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Dubbed the Venice of Poland, Wrocław is the capital of Lower Silesia and a little-known gem. It's famous for its photogenic Gothic architecture and 12 fascinating islands connected by over 100 bridges, on the river Oder. From the castle-like train station to the colourful façades of the vibrant old town, this is a city rich in history, with lots of museums displaying relics of the communist past. In the Market Square, you can sip a cold beer at one of the traditional bars while you take in the eclectic mix of buildings. At night, there's a bustling pub scene.
There's a varied choice of hostels in Wrocław. Lots of places are found right in the centre, so you won't have far to go to find the main attractions. You can opt for an eco-conscious spot that prides itself on using recycled materials, or stay in a renovated 19th-century townhouse that gives you a feel for the city's past. You can save on budget by choosing a Wrocław hostel with a shared kitchen, and join a free walking tour to get an insider's view. Free Wi-Fi is a common perk in Wrocław hostels.
The streets of Stare Miasto, Wrocław's old town, are full of character and are lined with red-roofed buildings. You'll find eye-catching architecture, historic sites and churches here. The downtown neighbourhood of Śródmieście has a Venetian vibe, with riverfront parks and Cathedral Island or Ostrów Tumski. If you want to immerse yourself in local life, head out to one of the suburbs, such as Psie Pole.
Not to be missed in Wrocław is Centennial Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site set in manicured gardens and noted for its gravity-defying dome. At the weekend, the hall comes alive with music and light shows at its Multimedia Fountain. To get a great view of the city, head to the vantage point at the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice. Those looking for a unique experience could spend the day spotting its charming gnomes. There are over 300 to be discovered, and each has a name and story.
From Wrocław-Copernicus Airport, you can get to the centre on the 106 bus. It runs every 20 minutes and takes around 30 minutes. Wrocław Główny is the main train station, and you can get a train to Kraków (a three-hour trip) or Warsaw (about five hours). The city is compact, so you can see the main sights on foot or by bike. If you want to get around faster, take the tram or bus.