Recently I had the pleasure to visit Wrocław and Polanica Zdrój. With this article I wanted to start the Sightseeing Poland series, in which I will describe places worth visiting in Poland. While there is no need to introduce Wrocław, I would like to bring to your attention Polanica Zdrój, which is a much less popular place, however with a health resort and also an excellent starting point for the conquerors of the Crown of the Polish Mountains, about which I wrote here. With that in order let’s not prolong this entrance, I will present below a few points that I would like to mention in this article:
- ZOO & Hydropolis
- Sky Tower
- Japanese Garden
- Panorama of Racławice
- Wroclaw Market Square
- Dwarfs aka. Gnomes
- Polanica Zdrój – health resort
ZOO & Afrykarium (African Oceanarium) in Wrocław
We went on this trip to Wroclaw together with our children. This is why I will also start with attractions that may appeal to the youngest of you. And speaking of which, it is impossible not to mention that Wrocław ZOO has 12,000 inhabitants, representing 1100 species! This represents the biggest institution, taking first place in the country and one of the leading positions in Europe.
The garden offers a whole bunch of attractions for younger and slightly older visitors. One of the largest is the famous Afrykarium. The world’s only Oceanarium dedicated to the marine fauna and flora characteristic to the Black Continent. The pavilion houses contain several swimming pools. While walking through the underwater tunnel, you can admire various species of crocodiles, including the Nile crocodile, sharks and stingrays. While my kids have already had the pleasure of seeing an ordinary zoo, the views in the Oceanarium took their breath away. Here you will find the ticket price list. As of the time writing this article, a family ticket with admission to Afrykarium costs PLN 195.
7 thematic exhibitions, interactive games for the youngest visitors, a relaxation zone for adults, ship models, a real bathyscaphe and an interactive mobile application for visitors available in English and German are just some of the attractions available in Wrocław Hydropolis. It is a place maintained in an extraordinary atmosphere, where multimedia, interactive installations and technologies show the potential of water inherent in cities, depths, atmosphere, as well as in the human body. I personally had a really good time here. For my son and I, the most interesting part turned out to be the “History of Water Engineering”. You can independently check the operation of water inventions from ancient times. For example, Archimedes screws, a water wheel, a water clock and a Heron turbine.
A ticket to Hydropolis for a family of four costs PLN 85 and the tour itself lasts between 1-2 hours. I will point out here that by the ticket office in Hydropolis you can buy a combined ticket for the Wrocław ZOO, Afrykarium and Hydropolis which costs in total PLN 239. In addition, you can park the car in the free Hydropolis parking lot and then visit the ZOO and return to the car. This is a considerable saving, but also a lot of walking. However, in our case, we started our tour by visiting Hydropolis and only then we went to the ZOO and Afrykarium. I need to warn you that the ZOO is crowded, so for a trip combined with Hydropolis, book yourself a whole day.
The Sky Tower Viewpoint is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. From the glazed terrace located nearly 200 meters above the ground, you can admire the western and northern parts of Wrocław. From here you can also see the Ślęża mountain, and in good weather also Chełmiec and Śnieżka. Tickets for the observation deck can and even should be booked in advance, and it is no secret that the most popular time is when the sunset falls. The price for entering the terrace ranges in price and is dependent on time of the day.
In addition to the observation deck, you can also rent a room on one of the floors of the Wrocław tower. In my personal opinion, this is not the best option for traveling with children, but it will work perfectly in the case of a romantic getaway with your other half.
Japanese Garden (Ogród Japoński)
Speaking of romanticism, the Japanese Garden should be mentioned here. In the garden there are about 30 species of plants from the Far East and Japan. A separate system, but no less spectacular, is the arrangement of streams, cascades and ponds in the Japanese Garden. Their character makes them strongly rooted in Far Eastern philosophy and culture, and the garden is full of symbols. Even the fish in the pond of the Japanese Garden are not chosen by chance. These are mandatory tenants of traditional Japanese gardens.
