If you're in Olomouc including a Sunday or Wednesday save your visit to the old Castle museum for then -- it's free! Even if you have to pay though, it's 50Kc, a third the price of castles in Prague Krakow and Cesky. And eat at the Hanachka Hospoda, best food of my trip and again, cheap -- half a roast chicken with sauerkraut and dumplings plus a beer for less than 100Kc.
Imagine a city like Prague, but smaller and less-grandly spired, where a good share of the people strolling around the historic center are actually Czechs -- and you've got Olomouc, one of the Czech Republic's lesser known attractions. The city boasts two main squares, a striking town hall, a bevy of baroque fountains, and a massive plague column. You can relax in the numerous cafes and restaurants, or take part in the lively cultural scene. All of this is within easy walking distance of Olomouc hostels.
The astronomical clock here is more sociologically intriguing than Prague's. During communism, the saints and other religious figures were replaced with members of the happy, hard-working proletariat. Despite protests by various groups, they've left it that way -- a reminder of a fascinating past.
The cathedral sits grandly on the edge of town, but more beautiful and explorable is the Church of St. Michael. There you can wander the cloister and climb the bell tower, often in complete solitude. The best views, however, are from the top of the tower at yet another religious dwelling -- the Church of St. Maurice.
At Bezručovy gardens, peek at the old city walls, enjoy a picnic, take a bike ride, or go sledding with local kids (depending on season). The botanical gardens there are bigger than you might expect, with an impressive array of roses in season. These botanical delights are worth a visit.
Olomouc has the feel of a college town, so there are lots of cheap pubs and live music, which the staff of your Olomouc hostel can help you find. Open-air concerts aren't unusual during summer. For a different sort of cultural experience, try a ballet or opera at the reasonably priced Moravian Theater on the square.
Within striking distance of Olomouc are various castles and UNESCO sites, or you can simply rent a bike from the hostel and peddle out to a lake where locals sun and swim. Olomouc is a great place to spend a few relaxing days -- unless you fall in love and stay a few relaxing weeks.
Hi, I'm Melinda Brasher,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Olomouc hostels. Welcome.