There are cities you visit and the memories go away within a few weeks. There are several destinations where you’d like to go back to. And then there are places that you fall for immediately that will not let you go. Olomouc is one of these places, a city that captivates with its unique atmosphere. Olomouc is more than a thousand years old and currently the fifth largest city in the Czech Republic. It is situated in Central Moravia on the rivers Morava and Bystřice. It has been an important centre during different historical periods, was the capital of Moravia until The Thirty Years War and has been an archbishop‘s seat since 1777. Nowadays Olomouc is an important industrial town, transport crossroads and centre of education.
Thanks to its rich history, there is wonderfully complex display of historical memorials, ancient churches, fountains, and romantic streets accompanied by the gorgeous scenery of the city parks. There are simply a lot of beautiful places in Olomouc which you must see. The highlight is definitely the historical city centre, which has the status of an architecture conservation area and is the second most important one after Prague. The Holy Trinity Column on Horní náměstí (Upper Square) has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000 and it is the highest column in the Czech Republic. You can admire a lot of churches and cathedrals throughout the entire downtown area, for example St Michael’s Church, St Wenceslas Cathedral or St Moritz Church with a nice view from its tower. A good idea is to make a trip to Svatý Kopeček (The Holy Hill) as well – there is a convenient bus connection. The place provides a charming view of the whole city and is home to the wonderful Basilica of Virgin Mary from the 17th century. Pope John Paul II gave a mass here during his visit to Olomouc in 1995. You can also visit the Svatý Kopeček zoo which is open daily.
Besides the food industry, engineering and pharmaceutical firms, there are important cultural institutions in Olomouc, such as the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moravian Theatre, the State Deposit Library, the museum, the Archives, and last, but not least – Palacký University.
It is the university coupled with a great number of other educational institutions that makes Olomouc the top student city in the Czech Republic – simply because every fifth person in the city is a student! The conservation part of the city is home to over 23,000 students from all over the world, who prove every single day that there is a reason why Olomouc is referred to as the Czech Oxford. Students are literally all over the place, which only highlights the friendly or even family-like atmosphere of the city, which you will fall in love with at first sight.
The leading traveller guide Lonely Planet has ranked Olomouc for two years in a row among the top ten European destinations, claiming that: “Olomouc is one of the Czech Republic’s most under-rated destinations, with a great nightlife scene and a mini-Prague feel.” Dozens of parks, cafes, mysterious nooks, theatres, diverse music clubs and varied sports centres will all be at your fingertips. Add the fact that music, theatre, and film festivals are held here almost every week and you can rest assured that the city will stay in your heart months, or even years, after your studies in Olomouc are over; you will always be happy to come back.
Have a look at YouTube: “Olomouc-University City” the official spot created in cooperation with Palacký University and Olomouc city. For more information, visit the visitor centre and its official page: www.tourism.olomouc.eu, www.olomouc.cz, www.zoo-olomouc.cz.
A great map of Olomouc specifically made for international students is available at www.esn.upol.cz.
Getting to and around Olomouc
Travelling to the Czech Republic
Train and bus
There are several ways to get to the Czech Republic. If travelling by train, check websites of Czech railway companies: www.cd.cz/en and www.regiojet.cz. If you decide to travel by bus, you can have a look at: www.studentagency.eu or www.flixbus.com.
If you decide to travel by car, you should keep in mind the driving rules in the Czech Republic.
- zero alcohol tolerance
- no use of mobile phones and other communication devices while driving (except of hands free)
- mandatory use of seat belts
- mandatory use of headlights at all times
- mandatory use of helmets by cyclists and motorcyclists
Speed limits: In-town speed limit: 50 km/h, Roads: 90 km/h, Motorways: 130 km/h
You can check the validity of your driving licence here: www.mvcr.cz
Always carry your driving license, ID, and vehicle registration documents with you in your car as you may be fined if you do not. You must purchase a pass to be able to use Czech motorways. You can buy one-year, one-month, or ten-day passes, which are all available at border crossings, post offices, and petrol stations. Rented cars automatically come with the pass in the window. To rent a car, you usually must be at least 21 and have held your license for one year.
If you are planning to travel by plane, you will likely arrive at the international airport Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG) or Vienna Airport (Austria, VIE). Low cost companies also fly to Brno and Ostrava or Bratislava (Slovakia). For more information see the websites of the respective airport.
Travelling in the Czech Republic
If you want to check the available trains, coaches, buses and trams at the same place, use the Internet Timetable Information System, the IDOS. The system provides time tables of all forms of public transport, from international connections to Olomouc trams. It is also available in English and German.
