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.
When writing about our sister cities we usually add the "most" prefix, like "the most remote" or "the longest cooperating". Among the cities with which Olomouc maintains partnership, the Swiss Lucerne undoubtedly deserves the designation "the most beautiful". The capital of a canton of the same name with 60 thousand inhabitants is situated in the heart of Switzerland on the shores of the Lake of the Four Cantons, sometimes also called the Lake Lucerne.
Mount Pilatus and Rigi complement the pleasant scenery. One of the most famous landmarks of the city, whose existence is known from the 8th century already, is the wooden, 200-meter long Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke) from the 14th century, restored after a devastating fire a few years ago. The Mill Bridge which is hundred years younger has been preserved nearby. Another impressive monument are the large fortifications with nine towers from the 14th century, offering the visitors a wonderful view of the surroundings.
The most important cathedral rebuilt in the late Renaissance style of the so called "Jesuit Baroque" is the Jesuit Church from the 17th century. Another famous attraction of Lucerne is the Lion Monument, built to honour the soldiers of the Swiss Guards of the French king killed by revolutionaries in Paris in 1792. Not far from it there is the Glacier Garden which indicates the existence of glaciers in this area and the unique Bourbaki Panorama depicting a scene from the Franco-German War in 1870-1871. Another place with a great view of the city is the castle Gutsch where Queen Victoria stayed. In the town centre there are plenty of picturesque squares with fountains and town houses with richly decorated and painted shields. Lucerne is undoubtedly also a city of museums, one of which is the Swiss Museum of Transport, the largest of its kind in Europe. The Museum of History, the Nature Museum, collection of Picasso's paintings, the Richard Wagner Museum and the Museum of Swiss national costumes and customs all house rich collections. The city's annual Carnival is a typical event that most residents engage into spontaneously.
Generous financial help from Lucerners who raised CZK 13 million when Olomouc was flooded in 1997 proved that cooperation works in good times as well as in bad times. The construction of an environmentally friendly biomass heating plant at the Zoo on St. Hill was a very interesting joint project financed by Lucerne's city hall. The project was presented at an international energy conference in Basel in 2004. Our cities exchange official delegations and employees of both city halls participate in professional exchange programs. The knowledge and experience with tourism in Lucerne is particularly beneficial for Olomouc.
Artists from all areas of the art world cooperate actively. Members of fire departments share their experience too. Students of the Slovanské gymnázium grammar school excelled on a discussion forum on European Union. Employees of Lucerne’s social institutions gave lectures about their experience during the Week of mental health. Lucerne’s municipal sports commission as well as runners from Lucerne participated in the World Orienteering Championship held in Olomouc in 2008. The City of Luzern presented itself at the spring edition of Flora international horticultural exhibition. The Moravian Gallery has repeatedly offered its jewellery and ceramics at Christmas markets in Lucerne. Olomouc learns the waste management in Lucerne – the Palacký University’s and TSMO’s (waste services company) staffs as well as Olomouc municipal clerks participated in a traineeship in Lucerne in 2009.