Exploring Wroclaw with Kids
Wroclaw topped my list of Polish cities to visit with kids. It is small and easily walkable. There are playgrounds and open space galore for the kids to run around. This is all before you add in the Wroclaw Gnomes that can be found all over town. Wroclaw lacks blockbuster sights, but that just adds to its charm. We loved exploring this lovely Polish city.
Arrival: By Train
We arrived in Wroclaw, Poland by train from Krakow. The station is easy to navigate and we quickly set off walking into town from the station.
We checked into our Airbnb in Wroclaw, which was a block from the main square. It was a perfect location and had plenty of room for us to spread out.
It also sported an incredible view of Saint Mary Magdelin Church. The square in front of the church stays quite busy, even throughout the night so the place wasn’t quiet. That is not a problem for us though. Our kids sleep through nearly everything. We were so glad to have a place that we could easily go back to during our visit.
We took full advantage of the location and picked up food at great finds in town and brought them back to the Airbnb to eat. This just makes everything more relaxed.
The Littles also enjoyed some Polish Kids TV while we got things organized. The Poland trip was two weeks long, so having a place that allowed for some down time was key.
What to Do & See:
Miniature Train Museum
Our first stop was the Kolejkow Miniature Train Museum. It is the largest railway model in Poland. We underestimated how much our kids would enjoy it here. They even had a little model of their own museum.
Kids get a scavenger hunt pamphlet when they enter the museum, so make sure to bring a pen. It is no easy feat. The Big Little switched off between Jeff and I helping him look for all the items on the list.
There is so much to see here! Sometimes we were looking for little animals or a specific person who was a bit out of place.
Meanwhile the Middle and Little Littles loved watching all the activity. The Little Little tried to grab at everything and shrieked with delight as model trains whizzed by.
The dioramas cycle through day and night every twenty minutes or so. Car and train lights switch on and all the buildings light up.
We always forget what a hit these little model railroads are with the kids. There are so many tunnels to watch the trains dash in and out of.
The miniature railroad museum was a huge hit and we stayed until closing time. They also have a small play area with train toys that the Middle and Little really enjoyed.
The Towers of St. Mary Magdeline Church
We always love to climb a good church tower and St. Mary Magdeline in Wroclaw allows you to go out on a walkway between the two towers. It was something really unique that we had to try.
The stairs are a bit of an afterthought and as a result are quite steep. The boys enjoyed climbing them though. I wore the Little Little for the climb.
The views from the walkaway between the towers are just lovely. A great way to get a view over the city.
The boys thought it was terribly fun to be hanging out between two towers.
Wroclaw is chock full of Gnomes. The boys’ favorite thing to do was run around and find these little guys. They are all over the city so it’s easy enough to do. We spent so much time looking for these guys I’ve dedicated a whole post just to this activity.
Playground Island is just a ten minute walk from the old city center. It is filled with playground equipment and the perfect place to hang out with kids.
There are a variety of playgrounds on this island, so children of all ages are sure to find something they enjoy. There is even “adult” equipment, which the Littles found thoroughly amusing.
There is plenty of great street art to enjoy in Wroclaw. The town is so walkable that it is easy to find and enjoy. Here is a map of murals in the city, in case you want to venture out on a street art walking tour.
Hansel & Gretel House
After the war only these two buildings remained in the historic city center. Locals thought these looked like Hansel & Gretel holding hands and emerging from a dark woods. I was totally captivated by this image.
We love to pop in to a market hall and the Wroclaw Hala Targowa is no exception. It is worth taking a peek.
Don’t miss these fun little cookies that look like mushrooms!
Wroclaw Free Walking Tours
We took full advantage of the walking tours of Wroclaw. One afternoon while the Middle and Little Little slept back at the Airbnb, I headed out on one fo the Free Walking Tours of Wroclaw. Later that evening Jeff took part in one of the other walking tours. This was a great way for both of us to get a chance to see the city. These tours are kid friendly so feel free to bring your kids along.
There is quite a bit to see in the center of town. The advantage of the walking tour is pointing out things you otherwise might not have noticed. I learned that very few of the buildings are original, as most were destroyed during the war. When they were rebuilt many used false windows to make the buildings look more balanced.
The Old Town tour worked its away around the main square pointing out important buildings. We learned all about the city’s communist history. The tour guide had lots of fun factual stories about Wroclaw throughout history.
The tour winds through the alleyways of the old town. In the alley that was home to the slaughter houses, bronze animals now roam the streets as a thank you to the animals that fed the town. The Little Little enjoyed sitting on them.
The University of Wroclaw features heavily into the walking tours as well. The magnificent old buildings are worth stopping to admire. My tour ducked into several little courtyards, which I would have otherwise passed by.
The tour ends on Cathedral Island. Here, the oil street lamps are lit each night and extinguished each morning, a ritual you can easily watch as the sun sets. This island is where the city began and thus is something you simply have to see The buildings are old and picturesque.
Exploring On Your Own
Wroclaw is wonderfully walkable and we loved exploring in the morning before the city was awake. We discovered so many fun little corners.
This labyrinth is basically heaven for kids who love to pretend they are trains. The boys happily ran around here one morning while Jeff and I enjoyed views of the river and some coffee.
The city is incredibly quiet in the morning. We really enjoyed having the run of the town each morning.
Although I really hate love locks, the boys did enjoy checking out all the locks in Wroclaw. The city was working to remove them one morning. The weight of the locks causes a huge structural problem for many of these old bridges, which weren’t designed to withstand the additional weight.
We almost didn’t make it to see this because we failed to get tickets in advance. I’ll spare you the whole story, but Jeff was able to get one ticket. I took the boys out on a walk while Jeff enjoyed this 360 degree round painting.
Where to Eat
You will have no trouble finding food in Wroclaw. We found so many amazing looking places to eat. We popped into so many great bakeries. Almost every place was willing to do takeout, so grab food to head out for a picnic or take it back to your lodging.
The Chleboteka bakery is not to be missed. We picked up a wonderful breakfast here and ate on one of the cafe tables just outside. What a lovely treat.
You’re also going to want to save some room for FRTKI +SOS a lovely little fry stand with several locations. There is always a line because it is just so yummy! The hardest thing is choosing which sauce you want to spread over your fries.
We loved everything about Wroclaw. It’s a small city that has plenty to explore. We loved how friendly and approachable it was. We felt relaxed for our entire visit and just enjoyed ourselves.