The 5 Most Beautiful Spots in Wrocław
Wrocław is a beautiful city year-round, but there’s something so magical about it during Christmastime. Even during the pandemic, the city has become so cozy in the wintertime; it still knows how to celebrate the season. In case you too would like to celebrate in Wrocław style, the below are places you should be sure to see. Give them a visit and watch your Christmas spirit grow exponentially.
1. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The two towers of the gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist are an iconic symbol of the city of Wroclaw. The Cathedral is located in Ostrów Tumski, Cathedral Island, which is the oldest part of Wrocław, dating back to the 1oth century. It was completed between 1272 and 1341 but destroyed multiple times since then; the latest restoration was completed after the Second World War. The winding cobblestone streets in this historic part of the city are so charming and beautiful, and the most breath-taking sight during Christmas (as well as being stunning year-round) is the path leading to the cathedral. The road is lined with trees on both sides that are strung with white lights in the winter. The cathedral itself towers above the rest of the buildings and looks like a castle in the heart of Wrocław.
2. Tumski Bridge
Leading to Ostrów Tumski is the main bridge that connects the island with another, Piasek Island, crossing the Oder River. Tumski Bridge (otherwise known as Cathedral bridge as it leads directly to the Cathedral) is fully decorated with lights during Christmastime and the theme changes year to year. In 2020, the Tumski bridge was covered in hearts – appropriate, as people frequently hang “love locks” on the bridge throughout the year and throw the key into the river. The current bridge was built in 1889 but a bridge has existed in this same spot since the 12th century, officially transitioning the “city zone” of Piasek Island to the “church zone” of Ostrów Tumski. Tumski Bridge is one of 100 bridges and 33 footbridges in Wrocław (there’s a reason why locals refer to Wrocław as the Venice of the North).
3. Rynek (Market Square)
The medieval market square of Wrocław would never be left out of a list like this! That’s because the square is lit up beautifully for the holidays. As one of the largest market squares in Poland, Wrocław’s rynek hosts the Christmas market every year, along with Wrocław’s main Christmas tree. In the center is the late-gothic ratusz, or town hall, as well as small streets lined with shops and restaurants. The rynek is the most popular part of the city and at any time of the day in any season, you’ll hear multiple languages as tourists from around the world enjoy the market square. There are 10 streets leading to the market square, and many of them are also decorated for the holidays. If you can stand the cold, it’s worth wandering around and exploring.
4. Świdnicka Street
Świdnicka Street is one of the main streets leading to the rynek and deserves a mention of its own. It’s a main artery into the heart of the city. A walk down this street will yield in some impressive sights; in addition to cafes, shops, and restaurants, the opera house (which just celebrated its 180th birthday) as well as the beautiful and historic Hotel Monopol call Świdnicka Street home. Further down is the shopping mall Renoma, originally known as Wertheim, which was built in 1930 and was once the most high-end shopping mall in Wrocław. This beautiful building is built completely in the art deco style so lovers of architecture as well as history stop by to admire it.
5. Wroclavia and Magnolia Park
Both Wroclavia and Magnolia Park are shopping malls in the city. Maybe they are an odd choice for this list but it’s worth checking out for the shops and decorations. The malls are beautifully dressed up for the holidays and you can walk around without worrying about the weather. The displays both inside and outside will put anyone in a festive mood. With plenty of cafes and restaurants, Wroclavia and Magnolia Park are both a nice choice for a stroll, just maybe not on the weekends leading up to Christmas if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.
There are many other places around the city that are dressed up for the holidays. The best way to see them all is to take a stroll around the city. The above listed are just a few of my favorites and the list grows each year. If you know the city, tell me – did I leave anything out? Maybe you know of some spots I should explore this winter?