Presentation of the destination
This once industrial town near the border of Poland is now a hive of culture, history and the arts. In Ostrava you can discover the industrial era as it was in the incredible National Monument of Vitkovice, a well-preserved steelworks and mine bordered by a nineteenth century town. Mining museums allow you to explore the dark underground tunnels just as the miners would have. There are also several other museums featuring music, brewing, firefighting and milling. Discover the historic architecture of Ostrava as you walk through the several heritage zones throughout the city. There is plenty of fine dining in Ostrava, and much of it is located on Stodolni Street, famous for its vibrant nightlife. Gear up for a day of historic sightseeing as you enjoy Ostrava’s café culture, or try some traditional Czech food, from dumplings to pigs knuckle or smoked tongue. Afterwards when you’re ready to party, head to one of the bars, nightclubs and pubs on Stodolni Street to sample locally brewed Ostravar Beer. For a quick getaway from the city there’s no better place than the beautiful rolling green hills and welcoming hospitality of the Beskydy Mountains, where you can enjoy skiing and hot thermal pools in winter.
Points of interests / things to see
Discover history of Ostrava’s coal mines as you descend the dark shafts in a mining cage, and ride the antique mining train! Landek Park is a fantastic experience for anyone interested in the industrial era. Displays of mining equipment throughout history, and a mine rescue exhibition give visitors an insight into the enormous scale of this enterprise and the risks miners sometimes had to take to undertake their work. Landek Park gives visitors a fantastic insight into the geology and ancient history of the area. Take the nature trails to Landek Hill, where you can learn about the ancient Venus carving discovered here and enter a prehistoric hunter’s camp, complete with a model mammoth. A watchtower atop the hill marks where a medieval castle once stood. You can see part of the ruined wall, the only part of the castle left today. Climb the watchtower for fantastic views over Ostrava. Guided tours are offered throughout the day, and give you an insight into technological advances that allow rescue workers to do their tricky job, and through the deep dark of the mines. In winter Landek Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday and tours run every two hours from 10am. Throughout summer the park is open daily with tours running hourly. Call ahead to arrange an English tour!
Discover Ostrava’s history from when it was established in 1267, and even further back to prehistory! The museum is located, appropriately, in the sixteenth century Old Town Hall, which survived fire and even a lightning strike. It has seen many reconstructions including a New Renaissance façade, a second floor and an attached building, all of which has made room for the museum’s 300,000 strong collection of artefacts. Learn about the colourful material culture, music, folk art and traditions of the Czech people at the ethnography exhibits, and discover the rich geology of the region which made its fortune in mining. Artworks and crafts shows the creativity of Ostrava’s inhabitants, and a collection of weaponry gives insight into the region’s history of occupation and involvement in two world wars. Step back even further in time as you examine the archaeological finds from Landek Hill, where the Landek Venus stone sculpture was discovered. For lovers of nature there is a fantastic natural history section of the museum which details the landscapes of Ostrava and the surrounding region, and the creatures that live in the woodlands, meadows and rivers. The natural history section features one of the museum’s several interactive displays, and there is also a 3D theatre where you can see modern day Ostrava. The museum is open daily 9am to 5pm with reduced hours on weekends.
Visit a medieval castle built overlooking the Ostravice and Lucina Rivers. Built in the thirteenth century, this castle was once a defensive fortress against the Moravian Empire, with tall encircling walls four metres high! The castle was given a Renaissance era touch-up in the sixteenth century, but sadly the castle sank due to the coal mining in the area. It has recently had a massive restoration, allowing visitors to explore the medieval and renaissance elements and enjoy displays of life in Ostrava in times long past. Enter through the tower where you’ll discover the history of this place, and see 60 posed dolls showing various ways of life in medieval times. Explore the Silesia-Ostrava castle with a costumed Robber Baron as your guide. See the exhibitions of medieval weaponry and armour, a feasting table and costumes. Torture instruments and witches give the depths of the castle an eerie feeling of medieval superstition. There is even an aquarium! Visit the blacksmith to see the kinds of trades useful in a medieval castle, wander the busy marketplace where you can grab a bite to eat. For most of the year the castle is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm with extended opening hours in summer and entry costs are quite cheap. You can get a combined ticket for the castle and Miniuni.
Get up close to African, Asian and Amazonian creatures, from giraffes to elephants, capuchin monkeys to Asian Otters. Enjoy wandering in the Botanical Gardens, and in winter when there’s enough snow you can even take a skiing adventure right within the zoo! This zoo began as a small venture in the 1950s, but has grown and now gives visitors an exciting view of over 350 species! Make sure you arrive at feeding time when you can hear about the exotic creatures from almost every continent from their handlers. You can also take evening tours seasonally. Black Bears and Grey Langurs, hippos and penguins, chimpanzees and red pandas will entertain animal lovers of all ages. Dare to look the predators in the face, from lions and Siberian Tigers, to leopards. You can discover underwater wonderlands at the aquariums, where you’ll see the freshwater fish of Nepal, stingrays, crocodiles. In the beautiful botanical gardens you can walk through colourful beds full of azaleas, creek beds, formal Chinese gardens, stunning forest and jungle paths. Within the gardens there are habitats for elephants, deer, and birds of prey. This fantastic zoo is open daily throughout the year, and entry tickets are quite cheap.
