Top 10 things to do in Ostrava

Visiter Ostrava

Visiting Ostrava: what are the best things to do and see in the Czech Republic’s third-largest city?

Located in the far east of the country, just over three hours from Prague, you’ll find a city with an amazing array of art and live music, quirky architecture, rich history and lively nightlife. You may not be familiar with Ostrava, but this Czech city has a bit of everything. An industrial center on the border with Poland(Krakow is only 2h30 away by car), Ostrava is certainly not the most beautiful city in the Czech Republic; it is, after all, known as « the steel heart of the Republic »(Ocelové srdce Republiky), but it’s well worth a weekend’s discovery.

Here are 10 things to visit in Ostrava:

Also read in the Ostrava guide :

1. Dolní Vítkovice, Ostrava’s « steel castle

Dolní Vítkovice, Ostrava

Wikimedia – Boris Renner

Dolní Vítkovice, a rehabilitated former steel and coal mining complex in the heart of downtown Ostrava, offers enough to see for a day full of unforgettable experiences. Relive Ostrava’s industrial past and admire the historic gasometer, now converted into a multifunctional auditorium called the GONG. End your day at the « Small World of Technology », an interactive exhibition showing the evolution of Czech industry over the centuries. If this place seems creepy at first glance, you’ll be impressed once you’re inside the complex.

2. New Town Hall observation tower

New City Hall Ostrava, tour d'observation

Wikimedia – Sveter

Generally speaking, this kind of tourist attraction isn’t very interesting, except for the panoramic view it offers. But there’s something different about the observation tower at the new town hall. Completed in 1930, this 86-metre-high tower is still the tallest town hall in the Czech Republic. From its 73-metre-high observation platform, you’ll have a view of the entire city of Ostrava, as well as the Hrubý Jeseník and Beskid mountains and the Upper Silesian plateau. Tickets cost just CZK 50 (€1.80).

3. Landek Park and Michal Mine

Mine Michal Ostrava

Flickr – Petr Dadák

Ostrava’s history is linked to the mining and steel industries, so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of old industrial sites to see. Even if visiting a coal mine isn’t your cup of tea, you might be surprised by what you can see here. Landek Park is the largest mining museum in the Czech Republic. It’s like stepping back in time to the industrial era, with a touch of Communist kitsch. You’ll have the opportunity to start your tour of an old mine by descending from a historic building, aboard a cage, down an extraction pit to the upper galleries. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the daily life of the miners.

Mount Landek is also a National Natural Monument, recognized by geologists the world over.

4. The Art Gallery

Gallerie d'art d'Ostrava

Wikimedia – Kankovaa

This museum offers a valuable selection of European art, including the work of Klimt, along with Czech art from the 19th and 20th centuries, a collection of Russian realists, and 20th-century Spanish art. Founded in 1922, the gallery is housed in a functionalist building constructed in 1926 by Czech architects František Fiala and Vladimír Wallenfels.

5. Komenského sady park

Komenskeho sady Ostrava

Wikimedia – Podzemnik

If you’re looking for a place to relax with a picnic or simply get some fresh air, Komenského sady is a beautiful park on the banks of the Ostravice River near the new town hall. At weekends, it’s bustling with locals jogging, cycling, rollerblading or just hanging out. There are plenty of stalls where you can buy a cold beer, a soda or a sausage. It’s a quiet, pleasant spot just outside the city center.

6. Museums in Ostrava

In addition to those mentioned above, there are other interesting museums to visit in Ostrava. Among them, the Ostravar Brewery Museum doesn’t disappoint. Remember, this is the Czech Republic, home to some of the world’s finest beers. Dating back to 1842, the brewery still produces the local suds using the traditional bottom-fermentation method. At the end of the tour, you can sample the locally-produced beer.

The Ostrava Museum is comparable to Prague’s National Museum, housing everything from prehistoric plows to 16th-century violins. Located in the Old Town Hall on Masaryk Square, it’s a pretty well-located attraction. The museum’s pride and joy is the large 225 cm indoor astronomical clock with its 2,500 pieces of work, created by Jan Mašek in 1935. If you have time, you can also visit the Firemen’s Museum, the Mill Museum or the Zither Museum.

7. Colours of Ostrava » festival

Colours of Ostrava

Credit – colours.cz

Held every mid-July, Colours of Ostrava is a family-friendly festival with a rich cultural program ranging from music to poetry and theater. Featuring some of the biggest international names in rock, jazz, electro and world music, the festival takes place at Dolní Vítkovice, the site of former blast furnaces, mines and ironworks, giving it a unique atmosphere in which to witness impressive performances.

8. Ostrava’s nightlife

Rue Stodolní, Ostrava

Flickr – Petr Dadák

It all takes place on Stodolní Street. This party zone that never sleeps is probably the most famous (and infamous) street in the Czech Republic. Filled with over 60 clubs, pubs, cocktail bars… all stuck next to each other, it’s a must-see destination if you want to get out and about in Ostrava. As Ostrava is a little off the beaten track, you’ll avoid the bachelor/bachelorette parties that often clutter the streets of Prague. Just don’t forget where your hotel is when it’s time to go home to sleep!

9. Slezskoostravský hrad (Ostrava’s Silesian castle)

Slezskoostravský hrad, château silésien d'Ostrava

Wikimedia – Podzemnik

Ostrava’s Silesian Castle is the city’s most historic and cultural monument. It was built in the second half of the 13th century, near the confluence of the Lučina and Ostravice rivers, where a fortified Slav settlement had once resisted.

10. Near Ostrava: Štramberk and Kopřivnice

Stramberk, Ostrava

Wikimedia – Miaow Miaow

Just a few kilometers from Ostrava, it’s easy to recognize Štramberk. Its huge cylindrical tower, called Trúba, is enough to identify it. And don’t miss the ruins of Strallenberg castle, perched high above the town.

Kopřivnice, 30 km away, is famous for its Tatra Museum, the home of the legendary Czech car factory.

Ostrava: getting there, staying there

From either Prague or Krakow in Poland, it takes just over 3 hours by train or bus to reach Ostrava. There are very few direct flights from Paris. Smart Wings departs from Charles de Gaulle. Otherwise, you’ll need to make a stopover in London with Ryanair. Use Skyscanner to compare the best prices and itineraries.

Above all, it’s important to choose the right area to stay in Ostrava. Look for a hotel a little off Stodolní Street, to avoid the noise of the city’s clubs and bars. To find a cheap hotel in Ostrava, use this hotel comparison service.

Have you visited Ostrava?

Main photo: Flickr – Montecruz Foto

Map of hotels and accommodation – Ostrava,cz