The Olomouc Christmas markets take over the stunning Upper and Lower squares (Horní and Dolní namestí in Czech) in the heart of the city center come November 24th. Stalls full of hand made gifts, treats, food and drinks wrap around the centered town hall, UNESCO Trinity Column as well as the baroque fountains – all which give Olomouc it’s fame. Festive lights are hung between buildings, on stalls and around the towering tree to brighten up the short, chilly days. In past years, it’s always nice to get a birds eye view over the market from the astronomical tower, however this year it is closed for renovation. Next year 😉
Since Olomouc isn’t on the typical tourist trail for the Czech Republic, the market caters almost entirely to locals and a homogenous Czech crowd giving a fairly authentic Czech experience. During the day you won’t have to worry so much about fighting the herds of visitors, making it easy enough to feel as though you are getting the local experience. However, as the sun goes down, things begin to liven up as residents finish work for the day and meet in the town center for a few cups of that mulled wine. Often times live music and theatre entertain in the evenings from the stage in the Upper Square. Advent traditions also happen on the first four Sundays prior to Christmas day.
The selection of mulled wine (svařák in Czech) and other hot alcholic beverages that keep the cold out can make or break your Christmas market. Olmík particular take on the beloved beverage features variations with international themes, reflective of the cultured community the university community the city harbors. Take your wintery-beverage desires on an international adventure (for your tastebuds) – from Finnish and French to Irish and Viennese, before heading back to the flagship “Olomoucký” punch and a well-loved “Nuremburger” classic German recipe.
It’s hard to say which one is the favorite though – they all taste pretty good by your third cup 😉 Guess you will have to see for yourself. Another favorite, located in a vacant shop along the Lower Square is “Olopunč” which offers a bit of shelter and some rustic, hip vibes likely popular amongst the uni crowd.
As for gifts and goods? Stalls full of sparkly ornaments, classic wooden toys and decorations, ceramics, scarves and giant gingerbread cookies, there are plenty of treats and trinkets and beyond. Perhaps what is also special about Olomouc, is the amount of artisans, ateliers and art galleries selling creations by local artists and not just available in the markets. Explore the winding streets and stumble upon something special for a souvenir, or just admire the works.
This Moravian town is full of Czech traditions. A stand with a plethora of dried sausage hanging from the frame and a sign reading “Zabijačka” lures one to this wintery Moravian tradition that include those cured meats. If you fancy meat, these are worth a try.
Perhaps this puts Olmík’s holiday markets above the rest: an ice skating rink in the picturesque lower square. Rent skates, drink svařák and skate the day away in the heart of it all. We are not sure there is any better way to make the most of cold winter days. The ice skating rink is free for use and open until February. Skate rental is available.
Markets are open from November 23rd through December 24th – a whole month of holiday festivities, mulled wine, lights and Christmas spirit. Curious of more information while visiting? Head to the info office, set up in a temporary trailer due to construction right near the town hall south entrance and chat with the friendly english-speaking clerks.
Rest assured, the holiday spirit has come to Miss Sophie’s Cafe, located on the first floor of the hotel with plenty of warmth and cheer to share. In addition to the usual menu, a selection of seasonal items – like gingerbread lattes and our very own svařák are here to warm your souls after a day of exploration in the chilly December air.