It is only a few days to Christmas, an exciting time of the year where you spend quality time with family and friends. It is a time when retail stores get busy, but there is yet another crowd to look forward to – holidaymakers.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to explore some of the finest destinations in Europe. It is a time to enjoy snowfall and admire cities with their bright colors and lights illuminating the streets at night. At this time, Christmas Markets become one of the most favorite spots to visit.
If you are planning an unforgettable getaway this festive season, you have a million and one reasons to visit Wroclaw, Poland. It is cheap, entertaining, and fun-filled. Poles are friendly, cheerful, and especially celebrate Christmas. Most polish families decorate their homes and surroundings with Christmas. It’s a tradition.
With loads of snow to deal with, Wroclaw is a city that never disappoints, especially during winter. It is packed with loads of fun-filled activities and attractions. Most of the city is walkable, but for longer distances use alternative transport system like the tram. Renowned for being Western Poland’s commercial and cultural centers, the city is quite youthful, thanks to its large student population.
What Makes Wroclaw Winter Special – Wroclaw Christmas Market
If you come to Wroclaw in wintertime, the charming Christmas market is a must-see. This is the leading attraction in Wroclaw in wintertime. Located in the heart of the city, at the main Market Square of the Old Town – the 2nd biggest square in Poland after Krakow – the Christmas market in Wroclaw will leave you breathless with its Christmas lights and decorations. The markets stretch to Olawska and Swidnicka Streets. Plac Nowy Targ is always decorated with a colorful Christmas Tree and some food trucks. The massive sized market is big enough to accommodate the crowd. It is always full of life.
The market has plenty in stock for people of all ages, including young and old. In fact, you could explore the market for up to 24 to 48 hours without feeling bored. If you love food, Wroclaw Christmas Market will satisfy your cravings to the fullest. Shop unique, handmade artifacts, jewelry, and other locally made items. Fill your cup with fine tasting wine known as grzaniec.
The kids are not left out of the fun. There are wooden kiosks where kids can watch popular kids’ stories such as Pinocchio or Hansel & Gretel. Kid’s fun rides are also plentiful. There is absolutely no shortage of things to see and do here.
Things to Do in Wroclaw During Winter
Regardless of the cold weather, you can still have a nice time while vacationing in Wroclaw during winter. Here are some of the things to do to make your time in Wroclaw during wintertime beautiful.
In 2005, a fun tradition started in Wroclaw. Little bronze dwarfs, popularly known as Krasnale, are scattered all over the city. You’ll find a vast majority in the Old Town. There are apparently over 600 of them in the city as we speak. Looking for dwarves is a fantastic game you’d love.
Born out of the anti-communist movement, the cheeky Wroclaw dwarves are a popular attraction for both local visitors and tourists alike. Interestingly, Krasnale have their own website where you can dig out more information about these small creatures. If you are lucky to stumble upon these little fellas, do not miss a chance to take a picture with them. If you want to know exactly where you can find them, get a map that shows their location.
No doubt, Wroclaw offers something spectacular for people of all ages, but the main thing that draws visitors to Wroclaw is the Rynek, the city’s most beautiful square. What even makes the Town Square so special is the spectacular historic building that surrounds it. These buildings make the square look like it’s a fairytale. The Rynek’s beauty is out of this world.
Right in the heart of the square sits the Town Hall. The 13th-century gothic structure took 250 years to complete. In addition to its architectural wonders, the Town Hall also boasts one of the oldest working restaurants in Europe, dating back to 1275.
The square is where you’ll find the Christmas Markets. Asides from the Christmas markets, the market square plays host to several interesting events year-round.
3. The Museum of Games and Computers
Lovers of history – get in here. You will love the Museum of Games and Computers. To the younger generations who know little or nothing about history, the building might seem like a museum with items that are several years behind. In the museum, you’ll find games used in times past, including Super Mario & Co. and the popular Gameboys. What’s more, is that you can try out these games as much as you like. It’s such a fun place to be.
4. Poland’s Venice
The city of Wroclaw sits along the Odra River, the base of the 12 islands in the city. These islands can be easily reached, thanks to the over 100 connecting bridges. The Odra River is just a 20-minute walk away from Market Square. Not to worry, the route has a lot of marvelous views and plenty of stunning historic architecture to marvel at. You might even stumble upon dwarves.
Built-in the 19th century, the Tumski Bridge’s steel structure is durable enough to hold the many love locks found here. For this reason, the bridge was nicknamed the Lovers Bridge. Before placing your love lock here, do not forget to practice the traditional rite, which includes tossing your lock key into the Oder River.
The Tumski Bridge connects the Old Town to the island of Ostrow Tumski, literally meaning Cathedral Island. Be sure to visit the cathedral itself. Don’t just stand outside; go inside and climb the stairs to the top of the building. If you feel exhausted climbing the stairways, the cathedral features an elevator that takes you to the observatory level.
5. Coffee Hunting
The weather is chilly outside; what could be more satisfying and enjoyable than going from one coffee store to another? Wroclaw is home to a handful of cafes with a warm, comfortable setting on the inside. You will be spoilt for choice with the number of cafés in the city. These cafés have everything you’d want in a coffee. Sit back and enjoy the soothing background music, find a suitable spot to people watch and admire the snow as it falls from the sky.
6. Wroclaw Lamplighter
Ostrow Tumski was the first settlement area in Wroclaw, which started out as an island. Before Wroclaw was born, the island has been home to the first human settlements as far back as the 6th century. Fast forward to the 14th century; the island became the property of a Cathedral.
Everywhere you turn on the island, you’ll find something related to the church. The main attractions here are the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. However, many people come to the island for another reason – to see the Wroclaw lamplighter.
This activity makes it to the to-do list of many tourists, and you should prioritize it as well. However, catching a glimpse of the lamplighter isn’t an easy feat either. You need to be on the island at least before sunset; otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity.
The lamplighter is always dressed in the traditional long dark cloth, carrying a long pole with a butane cartridge. He is quite fast when performing his duties, so it might require a bit extra work to catch a perfect picture of him. All lamps that lead to the cathedral gets lit.
Wroclaw: A Must-Visit this Christmas
One of the surprising things about this lovely city is that despite being recognized as the Capital of Culture, it is still not so touristy. Wroclaw is among the underrated vacation destinations in Poland, unlike Krakow and Warsaw. You can visit the city at any time of the year.
Whether you want to explore the outdoors in the summer or take in the scenery that the Christmas market has to offer on the Market Square, Wroclaw has got you covered anytime you go. But at Christmas, it is entertainment all the way.
You’ll get the same Christmas fun as other top cities in Poland but at a fraction of the price. During wintertime, flights to Wroclaw are cheap. Also, you will find loads of reasonably priced accommodation options.
If you are looking for a destination that offers the glitz and glamour of popular tourist destinations like Krakow, Paris, Rome, and New York but for less, then look no further than Wroclaw. Though a big under the radar for many travelers, it never disappoints during Christmas and all other times of the year.
You will fall in love with the city and its snowy flakes. Do not hesitate. Pick a date, book the flight, pack your bags, and go. And one more thing, do not forget to bring your camera along as there are plenty of picture-taking opportunities waiting for you.
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