Historical capital of Upper Silesia
Another weekend flying to Wroclaw after a year we went there, yet with a different reason this time which was reaching Opole, 100 kilometres to the southeast. Not a city of special importance or any great sights, but fully meaningful to my travel companion as it is his birthplace before having to move to Germany when the borders changed and Opole returned to be a city in Poland and no Germany.
Also a good reason for returning to Wroclaw was to be with my friend whom I did not see for almost 12 years!. And of course, for the city itself. It is still among one of my favourite in Poland with so much to see and do. While the last time we visited it was almost December and the huge Christmas market was already on in the main square and streets, this time we got just in time to enjoy probably the last days of sun and warm temperatures before the Autumn drop. We’ve been very lucky on both Wroclaw and Opole with the weather, it could have been already very bad.
I know this guide is going to be quite explicit, but for the shake of it I could not pass the occasion and give it a go in creating it as I got some spare time right before our main long holidays for this year just 5 days ahead of us. But not minding the very small size of it and that there is not much to see, it was still worth to come for the day and enjoy the cute old town knowing most of it is a reconstruction since the World War II made a great loss and destruction in Opole.
Aside of anything else, not far from the city centre located to the west is Opole Village Museum, and that is something really worth to visit and that will pay off the trip here. It is one of the very few places in the country where you can see that many old houses that were taken from across the country and re-assembled here to keep for future generations and see how life was in Poland centuries back. I’ve been to similar museums elsewhere like in Sundsvall in Sweden and Aarhus in Denmark, and can clearly say this one in Poland is totally different to the others with a very different architectural style of wooden houses and churches. Plus its really large in size and great amount of houses in the collection!.
For more information about Opole check the Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Poland’s currency is the Zloty (PLN). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Opole
- Opole Village Museum As mentioned above in the introduction, this is one of the highlights for coming to Opole. The collection includes houses, farms, churches, shops, mills and a huge array of tools and machinery, some as old as the 15th century and collected from across the country and re-assembled here.
- Piast Tower Built in the 13th century by rule of Bolko I of Opole. Only the tower remains of the former castle and you will see it only meters west of the Old Town across the Kanał Młynówka, on the island formed by the canal and the Odra River.
- Kanał Młynówka This is a small canal from the main Odra River that passes parallel to the Old Town diving it from the new town. The length through the city is been made a nice walk and park.
- Penny Bridge Across the Kanał Młynówka there are few small bridges and from where you will get the best views of the Old Town at the opposite side. Among the most beautiful is this art-nouveau metal bridge, also known as the green bridge for its colour.
- Market Square On the other side of the Kanał Młynówka is the heart of the Old Town. Full with beautiful buildings at the four sides with the 19th century City Hall in the middle; this is the usual urbanism of any city in Poland.
- Cathedral Dating from the 14th century yet heavily reconstructed after the WWII damaged it. Inside it’s quite plain as opposed how this should have been richly decorated.
- Główne Railway Station The central train station is a beautiful fine example of eclectic architecture combining neo-gothic, neo-renaissance and neo-classical elements.
The nearest airport to Opole is Wroclaw at around 100 kilometres to the northwest, while Katowice is 140 kilometres to the east. Both offer a great choice of destinations across Europe with low cost carriers as Ryanair and WizzAir and is the most direct and quick way to then reach Opole either by train or by bus from the respective city centres.
From elsewhere within Poland, trains connect with Wroclaw and Katowice and are faster than driving. Buses offer a greater network across the country but travel times can be lengthily. Internal flights, however, are limited to few destinations within Poland.
Within the city there is absolutely no need for using any public transportation. With distances so small everything you need to see and do is walking distance from each other.
For this occasion I cannot recommend any hotel in the city as we did not stay overnight here but instead at my friend’s house back in Wroclaw. There is in any case a good choice of hotels specially if bearing in mind the small size the city is for which it should not be a problem to find a good deal around, or otherwise at the much larger city of Wroclaw just 1 hour away. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.
If looking for any ideas on where to stay in Wroclaw, I can strongly recommend you the hotel we were on our visit in December 2014, the Qubus Hotel, meters away from the Market Square. Location cannot be better! Plus the hotel overall, great staff and high quality, and what is best, their pool and jacuzzi, it really came handy after such busy and tiring sightseeing. The breakfast has over 100 items and was indeed of a great choice and taste. Definitely will not hesitate in coming back to the same hotel should I return to the city.