Difference between revisions of "Wrocław"
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Wrocław (Polish: Wrocław , pronounced Vrots-waf; also known as Breslau, its German name, and English name until 1945) is the largest city in the Dolnośląskie (Lower Silesian) Voivodeship in Poland. Wroclaw is also a historic capital of Silesia. Wrocław is a city where football matches during Euro 2012 will be played  and also 2016 European Capital of Culture .
Wroclaw in Polish (also 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. 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. 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, it has been wonderfully restored and can now be counted amongst the highlights of Poland and of all 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. Right now, most tourists are only Polish and German. There are also many Japanese and Korean businessmen and their families living in Wrocław now.
Wroclaw is served by an international airport .
Scandinavian Airlines from Copenhagen.
From the airport, bus 406 operates from the terminal building to central Wrocław between 5am and 11pm every 20 minutes (schedule: ). There is also a night bus 249 (schedule: ). The night bus will take approximately one hour to get to the city center (it will have a short break in the Jarnołtów district). 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 Wroclaw Airport to the city center cost 2.40 PLN (or 1.20 PLN for students or ISIC/EURO 26 Holders).
Wrocław 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 TLK (fast) train) as well as quite a lot of trains to Poznań (from there you can go 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.
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. The actual timetable can be found on  (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 WiFi is available on-board. Tickets are cheap when bought in advance. One-way tickets are available from 1 zł (plus 1 for reservation).
Every day a fast bus runs between Wrocław and Kraków . The bus leaves at 8.50 PM and arrives in Kraków around 11.50 PM. On Thursday, Friday and Sunday there is also a fast bus service leaving at 3.30 PM and arriving in Kraków at 6.30 PM. On Monday an additional service to Kraków leaves Wrocław at 11:00 AM (arriving around 2.15 PM in Kraków). Tickets cost 39 PLN 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 runs everyday each direction. One way ticket is 43 zł (and there are some small discounts for students).
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 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, and 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
Tickets are sold in lots of places. Look for "Ruch" kiosks, post offices. You should be able to buy them in most newspaper stores also.
In the city centre you can find lots of ticket machines offering all types of tickets .
In every bus and tram there should be a ticket machine installed too . Payment only by credit/debit card(Visa/Master Card/American Express). Watch out, Maestro is not accepted!
You must validate your ticket (also a period one) on board, or face a 120zł fine if caught by an inspector (100zł if paid within 7 days).
There are 2 types of tickets (prices: normal fare/discounted fare):
One ride tickets: for normal lines 3.00zł/1.50zł, for express or night bus - 3.20zł/1.60zł. These tickets are not time-based or route-based - you must pay each time you enter a different vehicle.
Period tickets: 30-minutes - 3.00zł/1.50zł, 60-minutes - 4.40zł/2.20zł, 90-minutes - 6.00zł/3.00zł, 24-hours - 11.00zł/5.50zł, 48-hours - 20.00zł/10.00zł, 72-hours - 26.00zł/13.00zł.
If you travel with large bags (such as backpacks) you must buy a 1.50zł ticket for the bag.
If your stay will be longer check the Urbancard offer .
Go to the rope park on Opatowicka island, Opatowicka Wyspa Przygody.
Nowe Horyzonty (New Horizons) - International Film Festival. Best Film Festival in Poland. Ten days of films, concerts and exhibitions. End of July 
Dialog Festival - International Theatre Festival. October 
International Festival Wratislavia Cantans - oratorio and cantata music in Wroclaw's historical venues. September 
There is for some reason, a stunning amount of Italian inspired Pizza restaurants, if you like Pizza then this is the town for you.
Pierożek, Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 20 (next to the Casino, close to the Scandic Hotel) - according to many Wroclavians, the best pierogi in Wrocław, priced at about 10 zł for a small portion (you may need to order two if you're hungry). Try pierogi ruskie (with potatoes and cottage cheese) with kefir and barszcz (borscht) and "nalesniki" (pancakes) to experience what real Polish pierogi ought to taste like. The place is small and basic, you may need to wait for a seat, but the food is top-notch.
