Get to know Ostrava – a city with rich industrial heritage, unspoiled by crowds of tourists.
History of Ostrava
You can still visit Ostrava’s 14th-century old city hall, now turned into the Ostrava Museum. Back then, Ostrava was just a few buildings. But the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries demanded factories, and around them, the city grew. As a coal mining site and Central Europe’s main centre of iron, coke and steel production, Ostrava became a unique industrial complex. It was the only area in Europe where you could find such technological flow all in one place. Products made here are part of Paris’ Eiffel Tower or Australia’s biggest bridge.
Ostrava’s dominant unspoiled feature is the Vítkovice area (DOV) with the Hlubina mine complex, blast furnaces, ironworks, and a coke plant. DOV was placed on Czechia’s list of tentative World Heritage sites.
As a key industrial area during the communist era, Ostrava was nicknamed the “steel heart of the Republic”. Architecture in the socialist realism style sprang up along with fountained parks, plane trees and statues of a shining future for working men and women.
Coal production ended in 1998 and the city went through a lot of modernisation in the past years. Nowadays, Ostrava is known for cultural events, festivals, and sports events. Almost every day, there’s a new place opening: galleries, cafés, bars or bistros. The people are open and direct, and very warm at the same time.
Watch a short video overview of Ostrava’s architecture, culture and leisure activities.
Things to do
The conference takes place at DOV – a sprawling former industrial complex. Have you visited the ironworks? Have you been inside the blast furnace? Have you had a coffee atop the Bolt Tower? Or visited interactive exposition the U6 Small world of technology?
DOV also offers activities such as climbing in Tendon hlubina.
- The biggest hill in Ostrava is Halda Ema. Due to coal burning inside this slag heap, it is green and full of life even in the winter. It is very popular for walks during the day or nights, and offers beautiful views of the city and the nearby Beskydy mountains.
- You can go up the tower of the New Town Hall and visit the gallery at a height of 73 m.
- Have you ever been underground inside a coal mine? Landek Park is your chance to try! Back on the surface, admire red brick architecture or visit Bistropen, a restaurant with delicious mini burgers. You can also walk around to explore and enjoy nature.
- Tasting local beers in the Ostravar brewery is a nice touch at the end of the day. While there, don’t miss the brewery museum.
- The firefighting museum Hasičské Muzeum Města Ostravy is also worth a visit.
- You can combine your trip to Ostrava with a tour of the Wallachian Nature Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, the largest and oldest museum of folk architecture in Central Europe.
- If you wish to plan a nature trip, start in any small town in the Beskydy mountains.
- Or visit the town of Kopřivnice with the famous Tatra car Technical Museum (map).
Internationally recognized for its fresh voice and useful recommendations, USE-IT maps are non-commercial, friendly and well-maintained maps made by locals. We highly recommend getting one for Ostrava.
Want to taste a local beer or have a drink?
Don’t forget PyCon CZ afterparty on Saturday at DOV! But if you want to visit some bars or clubs, the Stodolní street is well known for its nightlife. Locals often prefer smaller, less crowded places like the Dock, a bar with a nice atmosphere or U Gustava, a small bar with sophisticated drinks. Wine is good at Ostrawina and staying at Ikarus after midnight is always fun. Drink the best beers at U Skákavého Poníka, Psí kusy – HoppyDog, or get Pilsner at Pivnice U Rady.
Where to eat
For delicious food, we recommend trying:
eatmeat or HogoFogo burgers,
Bistro Boule za ušima with burgers and more,
La Petite Conversation for French cuisine and salads, or
smoked meat, burgers or salads at Radegastovna, a big place with a statue of the pagan god of grain and beer Radegast.
Makalu has heavenly Nepalese and Indian food,
try desserts or the French Croque Monsieur sandwich at Sladký časy,
go to Superfood Black Kale for vegan dishes,
try Czech cuisine at Pivnice U Rady (reservation needed),
at Bo Bistro Store, get a classic Czech potato pancake,
taste the best fresh fish at Rybárna na Rynku,
stuff yourself with fries from Czech potatoes at Fæncy Fries.
