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Friday, October 22, 2021

Swap Prague for Olomouc, the Czech Republic’s offbeat, underrated city break

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From star-spangled spires to heavenly cathedrals to Baroque monuments, there’s not anything that brings the historical past of the Czech Republic to lifestyles like an atmospheric marketplace sq.. Olomouc (pronounced Oh-la-moats), within the japanese province of Moravia, has one such gloriously Gothic centrepiece — and it’s worthy of a talk over with as it means that you can gorge at the the whole lot you’d ever need from the Czech Republic, and all with out the seething overtourism of the rustic’s capital.



Believe haunting palaces and castles. Reasonable, foam-topped pints of pilsner. Ancient bistros serving monumental red meat knuckle feasts. Quite a few Eleventh-century Renaissance and Baroque eye sweet too. But even so that, town is compact and easily-navigable, letting you dip out and in of sightseeing at a whim, and its scenic, pastel-hued core is the very antithesis of Prague’s Staroměstské Náměstí. All that’s lacking are the opposite vacationers.

What to do



Perceive why Unesco loves it

No Olomouc enchantment will wow you somewhat just like the Holy Trinity Column. Even though you’re now not of a non secular bent, the rocket ship-shaped landmark anchors the magnificent Higher Sq. (Horní Náměstí), into which the entire town’s maximum photogenic streets filter out. It’s a neck-craning 35m (wow), full of a who’s who of gilded copper saints (double wow) and is the most important free-standing Baroque sculpture in central Europe (triple wow). Did we point out the sq. has a heliocentric Astronomical Clock at the façade of town corridor reverse? Whisper it, however it’s way more riveting than Prague’s extra well-known one.

Devour the arena’s stinkiest cheese

The whiff of Olomoucké tvarůžky is round each and every nook – and we imply that as a nice factor. This ripened comfortable cheese, first made in close by Loštice, is an actual nostril-punisher, sufficient to make sons and daughters cry and scare-off coronavirus. OK, it’s now not somewhat that robust, however the cartoon-yellow, disc-shaped nose-holder — additionally in the neighborhood recognized by means of a reputation that interprets to ‘the guttery breath of the Knight of Lostice’ — is an obtained style. Relying on who you ask, it tastes of a holy trinity of flavours, together with highly spiced butterscotch, out-of-date quark and salted, smelly butter. In summer time, in the event you’re courageous sufficient, there’s an Olomouc cheese ice cream to take a look at. A few of the maximum smelly puts to pick out up a memento wedge of it’s La Formaggeria Gran Moravia, an artisan delicatessen on Higher Sq..

Soak in suds at a lager spa

Valuable moments will also be spent, beer in hand, considering why the Czech Republic has the arena’s perfect beer intake in line with capita. Or why golden Czech pilsners in reality are higher than the ones in different places (sorry, Germany). However at Svatováclavský Pivovar microbrewery, it’s the bonkers beer spa you’ll be excited about while you get house. There’s picket bathtubs complete to the brim with black beer (enriched with skin-softening beer yeast, it appears), a salt sauna and lashings of beer tastings on be offering (£POA).

Pay homage to Mozart

The Czech Republic has lengthy long past gaga for classical song, so it figures that once Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart got here to Olomouc he was once impressed to pen a symphony. Elderly 11 on the time, he returned a nice few years later to accomplish Symphony No. 6 in F Primary underneath the dazzling spires of the triple-towered Saint Wenceslas Cathedral (guided excursion £3). The Deanery, the place the recital came about, is now the Archdiocesan Museum (front £3) and it stays inviting with round towers, civic historical past and a lot of ecclesiastical pomp. The adjoining Amadeus Cafe is where to refuel with espresso, ice cream or beer.

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc’s major sq.

(Getty Pictures)

The place to stick

It’s four-star high quality for three-star costs at serenely-located Theresian Hotel & Spa, a swish boutique with cavernous eating place and rooftop spa with Finnish sauna, steam room and whirlpool. No longer only for lodge visitors, its best-in-town buffet breakfast is well worth the keep on my own (£10), whilst the eating place attracts native regulars for its “fresh-from-the-forest” menu. (That’s shorthand for dishes like fallow deer and chestnuts, pork and forest mushrooms and crammed guinea chicken.) Doubles from £85, B&B.

Quirky furniture, a corking courtyard lawn and sociable cafe — Miss Sophie’s is the whole lot you need a ancient boutique bolthole to be. This handsome eight-bed lodge has a modest provide of doubles, triples and a romantic attic comfortable, and as you’re proper within the thick of items, you’ll stumble house at any hour. Doubles from £88, B&B.

On a significant funds? Long Story Short Hostel is made for inexpensive remains, with easy-on-the-eye doubles and dorms and a depraved collection of a bar-cafe and boulevard stage vacation spot eating place to pick out from. Beverages till past due — together with Moravian wines from the area — or espresso roasted in close by Brno upload to the allure. For those who’re forking out on something, believe it’s Giant One bed room, whole with tub, sound gadget and mini bar (£76). Dorms from £9.50, mattress most effective.