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.
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 Street, 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 - 13:00, pancakes - 14:00, pirogi with cabbage - 15:00, potato pancakes - 16:00. You pay directly at the food delivery counter (Polish only).
Abrams' Tower - Resto Bar and Wine Shop (also formerly known as Baszta and La luz), 14 Krainskiego Street. Both the first wine bar and multi-ethnic kitchen in Wroclaw, with delicious food influenced mainly by Mexican but also a unique menu of "Global Tapas", Thai, Indian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Italian and other dishes, relying on authentic preparation and ingredients. Their Mexican selection is on the level of high caliber Tex-Mex cuisine, including fresh cilantro (coriander), imported corn tortillas, jalapenos and chipotles. Yet prices are very reasonable. They also serve a wonderful selection of quality wines. 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, an alternative to the crowded city's market square. The first floor has a decor of illuminated wine bottles and ethnic music is also played from Caribbean to gypsy to acid jazz and Latin rhythms. Lounge sofa seating with big fluffy pillows lining the walls, antique furniture and candles everywhere, lends a very comfortable homey atmosphere. Food is served until late evening and while cigarettes are not allowed, shisha is available on the bar floor, the staff friendly and English speaking.
Amalfi, Wiezienna Street. The only place in southwestern Poland serving authentic thin-slice Italian pizza from a proper, scorching-hot wood oven. Tastes just like in Rome. About 15 zl for a pizza for one person. Italian owners.
Oregano, Igielna Street. Inexpensive restaurant with pizza and a variety of other dishes.
Piramida, Wita Stwosza Street. Egyptian restaurant. Kitschy interior and big portions.
Gruzińskie Chaczapuri, Mikolaja Street (nearly adjacent to Market Square), a budding franchise originating from Krakow, serves Georgian food (khachapuri). Try "lawasz z adżapsandałem" (dough filled with a tasty mix of tomatoes, bell peppers, aubergines, garlic and goat cheese) for about 15 zl.
Mexico Bar, Rzeźnicza Street. A favorite of many Wroclavians. As long as you are willing to eat a somewhat modified version of Mexican cuisine, you should enjoy the large, rich portions at Mexico Bar. You might want to order the "hot" (na ostro) version of your dish, as the regular dishes are surprisingly mild. This is a small, popular place, so you may have to wait for your seat at the bar.
Radisson Hotel. Next to Panorama Racławicka.
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 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:
Pracoffnia, ul. Więzienna 6 - 1 or 2 crossings north from the central square in Więzienna street - a pub located in an old medieval prison, consisting of a basement room, aboveground room and also a small atmospheric yard during warm days. The dominant kind of music is jazz in its 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 a few foreign tourists among the visitors to the place although it is quite difficult to find.
Mleczarnia (pronounced 'Mletcharnya'), , ul. Włodkowica 5 - a bit further from the Town Square but still not too far, near 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 unique dark, cozy, wooden interiors and a specific atmosphere. Music played is quite specific and varied - 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. They also have a hostel in that same building.
Bezseność (Insomnia), , ul. Ruska 51, upstairs. Concerts, film screenings. Popular place.
Setka, , ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 50A, on the corner. Supposedly PRL (Communist) style, well - kitschy. But open 24/7 with cheap alcohol (4 PLN for a glass of beer or shot of vodka) and good meals.
There are also clubs dedicated especially to rock music fans, in Wrocław. Most popular are:
Od Zmierzchu do Świtu (From Dusk till Dawn), , ul. Krupnicza 15 - located opposite the main courthouse in a basement. You can regularly hear live music there. On Wednesdays there are concerts of young rock bands, on Thursdays 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.
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.
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).
Because international tourism has not quite hit Wroclaw yet, English is not as universally spoken as in the tourist areas of Kraków. You'll still be able to get around and pantomime, or find someone who speaks English, but it's easiest if you know at least a few Polish phrases.