Go to Olomouc instead of Prague, says the New York Times

For American tourists looking to get away from the crowds, the US newspaper recommends a trip to the heart of Moravia

For American Gen Xers, a trip to “Left Bank of the 90s” Prague became passé by the turn of the millennia.

But two decades later, and Prague is still setting new tourism records every year – – leading to packed streets in the city center and some tourists seeking refuge in less-crowded areas outside of Prague.

Thankfully, the Czech Republic has no shortage of other great sights and cities, including numerous UNESCO-protected landmarks. What are some other alternatives to the Czech capital?

A few years back, The New York Times bypassed Prague to tap Brno as one of their “52 Places to Go in 2016.”

Now, in an article titled “6 Places in Europe Offering Shelter from the Crowds”, the US paper is recommending another Moravian alternative: Olomouc.

“Like Prague, Olomouc has a spot on the Unesco World Heritage list, breathtaking Gothic and Baroque buildings and a famous astronomical clock,” writes Evan Rail for the Times.

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“Unlike Prague, it still has relatively few tourists. Home to 100,000 permanent residents and 21,000 university students, Olomouc offers a small-scale taste of Prague’s history and architecture, as well as plenty of college-town fun and great places to eat and drink.”

Known for his culinary writings in the pages of the former Prague Post in the 2000s, Rail has plenty of food & drink options on hand for Olomouc.

Fine dining option Entrée, Vietnamese bistro Codo, coffee house Kikafe, bakery Dalaman, and cocktail bar Gin & Tonic Bar all make his list of recommendations.

Where to stay in Olomouc? Rail recommends Long Story Short, which was recently named by The Guardian as one of the 10 best hostels in the world.

But The New York Times doesn’t mention one thing every tourist in Olomouc must try, like it or not: the city’s famous “smelly cheese”, Olomoucké tvarůžky, which can be enjoyed at pubs around the city fried with potatoes or (for the brave) raw with mustard and onion and a pint of beer.

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Just outside of Olomouc, in the town of Loštice, you can even visit the Museum of Olomouc Cheese A. W. and see how the cheese, one of the very few Czech products to have received Protected Geographical Indication from the European Union, is made – – or sample some truly unusual tvarůžky-made pastries from the nearby bakery.

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