The place to consume

The enchantment of Drapal, a hop-scented pub and eating place at the fringes of the historic centre, is within the element, within the warp and weft of where. Partitions are piled excessive with barrels, the picket counter bar dominates complaints and the menu is outlined as a turn-of-the-century newspaper. Everybody, in fact, is consuming steins of white-capped Pilsner Urquell, whilst lunch or dinner is similarly belly-tingling. You’ll desire a dictionary-thick flank steak (£10), kilo of smoked red meat knee (£11) or red meat chop (£5). Vegans beware.

Beer cocktails (Staropramen with Pepsi? A Hoegaarden mojito?) aren’t the one eyebrow raisers at Potrefená Husa, a smartly-located Higher Sq. branded restaurant-pub. With a well-liked terrace, it’s a people-watching hotspot on sunny days and the meals ain’t part unhealthy both. For without equal beer snack, pair your pilsner with Olomouc cheese tartar, served with spices and onions (£5), or take a deep dive right into a throat-clearing bowl of Valachian sauerkraut soup. The candy and bitter broth made with smoked red meat knee (£2) is the very best warm-up for the home particular: red meat knuckle, with mustard and horseradish (£15).

For one thing meat-free, if rarely lighter, Faency Fries is a rapidly-expanding Czech boulevard meals idea that tries to outdo the Belgians at what they do excellent. It specialises in piled-high pokes of crisp French fries lined in all method of takeaway toppings. Quite a few choices for veggies, together with chili mango and selfmade Heart Japanese dips.

The beautiful outdated city structure makes Olomouc a excitement to wander

(Getty Pictures/iStockphoto)

The place to drink

Ask a neighborhood they usually’ll ship you to Masné Krámy. The previous butcher’s marketplace close to Higher Sq. has a walk-through arcade of dimly-lit cocktail bars and pop-up pubs, maximum of which most effective get going at the weekend. The scene caters to revelling scholars from town’s thriving college, so observe the group. Two to begin with are mobster-themed cocktail bar Corleone’s and shisha membership Kumo.

Like maximum Czech towns, Olomouc is populated by means of branded bars from the likes of the massive two breweries, Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell. That’s no unhealthy factor, despite the fact that independent-run LocaAle Pub remains to be a breath of clean air close to the primary rail station. What’s to not like about ever-changing beer faucets, darts, desk soccer and — look forward to it — tofu snacks in each and every shape?

Architectural spotlight

You’d be exhausting driven to search out somebody who wouldn’t level to the postcard-primed Holy Trinity Column. However our cash is on Bouzov Castle, a Disney-like chateau 35km west of town. The Moravian bastion is a humdinger of a medieval citadel, with a horseshoe-shaped grouping of witches-hat towers, turrets, armouries and guard properties.

Nuts and bolts

What forex do I want?

Czech koruna (Kč).

What language do they talk?

Czech. Be expecting potted English from outdated timers, however free-flowing banter with more youthful Czechs and scholars.

Will have to I tip?

As much as you. Most often 10 in line with cent in eating places.

What’s the time distinction?

One hour forward of the United Kingdom.

What’s the common flight time?

Nearest airport Brno-Turany is two hours 5 mins from the United Kingdom.

Public delivery

There’s a complete bus and tram community all through town, with tickets clean to shop for in shops, at stops or immediately from drivers. To find extra information right here: dpmo.cz.

Perfect view

Content material with its medieval bone construction, Olomouc has no flashy rooftop cocktail bars or glassy commentary decks. As an alternative, essentially the most spectacular view is at boulevard stage, looking at on Higher Sq. -preferably in summer season, across the witching hour, with a lager in hand, at one of the vital piazza’s many eating place terraces.

Insider tip

The Olomouc Region Card means that you can talk over with greater than 100 puts in Olomouc, Central Moravia and past, together with castles, chateaux and museums. In Olomouc, this contains visits to the Museum of Trendy Artwork and Archbishop’s Palace, whilst public delivery could also be loose.

Seeking to fly much less?

You’ll be able to get to Olomouc overland by means of teach – take the Eurostar from London to Brussels (2 hours 10 mins), then the ICE teach onward to Frankfurt (2 hours 50), then any other ICE to Dresden (4 and a part hours) and an EC teach onward to Prague’s Hlavni Nadrazi (2 hours 25). As soon as within the Czech Republic it’s simply over two hours onwards to Olomouc’s major station.

Fantastic with flying?

From the United Kingdom, the nearest airport to Olomouc is Brno, with twice-weekly Ryanair flights from London Stansted taking 2 hours 5 mins. Trains from Brno to Olomouc take round an hour.

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