You probably haven’t heard of Olomouc. That’s okay.
Olomouc is a city of around 100,000 people in the eastern corner of the Czech Republic.
Olomouc isn’t nearly as well-known as Prague. It’s not even as well-known as Cesky Krumlov or Brno.
Despite these drawbacks, I had a great time visiting Olomouc – and if you follow my Olomouc travel guide, I bet you will too.
1) Visit the Upper Square
Olomouc has a surprisingly nice main square in the center of town. It’s officially called Upper Square (or Horni namesti in Czech). It’s the largest square in Olomouc (sorry, Lower Square).
According to TripAdvisor, 3 of Olomouc’s top 4 main sights can be found on the square, including the Holy Trinity Column, Olomouc Astronomical Clock, and the Olomouc Town Hall.
Olomouc isn’t big, so you can walk to the square from anywhere. Although the cathedral is cool, the Holy Trinity Column is particularly famous.
The Holy Trinity Column is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the early 1700s. Calling it a “column” is a bit misleading: it’s a large monument. I walked into Olomouc’s square looking for an obelisk. The “column” was built to celebrate the Catholic Church, and Olomouc’s finest craftspeople teamed up to build it.
The Olomouc Astronomical Clock, meanwhile, looks like other astronomical clocks you see around Europe: there are funny symbols on the clock, and the clock somehow tracks the times, seasons, and lunar cycles.
The Olomouc Astronomical Clock is on the wall of the Olomouc City Hall. The big building in the center of Olomouc’s Upper Square is the city hall. Both the town hall building and the clock were built all the way back in the 1400s. You can climb to the top of the Olomouc City Hall to get a panoramic view of the city and the surroundings.
2) Check Out the Ridiculously Old St. Wenceslas Cathedral
Olomouc has a really old cathedral called St. Wenceslas Cathedral, or Katedrála sv. Václava in Czech.
I’m not joking when I say it’s really old: the cathedral was founded in 1107.
It’s a gothic cathedral located at Wenceslas Square, another square in Olomouc a short walk from the Upper Square. It’s more of a church parking lot than a square.
The cathedral is significant for more than just its age. There are three towers on the cathedral. The back tower is the second tallest church tower in the Czech Republic (and the tallest church tower in Moravia).
There was a wedding at the cathedral when we were in Olomouc. The interior…I mean it looks like a Gothic cathedral. It’s cool and old and looks like you would expect.
3) Visit the Archdiocesan Museum
Right beside St. Wenceslas Cathedral is a museum called the Archdiocesan Museum. This museum is surprisingly cool. You get to go several levels below ground and see the surface of the earth as it was when the cathedral was first built in the 1100s. Have you ever seen dirt from the 1100s?
The museum is filled with historical artifacts from across the Olomouc region. I know it’s called a church museum, but it’s basically the Olomouc region’s history museum too.
As with everything in Olomouc, there are English descriptions available throughout the museum. You shouldn’t have an issue walking around knowing only English, although I remember some stuff was not translated.
4) Go to an HC Olomouc Hockey Game
HC Olomouc plays in the top tier of professional Czech hockey (the Czech Extraliga). The team has only won the championship once (1994).
We visited Olomouc in summer, which is way outside of hockey season. However, if you get a chance to see a hockey game in the Czech Republic, you should absolutely take it.
5) Visit the Olomouc Beer Spa
That’s it. You’ve seen the top four most important things in Olomouc. Now, it’s time to be a good Czech person and drink a beer – but this time you’re going to drink a beer in a spa.
One of the most exciting moments of my life was when I discovered Olomouc had a beer spa.
One of the most disappointing moments of my life was when, several minutes later, I realized the beer spa was fully booked the entire three days we were in Olomouc. It was devastating.
Yes, you can literally bathe in beer in Olomouc at a place called Svatovaclavsky Pivovar. You can also eat and drink at the restaurant above the beer spa. Or do both.
The beer bath works like other beer baths: you sit in a tub of hops and other nourishing ingredients. There’s a never-ending tap of beer beside you. You drink and relax. It’s heaven.
One day, I will come back to Olomouc – and I’m heading straight for that beer bath.
Where to Stay in Olomouc
There are dozens of small and large hotels in Olomouc available on all the normal hotel booking websites.
There are also plenty of Airbnbs and other rentals available.
Olomouc is a student town, which means you should have no trouble finding a place to stay at any budget – especially if you’re visiting in the summer when students are away.
