Ten Things to do in Olomouc

Discover the history, nature and gastronomy of the Moravian region

Tucked in the heart of Moravia, around 2.30 hours from Prague and around a two-hour drive from the border with Slovakia, Olomouc is among the Czech Republic’s most underrated destinations. A thriving university hub, this fascinating Moravian city has attracted a growing flux of tourists during the last decade, boasting a unique historical heritage, an intriguing culinary scene, and cultural and artistic wealth that parallels great European capitals such as Paris or London. Famous for its stunning Baroque architecture, typical spicy cheese and peculiar dialect (Olomouc should be pronounced ‘Ol-oh-moats’, which will be tricky for non-native speakers!), Olomouc is an unmissable destination on your trip to Middle Europe, offering great chances for entertainment without the fuss of tourist crowds. From the glorious Baroque fountains and squares to the imposing cathedrals and castles- Bouzov Castle is among the most impressive and oldest fortresses in Europe, the city is not short on cultural attractions and enjoys a lively, modern atmosphere that will entice you to discover more about the Moravian region. Read our tips below and find out the best things to do and see in Olomouc.
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Visit the Upper Square and the Holy Trinity Column

Start unveiling Olomouc’s treasures with a walk through its historic centre. Olomouc Old Town is a well-preserved example of Neo-classic and Baroque architecture, hosting some of the city’s most important landmarks and monuments. The Central or Upper Square (called Horní náměstí in Czech) is well representative of Moravia’s artistic wealth, showcasing masterpieces such as the old Town Hall Gothic building, the sumptuous Arion Fountain and the stunning Holy Trinity Column. One of the largest statue complexes in Europe, the 35-metre high pillar is a memorial built to celebrate the Catholic Church and rejoice for the end of the plague and is among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Holy Trinity Column is topped by the gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity, the Archangel Gabriel, and the assumption of the Virgin Mary and displays numerous sacred art elements and statues depicting Moravian saints and other biblical characters. Take a moment to pause and enjoy an ice cream or a cold drink on the benches around the column while you admire the square’s impressive architecture. If you visit Olomouc between November and December, do not miss the extensive Christmas market in the Upper Square and taste some of the typical mulled wine and punch.

Admire the majestic Saint Wenceslas Cathedral

A 10-minute walk from the Upper Square will bring you to one of the most renowned landmarks in Olomouc. Dominating the homonymous square, Saint Wenceslas Cathedral is one of the city’s Gothic jewels dating back to the 12th century. The imposing cathedral occupies the site of the former Olomouc Castle and is among the oldest and most impressive religious monuments in Europe, competing with masterpieces such as Sainte Croix Cathedral in Orléans or the Cathedral of St Andrew of Bordeaux. Saint Wenceslas Cathedral’s 100-metre tower is the second-highest in the country and dominates the Olomouc skyline with its Gothic spire. To get the most out of your visit, join a guided tour to learn about the history of the cathedral and admire its majestic interiors.

Check out Olomouc Town Hall and Astronomical Clock

While exploring Olomouc Old Town and Upper Square, take the time to admire the imposing Old Town Hall building and its 75-metre-high belfry. Climb to the top of the tower and enjoy incomparable views of the Olomouc cityscape from above. On the northern wall of the City Hall building you can admire a Medieval heliocentric astronomical clock, similar to the famous Oroloj in Prague. The clock dates back to the 15th century and, after several reconstructions, was renovated in the Socialist realism style in 1955. Stand by the clock as it strikes the hour at 12.00 and watch the symbolic figurines in motion.

Deep dive into Olomouc gastronomy

Do not leave beautiful Olomouc without tasting some delicious local specialities. Moravian and Bohemian gastronomy is influenced by the nearby countries' culinary traditions, namely Austria and Germany, and includes many elaborated meat and cheese-based dishes. Among the numerous typical dishes, we recommend you try:

  • Olomoucke Tvaruzky: this unique cheese produced from fat-free sour curd is a fundamental element of Olomouc and Moravian cuisine. It has an unmistakable savoury, piquant flavour and a soft texture and is normally served in the form of short rolls, rings or sticks.
  • Dumplings (knedlicky) are typical of Czech and Prague cuisine and are served in main or second dishes to accompany meat or in soups. Roasted pork with dumplings, potatoes and sauerkraut is among the traditional dishes most loved by the locals.
  • Kolac: Czech desserts and pastries will delight your sweet tooth. While in Olomouc, try kolac, a round pancake-sized pastry typically filled with cream, jam or marmalade. Other desserts we recommend are bobovka, a traditional breakfast pastry, and buchty, a yeast pastry similar to kolac but with a different shape and filling.

