How NOT to Visit Ostrava, Czech Republic

Every once in a while, you visit a place and absolutely everything goes wrong, almost to the point where you feel as though that place is cursed. For me, that place was Ostrava, Czech Republic.

This post certainly won’t be a ‘Best Sights in Ostrava Czech Republic!’ type post (spoiler – there aren’t any), and neither will it attempt to remain unbiased. I did not like Ostrava one bit, and if that sentiment alone offends you, then you’re probably not going to like this article.

Disclaimer – it should go without saying that this article is tongue-in-cheek and I mean no disrespect to Ostrava or its inhabitants. These are just MY experiences. I don’t have it in for Ostrava Czech Republic. Ostrava had it in for me. Lol.

SO, if you’re not averse to the cynical ramblings of a millennial travel chick then keep reading, because this post may just be for you (as well as this one, about the time I missed 2 flights and lost my luggage).

I also didn’t take a lot of photos in Ostrava because, well, usually I was just trying not to be lost or annoyed.

Ostrava, Czech Republic – the City Where It All Went Wrong

The Beginning

It all began one sunny morning in Prague. My friend Neneh, who I’d previously met on an English teaching Workaway project, were due to begin another project together, close to the Slovak border.

The meeting point for all of the English teachers was – you’ve guessed it – Ostrava, Czech Republic, and so we were both making our way there from Prague.

With my Flix Bus ticket downloaded on my phone, I made my way to the station where our ride was due to depart from. I’d taken many Flix Buses on the course of my travels, and they were, as the name would suggest, buses.

I arrived before Neneh and made my way to the place where all of the Flix Bus stops were. I read each timetable carefully but couldn’t find the right stop. There were plenty of buses heading to Italy and Croatia, but none to Ostrava! I asked a few locals, including two Flix Bus drivers, and nobody could help me.

Eventually Neneh arrived, and she couldn’t figure it out either. After the time of departure had been and gone, we started to worry, and found another Flix Bus driver to ask for help.

He was bewildered, and didn’t know where our bus was supposed to stop. The mystery was solved only when a local woman peered at my ticket and exclaimed ‘Oh! These stops are all train stations! You were supposed to take the train!’

Well. In almost one year of taking Flix BUSES, I had no idea that sometimes your Flix BUS could actually be a train. Not only that, but nowhere on our ticket did it say that this bus was in fact going to be in train form. We were livid. After spending 10 euros on a ticket, we were no closer to our destination.

ostrava czech republic

Annoyed, we made our way to the train station to see if there were any trains heading to Ostrava that day. Luckily, there was one due to leave any minute, and so we bought tickets and legged it to the platform.

We thought that that was the end of it, until the ticket inspector told us that our tickets weren’t actually valid for this train because it was a ‘special’ train, and so we had to pay extra again. Why the woman sold us this ticket in the first place, specifically so we could take this train, I will never know.

After this debacle was over, we let out deep sighs of relief and settled into our seats. It had been a rough start, but surely the only way from here was up, right?


The Arrival

When we pulled into the station at Ostrava, Czech Republic, we opened up Google Maps to try to figure out how we would get to the hostel that we had booked. However, despite said hostel being over 4km away, the only option that Google was giving us was to walk.


I should mention now that poor Neneh had been living in Europe for a LONG time and had all of her worldly possessions with her. As well as the huge backpacks (yes, plural), she also had a humongous suitcase with a broken wheel that made it nigh impossible to pull along normally.

We were not equipped to walk.

Leaving me with the luggage, Neneh rushed off to ask somebody in the station why Google was saying that there were no public transport options available here.

The answer?

‘Oh, Google Maps doesn’t work here!’

Did someone say the hills have eyes?!

I should mention at this point that I’ve been to some pretty remote places. I lived on an island with no hot water for a year. Never have I been to a place where Google Maps did not work.

As with the Flix Bus debacle, we felt as though this might be symbolic of how our time in Ostrava was going to be. Spoiler alert – it was.

invitation to join the author's facebook group

Anyway, after being told which tram to take, we hopped on and Neneh left me sitting with the luggage while she went to the ticket machine. However, if we thought that buying a ticket was going to be simple, we were sorely mistaken!

On seeing that we had first headed to the seats to dump our luggage before purchasing a ticket, two plain clothed ticket inspectors blocked Neneh’s way to the machine, angrily beginning to write out tickets.

This was all we needed!

However, by some weird stroke of luck, they seemed frustrated that they couldn’t communicate with us in English, and Neneh was able to duck past and buy tickets from the machine while the two men pretended that they couldn’t see her. Very very weird.

ostrava czech republic
The beginning of the struggle. Excuse the photo quality, this is a screenshot from my Instagram story video.

The Lodgings

When we reached our tram stop, we had a 20 minute walk to our hostel. Now, a 20 minute walk would usually not have been a problem, but it took us double that time to reach our accommodation due to Neneh’s broken suitcase refusing to cooperate with us.

Not only that, but the area was…interesting.