There are four hostels in Olomouc. I recommend staying at Long Story Short Hostel or Poets’ Corner Hostel.
We stayed in Poets’ Corner and it was great. It’s an apartment that has been turned into a hostel, and there are only a couple of rooms. The couple working at the hostel took us out for drinks, we met up with the hostel’s owner, and we ended up having a great night on the town.
Long Story Short Hostel is a larger hostel that is also well-rated (both hostels have identical ratings of 4.8 at the time of writing).
Where to Eat and Drink in Olomouc
Olomouc has a good selection of places to eat and drink for all tastes. Locals will tell you to try the famous stinky Olomouc cheese. I had it and I thought it was pretty good – and I don’t usually like cheese.
Svatovaclavsky Pivovar: Beer spa, traditional Czech restaurant, and brewery rolled into one convenient location
Minipivovar a Steakhouse Riegrovka: A steakhouse and microbrewery
Hostinsky Pivovar Moritz: Another brewery and restaurant with a beautiful patio in the summer (we got the famous stinky Olomouc cheese here)
Drapal: We didn’t eat here but it’s a traditional Czech restaurant that gets mentioned on a lot of tourist blogs
Faency Fries Olomouc: Have you ever had craft fries? Try Faency Fries if you’re looking for a vegetarian option in Olomouc
Black Stuff: Very popular, very well-rated Irish pub and whisky bar
Plan B: Well-rated bar and grill with a casual atmosphere
Any Cocktail Bar or Bistro South of the Upper Square: There’s a section of Olomouc just south of the Upper Square where there’s like a dozen cocktail bars, bistros, and pubs; pick any of them and you’ll have a good time – we bounced between several
How to Get There
Olomouc is on two of the main transit corridors in the Czech Republic, so it’s easy to get around by train.
If you’re going to or from Prague, it will take around 2h15m or 2h30m. You could even do a day trip.
There are regular trains from Brno to Olomouc for under 5 EUR. They take about 1 hour.
You can also get to or from Krakow, although it’s not as easy as you might think by looking at a map. You’ll need to take a couple buses and trains, and it takes about 6h.
Personally, we were visiting Olomouc from the mountain town of Zdiar, Slovakia as part of our backpacking trip. We got on the train in Poprad, Slovakia, and it took us directly to Olomouc in about 4h. Not bad.
If you’re arriving by train, you should take a taxi to the city center, which is where most of the hostels are. You can walk (and I almost always walk when it’s an option), but it’s better to take a taxi. Taxis should be cheap.
How Long to Spend in Olomouc
You can easily see the top sights of Olomouc in one full day. Two nights would be perfect if you are arriving late the first night.
Book the beer spa in advance, and you’ll definitely knock out my top five sights to see in Olomouc in one day.
We spent three days in Olomouc, which is way too long for a normal tourist visit. However, we needed a quieter place to unwind after a hectic schedule, and Olomouc worked perfectly.
Other Tips for Olomouc, Czech Republic
Check Out the Museum of Modern Art: Modern art isn’t my thing, but it may be yours. Olomouc has a popular and well-rated Museum of Modern Art. It’s not expensive, and it will broaden your horizons I guess.
Understand It’s a Student Town: Olomouc is a student town, home to Palacky University Olomouc. During the winter, the town has a sizable student population. You should be able to find plenty of fun in bars and pubs over the winter.
Visit Any Time of Year (There’s No High Season): We visited Olomouc in the summer, and it was very quiet. I know, I know, it’s Olomouc and not Prague, and maybe it’s a little busier these days. However, don’t be afraid to visit just because it’s high season.
Book the Beer Spa Early: We didn’t even know there was a beer spa until it was too late and it was fully booked. Book it early if you want to visit.
Final Word: Is Olomouc Worth Visiting?
Olomouc is worth visiting if you’re sick of touristy places like Prague, which is now among the top four most visited cities in Europe (after Paris, Rome, and London – yeah seriously).
Olomouc has enough things to do to keep you entertained for a full day. The people are friendly. English is prevalent. There’s a student population in the winter and a nice patio culture in the summer.
I wouldn’t say Olomouc is worth a day trip from Prague for the average tourist – unless you’re just really into Olomouc or want to do the beer spa.
However, if you’re looking for a laidback, affordable place with some history and normal Czech people going about their everyday life, then Olomouc is perfect.
Personally, I loved Olomouc– I went in with zero expectations and I came away with great travel memories.