As some of Europe’s biggest hotspots become increasingly commercialized, those looking for an authentic, laid-back experience sightseeing The Old Continent are struggling to find a destination worth going to.
Luckily, Europe has yet to be overtaken entirely by mass tourism, as there are still plenty of towns and cities that boast the kind of charm most tourists pay to experience.
There is a relatively unknown Czech city, for example, that has recently attracted interest thanks to a Booking report that listed it as one of 2023’s top travel destinations. Since then, it has been touted as one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.
Olomouc boasts a long, rich history that dates back to the 7th century, though the city wasn’t officially founded until the 13th century.
Its historical significance is mirrored by the stunning, well-preserved architecture, some of which (namely, the Holy Trinity Column) is even preserved by UNESCO.
A Lot To See And Do
History buffs aren’t the only ones who can appreciate the allure of Olomouc.
There’s a lot to see and do in the city, so if you’re only planning to stay a couple of days, prepare for a jam-packed itinerary.
Other landmarks you’ll want to visit aside from the Holy Trinity Column include the Astronomical Clock, the city’s Botanical Gardens, the 6 Baroque fountains, and Palacky University, which is one of the oldest institutions in Central Europe, dating back to 1573.
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While sightseeing, you won’t want to miss out on the Olomouc Castle either, which has been a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic since 1962.
Consider adding Hradisko Monastery, Bezruč Park, the St. Wenceslas Cathedral, and the Museum of Modern Art to your list of must-sees as well.
The local cuisine is just as charming and impressive as the architecture.
Olomouc specialties such as tvarůžky or Moravian-style kolaches will have even the pickiest eaters asking for seconds.
While at it, don’t forget to try some locally-made beer from nearby breweries. A 0.5 l (17 ounces) pint costs less than $2 in most places, so you won’t have to compromise your budget for a good drink here.
However, if you really want to get the full Olomouc experience, I recommend visiting one of the local markets, where you can walk among locals and sample fresh produce, cheeses, and more.
Though Olomouc provides tourists with lots to see and do, what really sets it apart from other big cities in Central Europe is the fact that it still retains a certain kind of charm that’s hard to find in the likes of Prague, Vienna, or Warsaw.
The city is rarely crowded, so you can walk around at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
The picturesque cobblestone streets will just add to the quaint, cozy atmosphere that you’ll experience here.
If you happen to visit Olomouc near Christmas time, be sure to go to the Moravian Christmas markets at least once – that’s the quintessential Olomouc experience.
The locals are lovely, too. Not to mention nearly everyone speaks English, so the language barrier shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Located only a two-hour train ride away from Prague, Olomouc is very easy to get to and out of.
The city is well connected by both train and road, not only with other major cities in the Czech Republic but also with neighboring countries.
So, if you’d still rather spend most of your trip in a bigger city like Prague, you can always set aside a day or two to visit Olomouc and just commute back and forth.
With the city being nestled under Hrubý Jeseník (one of the highest mountain ranges in the Czech Republic), walking through the streets of Olomouc will feel like something straight out of a movie.
If you go during spring or fall, you’ll get to experience the vibrant mosaic of colors created by the maples, oaks, and pines.
The same level of effort that has been put toward preserving the area’s historical buildings can also be felt in the way the city has maintained its natural beauty, offering tourists the opportunity to walk, hike, and enjoy all outdoor activities while taking in the stunning scenery.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com