Ostrava is slowly making its way up on the map when considering places to visit in the Czech Republic. It’s not as popular as Prague, Cesky Krumlov, or Brno but that’s actually one of the things that makes it so cool in our opinion. One of the things we love about travelling is experiencing it in a more local way and with fewer tourists around. That’s exactly what you can expect when visiting Ostrava!
The “steel heart” of the Czech Republic is world famous for its annual music festival, The Colours of Ostrava (definitely worth checking that out)! It’s also a popular place for business people to meet up – especially between Polish and Czech people. But other than that, it’s mostly locals you will meet there!
So, why should you visit Ostrava? Ostrava is a really unique city in the Czech Republic with a rich history in coal mining and steel production that now has turned into a cool, hipster city. From having some pretty unique coffee shops and amazing restaurants to hiking a “garbage volcano” there are lots of fun things to do in Ostrava!
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Enjoy these 14 unique and different things to do in Ostrava
You heard it… There really is a garbage volcano on the outskirts of Ostrava! There’s also a cafe 80 meters above the ground that overlooks the whole city in the heart of the industrial part of town. Add in some yummy restaurants, a walk in the old town of Ostrava, and a few museums and you have plenty of things to do!
#1 Make your way to the top of the Bolt Tower Cafe in Ostrava
There are quite a few cafes and coffee shops in Ostrava but the one that stands out (literally) is the one in the industrial part of Ostrava; Dolni Vitkovice. The Bolt Tower Cafe is located roughly 80 meters above ground so, hopefully, you’re not afraid of heights!
It’s quite a special cafe in Ostrava since it overlooks the old steel factory where the Colours of Ostrava music festival takes place every July. The view from the tower is amazing and really showcases the history of Ostrava.
Since it’s such a unique place to visit, you actually have to make a reservation in advance to enter the tower. You can book the Bolt Tower Cafe online here to make sure you get a spot.
There is a 200 CZK ($8) entry fee to access the tower, walk around the platform, and enter the cafe. The cafe is slightly more expensive than all other cafes (roughly 100 CZK for a coffee) but it’s part of the experience. It’s definitely worth doing while you’re in Ostrava.
#2 Hike up the garbage volcano in Ostrava
Standing at 314 meters is the man-made Mound Ema which overlooks the city of Ostrava. Even though it may not sound like much, this “man-made” mountain is quite interesting to visit and probably one of our favourite places in the entire city.
We have to go back about 40 years to understand what it actually is… Back when the mining industry was booming in Ostrava, mining debris was continuously dumped on the outskirts of the city. As a result over time, it created this mini “volcano”.
Because of the chemical reactions that take place underneath the surface, you’ll still see smoke rise out of the top and that’s why locals joke about it being an “active volcano”. Pretty cool, right?
The view from Mound Ema is absolutely beautiful! There’s a nice walking trail to the top that is steep but not too long. It’s worth it though as this is one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Ostrava!
#3 Enjoy the lively atmosphere of Cafe Club Dock
Cafe Club Dock is arguably “the spot” in Ostrava at the moment. During the day it’s a chill place to enjoy a cup of coffee and a yummy meal. But as soon as the day turns to night, the atmosphere at Cafe Club Dock turns from a chill cafe to a vibrant bar.
In the evening you’ll be welcomed to a bar that makes awesome drinks, plays live music, and has a really good atmosphere. It does get busy and at times it can be hard to find a table or seat but it’s worth trying.
When we got there we were lucky to get a table with a big group of friends without a reservation. The drinks were good and live show was really entertaining! We’ve never seen anyone with moves like Mick Jagger before, haha!
Locals know all about “The Dock“ but for travelers and tourists, it’s not really on the map. Because when most people think of going out in Ostrava they think about Stodolni Street! Sure, Stodolni Street is worth checking out because there are plenty of bars but first go and check out the awesome vibe of Club Dock!
#4 Drink wine at the Wine Cellar Near The Bridge
This one is for the wine lovers – and yes, the name of the place really is “Wine Cellar Near The Bridge“ (or Vinný sklep U Mostu in Czech)! If you didn’t guess, this wine cellar is next to the Milose Sykore Bridge in downtown Ostrava. Even though northern Ostrava is known more for its beer than wine, you can still get some of the best Moravian wine in Ostrava.
This cozy little wine cellar is the perfect place to spend an afternoon in the sun outside or inside the cellar on a rainy day. Vinný sklep U Mostu have both indoor and outdoor seating so depending on the weather and the mood you can decide where you want to sit.