Getting from the Prague airport to Olomouc
Travelling from Prague to Olomouc by train is the fastest and most comfortable way and that is why we suggest you go for this option. The trip from the airport to the main train station will take you approximately 1 hour, the journey by train from Prague to Olomouc 2,5 – 3 hours (depending on the company/type of the train you take).
- How to get from the airport to the main train station
The Prague Public Transport Company offers a special AE airport bus providing direct connection between the Václav Havel Airport Prague and the Main Railway Station. More details including schedule can be found here:www.dpp.cz/en/bus-ae-airport-express.
You can also use the public bus No. 119 which runs every 10 minutes from 4:30 to 23:30 between the airport and Nádraží Veleslavín metro station. You need to purchase a 30 CZK ticket at a newspaper stand or from the yellow ticket machines at the bus stop. This ticket is valid within the whole city network for 75 minutes (90 minutes on the weekend and at night from 8 pm to 5 am). Change at Nádraží Veleslavín station to metro line A, go to Muzeum station, and change to metro line C and get off at Hlavní Nádraží (Main Railway Station, abbrev. Praha Hl. n.). (www.dpp.cz/en/daytime-operation/)
You could take a taxi, but the airport tends to have the highest charging taxis; please be aware that some Prague taxi-drivers are notorious for overcharging foreigners. If you still prefer to go by taxi, we suggest calling City Taxi (+420 257 257 257) or get a taxi from one of the official companies at the airport.
- At the Prague Main Railway Station
At the Main Railway Station you need to buy a ticket to Olomouc. You may decide to travel with Czech Railways or with private companies such as Regiojet. The ticket can be purchased at the ČD Centrum (Czech Railways Information Office) or at the offices of the respective private company, all located at the ground floor of the train station.The trip to Olomouc takes 2.5-3 hours, depending on the type of train that you take. A single ticket from Prague to Olomouc is around 390 CZK, payments with credit cards is of course accepted.
Getting from the Vienna airport to Olomouc
The most comfortable way to get from the Vienna airport to Olomouc is to use private transport companies which offer multiple times-a-day express connection direct from the airport. More information is available here: www.studentagency.cz or www.tigerexpress.eu/en
Transport in Olomouc
The main railway station in Olomouc (Hlavní nádraží, Hl. n.) is a public transport hub. If you plan to travel by train more frequently, we suggest getting on a special railway discount card, for example the In-karta. Ask for more information at the railway station. Other railway operators offer discounts as well; check their websites www.regiojet.cz and www.le.cz.
Olomouc has a dense public transport network of tram and bus lines. The major operator is the Dopravní podnik města Olomouce (Olomouc Public Transport Company, DPMO). For information about connections, tickets, fares, etc., please see the website: www.dpmo.cz. Departure times are also available at www.idos.cz.
Buses and Coaches
The main coach station in Olomouc is not too far from the main railway station (the stop Autobusové Nádraží Podchod of tram no. 4, the second stop after the main railway station in the direction of Pavlovičky). Although the majority of long-distance (inter)national lines stop at the main coach station, be aware that, for example, the Student Agency coaches stop close to the main railway station, so plan your trip carefully. Regional buses in Olomouc have their stops either in front of the main railway station or at Tržnice, which is closer to the city centre and has a small bus station, too. The free shuttle bus no. 60 to the Olympia Shopping Mall also stops at Tržnice and the main railway station, too.
You need a valid ticket to use the public transport. You either need to buy a ticket from a ticket machine or other vendor or purchase one from the driver. You will also need to validate the ticket once inside the vehicle. The tickets are the same for both trams and buses. The fares are as follows:
- 18 CZK single ticket (Valid within all parts of Olomouc for 40 minutes (60 mins at the weekend)).
- 23 CZK discounted 24hrs ticket, 46 CZK full price 24hrs ticket.
The discounted ticket is for students up to 26 and are valid only if you have your ISIC card with you!
- 175 CZK/350 CZK student/adult monthly pass
The monthly pass is valid for 30 days from the day of purchase.
- 450 CZK/900 CZK student/adult 3-month pass
The 3-month pass is valid for three months from the day of purchase.
Where to buy the single/daily tickets?
- the yellow self-service ticket machines installed at the stops
- from the driver, which is a little bit more expensive (30 CZK for a single ticket) and you need to have the exact change
- by SMS to 90206 with ‘DPMO’ typed in the message
- at newspaper stands, selected shops or supermarkets
- at tourist centres
With your valid ticket you can ride any combination of buses and trams to complete your trip. Buses and trams run, on average, from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm, depending on the particular line. Night transportation is covered by buses no. 50, 51 and 52, which run in three different circuits around the city, or about once every hour.
Taxis are usually waiting in front of the main station and at the “bar district” in the city centre. For a complete list of taxi companies, see www.tourism.olomouc.eu.