This Silesian masterpiece of a city is surely deserving of much more attention
Known as Breslau until the end of the war, it has been beautifully and painstakingly restored to its original glory in the decades since. Now, Polish membership of the EU has opened Wroclaw up to a new generation of admirers drawn to its churches, gardens and grand public buildings – and you can be among them.
Wrocław’s retail scene revolves around two major shopping centres – Renoma (Świdnicka 40) and Arkady Wrocławskie (Powstańców Śląskich 2-4). Both have a wide selection of national brands, restaurants and cinemas, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique then explore the pedestrian lanes around the market square. Odrzańska, Kiełbaśnicza and Mikołaja streets are lined with art galleries and boutiques, while Wrocław’s fine art studios and crafts shops cluster around Stare Jatki. The bustling indoor market, Hala Targowa (Piaskowa 17), should be your first stop for Polish cuisine, local produce and bargain souvenirs, while Ulica Kiełbaśnicza is packed with cut-price antique shops and flea markets.
Food & Drink
An influx of international influences has transformed Wrocław’s foodie scene in recent years, and the city now boasts an elite collection of nationally acclaimed restaurants. JaDka (Rzeźnicza 24-25) blends traditional Polish fare with Lithuanian-inspired dishes to create a unique and highly palatable menu – it’s a firm local favourite, so book in advance if you want to be assured of a table. Take a break from stodge at Le Bistrot Parisien (Nożownicza 1D), which serves up French specialities such as snails, frog legs and onion soup. The stag party-friendly Bierhalle (Rynek Ratusz 24-27) does hearty food and a selection of site-brewed beer, while chic cocktail bar Papa Bar (Rzeźnicza 32-33) is a more elegant option for the evening.
International Festival of the Voice
This celebration of world music showcases vocalists from Armenia, Austria, Corsica, Italy, Iran and even further afield. It is based on the principle that singing can transcend linguistic and cultural differences.
International Festival of Street Art
The streets of Wrocław spring into colourful life during this summer cultural extravaganza. Featuring artists, musicians, circus actors and acrobats, it’s free to attend and draws crowds of thousands from around Europe.
New Horizons International Film Festival
Poland’s largest film festival is one of the cultural highlights of Wrocław’s calendar. Established in 2001, it centres on the Wrocław Puppet Theatre and screens films from over 40 different countries. Look out for open-air shows in the market square throughout the duration of the festival.
Wrocław Guitar Festival
Established over 10 years ago, this international celebration of music attracts distinguished guitarists from all over the world. Concerts span the musical genres, with classical, jazz and rock artists all represented.
Wrocław Christmas Market
Every year for a month before Christmas, the main market square in the Old Town is taken over by a lively festive market. Traditional stalls are hung with fairy lights and sell everything from toys and candy to jewellery and mulled wine.
Cutting-edge design hotels and historic palatial residences combine to make Poland’s capital of culture a very special place to stay. The fairytale facade of Pałac Wojanów (Wojanów 9, Jelenia Góra), a rural gem in the countryside outside Wrocław, hides state-of-the-art conference facilities as well as a swimming pool, two tennis courts and a spa. It’s a complete contrast to the slick, urban Puro Hotel (Włodkowica 6), which is located right in the centre of the city, just a stone’s throw from the Old Market Square. The nearby Art Hotel (Kiełbaśnicza 20) treats mid-budget travellers with achingly elegant rooms and scrumptious breakfasts. Bargain-hunters should head into the suburbs, where the Ami Hotel (Rychtalska 8) offers comfortable accommodation in leafy surroundings.