You’ll be greeted by friendly professionals who will do their best to help you pick out the best wine for your taste. For a small country that isn’t on the wine map, the Moravian part of the Czech Republic has some great wines!
You can get a feel for the wine cellar on their website here and there you can also make reservations in advance to make sure there’s a spot for you!
#5 Learn about the history of Ostrava at Mining Museum Landek
The Landek Museum in northern Ostrava is really interesting and it gives you a good feel of the history. It also helps you understand why Ostrava is known as the “Steel heart” of the Czech Republic.
The city of Ostrava is the city it is today because of its coal mines and steel production. Being able to see it with your own eyes and even get a small idea of what it used to be like to work in this environment is eye-opening. It was a high-risk job and the majority of people did it because it paid well.
One thing we really like about this tour is that the local guides are actually previous employees of the mines in the area. Even though they only speak Czech you can still get a good understanding of it all by taking it in and listening to the English audio about the mines.
So if you want the real and raw Ostrava and learn about the history of the mining era, the Mining Museum Landek will offer all that. It’s such a unique experience and worth making a trip out to the mines to learn about!
When you’re done, head to BistrOPEN next door for a delicious lunch!
#6 Frankie’s – American Steak-Pub in the heart of Ostrava
Of course, you have to try out some local Czech food while you’re in the country, but that doesn’t have to be the only cuisine you try. One of the best things to do in Ostrava is to check out Frankie’s Pub for lunch or dinner. This awesome American-styled pub has some of the best pub food in town!
From their interior decor to the music they play, you truly feel like you’re in some pub in Brooklyn New York, and not downtown Ostrava! At Frankie’s, you can get chicken wings, nachos, burgers, steaks (of course), and so much more!
If you’re feeling extra courageous you can give their extra spicy Louisiana chicken wings a try. Make sure to grab a large Pilsner though or water (or both) because you may need it!
Even though this isn’t the most cultural thing to do in Ostrava it’s just too good to pass up. Like we said, Frankie’s is great for lunch or if you want some nice greasy food for dinner then hit this place up for a yummy treat!
#7 Explore the Ostrava Museum
One of the things that we often overlook when finding things to do in a city is visiting the local museum. Thankfully for Ostrava, it actually has a great museum with amazing collections connected to the city’s past.
We love to be outdoors and explore cities and the nearby nature but sometimes it’s nice to visit museums and historic buildings to learn about the history of the place. Especially on rainy or cold days, this is a good option for things to do!
From ancient minerals, fossils, and biology specimens you can see what was all around Ostrava during the coal mining days. Since Ostrava was a coal mining city, a lot of the stuff at the museum will be connected to that since it played such a big part in their history!
The Ostrava Museum has permanent exhibitions and also ones that change frequently so there’s always something new to see. If you’re spending a day or two in Ostrava then the museum is a nice way to enjoy a few hours inside learning about Ostrava and the history that’s connected to it.
#8 Try out some of the delicious cafes in Ostrava
Ostrava is a very walkable city and you’ll find cafes and coffee shops all over it. We do have a few favourites and you can find them in this post all about coffee shops in Ostrava.
We always like to try a variety of cafes wherever we go and one of the ones that stood out is CØKAFE with their multiple locations in the city. All of their locations are quite different and unique and the service at all of them is great. Plus they make bomb coffee!
There are also a few other gems around town you’ll find if you plan to walk around the city. You can use this list of coffee shops in Ostrava for inspiration or you can get lost in the city and find some as you’re walking around!
Fun tip: If you’re comfortable doing it, feel free to ask the local baristas and waiters for fun and unique things to do in Ostrava. More often than not when we ask the staff at cafes and coffee shops for recommendations they give us some really cool things to do and see.
#9 Walk around Komenskeho Sady Park
If you’re looking for some downtime while you’re visiting Ostrava, then one of the things you can do is take a stroll in the Komenskeho Sady Park downtown. The park is located right next to the Ostravice River.
It is by far the most beautiful park in the city and if you’re lucky enough to visit Ostrava in the fall then you’ll be in for a nice surprise when the trees turn yellow, orange, and red. The park looks absolutely stunning!
Komenskeho Sady Park is also great if you want to meet up with friends and go for a little stroll somewhere outside of the busy streets. You can grab a coffee to go and walk some of the trails!
It’s a simple activity to do but it’s always nice to know the good places to go for walks and get outside in a city. Komenskeho Sady Park is exactly that!