And maybe you can eat a bit more fancy and have a good beer or two at the restaurant at Zámek (Chateau) Zábřeh.
Are you a coffee lover? You can find coffee shops around every corner.
We highly recommend the friendly Kavárna Maryčka in the DOV,
PetPunk, a hipster-style café with something to eat by Pawliczka,
Industrial Cafe in the art deco style,
Kavárna Daniel, an old-timey style café with great café au lait
the chill Bo Bistro Store,
the hipster CØKAFE,
coffee to go from Čerstvý Boby,
Laura Coffee Sladovna, which is also a coffee roastery,
or great coffee or chocolate at Vitalo Chocolaterie in case you end up in a mall and need to cheer up.
Travelling around Ostrava
(Trams, Buses, and Trolleybuses)
- Contactless payment card (Visa or Mastercard)
- The easiest way! Inside the tram, bus or trolleybus, just tap your card on a yellow machine and wait for the green light. Your ticket is purchased. Anytime you do this, the yellow machines are tracking your card and will use the cheapest price possible for your ticket.
- Text message (SMS)
- If you have a Czech phone number, send the text “DPO70” to 90230 to buy a 70-minute ticket for 30 CZK. (This is a special service by Czech operators. Unfortunately, it does not work from international numbers.)
Use a specialized map to plan your bike trips because Google Maps don’t offer cycling navigation for the Czech Republic.
Many parking spaces in the city center are paid. If there is a payment machine nearby, be sure to use it.
A planned zone system will probably limit parking for visitors in the city center. We will update the information here according to the current situation.
Also, check detailed instructions on how to get to the PyCon CZ venue.
Arrival to Ostrava
There are direct trains to Ostrava from Prague, Warsaw, Bratislava, and other cities.
The main train station is Ostrava hlavní nádraží (Ostrava hl. n.).
After you arrive at Leoš Janáček Airport Ostrava, either:
- take bus 333 from Mošnov, Airport, the stop right outside the Arrivals hall, right to the city center,
- or go to the station Mošnov, Ostrava Airport located just next to the airport, and take a train to the main train station: Ostrava hlavní nádraží.
If you don’t find a direct flight, fly to another airport in Czechia (Pardubice, Prague or Brno) or Poland (Katowice or Warsaw) and continue by train.
Check out Czech driving regulations.
A highway sticker costs 310 CZK for 10 days and can be bought at gas stations or post offices.
You might also be interested in how to get to the PyCon CZ venue.
Accommodation in Ostrava
We recommend places close to Forum Nová Karolina mall – it’s best to stay in the city centre so that you will never get lost in the middle of the night. To name a few:
- Kampus Palace is mainly student accommodation but serves as a hotel for tourists.
- Hotel Maria offers decent accommodation and affordable price.
- Hotel Palace Electra a little expensive but very good quality.
The Czech Republic
Never been to the Czech Republic? Here are a few useful facts.
The country’s official names are Czech Republic (Česká republika) and Czechia (Česko). A country named Czechoslovakia doesn’t exist anymore – it split up 26 years ago.
We pay with CZK (“koruna”, also abbreviated Kč).
The exchange rate is approximately 1 EUR = 25 CZK.
Cards (mostly Visa and Mastercard) are accepted in chain stores and larger places, but less often in smaller shops, coffee places or pubs.
It’s useful to carry some cash around.
ATMs are omnipresent, but avoid Euronet because of their high fees. All ATMs operated by banks are ok.
The closest ATM to the main venue is a 5-minute walk away and is opened 24/7.
Money exchange booths sometimes offer smaller fees and better deals than banks, but some are tourist traps. Just make sure you're getting at least 25 CZK for 1 EUR.
Czechia also has a law to protect you from scam exchange offices: you have 3 hours to revert the transaction and get your money back up to 1000 EUR. Of course you need keep the bill.
We speak Czech and generally understand Slovak perfectly.
English should be well understood, especially among younger people.
German or a Slavic language like Polish can work as a fallback.
June is usually sunny and warm, but be ready for some chilly, rainy days. It can be 30°C with a clear blue sky as well as 15°C with heavy, London-like rain.
Like most of continental Europe, we use type E power sockets with 230 V.