On the very outskirts of the city, we were walking through an area with some of the sketchiest looking people I’d ever seen in my life, who were all eyeing us up as though deciding whether to rob us or rape us, or both (no joke, it was really sketch).

It was very obvious to us that these people had never even seen a tourist before, and certainly not a black person. It was safe to say we stood out a little.

After making it to our hostel without being murdered, we checked in, only to discover that it was a kind of halfway house for the homeless (?!). It was eerily quiet, apart from some guy upstairs that Neneh swore she could hear moaning (or crying, my memory is a bit foggy on the details of this guy). However, as strange as the hostel was, we were actually given a kind of 3-bedroom apartment for about £8 each, and as basic and jenky as it was, we weren’t about to complain about that!

ostrava czech republic
The struggle continues

Through the Forest…


So, off we toddled to the reception in our hostel, and through sign language, we asked the old lady which tram to take to town. She told us the number, and so we walked the 20 minutes to the tram stop. It was dusk by this point, and the area was feeling even sketchier than it had earlier, but hey ho, it’s all part of the experience, right?!

So. We get on the tram, and after a few stops, we get to somewhere that LOOKS like the centre, and so we ask a young couple if we’re in the right place.

‘Oh no,’ they said. ‘You need to get off and take tram number 7. That will take you to the centre.’

Okay, cool.

So we get off, get onto tram number 7 (obviously I’m making the number up, but u get me) and sit tight. We begin to think that it’s a little strange that we appear to be getting further and further away from town, and even stranger when we GO THROUGH AN ENTIRE DAMN FOREST, but hey, in just a second we’re going to emerge onto a bustling high street full of bars and restaurants…right???


Instead, the tram takes us to AN EMPTY TRAM DEPOT (?!?) and we’re all ordered to get off.

Seeing our bewildered expressions, a friendly old lady motions for us to follow the other passengers, who have formed a line and appear to be waiting for another tram.

So, we do. We wait patiently in line, and follow everyone else onto the bus that appears. Once we’ve been on said bus for about 5 minutes, a girl overhears us talking and interrupts us, saying ‘You do know you’re going in the opposite direction of where you need to be right?’


SO. We get off and WALK back to the bus depot, and begin asking anyone and everyone how to get back to the centre. Of course, nobody speaks any English, and so it takes about 4 people before we finally have any success and a very nice man points us in the right direction.

So. We end up in exactly the same spot where we met the ‘helpful couple’ earlier, and decide to just give up on finding the centre and go to eat at the first restaurant we saw, which happened to be pretty decent. Do I remember the name? Of course not. The name isn’t the point.

Needless to say, we were so exhausted by the time we finished our meal that we just headed straight home and went to bed. After all, we had a FUN AND EXCITING WALKING TOUR to attend the next morning.

Ostrava Czech Republic
Dreaming of a life outside of Ostrava…

The Next Day…

The next morning, me and Neneh woke bright and early and met with our friend Graham, who had arrived in Ostrava Czech Republic in the early hours of the morning and would be teaching English with us. We enjoyed breakfast in a local café (where everybody was already getting drunk despite it being 9am???), before meeting up with our fellow volunteers for the walking tour that the programme offered as a way of getting us acquainted with the city that we were in.

Honestly, by this point, I was ready to write Ostrava off entirely, but I figured we may as well attend the tour. I mean, we may actually see the city centre now, right?

Ostrava Czech Republic
This guy is miserable because he lives in Ostrava.


(Just so you all know, I keep having to stop writing to take a deep breath. This sh*t is still raw, hahaha.)

So, we plodded around Ostrava on the walking tour. It was eerily quiet despite it being midday on a sunny Saturday. The only people around were drunk old men. But no judgement here, if I lived in Ostrava I’d be drunk by midday too.

Ostrava Czech Republic
Trying to love Ostrava.

A Night Out in Ostrava, Czech Republic

After lunch, Neneh, Graham and I stumbled across a cat café. Now, it seemed odd to me that a place like Ostrava had a cat café but hey, I wasn’t mad about it. Once inside the café however, it became clear that this was an establishment that didn’t know what it was trying to be.

The food menu boasted a Spanish tapas selection, the drinks on offer were all hipster craft beers, and there weren’t many cats but a very friendly dog…again, not complaining, but it was a rather bizarre place.

cat cafe Ostrava

After this, Neneh decided to go back to the hostel while Graham and I set about finding a place to get drunk. I mean, it couldn’t be that difficult, right?

We wandered around aimlessly for a while before eventually settling on an Irish pub. It was almost empty, but we figured that we couldn’t go wrong with an Irish pub and so we ordered our beers and grabbed a table outside.

The street itself was extremely quiet, with just a few dilapidated strip clubs and other empty pubs. We decided to turn to Google.

One place that kept popping up time and time again was a street named Stodolni Street. Reviews cited it as a crazy street with more than 100 bars and clubs, and promised that it was the place to be if you were planning a bachelor party.

‘Wow, this sounds promising, let’s try and find Stodolni Street!’ we enthused.

