Named the European Capital of Culture for 2016, the Polish city of Wrocław is steeped in history. Whether you’re after an al fresco beer or a night at the opera, the city has plenty to offer after dark.
From architectural landmarks like Centennial Hall to the ancient island of Ostrów Tumski, every facet of Wroclaw tells a story of its past. Unwind with an evening spent discovering the city’s cultural heritage.
Mediaeval market square
Wrocław’s market square, the Rynek, is just a fifteen minute walk from our Radisson Blu Hotel Wroclaw. The 13th century square was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but colourful replicas of the original building facades now stand in their place. The Rynek remains a thriving social hub, so it’s no wonder that the square is reputedly the best place in Wrocław for a beer. Start your evening at one of the two rival watering holes, Spiż Brewery and Bierhalle. Both brew their own beer and have large seating areas that spill out onto the cobbled square.
Whether there’s an event on or not, it’s worth taking a trip to the magnificent Centennial Hall. This architectural landmark is a UNESCO World Heritage site, built in 1913 to commemorate the centenary of Napoleon’s defeat. Some of the world’s best-loved spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II, have spoken at the vast auditorium. Check the calendar before your visit: the hall hosts a diverse range of events, including outdoor film screenings and concerts. Arrive early to watch the sun set over the pagodas and cascading waterfalls of the nearby Japanese Garden. This peaceful spot is only open until 7pm, so be sure to give yourself enough time to explore.
Discover the world class Wrocław Opera at their neoclassical opera house in the city centre. The long-established company has earned the admiration of opera lovers around the globe with performances including Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. Larger productions sometimes take place in Centennial Hall, but the Wrocław Opera also hosts shows outdoors; they once performed on a stage over Wrocław’s Oder River for an audience of 30,000 people.
The Jewish Quarter
Since the 2010 reopening of the White Stork Synagogue – the only synagogue in the city to survive Kristallnacht – Wroclaw’s Jewish district has grown increasingly trendy. Włodkowica Street is brimming with bohemian bars like candlelit Mleczarnia, where artists rub shoulders with academics and out-of-towners. If you’re staying for dinner, try trendy La Maddalena. This Mediterranean-influenced restaurant is beloved by locals and tourists alike for its succulent lamb dishes.
Islands and waterways
With twelve islands and over a hundred bridges, Wroclaw is often described as Poland’s answer to Venice. Take a lamp-lit stroll through the city starting at Ostrów Tumski, the now-landlocked island where Wrocław’s first citizens settled. Tour the city’s oldest quarters by continuing your journey along Bleach, Malt, Mill and Sand islands. This riverside walk will lead you across Tumski Bridge, which is famously decorated lovers’ padlocks.