Difference between revisions of "Wrocław"
Revision as of 14:00, 18 March 2008
Wroclaw in Polish, formally known as Breslau in German, is a large undiscovered gem of a city in southwestern Poland in the historic region of Silesia. It boasts fascinating architecture, many rivers and bridges, and a lively and metropolitan cultural scene. It is a city with a troubled past, having seen much violence and devastation, and was almost completely destroyed during the end of the Second World War. However, it has been brilliantly restored and can now be counted amongst the highlights of Poland, and all of Central Europe. As Poland rushes headlong into further integration with the rest of Europe, now is the time to visit before the tourist hordes (and high prices) arrive. Read Norman Davies'and Roger Moorhouse's Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City to understand the complicated history of the town.
Wroclaw is served by an international airport. LOT fly here from Warsaw, Frankfurt and Munich. SAS fly here from Copenhagen and Wizzair from Dortmund and Doncaster UK, Centralwings from Dublin and Rome. From March 2005, Ryanair fly from London Stansted, Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool, Bristol and East Midlands with fares from £15 one-way all-inclusive. See Departures and arrivals on-line.
From the airport, bus 406 operates from the terminal building to central Wrocław (schedule).
Wroclaw is a major hub in the Polish rail network, with several trains a day to all large Polish cities (route planner). There are about 10 daily departures to Warsaw (travel time varies from 5h by a InterCity train, up to almost 7h with a pospieszny train) as well as quite a lot of trains to Poznan (from there you can go to Warsaw or Berlin). Several trains a day travel to Krakow.
Wroclaw is a stop on the Eurolines international coach network. All international and national buses call at the PKS Centrum station which is located directly behind the main train station.
The centre of Wroclaw is navigable on foot, but the feature has an excellent public-transport system for access to the suburbs and outlying attractions. The city has 60 bus lines and 25 tram lines. During the past year large areas of the surrounding area of Wroclaw have been closed for extensive road works. As such there are many diversions, journey times in and out of the city have increased especially at peak times and a few tram lines have been diverted or removed from service temporarily.
By bus or tram
To use the system, you must buy a ticket before you board from a ticket machine or any shop with a sign saying "Ruch" or "Bilety". Tickets can also be bought in most newspaper stores.
One ride ticket: Normal 2.00zł/1.00zł, students (with ISIC identification) pay half. Express or night bus - 2.80zł. You must validate your ticket on board, or face a 70zł fine if caught by an inspector. Tickets are not time-based nor route-based, i.e. you pay each time you enter a different vehicle.
One day ticket (jednodniowy), valid for all lines: 9/4.50
5-day in city borders: 23,00/11,50 (only normal lines), 27,00/13,50 (also express)
10-day in city borders: 40,00/20,00 (normal), 48,00/24,00 (also express)
If you travel with large bags (such as backpacks) you must also buy a 1.00zł ticket for the bag. Owner of a period-ticket can drive one child for free (up to 13 years old) on Sat. Sun. and holidays.
There's a possibility to obtain "name" 30-day ticket (needed picture) which is little cheaper. All prices are listed here (PL): 
Interesting structures in Wroclaw
Just of the square opposite a bar called Error, there is an alleyway leading to a cobbled street and a short way along, down a side street to the left is a restaurant called Mercado. Boasting a selection of cuisines including Egyptian, Greek and Italian, amongst others. The dimly lit, rustic interior offers a warm and comfortable atmosphere, with a selection of beverages from the bar to finish of an evening.
Watch out! The "bars" listed below are in fact self-service canteens, offering inexpensive and traditional Polish meals. They are a gastronomic and cultural experience. See Bar Mleczny - literally translating, "Milk Bar". They should be open even at National Holidays. Expect short queues.
Bar Miś, 48 Kuźnicza Street, 700 ft. north of Rynek (Market Place or central square). M-F 7-18 and Sa 8-17. Offers an ample and diversified menu, including meat-based dishes. Students, staff and professors of the University of Wroclaw usually eat there, together with homeless people, elderly and pensioners. After entering go to the cash desk (at the left corner) and order your meal (Polish only). Turn right, go to the food counter and handle your receipt to the person serving the meals. Mains 1.50-4.50 zl.
Bar Bazylia, Kuźnicza Street / corner of Universytecki Square, 300 ft. after bar "Miś", inside the building of University's Law Department. Very clean and fast service. Offers a more stylish ambient. Mains 3-9 zl.
Bar Mewa, Dubois Ttreet, 7 minutes walk north from Rynek through University Main Building and Pomorski Bridge. M-F 8-18, Sa & Su 9-16. The cheapest. Offers some dishes only at specific hours: pirogi - 13h, pancakes - 14h, pirogi with cabbage - 15h, potato pancakes - 16h. You pay directly at the food delivery counter (Polish only).
