Christmas in Olomouc
1 - 2 Days
Christmas in Olomouc
Olomouc is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination not only in summer, but also during the winter season. The Christmas Market on the Upper and Lower Square are a great attraction. Visit this age-old spiritual centre of Moravia in the Advent time and experience the unique atmosphere of the historic city full of religious monuments.
Olomouc is easily accessible by car or train. From Prague, it is a 300 km motorway drive, or two hours by SuperCity train (2.5 hours by other express trains).
Busses from Brno take a little over an hour and the fastest trains from there need 1.5 hours. From Vienna, take the Vienna-Břeclav-Brno motorway, or a direct train. A car trip to Olomouc from Poland or Slovakia is also comfortable.
Archdiocese MuseumArchiv Olomouckého kraje
1. Archdiocese Museum
The first spiritual culture museum in the Czech Republic introduces visitors to the Czech religious history. In its collections include bibles, church coins, paintings of archbishops of Olomouc and a variety of spiritual subjects. The 18th century gold-plated coach of Bishop Troyer is the crown jewel in the permanent exhibition.
But the museum is also interesting for its architecture. It is a colourful mix of architectural styles, from Romanesque, through Gothic and Renaissance, Rococo and late Baroque to the present and a testimony of architectural and artistic developments through the millennia. The Archdiocese Museum in Olomouc won the prestigious ‚European Heritage Label‘ as the first institution in the Czech Republic.
Daily except Mondays: 10 AM to 6 PM
(last entry at 5.30 PM)
Free admission on Sundays.
Free admission and open till 8 PM each first Wednesday.
Archiepiscopal PalaceArchiv Olomouckého kraje
2. Archiepiscopal Palace
The seat of the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc hosted many important visitors and became the backdrop for several momentous events. The palace is open to the public, so you visit the Throne Hall, where, on December 2, 1848, the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I assumed office, the Reception Hall, where Russian Tsar Alexander I and Austrian Emperor Franz conferred on their actions before the Battle of Austerlitz, or the Green Room, where the Olomouc Agreement was sign in 1850 by Prussia, Austria and Russia to end the conflict between Prussia and Austria.
3. Triton Fountain
One of the finest Baroque fountains in Olomouc is located on Náměstí Republiky. It contains statues of two men and two dolphins bearing seashell with a boy holding water dogs on a chain. The design was inspired by Italian fountains, especially Fontana del Tritone on Rome's Piazza Barberini.
Triton FountainArchiv Olomouckého kraje
Olomouc Fort – Baroque Gunpowder DepotArchiv Olomouckého kraje
Olomouc Fort – Baroque Gunpowder Depot
5. Olomouc Fort – 4. Baroque Gunpowder Depot
The former artillery depot in this architecturally unique building has recently been transformed into an interactive all-family science museum, with original exhibits made by the local university's Department of Science and guides ready to take you on a journey into the history of Olomouc's sieges, or into deep space.
The museum also includes a uniquely preserved Baroque gunpowder depot – one of the four inside the Olomouc fortress. During conflicts, the building was used to store gunpowder and was one of the best guarded locations in the city. It is now used for an exhibit on local military history.
6. Church of St. Michael
This originally Gothic church was converted to its current baroque form by two Italian architects. The first of them is Giovanni Pietro Tencalla, who also designed the Basilica on the Holy Hill. His work on St. Michael's Church was completed by Domenico Martinelli. The church has three copulas, referencing the Holly Trinity. This is an original architectural solution in the local context and the church is considered the first Northern Italian-type domed structure in Moravia.
Church of St. Michael Libor Sváček
Lower Square Libor Sváček
7. Lower Square
The Lower Square contains another two examples of fine fountains. They are the oldest (Neptune's), completed in 1683, and the youngest, Jupiter's, from 1735.
In between them is a plague column, not as spectacular as the one in the Upper Square, but still worth your attention. It was created by stonemason Václav Render and inspired by the Prague and Vienna plague columns.
8. Upper Square
The Holly Trinity Column
This plague column, registered since on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2000, is a recognised work of Baroque sculpture. It was built between 1716 and 1754 and consecrated in 1754 by Bishop Ferdinand Julius Troyer, with Empress Maria Theresa in attendance. Its height of over 32 meters makes it the largest sculptural group in the Czech Republic and the largest set of Baroque sculptures in Central Europe.
This memorable event is becoming more and more popular. The markets start at the end of November and include a variety of events and offerings – music of all genres, theatre, demonstrations of Advent customs, period attractions, carved nativity scenes and traditional products associated with Christmas and winter. Stalls offer a variety of punch, mulled wine and other hot drinks. Try the Nuremberg Mulled Wine, a local speciality.
This square contains the largest numbers of fountains in Olomouc. The Hercules Fountain, the artistically-recognised Mercury's Fountain and the largest Caesar's Fountain, which is also regarded as the most historically valuable.
Upper Square Libor Sváček
Arionova kašnaArchiv Olomouckého kraje
9. Holly Hill
How to get there
The 11 Olomouc city bus runs to Sv. Kopeček every 15 minutes on weekdays. The journey takes less than 30 minutes. Another option is the 111 express buss. Both busses stop at the Main Train Station.
10. Basilica of the Virgin Mary's Visitation
The Baroque Basilica of the Virgin Mary's Visitation on Svatý Kopeček, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the Czech republic, is just 5 km to North-west of Olomouc. Soon after its ordination in 1679, more than 50,000 pilgrims started arriving each year to pay their respect to Our Lady of the Holy Hill. Around year 1700, the number grew to 120 – 130,000 per year. And the numbers continue to be strong to this day. The importance of this sacred place is also confirmed by important visitors who have found their way there. In 1990, Mother Teresa stopped here and in May 1995, the pilgrimage church was promoted to a basilica minor by Pope John Paul II.
Holly Hill Milan Kořínek
11. Olomouc ZOO
The Holly Hill ZOO is a popular attraction for families with children, not only from Olomouc and surroundings. Its pavilions, aquaria and cages present more than 300 different animal species. A section of the ZOO is being gradually converted to a safari-type park.
Even in winter, the ZOO offers interesting insights into animal lives. Many animals are more active in the winter months and Christmas decorations, along with hot punch, make for an interesting setting.
January – February
Mon – Sun 9 AM – 4 PM
Mon – Sun 9 AM – 4 PM
April – August
Mon – Sun 9 AM – 6 PM
Mon – Sun 9 AM – 5 PM
October – December
Mon – Sun 9 AM – 4 PM
Olomouc ZOO has the biggest ZOO observation tower in the country. And since the ZOO is on top of a hill, the tower offers great views of not only the city, but also the nearby basilica. On clear days, Hanácká nížina lowlands are visible in one direction and Oderské vrchy and Jeseníky mountains with its higher point of Praděd in the other.
Only in Olomouc can you taste the traditional Olomoucké tvarůžky, a mature pungent cheese, in the form of several deserts and even ice cream. Depending on your preferences, head for the Olomoucké tvarůžky Confectionery for a sweet treat, or one of local pubs, where tvarůžky are served in various savoury creations which go very well with the excellent local beer.