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If you’re searching for cheap places to visit in Europe, I recommend planning a Wrocław city break. Keep reading to discover the top things to do during a weekend in Wrocław.
The aim of the game today is to convince you to plan a Wrocław city break. If there’s one city I unexpectedly fell in love with during my 3-month trip around Europe in 2019, it was Wrocław (pronounced Vrotswav). I didn’t know much about this charming Polish town before my visit. I initially chose it as my next stop in Northern Europe as there was a direct bus from Berlin and I was on a mission to visit more underrated European destinations. This is because of my instant infatuation with Gothenburg.
Well, it’s safe to say I was instantly crushing on Wrocław as well. What’s not to love, when it’s home to a colourful Old Town, friendly locals and cheap traditional food and drinks. If this city isn’t on your radar yet, I highly suggest planning a Wrocław city break. You only need two full days to see Wrocław’s top tourist attractions. Here are my recommendations for the best things to do during a weekend in Wrocław.
Check out this post for my other favourite cheap cities to visit in Europe
Wrocław city break – general travel tips
Getting around Wrocław on your Wrocław city break
As I mentioned, I arrived in Wrocław from Berlin via FlixBus. I used Wrocław’s public transport system a couple of times, as the bus station is a fair distance from the Old Town. Thankfully, the trams are easy to use – you can pay by card and purchase tickets onboard. There are also TV screen displays, which make it easy to determine your stop. I’m pretty sure it’s just over $1 AUD for a one-way ticket. You may find this guide useful too (you know I did).
You might find these posts helpful: my top tips for travelling alone in Europe and how to travel across Europe on a budget.
Where to stay in Wrocław during your Wrocław city break
Accommodation in Wrocław is a lot more affordable compared to other European cities. I actually found a private room for $50 AUD a night, which was how expensive some dorm room beds were in other places. Anyway, I decided to “splurge” and I am so glad I did. I stayed at TOGOTO Wrocław Hostel, which is a new property. It was a little bit of an adventure to get there, as it just consists of one floor of a random building a block from the Old Town. But you receive detailed instructions before your arrival.
Once I stepped inside, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a very modern room and establishment. My room was spacious, with a large ensuite and a comfortable bed. The only downside was that because my room was located off the kitchen/common area, I could hear people chatting until quite late at night. But that was only a minor inconvenience to an otherwise very pleasant stay. Alternative options for your Wrocław city break include Mleczarnia Hostel (great reviews) and Grand City Wrocław, which may be one of the cheapest 4-star hotels you’ll ever stay in.
Here are my top hostelling tips for fellow solo travellers
Solo travel in Wrocław
Before I arrived in Poland, I was unsure if it was a good destination for solo female travellers. But I needn’t have worried, as I found it very easy to navigate Wrocław. Furthermore, nearly every local I talked to was happy and able to converse in English. The hostel I mentioned is also located just a block from the Old Town, so I felt comfortable walking back there at dusk. All in all, I’d recommend a Wrocław city break to fellow solo female travellers.
What to pack for a Wrocław city break
I visited Wrocław in September and it was already getting cold. The day I arrived, it was in the mid-teens. But then on my last day, it was a refreshing 5°C in the morning. All I could think about was how do the locals put up with cold weather for so long!
Anyway, if you happen to visit in the shoulder season like me, I recommend packing layers. In the photo below I’m wearing socks and sneakers, jeans, a thermal long-sleeved shirt (Heattech at Uniqlo is the bomb dot com), a jumper and a pretty lightweight jacket. I honestly should’ve probably been wearing a beanie as well!
Check out my entire packing list for autumnal trips around Europe
The best things to do in Wrocław on a Wrocław city break
Start your Wrocław city break with a free walking tour
As always, I began my time in Wrocław with a free walking tour. It’s a very comprehensive tour, as you visit sites like Stare Jatki, the old city prison, the Ossolineum Institute and Gardens (great places to take photos) and Market Hall. We then crossed the bridge and ended on Cathedral Island, outside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It’s one of the best things to do in Wrocław when you first arrive, so you can decide where you want to spend your time.