Oregano, Igielna Street. Italian restaurant.
Piramida, Wita Stwosza Street. Egyptian restaurant. Kitschy interior and big portions.
Pronto. Next to the university. The best pizza in Wrocław.
La luz - Wine Bar & Restaurant, Krainskiego Street. A quality wine and cocktail bar plus kitchen serving Mexican food consisting of homemade and imported salsas, fresh coriander and real corn tortillas (not those prefab "taco shells"). They also now serve gourmet Italian antipasta dishes, delicious Tiramisu and some Spanish tapas. Situated inside a 13th century tower, it's a bit hidden in a courtyard behind old buildings made in the socialist times but a rare jewel worth the effort to find. Open til midnight Sun-Thurs and til late Fri-Sat. Food is served all hours. (See more in the nightlife section below.)
Radisson Hotel. Next to Panorama Raclawicka.
Pod papugami. At Rynek, next to Spiż Cellar (see above). Offers good meals and a good selection of salads.
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 Spiz Cellar, an interesting mini-brewery with a few tasty kinds of locally made beer and a unique interior design. There are also two disco's quite popular among fans of house/techno music - Daytona and Zwiazki. 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 then the very Town Square. Good examples of such places are:
Pracoffnia, 6 Wiezienna st - 1 or 2 crossings north from the central square in Wiezienna street - a pub located in an old medieval prison, consisting of a basement room, overground room and also a small atmospheric yard during warm days. The dominant kind of music is jazz in it's many forms. The interior design is very unique. It consists of many old architectural tools, books and drawings, as well as some old furniture. There seem to be quite many foreign tourists among the visitors of the place although it is quite difficult to find.
La luz - Wine Bar & Restaurant, 14 Krainskiego st - Another venue located in medieval surroundings, in this case a 13th century tower, the interior is artistically designed, the bar surrounded by illuminated empty wine bottles serving top notch cocktails and wines found nowhere else in Poland. The only place in town serving food til late night, one can enjoy a rare blend of authentic Mexican dishes, Italian antipasti, Spanish tapas, cocktails and a carefully selected variety of imported wines.
Mleczarnia (pronounced 'Mletcharnya'), 5 Wlodkowica st - a bit further from the Town Square but still not too far, nearby the main courthouse in a quiet street - quite a large pub occupying the basement and ground level of an old fin-de-siecle building. It has a unique dark, cozy, wooden interiors and a specific atmosphere. Music played is quite specific and varies - among the styles played are: Jewish music, jazz, progressive rock, film music and others. There are often some cultural events, like discussion clubs or film projections taking place in the basement.
Czeski film, 2 Kielbasnicza st - near the Town Square and Plac Solny. It is a unique hybrid of a cafe and pub placed mostly in a long line of small, cozy basement rooms. There's a very nice female staff, fantastic tasty deserts as well as beer and stronger alcohols. The pub is known for its warm atmosphere. Most often you can hear there some rock music but not exclusively.
Rura jazz club, 4 Lazienna st - a must for a jazz enthusiast or someone who wants to get some jazz experience. Probably the oldest jazz club in Poland. Concerts and jam sessions are held there almost every day. It has been visited by many performers famous in the jazz community. It is also a good place to have a beer and meet some people.
Pasaz Niepolda - located a few crossings from the central square, along the Ruska street, on the left. It's a long yard hosting numerous clubs and pubs on a small area. It's a very lively centre of nightlife. There is a great rock pub - Niebo, other pubs, like Bezsennosc with its interesting design and atmosphere, but you should avoid it, some racist and xenophobic people inside and working there, and many discos, especially Metropolis.
There are also clubs dedicated especially to rock music fans, in Wroclaw. Most popular are:
Od zmierzchu do switu music club, 15 Krupnicza st - located opposite to the main courthouse in a basement. You can regularly hear live music there. On Wednesdays there are concerts of young rock bands, on Thursdays there are jam sessions featuring a bunch of resident performers. Their level varies from great to moderate. On Fridays and Saturdays there are rock parties with a DJ.
Liverpool, 37 Swidnicka st - located in the Swidnicka street, about 1/3 way between Holiday Inn hotel and the Town Square - rock/metal/goth club, especially popular among gothic and industrial music fans. Known for its thematic parties held mostly in weekends. The kinds of music played at these parties depend on the certain DJ.
There's also a 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.
Hotel System is one of the newest hotels in Wroclaw, conveniently situated close to the city centre but at the same time not far from major roads, (E67 8 Wroclaw - Warsaw, and E261 5 Wroclaw - Poznan). Lothus Hotel *** the building was a seat of a renowned because of its oriental restaurant Saigon Hotel. After the change of its owner, the building was modernised, thanks to which we are able to offer you higher standards than before. The Lothus Restaurant is a unique place not only for the fans of the oriental cuisine.
Wroclaw, 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)