Known as the 'Venice of Poland' for its wealth of waterways and romantic architecture, Wroclaw is fast becoming one of Eastern Europe's most popular short break destinations. Built across 12 islands, water is an intrinsic part of life in the City of the Hundred bridges.
As the city that opened the world's second-ever travel agency back in the mid-19th century, it seems only fair that Wroclaw is now carving out a reputation as a top European tourist destination. Its appeal is closely linked to its unique geographical position: sitting between the Odra River and its smaller tributaries, the famed bridges serve a largely practical purpose in linking each island to its neighbours.
The many rivers in the city are best explored by either kayak rental or river cruise. The Odra is the main waterway, with additional canals running across the city's island network. Board a boat, or gondolka, to drift past sights including the thousand-year-old Ostrow Tumski (Cathedral Island), Wroclaw Zoo and the most famous of the city's bridges, the Grunwaldski, a suspension bridge that's brilliantly illuminated each night.
Before World War II, Wroclaw had over 300 bridges, but the city suffered significant structural damage in the last year of the War. Today, it still has over 100 bridges, as well as around 30 gangways. One of the newer additions is the Rędzin Bridge. Completed in 2011, it's now the longest and tallest bridge in Poland. Couples should be sure to visit the aquamarine Tumski, Wroclaw's very own Lovers' Bridge where newlyweds place locks to seal their vows. By the zoo, the intricate yellow arches of the Zwierzyniecki Bridge tower above the supporting red sandstone pillars that have kept the walkway in place for over one hundred years.
Wroclaw has the second largest market square in Europe, the Rynek. Known as 'the Meeting Place', it's the epicentre of Wroclaw life. Colourful stepped gable façades and narrow cobbled streets surround the bustling square, which is filled with authentic Polish shops. In the artistic quarter of Jatki Street you'll find galleries full of paintings and crafts, while food lovers will adore the Hala Targowa indoor market's array of local cheeses and hams, located just seven minutes' walk from our Radisson Blu Hotel Wroclaw.
Nothing tickles a Wroclavian more than the opportunity to send visitors on a hunt for the famous Wroclaw Dwarfs. It's estimated that there are over 300 of these bronze cheeky chappies dotted around the city, each with a quirky personality and name based on its location. They were created as a tribute to the Orange Alternative Movement, an underground protest group that peacefully opposed the communist regime of the '80s. If you're visiting with kids, why not book yourself onto an adorable Dwarf Tour?
Throughout the day, visitors can enjoy a range of short but extravagant light and music shows just outside the Centennial Hall. A spectacular multimedia fountain emits jets of water 40 metres high, accompanied a spectacular aural and visual soundtrack. Throughout the warmer months, the fountain performs on the hour between 10am and 5pm, with night shows between 6pm and 10pm.