It was then that I happened to glance up at the forlorn looking strip club on the corner. Right there on the wall was a plaque with the name of the street we were on – Stodolni Street.

Giggling hysterically, we decided to try our best to find SOMEWHERE with more than 3 customers. And we succeeded. Kind of.

Ostrava Czech Republic

The bar that we ended up finding was a kind of cave bar with tree stumps for stools and a group of 8 or so women on a hen party. There were no other patrons inside the bar, but the bartender assured us that this was the place to be, and so we took a seat. It amused me to see that the ladies on their hen do were wearing the same Learner plates and pink feather boas as women back in Manchester wear.

To give the bartender his credit, the bar did fill up as the night went on. My personal highlight was when a slightly chunky male stripper came to surprise the bride – it’s safe to say that after witnessing his performance, I don’t feel the need to hire a stripper if I ever get engaged.

So guys and gals, FORTUNATELY this concludes my time in Ostrava, Czech Republic. If you think I spent another night here after the English programme finished then you are out of your damn mind because I hot-footed it on a train to Poland as fast as my little legs would carry me. Perhaps Ostrava is a wonderful travel destination for some, but for Neneh and I, it was honestly cursed. I shan’t be going back anytime soon!

If you fancy visiting the Czech Republic, I highly recommend both Brno and Olomouc, two wonderful cities which aren’t cursed.

Do you have any similar travel horror stories? I’d love to know! Share them with me in the comments section below!

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6 thoughts on “How NOT to Visit Ostrava, Czech Republic”

  1. Dear Jezebel,

    I found this old Ostrava bit by chance, since your (equally old) happens to describe a plague that I had described in my own (semi-secret) blog in 2014 with more details (names, local Polish articles and such).

    First, let me congratulate you on your principles and approach that you have been using here: “the sun is the best disinfecant”, as per, “You don’t just go on holiday to Afghanistan” (see the 2021 developments there: you were so obviously right), etc.

    However, I will (slightly) criticize your Ostrava bit:

    * You are right about FlixBus unduly transmogrifying into a regular train.
    -> Do not use FlixBus. They were evil back then and are more evil now: (Do not use Uber, Amazon, etc. – for the same reasons: weaponized AI, in very short, but it is a whole other related topic.)
    -> Why did you not address the locals in Slovak? (It is not a joke: or Bing) Why should they accommodate to your first-world circumstances and not the other way round?

    * Neneh’s broken suitcase’s wheel or trying to find the center:
    A. If you have so much luggage, you travel by car/bike/magic carpet, not on foot.
    B. You get out of the local train station and take a taxi. (I will spare the tip of you asking out and not accepting touts: yous are too travel wise for that
    C. ‘You do know you’re going in the opposite direction of where you need to be right?’ and such: – reliable since around 1996, enhanced by BT and WiFi signals since around 2005.

    * Seedy characters and this hen party
    -> But they are fun!
    -> Do your own research, aka RTFM, yourself before going places. for starters.


    An occasional fellow blogger, since the 2000s or the 1990s actually, if one includes Usenet here

    1. Thanks for your comment, although I do find it a teensy bit unnecessary to be judging travel decisions I made on one particular day years ago, on a story that was supposed to be amusing and not taken seriously.

      We booked a Flixbus because it was the cheapest and fastest way to get to our destination and I have always had a great experience with them. As a budget traveller, I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the most affordable options.

      I didn’t address the locals in Czech (although the Czech language is similar to Slovak, it is its own language) because I didn’t have access to internet translation services. I did not have a phone with data.

      As I discussed in the blog post, we could not find a taxi from the train station and the public tram only took us to the tram stop. Our hostel was quite a walk away from that, and without Czech SIM cards or internet, we had no way of getting a taxi.

      We did do our research, and Ostrava is certainly no Lunik 9. It is in a different country, for starters.

      We had no choice whether to go to Ostrava – our volunteer programme began there, and so we had to go. We also booked the only hostel available. Again, not everybody has the luxury of a fancy hotel.

      I think you took my article way too seriously 🙂

  2. Honestly, this kind of sounds like your own incompetence here. It feels like 99% of your problems would be avoided if you took about 15 minutes of googling. And well, yeah, Google maps doesn’t work in many cities, you can just google what to use in Ostrava, there’s like 3 or 4 different apps, including the one by the Ostravan department of public communication (where you can also buy tickets).

    I think it’s a bit dishonest to write it off as problems of the city when all of this could be solved if you jsut did your research before going there.

  3. Hi interesting article. I stopped here on my way to Katowice from Vienna last summer (I could have chose Brno or Olomouc). I got the flix bus but there wasn’t much happening just some people around a shopping centre and walked the wrong way initially into a residential area because my phone was dead but was able to communicate with locals. I never had the problem of being stared at but it was very quiet on a Saturday afternoon almost eerie. Things never really picked up in the evening either. I was told to leave Staldoni street by a local after 2 am and it was heavily policed that night. Overall very quiet place but authentic and beer was great as usual in CZ.

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