Olomouc is the 6th biggest city in the Czech Republic. After Prague, Brno, and Plzen it’s another city worth visiting. Its architecture, culture, and religious heritage invite for a one-day trip. Count the fountains, look for the UNESCO site and enjoy your coffee in one of the fine spots! On top of that it’s less-traveled city, compared to Prague.
GET TO OLOMOUC
Located between Ostrava and Brno, Olomouc lies in Moravia Region. It’s easily accessible by train or bus.
Train: Olomouc train station is modern and easy to navigate and there are 3 train companies in the Czech Republic that you can use to get there: Czech railways, Regiojet and Leo Express
Bus: The Olomouc bus station is located near the railway station. Try out the student agency line to ride around the Czech Republic.
Plane: The nearest airport is in Ostrava, an hour drive from Olomouc.
Car: Getting by car is quite easy, from Brno it’s around 70 kilometers on highway D1. It’s the same as Ostrava. From Prague it’s a bit further, it’s almost 3 hour’s drive. The good news is that you can find free parking spots in Olomouc. We always park at Videnska street, which is about 7 minutes walk to the center.
GET AROUND OLOMOUC
The historical center of Olomouc is compact, so the best way is to visit it on foot, but in case you’re not in the mood for walking try out the buses and trams, which works very well. Another alternative is renting a bike. You’ll get fast from one spot to another.
WHAT TO SEE?
We started off at the Lower Square, then passed by a fountain and walked to the Upper Square. From here we climbed to the Cathedral of Saint Vaclav and decided it’s time for a pizza! On our way back we walked along the river, entered the park garden, saw the Palacky University, and finished the sightseeing at the playground. It took us several hours. We spent the evening in the aquapark.
MARIAN PLAGUE COLUMN
A dominating feature of the Lower Square is the baroque column with a statue of Virgin Mary. The column was built to commemorate the plague that struck Olomouc in 1713-1715 and its victims.
It’ll definitely get your attention. A fountain that features an ancient tale of a Greek poet Arion, who was saved by a dolphin was constructed in 2002. It completed the group of Olomouc Baroque fountains inspired by ancient Greek mythology. The oval pool of the fountain carries an obelisk on the shell of a monumental turtle, a sculpture of two children and the standing figure of Arion with a dolphin. Another turtle is located next to the fountain. The statues are covered by a detailed relief décor celebrating Moravia, the city of Olomouc, and its inhabitants.
HOLY TRINITY COLUMN
The no. 1 of all things to see in Olomouc, mainly because it was added to UNESCO heritage List in 2000. But also, the column itself is impressive, this baroque masterpiece features 18 sculptures of saints, 12 light-bearer figures, and 12 relief busts of the apostles. Inside it, there’s a small chapel. The construction process took more than 30 years, between 1716 and 1754. An interesting fact is that it was only locals who built it after the 2-year plague was finally over.
The gothic building of Olomouc Town Hall serves its purpose for over 600 years already! The building is one of the most interesting on the Upper Square. It has some renaissance decorations on the façade from the 16th and 17th centuries. And let’s not forget about the 75-meter-high tower, where you can climb and admire the panoramic view of Olomouc city. You can join a guided tour in the summer to see the various chambers and the gothic chapel that is connected to the building.
Olomouc held the status of the capital until the 17th century, when the city ‘lost’ to Brno, because of the damages incurred in the Thirty Years’ War.
The clock, which is a part of the Town Hall building, was built into its façadel. The Clock went through several metamorphoses, but today’s look is from a renovation after the Second World War when it was badly damaged. It’s decorated with a mosaic depicting the Ride of the Kings and the working class on the bottom. The dial displays the birthdays of Lenin and Stalin, as well as the International Day of the Worker. All because it was rebuilt during Communism. Find time to be by the clock at noon, as you can experience the 7-minute show with little figures of craftsmen and sportsmen.
FOUNTAINS IN OLOMOUC
Find all of Olomouc’s 6 fountains dotted around the center. The fountains have a Roman theme, five depicting mythological figures: Mercury, Hercules, Neptune, Jupiter and Tritons, and one devoted to Gaius Julius Caesar on horseback, who, legend has it, founded Olomouc 2000 years ago. The historic fountains are joined by modern additions. Constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries, the fountains were built to provide locals with water and water supply for fire-fighters.
ST. WENCESLAS’ CATHEDRAL
Just a 3 minute walk, in a quiet corner of the city, you find the St. Wenceslas Cathedral. The impressive Neo-Gothic Towers are actually the highest in Moravia and second highest in the Czech Republic. It was originally built as a Romanesque basilica in 1141, but it underwent several modifications and renovations, especially after a fire in 1265, when the Cathedral got its Gothic look. It’s free to get in, so take your time and appreciate the beautiful architecture. In the 20th century, both Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II visited St Wenceslas’.
PARK: BEZRUCOVY SADY
In Bezrucovy Sady you can follow the path along the old fortification walls, where you can climb to walk between a couple of the towers. Or find some statues, the oldest of which are four baroque sculptures of Hercules from 1757. If you’re into flowers, there’s a botanical garden or rosarium. For kids interesting might be Fort Science: Interactive Science Centre of Palacky University Olomouc. with more than 150 exhibitions and a digital planetarium.
WHAT TO TRY?
How often do you visit any city or region for its tasty, regional food? For example, you cannot leave Poland without trying the real donut (pączki), Vien without trying the Sacher cake or the Netherlands without tasting the finest gouda cheese! Olomouc has something special too.
THE OLOMOUC SOFT CHEESE
The famous tvaruzky is a smelly ripened soft cheese, produced in Lostice, a village outside Olomouc. It became the symbol of Olomouc. It’s so special that it even received its own EU trademark! Not everyone like the taste, mainly because of the smell. But being in Olomouc and not trying it is a sin! You’ll find original shops selling this cheese in Olomouc – don’t worry, you’ll find it…by the smell.
Naše Café is a popular café with a nice clean interior and an outside garden, on the Lower Square. They sell quality coffee here together with some tasty desserts.
OLOMOUC WITH KIDS
Take along your offsprings! Kids will like two places in particular! They could skip the sightseeing and go straight to the ZOO, which is situated on the hill above the city or to the aquapark, which you can find on the route from Brno to Olomouc.