Discover Olomouc Baroque fountains

Among Olomouc’s Baroque monuments and buildings, we recommend you do not miss the city’s iconic seven fountains. Depicting gods, heroes and characters inspired by Roman history and mythology, the group of fountains well represent Olomouc architecture’s splendour. Besides Arion Fountain, located in the Upper Square, the group includes:

  • Caesar Fountain: the most famous and artistically complex fountain in Olomouc is a tribute to Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar
  • Hercules Fountain, the second oldest fountain in Olomouc
  • Jupiter Fountain: located in Dolní Square, the fountain replaced the original sculpture of St. Florian in 1735.
  • Neptune Fountain: also situated in Dolní Square, it is the oldest fountain of the group. It depicts the Roman god of waters surrounded by sea horses.
  • Tritons Fountain: it was inspired by the Italian Baroque model of the Fountain of the Triton, built in Rome by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
  • Mercury Fountain: the fountain depicts a sculpture of Mercury, patron of salesmen, and is among Olomouc’s most sumptuous and beautiful monuments.

Visit the Hradisko Monastery complex

Located on the rocky Hradisko Hill, on the left bank of the Morava River, the Monastery of Hradisko is a massive building complex that attests to Olomouc’s Baroque artistic heritage. The complex, which dates back to 1708, originally consisted of the main monastery building and the Church of St. Stephen, with several other structures that are now only partially preserved. Hradisko Monastery was restored several times, which resulted in a peculiar mix of architectural elements from Italian Mannerism and the High Baroque style. On certain days you can visit the monastery and admire the lavish Baroque interiors and the beautiful monastery gardens on a guided tour.

Discover Olomouc's churches

Olomouc’s architectural magnificence is well represented by its religious monuments and churches attesting to the country’s long Catholic and Christian tradition. We suggest you add to your bucket list some of the most impressive churches in Olomouc, which include:  

  • Saint Michael Church: located in Žerotínovo náměstí, only 5 minutes from the central Upper Square, the majestic Church of Saint Michael is among Olomouc’s most precious religious buildings. It was reconstructed in the Baroque style in the 17th century after the destruction of the original Gothic church dating to the 13th century. The Church of Saint Michael features three domes symbolizing the Holy Trinity and sumptuous Baroque interiors.
  • Church of Saint Maurice: located a few steps from the Upper Square, the Church of Saint Maurice is one of the most important landmarks in Olomouc, dating back to the 15th century. It boasts a Neo-Gothic altar built in 1861 and one of the oldest church organs in the world.
  • Red Church: a 5-minute walk from the Upper Square, Olomouc Red Church is one of the youngest religious buildings in the city. Built between 1901 and 1902, it used to be a temple for the local German-speaking protestant community until the end of World War II. It now houses the archives of the Research Library and serves as a hall for small concerts and cultural events.
  • Church of St. Gorazd: a peculiar Neo-Gothic church on the right side of the Morava River, the Church of Saint Gorazd was built at the end of the 19th century as part of the new Stonewood Abbey complex. It is worth a visit for its impressive decorations, which include frescos, marble sculptures and stained glass.

Visit Olomouc Zoo

If you travel to Olomouc with kids, include a visit to the zoological garden in your city tour. Olomouc Zoo extends over a 42-hectare green territory, offering animals space and quiet. It is home to more than 300 animal species from all over the world, and the enclosures are grouped into theme areas. The zoo also includes a playground, a restaurant, an aquarium and a shelter for endangered avian species. You can easily reach Olomouc Zoo by car or public transport with a bus from Olomouc train station, around 20 minutes away.

Relax in Olomouc's parks and gardens

After a hectic day of sightseeing, take a break in one of Olomouc’s beautiful parks. The city boasts numerous green areas and gardens, where you can relax and enjoy open-air activities. Some of our favourite parks include:  

  • Čechovy Sady Park: less than 10 minutes from the city centre, this elegant park is ideal for hiking and includes sports facilities, a bike path, a playground and the Memorial of Olomouc’s liberation by the Soviet Army inaugurated in 1945.
  • Smetana Park: among Olomouc’s largest parks, it is connected to Čechovy Sady Park and extends between the Theresa and Katherine gates. It encloses a charming pond surrounded by trees, a playground, different sports facilities, a large avenue with chestnuts and lime trees, palm, cactus, tropical and subtropical greenhouses, and numerous sculptures depicting local personalities.
  • Bezruč Park: these pleasant gardens extend along the medieval and Maria Theresa city walls and are the most scenic park in Olomouc, with a unique landscape made of rocks, ancient stone walls, fountains and green lanes. Bezruč Park also includes Olomouc’s marvellous Botanical Garden, with an Alpine section and rose gardens hosting over 400 sorts of roses.

Enjoy a day trip to Bouzov Castle

Located less than 30 kilometres northwest of Olomouc, between Hvozdek and Bouzov, the picturesque Bouzov Castle makes a perfect destination for a funny day trip. The fortress is one of the most ancient and imposing castles in the Moravian region, and still preserves its original look and interiors from the Middle Ages. Originally built in the early Gothic style during the 14th century, Bouzov Castle served as the seat of the Order of the Teutonic Knights until the 20th century and attests to the Czech Republic’s rich historical past. Step back in time and enjoy a journey in Moravian history while admiring the beautiful courtyards of the castle or exploring the interior on a guided tour.