Also worth seeing are the gates, tearoom, or stone lanterns – some of the elements of the décor come from the original Asian gardens from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Japanese Garden is open daily from April 1st to October 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. A walk through the Japanese Garden takes about two hours and for a family of 2+2 costs PLN 40.
Panorama of Racławice (Panorama Racławicka)
The museum exhibits a cycloramic painting “The Battle of Racławice” painted in the years 1893-1894 by a team of painters. The oil painting depicts the Battle of Racławice (1794) and the victory of polish troops under the command of General Tadeusz Kościuszko over the Russian troops under the command of General Aleksander Tormasov. In my opinion, there is relatively little interaction here, which is why the museum can be boring for the youngsters. Family tickets cost PLN 140 and gives access to all the resources in the entire museum.
Wroclaw Market Square
The market in Wrocław is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in Poland, it is also one of the largest. It is also a must-see when organizing a trip to this city, especially for those of you who are here for the first time. There are beautiful multi-colored tenement houses built in different eras and styles around the square. In the near vicinity there is another, smaller market called Salt Square. There are also other beautiful monuments around, one of them is the great Polish Catholic cathedral, which you could reach in a few minutes. Besides, here and there you will encounter a monument, a fountain or a tiny dwarf. Speaking of dwarfs…
Dwarfs in Wroclaw
Wroclaw is dotted with dwarfs. On the main market there are dwarf-themed shops, where you can buy a map with their locations. And I will tell you that dwarfs are absolute works of art in themselves, which perfectly refer to the individual places in which they perform. In addition, it is an excellent attraction for the youngsters. It turns out that on the day of writing this article, there were already about a thousand dwarfs in Wrocław. But also, several applications for mobile devices with their locations, which allow you to collect them by taking a photo.
We strolled through the market and found over 50. Only 50 out of 1000. My wife and I managed to delegate this task to the kids, while we sat for a while in one of the charming gardens on the market. Such dwarfs are a great idea to promote the city – I have to admit.
But! What if you are fed up with the hustle and bustle and want to relax away from the big city, albeit still close to civilization? Healing towns aka. Health Resorts are the answer to your question. There are 45 towns in Poland that have the status of a health resort. Before I start describing Polanica Zdrój itself, I will share with you a list of these places that are available via the link here.
Polanica Zdrój is one of these examples. There is a chess park, a pump room with “healing water” (Pijalnia Wody), beautiful gardens and alleys for walking and bicycle routes. In addition, the town lies on the border of the Góry Stołowe and Góry Bystrzyckie, thanks to which it is a great starting point for conquering the aforementioned Crown of the Polish Mountains.
In our specific case, we went first to the Great Owl (Wielka Sowa), and then to the Góry Stołowe and their peak Szczeliniec. Góry Stołowe are a completely different ball game than in the case of the Tatras. Squeezing between narrow rock crevices, visiting ravines and beautiful panoramas are the essence of the Stołowe Mountains. You have to remember that when going to these mountains, you have to buy a ticket for the labyrinth if you want to take a picture at Szczeliniec (the peak), which is an additional attraction, but worth the price. The Great Owl and Stołowe Mountains took us one day each. We were in no hurry, and relatively short mountain trips initiated quiet afternoons spent together with the family.
On the last day we set off on two short trails south of Polanica-Zdrój. The Orlica peak with a beautiful observation tower on the Polish-Czech borders and Jagodna, whose name comes from the huge number of berries growing practically along the entire length of the path. Unfortunately, the weather in Poland is not pampering and sometimes we had to take shelter from heavy rain or use raincoats.
Summary of Sightseeing Poland: Wrocław & Polanica Zdrój
I will also mention that Wrocław is a very good place where you can start your adventure with Dream Jump, described by me in more detail in this article. It has 4x points to make a jump. However, it is a topic for those of us who like to feel a hint of adrenaline from time to time. Back to the point. I hope that you enjoyed the review from our trip and that you will find some element of inspiration here. If you have already visited these towns or what is even better – you live in Wrocław or Polanica Zdrój, I encourage you to share your own thoughts on what else unique can be found in these places.
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Special thanks to Eamon Gosney, who has helped with proofreading of this article.