Off the Beaten Track
Olomouc was the Czech Republic’s best kept secret for years, but it’s emerging slowly. Once the powerful capital of the Great Moravian Empire, Olomouc is now the capital of the Moravian region with a thrilling history. During and after WWII the town fell on hard times and a lot of the gorgeous Renaissance architecture was destroyed, but later restored in a Socialist Realism spirit that only the Soviets could manage. These moments in history have left a very interesting sight to behold. Nowadays the town houses the second oldest university in the country, with a thriving student population and nightlife to match.
Did You Know?
- Olomouc is actually pronounced ‘Olla-mouts’.
- Olomouc is known for its stinky beer cheese, called olomoucký sýr. Give it a go, but don’t say we didn’t warn you!
1. Holy Trinity Column
In the Old Town Square you’ll find the stunning Holy Trinity Column that Austrian Empress Maria Theresa erected in the 18th century. The Baroque memorial column is the most outstanding example of a monument that is very typical of Central Europe. On the column you’ll see the Holy Trinity, the assumption of the Virgin Mary, all twelve apostles, three virtues, the most important saints of the Baroque period and a small chapel at its base.
2. Town Hall
When you first lay eyes on the 15th century Gothic and Renaissance Town Hall located in the main town square, you will be inspired. This beautiful building houses a gallery, restaurant and tourist information, but the main attraction is the astronomical clock. First mentioned in the 15th century, its current form is from the 20th century in a Socialist Realism style after some destruction during WWII. As a surviving example of Socialist Realism, the Astronomical clock in Olomouc is unique around the world.
3. St Michael Church
Saint Michael’s Church is plain on the outside, but once you step inside you are greeted by the most beautiful Baroque interior. Be sure to check out the rather large Engler organ, one of the biggest in Europe. From the tower you can get a fantastic panorama over the city.
4. Chapel of St Jan Sarkander
The Chapel of Saint Jan Sarkander stands on the site of a former town prison. The Catholic priest was imprisoned here during the Thirty Years War as he was accused of collaboration with the enemy. He was tortured beyond belief but still didn’t reveal anything and eventually died here. Go and see the torture rack and Sarkander’s gravestone.
5. St Wenceslas Church
This thousand year old cathedral dominates the city skyline and has the tallest spire in the region of Moravia. Well-known figures such as Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa have both visited the cathedral.
1. St Wenceslas Brewery
St Wenceslas Brewery is a large microbrewery that serves up five different brews including wheat and fruit flavoured beers. The food menu is typical Czech food and they offer great lunch specials from 70kc. Down in the cellar is a newly renovated area. It was an old nuclear fallout shelter, and now offers spas in old oak vats of dark beer!
2. Restaurace Pod Limpou
Not too far from the Old Town Square you’ll find this cool basement level restaurant. Pod Limpou serves up traditional Czech cuisine as well as a few western dishes to please everyone. If you come here, make sure to try a meat platter or indulge in the ribs, they are divine.
3. Cafe Caesar
Café Caesar is located in the Old Town square on the ground floor of the Town Hall. There’s a large outdoor area right on the square, so you know you are going to be surrounded by beauty when coming here. The café is named after the legendary founder of the city, and also serves up tasty Italian cuisine such as pizza and pasta.
4. U Andela
Known as one of the best restaurants in town, U Andela serves up a top notch menu in a restaurant that looks out from the top of the city walls across to the park. Inside you’ll find an interior with potted plants and antiques dotted everywhere. On the menu you can select from many different Czech dishes like the “dinosaur steak” (a chicken fillet on top of a pork fillet on top of a beef steak) for a really affordable price!
5. Cafe 87
If you want to treat yourself for breakfast then Café 87 is your place. They do some excellent English style breakfasts but also offer some yummy treats throughout the day and are famous for their chocolate cakes.
1. Captain Morgan’s
Located in the old water barracks which was built during the time of Empress Maria Theresa, Captain Morgan’s is a huge bar, club and restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed and the bar hosts a DJ on the weekends.
The lifeblood of Moravia has to be its wine. To sample some specialties, there are wine bars (‘vinarna’) all over town. Head inside one of many wine bars or wine cellars and try some of the sweet nectar for yourself as it varies quite a lot from the Western European wines - totally different grape varieties! And if you fall in love with any particular wine, you can take in a plastic bottle and get it filled up to take away. Bringing your own bottles keeps it super cheap!
Vertigo is always packed with local and international students, set in a subterranean bar with cave paintings plastered on the walls. This bar is a good place to socialise as most times you are guaranteed a table.
Belmondo is a good place for dancing in the city centre located in the old water barracks. There is a small cover charge on Friday and Saturday night but that’s because they have hot DJ’s playing there.
5. Klub 15 Minut
Klub 25 Minut is a riverside club that remains to be one of the best live music venues in town.
Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here
A great town if you really want to get off the beaten track."