If you don’t want to walk the walk, there’s an alternative option. You can do a two-hour tour from the comfort of an electric car. I saw them zipping around the Old Town and the bestselling tour on GetYourGuide is very affordable.
Get up early to take photos around the Market Square
Wrocław’s Market Square in the Old Town is one of the largest in Europe. The 13th-century medieval market square has not one but two town hall buildings. Unfortunately, it sustained some damaged during World War II, but its colourful buildings have since been carefully restored. If you want to take photos/solo traveller selfies in the Market Square, I recommend heading here as early as possible to miss the crowds. I’m very glad I did and my “early” was still like 8 am 😏.
Check out Wrocław Multimedia Fountain and Centennial Hall
The Wrocław Multimedia Fountain is one of Europe’s biggest fountains, with 800 lights and 300 water jets. Located in Szczytnicki Park near Centennial Hall, the fountain’s spectacular light, water and music show takes places every day on the hour. While you’re in the area, check out Centennial Hall – a concrete masterpiece.
Go gnome hunting
Okay, this has got to be one of the most fun things to do in Wrocław. There are estimated to be nearly 400 gnomes/dwarf statues located throughout the city. The first dwarf monument was placed on Świdnicka Street in 2001, to commemorate the Orange Alternative, a Polish anti-communist movement from the 1980s. The movement’s symbol was, naturally, a dwarf. The gnomes are all different, which is part of the fun. They may be pushing a ball, climbing a lamppost, etc…
Here’s the Google Maps link I followed on my gnome hunt through the Old Town, thanks to Visit Wrocław. I found over 20 in less than an hour. The free walking tour company I mentioned above also organise a Dwarfs and Communist Tour. I was going to do this instead of my own hunt, but I was too busy eating perogies and missed the tour 🙈.
Visit the Market Hall (Hala Targowa) during your Wrocław city break
This covered and early 20th-century marketplace is a great place to visit to get a glimpse of local life in Wrocław. There are nearly 200 shops across its two levels, selling fresh produce, meat, cheese and pierogies (of course). If you’re looking to do some fresh food shopping in Wrocław, check out the Market Hall.
Spend a summer’s weekend on Słodowa Island
If you happen to plan a summer weekend in Wrocław, may I suggest heading to Słodowa Island? Known as Student Island, this is where the kids hang during the summer. On summer weekends, Słodowa Island hosts concerts, open-air cinema nights, sports games and even dance classes. It sounds like a lot of fun.
See the view from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was originally built in the 14th century. However, the gothic masterpiece has been destroyed many times since then, with its most recent rebuild occurring in the 1950s. Anyway, for a picturesque view over Wrocław, there’s an observation deck at the top of its 97-metre tower. The tower is open from June to September and there’s a lift to reach the top 🙌🏻.
Go on a boat tour
Zegluga Pasazerski is a local company that organises a myriad of boat cruises along the Oder River. This is one of the best things to do in Wrocław if you visit during summer or on a sunny day.
Enjoy a cheap hostel room happy hour
So, if you’re not having a solo Wroclaw city break, you could totally have a fun happy hour outside of the hostel, as Polish beer is extremely cheap. However, if you’re like me, I suggest heading to the shop and picking up some ridiculously affordable cider to enjoy back in your hostel room. I mean, large cans of sweet-as cider for less than $2 = my idea of heaven.
Do a day tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau
One of Poland’s most significant places, you can do a day tour from Wrocław to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp. This organised day tour includes visits to Auschwitz Museum and the Birkenau Camp in Oświęcim. On a Contiki tour when I was 18, we visited Mauthausen, a concentration camp in Austria and I still remember every tragic and macabre detail.
