roma.  Opened in 1946 (so, older than my mum! Sorry mum 😉), by two soldiers, an Italian and a pole, Lody Roma featured in the Guardian’s top 20 list of the best places to get ice cream in Europe.  They serve up interesting flavours such as black sesame and pumpkin, which sound exactly like something I would’ve tried had it not been the middle of winter.
  • Some of Wrocław’s best cafés and restaurants are located in NadodrzeCafé Rozrusznik was one of the first speciality coffee shops that opened in Wrocław back in 2011, and is still going strong now (it’s located just below the Blu mural).  I also loved Słodki Chłopak — their coffee is top notch and their cakes are as delicious as they are beautiful.  If you’re looking for some tasty plant-based fare, look no further than highly-rated vegan restaurant Wilk Syty (‘The Full Wolf’), at Trzebnicka 3.  It’s a popular lunch spot, so get their early to be sure of securing a table.

Słodki Chłopak, Nadodrze

Cafe Rozrusznik, Nadodrze

Ostró Tumski (Cathedral Island)

Ostró Tumski is the oldest part of Wrocław, and was once an island between branches of the Oder river.  Nowadays, it is accessible via a couple of bridges from central Wrocław — you’ll need to cross Most Piaskowy (Sand Bridge) first of all, followed by picturesque Most Tumski (pictured below).

Most Tumski, Wroclaw

Ostró Tumski is a lovely, peaceful part of Wrocław.  With very few shops and cafés/restaurants to speak of, there is little to do here other than meander through its small network of cobbled streets, but that’s a big part of its appeal.

Ostrow Tumski, Wroclaw

However, there’s some beautiful architecture here, and the cathedral, at the end of Katedralna, is pretty spectacular, too.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Ostrow Tumski, Wroclaw

Botanical Gardens

You’ll also find Wrocław’s Botanical Garden on Ostró Tumski.  It’s the second oldest botanical garden in Poland (after Kraków) and was established in 1811 for medical students at the local university.  The 74,000 square metre space contains a huge diversity of plant life, as well as aquariums, sculptures, a plant shop and two cafes, and a large pond with picturesque bridge.

It was on my itinerary for my weekend in Wrocław, however, the gates were, unfortunately, closed when I passed.  I was aware that the advertised opening times stated April to October, but I thought I’d try my luck after finding St. Elizabeth’s Church tower open when it was meant to be closed.

Entry costs 25 PLN (£4.67) — correct February 2023.

The Wrocław Lamplighter

This is one of my favourite things about Wrocław  — the city still employs a lamplighter.

It’s a tradition that died out in most other parts of the world with the introduction of electric light.  But, in Wrocław — more specifically, on Ostró Tumski — the city’s lamplighter continues to work, igniting a total of 103 gas lamps in the area, every day at dusk.

Up until the end of the 19th century, in a time when candle or gas street lamps were still the norm, lamplighter was a prolific and very well-respected job.  And, today’s lamplighter looks every bit the part, wearing a long black cape and top hat, as he goes about his duties.

Wroclaw's lamplighter on Ostrow Tumski (Cathedral Island)

One of the 103 gas lamps on Ostrow Tumski, Wroclaw

With a butane cartridge discreetly hidden under his cloak, he uses a pole to ignite the lamps and a hook attachment to extinguish them each morning.

I’d read that it can be almost impossible to catch the lamplighter, because he’s very quick on his feet and changes his route every night.  But, luck was quite obviously with me that afternoon I had decided to set foot on Ostró Tumski, because I spotted him almost as soon as the light began to fade.  I followed him around for quite a while, in an attempt to capture the perfect photograph of him in the act of lighting one of the 103 gas lamps, and it wasn’t long before he had a bit of an entourage in his wake.

Dinner at another of Wrocław’s fantastic restaurants

Tempted as I was to return to Khinkalnya for the final evening of my weekend in Wrocław, I felt that, for the purposes of this blog post, I should probably try somewhere new.

Market Square, Wroclaw

If I’d have been hungry just after it turned dark over on Most Tumski, I had bookmarked an Italian restaurant, Ragu Pracownia Makaronu.  Wrocław has a sizeable Italian community, and as a result of this, the city is home to quite a large number of quality Italian eateries and pizzerias.  For this reason, another option I’d had my eye on was Iggy Pizza, in Wrocław’s Old Town.  With a very ‘instagramable interior’ and pizzas that were arguably (according to several sources online) better than Naples’, I decided that, whilst I normally go for healthier options than pizza when I travel, if Iggy’s pizzas really were that good, I needed to find out for myself!

However, fate had other ideas: when I arrived just after 6:30 p.m., not only were all tables full, but the queue was out the door and down the road!!  So, I ended up in restaurant option number 3: Umami Dumpling and Pasta BarThe menu is an unusual mix of Italian and Asian dishes, so I’d planned to have arancini for my starter and Pad Thai for my main, but when I saw the size of the arancini coming out of the kitchen for someone else’s order, I changed my mind and stuck to a main course only.  Even that was massive.  You won’t go hungry here!  My Pad Thai was absolutely spot on too, so, ultimately, I was very pleased with my choice of restaurant.

Pad Thai at Umami Dumpling and Pasta Bar

After dinner, I checked out another of the city’s craft beer bars, 4 Hops.  However, I quickly decided that it wasn’t a patch on Kontynuacja, so that’s exactly where I returned to, for a nightcap or two, on my final night of the most wonderful weekend in Wrocław.

If you enjoyed this itinerary of things to see and do on a weekend in Wrocław, why not save it to one of your Pinterest boards?

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Wroclaw, Poland | Gallop Around The Globe

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