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.
Olomouc has always been the spiritual capital of Moravia. It is the seat of the Archbishopric and believers from different faiths will find here their churches and chapels. It is said that Olomouc has the highest number of churches and chapels per capita. Many Olomouc temples are of high artistic and historical value.
A CITY OF MONUMENTS, PARKS AND ENTERTAINMENT, A SUPERB BLEND OF BEAUTY AND FUN
The Astronomical Clock on the front of the Olomouc Town Hall is a rarity in worldwide terms, reconstructed after World War II in socialist realist style with a procession of figures of workers, sportsmen and rural folk. The imposing beauty of the Holy Trinity Column – a UNESCO monument, the group of six Baroque fountains and the modern Arion Fountain are further unique features concentrated in the historical town centre.
The cathedral and palaces on the Wenceslas mound impress visitors with one thousand years of history. It was at this historical site, known as the Olomouc castle, that the last ruler of the Přemyslid dynasty died at the sword, and the young W. A. Mozart composed his sixth symphony here. Part of the former fortification from the era of Empress Marie Theresa, previously used as a barracks, is now a busy entertainment centre containing dozens of pubs and clubs. Meanwhile an oasis of calm is provided by the Olomouc‘s gardens or the outdoor bathing area at Poděbrady on the edge of town, with a terrace restaurant, clean water and grassy banks for sunbathing.
Olomouc is well worth a longer stay! A trip to the monumental pilgrimage church at Svatý Kopeček offers a superb view of the town and the fertile Haná plain, walks in the forest and a large Zoo containing hundreds of species of animals and entertainment for all the family. The aqua park with several attractions, the vintage car museum, paths for roller skating, galleries, theatres, festivals, Olomouc parks and military forts and bastions, walks through picturesque countryside or tours of grandiose castles in the region provide for several days of entertainment and relaxation.