This well-preserved industrial precinct from the nineteenth century provides an incredible insight into industrial era mining and ironworks. It is almost like entering a set from a post-apocalyptic movie, with its towering iron machinery, convoluted mess of pipes, bridges and furnaces, and coking plant. The harshness of the industrial section of Vitkovice is tempered by the nineteenth century village. There are several grand buildings from the time, constructed by the Rothschilds who owned the ironworks. Visit the nineteenth century Empire-style palatial home of the Rothschilds which now serves as an art and sculpture gallery, and the turn of the century Vitkovice Town Hall, a stunning neo-gothic red brick building topped with black stone spires. Wander through the old town and discover the lives of the people who once lived here as you walk through the old church, factory hotel and gymnasium, school, library hospital, and houses featuring Art-Nouveau decorations. From every street corner there is the somewhat disjointed sight of an industrial smokestack. There is a small cost to entry and English speaking visitors can ask for an MP3 guide to give an insight into this industrial world wonder! When your feet are tired there are plenty of restaurants in the area where you can sample Czech fare.
Discover Ostrava’s mining history at this mine constructed in 1848, where a museum documents the life and times of a miner and the changes in technology over the centuries. You can explore the rooms where the miners used to dress and wash and collect their equipment, and discover the machinery room which has been kept in the condition it was left in when the mine closed in the 1990s. The Chain Cloakroom is particularly fascinating and eerie. The clothing of miners are hung up from the ceiling via hundreds of chains which could be lowered back to the ground. This is a fantastic place for kids to get an education of the industrial era, and how difficult it was to live as a miner.
Take the half hour drive out to this mountain range which crosses the borders of Poland and Slovakia. Here you will find stunning traditional cottages, rolling green hills and the novel experience of the ‘Beer Spa’. Bathing in the big wooden tubs filled with beer is said to be rejuvenating and therapeutic, but perhaps best of all is being able to pour yourself a refreshment right from the bath tap! During winter the Beskydy Mountains become popular with skiers and snowboarders, who can warm themselves at the end of a long day on the slopes in hot thermal pools.
Enjoy the nightlife of the Czech Republic in this collection of streets famed for its party atmosphere. With more than sixty pubs, nightclubs, dance venues, and restaurants to enjoy, there’s a place with the right fit for everyone, from the party-animal to the tamest reveller. Stodolni Street is similar to New York – it never sleeps! In summer live bands play on the streets, and there are live music acts to be found in the venues throughout the year. Don’t miss out on trying the local Ostrava Beer from the Brewery Ostravar, which has been crafting beers since 1897, as well as the many other brews from around the Czech Republic. For those seeking a Guinness, there’s even an Irish Bar.
See Europe’s best architecture laid out in miniature! Wander through a lush green park filled with 1:25 scale models of famous monuments such as Prague’s Old Town Hall, Paris’s Eiffel Tower, the Seven Wonders of the World and the Big Ben Clock tower of London. Everybody’s inner child will delight in the scale steam-ships on the waterways, and the miniature trains that run beneath footbridges will make even the smallest kid feel like a giant! Miniuni is best to do in the warmer months as it is all outdoors. In order to enjoy all 34 mini buildings it’s best to plan to spend an hour or two. There is a restaurant on site where you can enjoy some traditional Czech food.
Vacation rentals in Ostrava (Moravian-Silesian Region)
How to get there ?
Fly in to Prague International Airport or Vienna International Airport. From these destinations you can catch a high speed train, or rent a car for the trip to Ostrava. The train journey from both Prague and Vienna is about three hours and allows you to enjoy the scenery of the Czech Republic. You can also fly from Prague or Vienna into Ostrava’s airport located 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) from the city. There are plenty of car hire facilities at the Ostrava airport as well as in the city. If you’re keen to explore the Beskydy Mountains, or do a little border hopping to see the sights of Poland, it’s best to rent a car. Ostrava is easy to see by public transport, however, with trams, trolleybuses and busses to get you around the inner city and outer suburbs. Buy a 24-hour ticket so you can enjoy the sights with the ease of hop on and off transport. The central bus station is located near the Ostrava Centre Railway Station where the trains from Prague and Vienna stop. There are several fantastic walks within the city, through the historic districts, and there are several off road and separated bike paths for those wanting to cycle around the city. A complete scenic path runs between the historic areas of Vitkovice and Kuneice.
Hotels in Ostrava (Moravian-Silesian Region)