We got off the bus at Olomouc hlavní nádraží (main station), which looks like it has recently been renovated. It certainly is much nicer than the sight that meets your eyes when you arrive in Brno.
|Olomouc hlavní nádraží bus terminal and tram stops|
As it was a lovely sunny day we walked into the centre of town, over the river and towards the main square, Horní náměstí. The photos in our Eyewitness guidebook really didn't do the centre of Olomouc justice. When you arrive in Horní náměstí it is a stunning sight.
|Old Town Hall and Holy Trinity Column|
As we were there on a Saturday morning, we had the added bonus of a nice little market selling local produce including cheeses, coffee and beer.
|Saturday market in Olomouc|
The main sights in Olomouc are ancient churches, decorated in the baroque style. Unfortunately, photos of the interiors are not allowed, but after a long, twisty and somewhat scary climb (chunks of stone missing from the spiral staircase!) to the belfry of St Michael's church, we were rewarded with this view through the shutters. Even better, this tower is free to go up, whereas the others you have to pay for.
After all this climbing we were ready for lunch. We wandered back across the main square and came across a fortified part of town, which now has restaurants, cafes and bars in the vaulted spaces in the wall.
|Water Fortress with cafe|
We stopped for lunch at Nepal restaurant which is inside The Crack Irish pub. The food was excellent, which is saying something, as we lived for many years in Whitechapel, the curry hub of London. I would definitely recommend Nepal if you fancy a break from standard Czech fayre. I had the saffron chicken, which was a quarter roast chicken in a tasty sauce with rice, chips (interesting but nice) and salad on the side for only CZK 160.
In the afternoon we walked over to Olomouc Cathedral, which is decorated inside with a mix of ornate baroque marble and gilt and 19th century floral patterns.
We were offered a free, very detailed guided tour of the choir and transepts in English. The guide was very keen to tell us all about the history of the cathedral and its architecture and even took us up into the gallery where the kings used to sit. There was another helpful guide down in the crypt who, not being able to speak English, pointed us towards the various relics on display and the recently restored sarcophagi of bishops from the 1600s with explanatory texts in English and German. I found that everyone in Olomouc was very friendly and eager to promote their tourist attractions to visitors. It makes a refreshing change from more well-known towns where they treat toursists like people to just make money out of.
Next stop on the Olomouc tourist trail was the Archbishop's Palace. The entry fee is CZK 60 and you can take photos inside for an extra CZK 50, so I decided to take advantage of that.
Before you trot round, in true Czech style, you have to put on your giant over-shoe felt slippers!
Again, the staff at the palace were really nice and welcoming. We had missed the last tour of the day by 15 minutes, but as the guide was still there, he took us round anyway.
We rounded our day off with a stop-off at a bar we had spotted on the way into town: Black Stuff. This place has an amazing array of whiskeys and other spirits and a really good cocktail menu.
|Dark and Stormy|
|Black Stuff bar|
We stopped for a quick pizza at a restaurant at the station before making our way to the coach stop. The last yellow bus of the day pulled up and whisked us back to Brno as the sun started to set.