Despite Prague is for sure the most attractive city in Czech Republic, this beautiful country has so much more to offer. Explore the historical region of Moravia if you are looking for authentic Czech places in this country. The charming cities of the Moravian region are still not spoiled by touristic demands, meaning that prices are even lower than in the capital and the experience will be unique. Moving from one town to another in Moravia is pretty easy thanks to an excellent service of public transports. And the beautiful views of this magical land during your transfers will be part of the unforgettable trip.
The top 5 cities to visit in Moravia are:
It’s funny to think that a few months ago I didn’t even know about the existence of Ostrava and now this city is on top of my list of my favourite cities in Czech Republic! It is the third largest city in the country, and it is for sure one of the most unrated. Ostrava is still considered unattractively industrial by most for the reason that it has been historically associated with the production of pig-iron and coal. However, today, this city is one of the most interesting and vibrant in Czech Republic (and I’m not saying this just because I love Radegast), so don’t trust people who say that you shouldn’t go there, because they have probably never been. What fascinated me the most about this city is its strong and tangible desire to throw off its industrial shackles, without cancelling its past. Ostrava has been able to reuse and valorise its industrial heritage to attract people from all over the world, and this makes this city beautiful and interesting in an unusual way. One clear example of the transformation experienced by this city is the Vítkovice area, a former industrial complex which has been converted into a community and cultural centre. This is the place where the deadly festival Colours of Ostrava takes place (click here if you want to read my post about the festival), but it is also the set of several other events. For example, the Gong auditorium, a former gasometer located in this area, has been selected as the location for the 2018 TBEX conference, the most important conference about travel media.
In this area, at the top of the former blast furnace (now called “Bolt Tower” after Usain Bolt, who calls Ostrava a second home) you can find a cool wine bar, from which you can admire a breathtaking view of the all city of Ostrava and the surrounding area. But Ostrava it’s much more than just old industrial sites. The colourful city centre, full of very good bistros, bars and cafes, serving traditional and international cuisine, is the perfect place for a nice stroll, while the surrounding green areas (like Halda Ema) are ideal to relax in nature.
From Ostrava, you can easily explore the Jeseníky Mountains, the Czech paradise for adventure and nature lovers. Click here if you want to know about the best outdoor activities to do in the Jeseníky Mountains.
Olomouc is one of the best cities to visit in Moravia, but sadly the first adjective that pops into my head when I think about this town is “empty”. This city is one of the most beautiful and charming of Czech Republic, and it certainly deserves much more attention from tourists! Here you can find the second astronomical clock of the country, located on the external facade of Olomouc city hall. This clock, which is not as famous as the one in Prague (but it is equally fascinating), indicates hours and minutes like any other regular clock, but it also shows the day of the week, month, phase of the moon and a star map which revolves to indicate the visible part of the night sky. This clock also indicates name days and old communist holidays and it comes alive every day at noon, with three regional songs.
The city hall and the astronomical clock are in the main square, where you can also find the column of the Holy Trinity. This monument is one of the most exceptional examples of the European Baroque, and it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. This is one of the favourite meeting points for the people who live in the city, who enjoy sitting on the stairs or benches around the column. Olomouc is also famous for its six unique Baroque fountains, so don’t forget to check them all while strolling around the city centre! (Here you can find a list of all the fountains in Olomouc)
In the city centre, near the main square, you can also find the Church of Saint Maurice. The tower of this church is open to the public (voluntary fee). The view from the top is worth the spiral staircase climbing.
Tip for you: the best place to stay in Olomouc is the Long Story Short hostel. Check out their website and you will immediately understand why. Trust me, if you are looking for a cosy hipster place in the city, this is the place for you.
Brno is the capital of Moravia and it lies almost on the halfway between Prague, Vienna and Budapest. It is a really special city, quiet, but innovative at the same time. Despite being the second largest city in Czech Republic, Brno doesn’t attract many tourists, so when you visit it you can have an authentic Czech experience. One of the places with the best view over the city is the Spilberk castle, where you can sit on the brick walls to enjoy the view tasting a bottle of good Moravian wine.
Another place where you can have a good view over the city while drinking a good beer is the top of a building which is called “Dům pánů z Lipé”, located on the main square (Namesti Svobody 17). On the 6th floor of this building, you can find a cosy bar from which the all city is visible.
Brno is also the perfect city for coffee lovers like me. There are nice minimalistic hipster cafès everywhere. The one I liked the most is SKOG Urban Hub, first because coffee was really good, and then because I loved the Nordic style of this place. In Brno you can also find the Villa Tugendhat, the very first monument of modern architecture in the Czech Republic and only the fourth worldwide to have received the prestigious UNESCO designation. Be sure to book a few months in advance if you want to visit this Villa.
If you are looking for a charming quiet small town, then Kroměříž is the city for you. This city deserves to be on the list of the top cities to visit in Moravia because it hosts the complex formed by the Archbishop’s Château, the Flower Garden and the Château Garden which was declared a National Cultural Monument in 1995 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
The castle tower offers a breathtaking view of the historical centre of Kroměříž (here you can find more info about opening time and prices). If you are in this city, take your time to explore the beautiful and peaceful Chateau gardens, which surround the castle. The entrance is free! And, if you prefer “curated, man-made” parks, you cannot miss the historical Flower Garden, where the amazing garden art will leave you speechless. The opening time changes in different periods of the year, but you can find all the info about times and prices on the website of the Flower Garden.
Telč is little cute town, where you can find the most charming square of Czech Republic. The colourful houses surrounding the square look like they have come straight from a fairytale. Sit in one of the several pubs around the square and soak up the amazing vibes of this wonderful place.
When you are in Telč you cannot forget visiting the chateau, which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and if you stroll around the stream Telčský Potok you can admire a beautiful view of the city which is perfectly reflected in the water.
Towns in Moravia are really beautiful, but the countryside is no exception. The Jeseníky Mountains, which are on the border between Moravia and Czech Silesia are home of the prettiest hikes in Europe! These mountains are also considered a paradise for adventure seekers. Click here if you want to know about the best outdoor activities to do in the Jeseníky Mountains.
How to get around in Czech Republic?
Public transport in Czech Republic are very efficient and cheap. This means that you can easily reach all of the mentioned cities using just trains or buses. Timetable information is available online at IDOS website or on the IDOS app. It’s always safer to buy tickets in advance, even if it’s not always necessary. The Czech rail network is operated by České dráhy. But a valid alternative for moving around is the smaller private operator RegioJet, which connects several cities by train and bus.
While I was in Moravia I was amazed by the cycling infrastructure around the region. Cycling is indeed a very popular option to go around Southern Moravia, where cycling trails run between vineyard. Additionally, bikes can be transported for a nominal fee on trains marked with a bicycle symbol on the timetable. I loved the idea so much that I think that I will use this option next time I will visit this beautiful country. If you want to organise your cycling trip, the Greenways.cz website could be really useful.
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