Wroclaw, the fourth largest city in Poland, is getting some well earned recognition as a European destination
How do you pronounce “Wroclaw”?
Let’s chat about how you pronounce this city’s name. Unlike other Polish cities (like Krakow or Warsaw), Wroclaw is not pronounced the same as it is spelled. Instead Wroclaw (which dates back to the 10th century) is pronounced “Raw-slov” by locals. Though they are extremely welcoming and almost apologetic that this name is not pronounced phonetically, they don’t seem to care one iota if you mispronounce it. But, you want to pronounce the city you are a guest in correctly, don’t you?
Getting to Wroclaw, Poland
It’s going to be a lot of flying to get Wroclaw, Poland. While it may be growing in popularity as a tourist destination, along with Poland, it is a small airport and only a handful of flights fly in there each day. Protip: Iceland Air does fly directly to Wroclaw, Poland so you could leave from Boston and fly there. It’s waaaay better than what I did. Flying ATL —> Toronto —> Frankfurt —> Munich ——> Wroclaw. It would have been only 3 legs if Air Canada wasn’t stupid AF in planning their flights. One delay and it will put you in a tailspin of missed flights and running through airports to make it to Wroclaw. My advice is not to cut your flights too close because Frankfurt Airport is hellish to get through even if your flight is on time.
Day 1 in Wroclaw, Poland (well, it is more of an evening)
Though I missed the city tour on the first afternoon (thanks again Air Canada and ass backwards Frankfurt airport!), I did have a lovely dinner at Przysta Restaurant, overlooking the river and highly recommend you do that while you visit Wroclaw., Poland. Some even call Wroclaw the Venice of Poland. I don’t know if I would go that far, but the food was tasty including my duck and my shrimp starter. My tummy full of delicious foods, I had no problem falling into a deep sleep once back at my Wroclaw hotel for the evening.
Day 2 in Wroclaw, Poland
Rest up, darling, because you have a busy day. Staring with the Wroclaw Zoo. I know what you are thinking. Really? Fly to Europe and go to a zoo? But yes, you will want to visit this zoo. It is home to about 10,500 animals and is the fifth most visited zoo in Poland. One of the highlights is Afrykarium, which displays many of the ecosystems of Africa. Despite animals being in captivity, the Wroclaw Zoo focuses on the animal welfare and wants to debunk the myth that all zoos are bad for animals. The different ecosystems in this zoo ensure that the animals continue to thrive.
After leaving the Wroclaw Zoo, head to Hala Targooa, or Market Hall. This historical building (and a Unesco world heritage site) was constructed between 1906 and 1908 in a neogothic style and designed by architect Max Berg. On the main level of this food market, you’ll find any kind of vegetable you could want along with lots of gourmet and local delicacies. Think plenty of Pierogi, desserts, meats and cheeses of all kinds. And the prices are quite reasonable. There are also several stalls serving up quite an affordable lunch which we dined on. Take a gander upstairs at the stores – plenty of inexpensive to moderately priced items perfect for those gifts you have to bring home. Read about more markets you can visit in Wroclaw, Poland here.
Walk off lunch by visiting the Town Hall (aka market square Rynek) which is in the city center and one of the oldest parts of the city. Construction began at the end of the 13th century and continued for nearly 250 years. During the holidays there is a lovely Christmas market. But during other times of the year it is still a pretty walk to see the architectural wonders.
Go back to your hotel and freshen up for dinner. Then visit the Browar Stu Mostów brewery. Here, you will find some of the best gastropub fare in all of Wroclaw. Think goat meat roasted and served in a pineapple or Goose meat roasted in ale and served in grape leaves. You’ll love their Milkshake IPAs, too.
Day 3 in Wroclaw, Poland
Bright and early wake up for your city tour. It was fascinating to see the older buildings mixed with the new, the statues throughout the city which depicted the struggles Poland went through and the difference classes banding together to survive. There’s an Opera house you should try to get a private tour of if possible. No just stopping in, so make sure to make reservations. Plus make sure to stop in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, another beautiful historical buildings. Though I visited during the winter, I missed out on some outdoor activities like the botanical gardens located at the University of Wroclaw.
Is it really even a visit to a European city if you don’t visit a castle? You’ll visiting a castle on your last day here. It is a bit of a drive. So you’ll need to hire a driver and make sure you book a tour in advance. There was a wedding on the day we visited but they still allowed visitors during the day. I was disappointed to hear that unless you have a personal tour guide some spots are off limits, like the bunkers where Hitler was planning on hiding /escaping.
Save your last night for a delicious dinner at award winning Malarsha restaurant. Can I tell you a secret? I got locked in the bathroom and I had to kick my way out! Thanks goodness I’ve been working out my legs big time! But once that scare was over, I was good noshing on the duck dumplings (see below right). Have Venison goulash or tartare. Don’t miss out on the warm beer. Even if it is summer, you should have some!
If you are used to flying our of busy airports, you will LOVE the Wroclaw airport. And it is well worth it to stay in the lounge ($25USD) for booze, heavy snacks and delicious coffee. I had my fill that kept me satiated my entire flight back to North America!