The best places to eat in Wroclaw on your Wrocław city break
Honestly, I wish I had a second stomach because there are so many good food options in Wrocław’s Old Town alone. Quite a few of these places to eat in Wrocław were on my list, but I just didn’t get a chance to try them out. Hopefully, you have more luck and can try a few more places on your Wrocław city break. I also wanted to quickly mention that nearly all of these places had English menus, except for the bakeries but I just used Google Translate 😏.
Pierogarnia Stary Młyn
Okay, let’s begin with the best restaurant I visited on my Wrocław city break. Pierogarnia Stary Młyn is located in the Old Town and it was hectic when I visited during lunch on a random weekday. I managed to get a table, but I did have to wait about 30 minutes for my meal (my server told me beforehand though). But let me tell you, my lunch was worth the wait. LOOK AT IT. I wanted to try the oven-baked pierogies and I chose the mix and match option. So good guys, so good. This massively delicious meal is also why I didn’t get the chance to try more of these places to eat in Wrocław – I was too full 🙈.
The menu at Pierogarnia Stary Młyn is overflowing with traditional Polish food options. My server was also very friendly, even though she was clearly busy. Definitely check this place out if you only have two days in Wrocław.
I know you probably don’t want to eat pizza during your weekend in Wrocław, but this place just looked cool so I had to include it. It also has rave reviews (4.6 out of nearly 2000 Google reviews is pretty damn perfect). If that wasn’t enough, Iggy Pizza does lunchtime specials too.
I went to Familijna Piekarnia (bakery in Polish) on my last morning in Wrocław to pick up a snack for my onward bus journey to Warsaw. Firstly, it’s a popular local spot as it was bustling in the morning. You can pick up everything from pastries to sandwiches at this bakery. Here’s the Google Maps link, but it’s located practically next door to the doughnut shop below.
Like Iggy Pizza, you’re also probably not going to want to eat delicious noodles while on a Wrocław city break. But if you’re a fellow long-term traveller crazing some vegetables, let me introduce you to Wok In. Located in the heart of the Old Town, you can create your own meal for around $7 AUD. You choose your base, meat, sauce and vegetables.
This quirky pink cafe (we’re talking bright pink velvet walls) is an Instagrammer’s dream. Cukiernia NANAN is known for its eclectic mix of eclairs, desserts and cakes, which are freshly prepared daily. I may have indulged in a delectable eclair, although it did look too pretty to eat.
While we’re on the topic of sweet treats, Nasza Paczkarnia is a literal hole-in-the-wall kiosk with a scrumptious display of doughnuts. Whether you like your doughnuts to be filled with fruit or chocolate, there’s a doughnut for you at Nasza Paczkarnia. Here’s the link to its location.
Gniazdo is one of Wrocław’s most popular cafes and a great place to visit if you have some work to do while on holiday. It offers a wide selection of coffee (including cold brew and drip coffee), as well as snacks like bagels, hummus, healthy lunch bowls and pastries. Find it on Google Maps here.
There are several different Etno Cafe locations across Wrocław, but I read they do a good brunch. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, they also roast their own coffee.
Różowa Krowa – Bar Mleczny
Translated to Milk Bar, this is where you will find affordable traditional Polish food. I headed here for lunch and got a plate of vegetarian pierogies for under $4 AUD. Other menu items include both sweet and savoury pancakes, pasta and soup. With lunch deals as well, definitely check out Różowa Krowa if you’re looking for one of the cheapest places to eat in Wrocław.
I hope this blog post has convinced you to plan a Wrocław city break and has helped you create your perfect weekend in Wrocław itinerary.
I didn’t realise I had so much to say when I only spent two days in Wrocław, but here we are 😂. Spending a weekend in Wrocław is a very wise idea – whether you’re a fellow solo traveller or looking for a romantic getaway. Speaking of solo travel… Here are my other favourite solo travel destinations around the world. You may also want to stop by my Europe archive for plenty more content.