Olomouc at the top
Three years, three excellent awards by the world’s prestigious guidebook. Lonely Planet made a list of the most beautiful, yet lesser known tourist destinations. It wasn’t the hot springs of Iceland, Gibraltar Rocks, Odysseus' Ithaca or Luxemburg that ranked in first place but the historical center of Olomouc!
The mini guidebook, Secret Europe, presents tourists with fifty cities from different parts of Europe. The largest, world-renowned guidebook publisher attracts tourists to Olomouc by saying that “in terms of tourism Olomouc can be equated to an authentic restaurant which is your own, small, personal secret. The Main Square is amongst the most enchanting in the country. It is surrounded by historical buildings. It is adorned by the Holy Trinity Column listed as the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Magnificent churches, many of which host an exciting history, are scattered in the streets of the historical center. Explore the foundations of the ancient Olomouc castle in the Archdiocese Museum which is a must-see and then set out to one of the many pubs or mini-breweries”. In 2012, the publisher also awarded Olomouc by ranking it in the top ten most beautiful hidden treasures in Europe. One year later it was once again on the list of the recommended destinations in Moravia. “It’s beautiful as well as surprising for us. Lonely Planet is to tourist guidebooks what Michelin is to gastronomy. I perceive it as a win in the tourist Olympics,” responded Olomouc mayor, Martin Major, when he first heard of the award. “I am very pleased that the professional editor-in-chief of this publication truly appreciates the beauty of our city, its picturesque atmosphere and its uniqueness.
Apart from other things, Olomouc captivated them by the fact that it offers the same architectural treasures as Prague but without the crowds of tourists. It is definitely Olomouc’s advantage in comparison with our capital. However, despite repeated acclaim from the renowned guidebook, it may only be temporary”, mentioned the mayor, Major, with a smile. The deputy mayor, Jan Holpuch added, “I believe that this is an opportunity to introduce our beautiful city to many other tourists.” “I think that being awarded as a hidden treasure or undiscovered city will give Olomouc an even stronger stamp of attractiveness and will evoke more interest in potential visitors.”
Olomouc has been trying to advertise its beauty in a high-quality and systematic way. In the past years, this attempt has proved effective. Statistically as well as simply looking into the streets of the city center confirms that the number of tourists to Olomouc has truly increased. Olomouc is on the list of destinations offered by travel agencies as for example, one-day trips from Prague or as a part of the Vienna – Krakow route. “Greater advertising in cooperation with the agency CzechTourism certainly helped.
This agency gives Olomouc more space than before”, says Karin Vykydalová, head of the tourism department. “Acclaim from Lonely Planet obviously helps. Ideally, a visitor comes here based on the recommendation, is satisfied here and then recommends Olomouc to his friends back home”, adds Dušan Gavenda of the same department. Lonely Planet Secret Europe can be downloaded for free at: www.lonelyplanet.com/secret-europe.
Horní náměstí (Upper Square)
Town Hall's archway
779 11 Olomouc
Opening hours: daily 9:00am –7:00pm
Tel.: (+420) 585 513 385, 392
Olomouc region Card
Olomouc Region Card is a tourist discount card that allows you to visit Olomouc significant savings. Its purchase to make sure you completely discounted or free admission.
Do not forget to visit the attractive Olomouc‘s gardens, which are the perfect place for relaxation and active leisure time.
The length of main avenues reaches almost 2,5 kilometres and anyone who would like to go through all the other side paths must reckon with more than four hours of walking.
JUST A FEW STEPS FROM THE STONE MONUMENTS TO THE SHADE OF TREES AND AROMA OF FLOWERS
Olomouc has also been called a “pearl in green” thanks to its alluring municipal parks and botanical garden surrounding the old centre. The famous Flora exhibition is held in the town three times a year and attracts tens of thousands of visitors.
The three expansive parks encircling the historical town centre since the 19th century provide an oasis of trees and flowers, interwoven with kilometres of paths for walking, cycling or roller skating. In spring the parks are filled with thousands of tulips and an intoxicating aroma of magnolia and jasmine. All year round romantic locations can be found beneath the city walls, whilst the parks also offer areas for sports or children’s play areas. A popular area for rest is the Rudolph alley with a length of over 700 metres.
Visitors can relax by a lake with a fountain, enjoy a coffee on the terrace at the Fontána restaurant, or take a walk amongst huge cacti, exotic palms and orchids in the greenhouses. The Botanic Garden contains attractive plants and trees, as well as a rosary with hundreds of species of roses.
A portion of greenery is provided by the zoo at Svatý Kopeček, submerged in the forest in the hills above the town. The Poděbrady lake is a gateway to the protected landscape area of Litovelské Pomoraví, which provides an ideal location for walks and cycling trips along the meandering river Morava, with a carpet of flowers and rare types of plants.