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.
One of the towns with which Olomouc cooperated most actively until recently is undoubtedly Veenendaal. In October 2008, representatives of Olomouc visited the city to celebrate the 15th anniversary of partnership. Veenendaal is located right in the heart of the country near the capital city of the province of Utrecht. In its vicinity, there are the famous Veluwe and Betuwe nature reserves.
Currently, Veenendaal has 60,000 inhabitants. In 1997, the city was named the greenest city of Europe, because of its access to public green. In 2001, it was chosen as the top BikeCity of the Netherlands, an award for which it had repeatedly applied, thanks to a large network of cycle paths and associated services. There are more bicycles than people in the Netherlands. Rather than for sport and recreation purposes, bikes are used to travel to work and school, shops or for culture. Veenendaal does not have many historic monuments. Yet it is a picturesque, typically Dutch town, where there are also two traditional, recently restored windmills.The older monuments include the church Oude Kerk near the Het Kleine Veenloo Museum where visitors can learn about the history of the city. Truly surprising is the modern, generous housing development surrounded by green areas. The city centre is also undergoing a major modernization. Here in the spacious passages, you will find plenty of shops and one of the largest and most modern Dutch theatres De Lampegiet. Veenendaal follows religious traditions and religious principles play an important role here.
The agreement on cooperation was signed by the two partner cities by the end of 1993. Since then a series of activities among various organizations of both cities has developed. In addition to regular official visits our partners from Veenedaal have provided support in the social sphere, namely to Tyfloservis Olomouc, Klíč, Charity or Associated Facilities For Child Care. The cooperation in education is also active, namely with following secondary schools: Slovanské gymnázium grammar school, Tchaikovsky grammar school, Secondary School of Electrical Engineering and Department of Dutch Studies at the Palacký University. Exchanges between Scouts as well as exhibitions of art works by students of primary and secondary schools have taken place repeatedly.
The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra has guest appeared several times in the Netherlands and contacts have been also established between municipal brass bands, jazz bands, photographers' clubs and amateur and professional graphic artists. Official contacts have often developed into personal friendships and partners visit each other even outside of work. Equally active are sportsmen, church leaders, journalists, fire-fighters and police officers. Similarly focused companies and city hall employees underwent internship trainings. The Dutch also helped with the project of Environmental Education Centre Sluňákov in Horka nad Moravou, where a "Veenendaal alley" arose, funded and planted by families from Veenendaal. During the floods of 1997, the Veenendaal city council made a financial contribution to Olomouc and Veenendaal residents, especially the youth, carried out a fund-raising campaign.