Tour this city on the water in southwest Poland to see fascinating islands, bridges, statues and green spaces.
Wroclaw, known as the “Venice of Poland,” is spread across numerous islands on the Odra River that are connected by dozens of bridges. One of Poland’s prettiest cities, Wroclaw is admired for its medieval architecture, scenic views, green spaces and…gnomes.
Start your visit in the old town’s main square. After World War II, the area was a pile of rubble, but the historic buildings have been restored to colorful Baroque and Renaissance grandeur. Admire the 14th-century town hall housing the Museum of Bourgeois Art. Explore St. Elizabeth's Church, a Gothic building with a 300-foot (91-meter) tower and climb to its observation deck near the top.
For loftier views, take the elevator to the platform of the Sky Tower. At 696 feet (212 meters), this is one of the tallest buildings in Poland, and Wroclaw’s only skyscraper.
One of Wroclaw’s most visited attractions is the Panorama Raclawicka, a large cycloramic painting. The 374-foot-long (114-meter) canvas wraps around a specially built rotunda and depicts an important 18th-century battle.
Look for dozens of diminutive bronze statuettes of gnomes throughout Wroclaw. They commemorate the Orange Alternative, an underground movement that conducted peaceful protests against the Communist regime in the 1980s, painting images of gnomes on walls to mock authorities.
Amble along the city’s canals and cross a bridge to Cathedral Island, where most of Wroclaw’s important religious buildings are located. They include the 13th-century Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. While enjoying Wroclaw’s green spaces, delight in the flowers and waterfalls of the island’s Botanical Gardens.
Stroll through the large urban Szczytnicki Park east of the city center to see its Japanese garden. Nearby is Wroclaw Zoo and a multimedia fountain with water, music and light shows between May and October.
Wroclaw’s city center is easily navigable on foot, but there are also efficient bus and tram networks. The nearest international airport is Nicolaus Copernicus Airport, less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) from central Wroclaw. Come to enjoy history, nature views and architecture.