Wrocław

Wrocław Town Hall

Wrocław (pronounced Vrots-waf; also known as Breslau, its German name, and English name until 1945) is the largest city in Lower Silesia in Poland. It is home to 630,000 people within the city limits and the metropolitan area has a population of 1.2 million making it the largest city in Western Poland.

Wrocław is also the historic capital of Silesia and it has changed hands repeatedly over the centuries. At different points throughout history, Wrocław has been in the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia and Germany. Since 1945 the city became a part of Poland once more as the borders of Poland were moved westwards in the immediate aftermath of World War II. More recently, the city came to international fame as it hosted a number of football matches during the Euro 2012 Championships and is also set to be the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

Understand

History

Like many cities in Central Europe, it is a city with a troubled past, having seen much violence and devastation. Prior to the Second World War, Breslau was the capital of the German province of Prussian Lower Silesia. It became Polish territory when, after the War, the Soviets moved the German/Polish border westward to the Oder/Neisse Line and ethnically cleaned the area of Germans. Breslau was almost completely destroyed during the end of the War as the Red Army fought its way into Germany towards Berlin, being declared a "Fortress City" by Hitler. However, since the end of the Communist regime in 1989 it has been wonderfully restored and can now be counted among the highlights of Poland and of all Central Europe.

Talk

The official language is Polish. It is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, and serves as Poland's secondary (to Warsaw) financial services centre. Thus, you should be able to a find sufficient number of English speakers to get by. Do note that German is probably much more widely spoken and understood than in some other regions of Poland.

Tourist Information

There are two tourist information points on the main market square (Rynek). There is a tourist information in the main railway station.

Get in

By plane

  Copernicus Airport Wrocław (IATA: WRO) is served by:

From the airport, bus 406 operates from the terminal building to central Wrocław between 05:13 and 23:14 roughly every twenty minutes (schedule). There is also a night bus 249 (schedule). The night bus will take approximately one hour to get to the city centre. If you are not sure how to get to your final destination in Wrocław by public transport, it might be helpful to use the journey planner. Single-ride tickets from Wrocław Airport to the city center cost 3.00zł (or 1.50zł for students or ISIC/EURO 26 Holders) and can be purchased at the automatic ticket vending machine at the stop or on board.

By train

Wrocław Glowny station

Wrocław is a major hub in the Polish rail network, with several trains a day to all large Polish cities (route planner). The main train station is   Wrocław Główny. There are about ten daily departures to Warsaw. Travel time varies from five hours by an InterCity train, up to almost seven hours with a TLK (cheap) train. As well as Warsaw, there are quite a lot of trains to Poznań from which you can go on to Warsaw or Berlin. Several trains a day go to Kraków. There are also international trains to Hamburg (via Berlin), Prague, Dresden, Kiev (via Lviv) and Budapest.

By bus

Wrocław is a stop on the Eurolines international coach network. All international and national buses stop at the PKS Centrum station which is located directly behind the main train station (timetable; click "Odjazdy autobusów z Dworca Centralnego PKS").

PolskiBus operates routes to Prague and Warsaw (via Łódź). Tickets are only available online, but traveling with them is comfortable. Buses are brand new and free Wi-Fi is available on board. Tickets are cheap when bought in advance. One-way tickets are available from 1zł (plus 1zł for reservation).

Every day a fast bus runs between Wrocław and Kraków. The bus leaves at 8:50PM and arrives in Kraków around 11:50PM. On Thursday, Friday and Sunday there is also a fast bus service leaving at 3:30PM and arriving in Kraków at 6:30PM. On Monday an additional service to Kraków leaves Wrocław at 11AM arriving around 2:15PM in Kraków. Tickets cost 39zł and can be bought on board. Reservations can be made by sending an SMS indicating the date and time of departure and your name to +48664670191.

Another company that rides to Kraków and back, with a stop in Katowice, is Lajkonik. Three buses run everyday in each direction. A one-way ticket costs 43zł, and there are some small discounts available for students.

Get around

The centre of Wrocław is navigable on foot, but the city has an excellent public-transport system for access to the suburbs and outlying attractions, with 57 bus lines, 22 tram lines and 13 night bus lines. As well as that, taxis are readily available and quite affordable, even for those on a budget.

By bus or tram

Tickets

There are two types of tickets:

A reduced fare is available and costs 50% of the regular fare.

You must validate all tickets on boarding the bus or tram, or you'll face a 150 zł fine (plus the price of a ticket) if caught by an inspector (100zł if paid within 7 days). A period ticket only needs to validated on the first vehicle that you board. After that, you just need to keep it on you for inspection.

Tickets are sold in lots of places. Look for "Ruch" kiosks, post offices. You should be able to buy them in most newsagents also. In the city centre you can find lots of ticket machines offering all types of tickets.

In every bus and tram there is a ticket machine installed too. Payment is only possible by credit or debit card (Visa/MasterCard/American Express). Maestro cards are not accepted.

If you travel with large bags (such as backpacks or suitcases), a bicycle or a dog, you must buy a 1.50 zł ticket for it. On the ticket machines, simply choose the option for a discounted ticket as there is not a distinct option available for bags, bicycles and dogs.

If you're planning to stay longer, check out the Urbancard offer.

More details on how to travel around Wrocław (including ticket prices) and ticket types.

Route numbers

By taxi

See

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Further afield

The Centennial Hall
Japanese Garden
Wrocław's dwarfs

Museums

Do

Festivals

Learn

Polish for foreigners is taught in several schools.

Work

Wrocław is a major financial services centre, with headquarters of several companies from the sector, most importantly the Getin Holding.

Buy

Eat

Budget

Pierogi-eating gnome statue, Wrocław

Cultural note: the "bars" listed below are in fact self-service canteens, known as milk bars (bar mleczny), offering inexpensive and traditional Polish meals. They are a gastronomic and cultural experience. They should be open even on national holidays. Expect short queues.

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

There's quite a significant number of different clubs and pubs in Wroclaw. Most of them are located in the centre of the old town, many good ones however, are situated a few crossings from the Town Square, not within its very borders. The Town Square mostly contains some not very specific, quite expensive restaurants, although it is definitely needed to mention the Spiż Cellar, an interesting mini-brewery with a few tasty kinds of locally made beer and a unique interior design. There are also two discos quite popular among fans of house/techno music - Daytona and Związki. However, pub-wanderers, who want to meet interesting people and/or get involved in some discussions will probably enjoy places situated in some less obvious locations than right in the Town Square. Good examples of such places are:

There are also clubs dedicated especially to rock music fans, in Wrocław. Most popular are:

There's also plenty of other clubs and pubs in Wroclaw. It's a great adventure to explore them because most have their own specific style and atmosphere.

Beer

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay Safe

Wrocław, like most of Poland, is a very safe city but you should exercise the usual caution and keep guard of your valuables especially around crowded places or places popular with tourists like the main train station or the town square (Rynek).

Go next

Routes through Wrocław

Forst ← Border PL/D Legnica  W  E  Opole Katowice


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.