#10 Take in the view from the top of the town hall
There are a few great viewpoints in the city like the Bolt Tower Cafe and the top of Mount Ema. And then there’s the top of the new town hall (Nová Radnice) which is probably the best view in the city because you have a full panoramic view!
When you look at the building from the outside, you may feel like you’re in Italy. That’s because the architect who designed the new city hall took inspiration from the famous tower in Florence. It’s beautiful from the outside but the real magic is the bird’s eye view from up top!
After you take in the view from the top of the town hall tower, make sure to ride the paternoster elevator on the main floor of the town hall. It’s on the right wing of the main floor building and it’s impossible to miss. If you don’t know what a paternoster elevator is it’s basically an elevator that never stops and goes round and round! Hands down one of the most unique things you can do in Ostrava!
#11 Visit the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava
One of the must-visit museums while you’re in Ostrava is the Gallery of Fine Arts. You can see here which current exhibitions are taking place at the gallery. This will give you an idea of what to expect so you can see if it fits what you’re looking for.
Visiting the gallery is another great activity to do on a rainy day in Ostrava or if you’re just looking for something chill to do inside that’s not hanging out at a coffee shop!
The gallery isn’t huge and the average person can go through it in about an hour to an hour and a half. There are a few permanent exhibitions and then some that change every few months!
#12 Enjoy a burger at Mama’s Bistro (Mama’s Hot Dogs, Burgers, and Fries)
We’ve already mentioned an American-themed restaurant but now we’re talking strictly burgers! We’re not doing a great job of promoting Czech food but these international-styled restaurants in Ostrava are just too good to not share.
Mama’s Bistro is strictly what the name says; hot dogs, burgers, and fries and it’s all absolutely delicious. I mean, who doesn’t love a good burger and fries? We’ve even heard some locals say that it’s the best burger joint in the city!
Combine a yummy burger with an awesome Czech beer and you have hands down one of the best combinations imaginable!
#13 Test your fear of heights at the Tendon Climbing Wall
Like most things in Ostrava, the Tendon Climbing Wall is also connected to the industrial and coal mining era. It’s located in the Dolni Vitkovice area of Ostrava which is also where you can find the big steel factory!
The Tendon Climbing Wall is actually located inside what used to be the steel factory here in Ostrava. So in a way, it’s kind of hidden and if you wouldn’t know it’s there it would take you a bit of time to find it.
When you open the first door you’ll see some turbines and machinery and wonder where on earth you’re going. Then through the second door, you’ll finally see the Tendon Climbing Center.
Fun facts: This is the biggest climbing area in the region and the Czechs absolutely love to climb. Inside the center, you’ll find everything from absolutely beginner walls to very challenging ones. So there’s something for everyone here! Even a little café for those who are just watching☕️
#14 Get a drink and party on Stodolni street
Lots of locals say that Stodolni Street used to be the crazy party street of Ostrava. In a way, it still is but it has changed over the years and is no longer looked at as the coolest place to go party in Ostrava.
There are more underground and hipster places like Cafe Club Dock, Wine Cellar Near the Bridge, and other smaller less known places. But! That doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out because it still is the party street and the place to go where you’ll find bars open late into the night.
It’s mostly worth visiting if you’re in Ostrava on a Friday or Saturday night and looking to party or for some lively music! That’s when the party street really “comes to life” and everything’s open. If you’re in Ostrava any other day of the week then it might be best to go to those smaller bars, wine cellars, and cafes for a night out!
Other related questions about Ostrava
Is Ostrava worth visiting?
Yes, Ostrava is definitely worth visiting! Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic and it is rich in history when it comes to coal mining and steel factories! Ostrava has its own charm that you can’t find anywhere else in the Czech Republic which makes it a city worth visiting!
Is Ostrava near Prague?
Ostrava is not near Prague but thankfully the public transport system in the Czech Republic is very good. You can get between these two cities in just under 4 hours by public transportation. The best option is to take either the bus or a direct train from Prague to Ostrava.
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Recap of things to do in Ostrava
That’s it for this list of different and unique things to do in Ostrava! Some are as simple as just visiting a local coffee shop downtown while others are more unique like riding the paternoster elevator in the City Hall of Ostrava.
This city is full of surprises and as you can see, it has a big connection to coal mining and steel production. There’s a reason after all why it’s the “steel heart” of the Czech Republic.
We hope you enjoy exploring Ostrava and the surrounding region. If you have any questions feel free to DM us on Instagram or leave a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!