With a great deal of personal travel nostalgia and snow in the air, my wife and I travelled to Wrocław on January 16, 2024, for a six-night stay in this wonderful city. Before I move on to writing about the best things to see and do in Wrocław in winter, I’d like to share some thoughts, facts and images related to the best viewpoints in Wrocław.
I begin with the observation deck on the 49th floor of the 212-metre-tall Sky Tower. Sky Tower is the fourth tallest building in Poland behind Varso Tower, the Palace of Culture and Science and Warsaw Spire respectively. These buildings are all located in Warsaw.
The Very Best Viewpoints in Wrocław
1. The Sky Tower Viewpoint
You can read a full review of my visit to the Sky Tower in Wrocław here. However, I’d still like to share a few takeaways from my experience up on the 49th floor of Sky Tower.
First of all, I’m not sure what the result of the current renovation works will bring on the viewing floor of Sky Tower. Nevertheless, as things stand, only half of the viewing floor is open to visitors. Still, from a height of approximately 200 metres above ground, visitors should not grumble and simply revel in the 180-degree views that are available. As I experienced myself, the views out to the south-west are stunning. The standout sight is Ślęża mountain within Ślęża Landscape Park (Ślężański Park Krajobrazowy) some 50 kilometres south-west of Wrocław. On a clear day, you might be able to see Śnieżka – a mountain on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland.
Overall, I wasn’t too disappointed about not being able to see the mountains on the border with Czechia. This is because the slightly hazy yet otherwise cloudless afternoon manufactured a gorgeous sunset at around 16:20 p.m. For the experience and photographic purposes, my wife and I were more interested in watching the sun go down than the mountains.
As things stand, the observation floor is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. You can buy tickets to the observation floor on the Sky Tower online ticket booking system.
2. St Elizabeth’s Church Tower – An awkward never-ending climb but well worth it
St. Elizabeth’s Church towers over the north-west corner of the Market Square. The current Gothic structure one can admire today dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries.
Certainly, the most impressive of the church is the monumental tower which measures a little over 91 metres. Visitors have to climb 304 steps to reach the viewing platform of the tower.
I must say that the climb up to the top is not for the faint-hearted. The stairwell is very narrow and twisting and many of the concrete steps are on the high side. Fortunately, there is a thin handrail. I’m in pretty good shape so I only had to stop a few times for a short breather. Frankly, the descent took more out of my leg muscles than the ascent.
As you may see from the pictures below, the 360-degree views more than make up for the unwelcome cardio workout.
When it comes to the best viewpoints in Wrocław which are at the top of churches, St Elizabeth’s Church Tower stands out above all because it offers the best views of the Market Square and the Odra River.
Adults – 15 zł
Concessions (school pupils, students, pensioners, disabled people) – 10 zł
Children under the age of 6 – FREE
3. The Bridge of Penitents – the most famous sight in Wrocław?
The Bridge of Penitents (Mostek Pokutnic w Katedrze św. Marii Magdaleny), which connects the two towers of the Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene, is perhaps Wrocław’s leading draw for tourists.
St. Mary Magdalene’s Cathedral owes its current shape to the fourteenth-century reconstruction in the spirit of “Wrocław Gothic”. In 1481, slender, high towers covered with soaring cupolas were added. The towers were connected by a characteristic bridge which was destroyed at the end of the Second World War. It was rebuilt in 2001.
As you exit the tower and step out onto the Bridge of Penitents, you can’t fail to notice two figures perched on the right hand side of the bridge. Well, there’s a very important legend associated with these figures and I will summarise the story for you in a post coming soon.
All in all, the views may not quite be of the 360-degree variety due to the towers. However, the Bridge of Penitents is still one of the best viewpoints in Wrocław, particularly out west with the unique perspective of the Market Square and St. Elizabeth’s Church in the foreground.
Adults – 15 zł
Concessions – 10 zł
Family ticket (2+1) – 35 zł
Family ticket (2+2 – 40 zł
4. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Observation Tower
Located on Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski), the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wrocław is one of the foremost landmarks in Wrocław.
My wife and I entered the cathedral just after 10am on a bitterly cold morning. Nevertheless, our spirits were high as the sun was shining brightly.
The ticket booth inside the church sells tickets to both the viewing terrace and the baroque chapels and altar [Kaplice barokowe i ołtarz św. Jana Chrzciciela (Prezbiterium)]. However, we decided to leave the chapels and altar for another time.
The lady selling the tickets instructed us where the elevator was. After climbing a few stairs, taking the elevator up, and then navigating some more stairs, we emerged onto the observation deck.
I remember doing some sightseeing in and around Riga when the temperature was around -24c. That was nothing compared to the wind chill I felt at the top of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wrocław. Sure, the views were incredible but, unfortunately, I couldn’t wait to get back down to ground level. The worst thing was that I had to take one of my gloves off to do some video recording and take some pictures. Within the space of ten seconds, the fingers on my right hand felt like they’d been trapped in a door.
Shockingly, there was ice all over the floor of the observation deck. One chap carrying a camera slipped over. Chaos.
All in all, the views across Wrocław, the islands and waterways and towards the Old Town are stunning. Well worth the slightly high fee.
Adults – 25 zł
Concessions (school pupils, students, pensioners, disabled people) – 20 zł
Family ticket (two adults, one child) – 35 zł (every other child – 10 zł)
Group tickets are available (25 zł/20 zł).
Final thoughts on the best viewpoints in Wrocław
Admittedly, I haven’t considered every single viewpoint in Wrocław. For example, I could have added the Mathematical Tower Of Wroclaw University (Wieża Matematyczna) which offers stunning views across the Oder River. Nevertheless, I believe that the four attractions I’ve listed cannot be missed for their panoramic cityscapes from way up high.
I look forward to visiting the observation decks again in the summertime so that I can see Wrocław from a different perspective. More greenery, no snow and hopefully less haze next time.