Brno is the capital of Moravia, which is one of the three main regions of the Czech Republic. It is also the second-largest city of the country and Prague’s main rival. In fact, Prague and Brno are involved in an ongoing teasing rally. Within Czechia, Brno is also a bit underrated when compared to other tourism darlings. Thanks to the fact that the city is home to numerous educational institutions, it’s better known as a student city than a tourist magnet. But as we dig deeper here, you’ll see the city has some unique places worth exploring.A city trip to Brno? Discover here which places to visit in Brno on a long weekend!Click To Tweet
- 1 When is the best time to visit Brno
- 2 Where to stay in Brno
- 3 How to get to the city
- 4 How to spend a weekend in Brno
- 5 Main points of interest and must-do experiences in Brno
- 6 UNESCO Heritage Sites in Brno
- 7 Castles and more
- 8 Off-the-beaten path activities in Brno
- 9 Foods to try in Moravia’s capital
- 10 What to do around Brno
- 11 Before you go
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When is the best time to visit Brno
Undoubtedly, months between mid-spring and early autumn is the best time to visit Brno. Winter is not so attractive because the weather is cold, windy and grey. Also, cultural events, festivals, open-air concerts, and outdoor activities are lacking. Summer is the most pleasant time and despite the high season, Brno is not flooded with tourists like Prague. You’ll find yourself mostly among locals.
Where to stay in Brno
The Moravian capital is not a huge metropolis and I suggest you find accommodation close to downtown. There are plenty of good hotels, in both modern and historic buildings. Staying close to the city centre is not only convenient but you can also avoid using public transportation. Brno is quite compact and walkable.
How to get to the city
If you fly in from another continent, you’ll probably land in Prague. From Prague, you can easily take a train or drive yourself. It’s about 3 hours. Brno has an international airport, but it doesn’t have many regular connections to international destinations. Your best bet is to travel to Brno by train or car.
Another option, besides Prague airport, is the international airport in Vienna, which is actually closer (you’ll save 65 km of driving).
How to spend a weekend in Brno
Brno is a perfect destination for a leisurely weekend getaway. It offers a nice blend of sightseeing and exploration of the food and beverage scene. All you need to see and do is right there in the city centre and you won’t be overwhelmed with too many attractions that you cannot possibly squeeze into one trip.
If you prefer to get on one of the organized tours of the city, you can take a look at these options:
Main points of interest and must-do experiences in Brno
Just a few steps from the Main Train Station, you can find the Capuchin Crypt which is worth visiting. It is a monastery with a tomb housing mummified remains of Capuchin friars dating back to the 17th century. It’s open daily and there is an 80 CZK entrance fee.
From the Capuchin Crypt walk uphill to the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. There are two peculiarities about this cathedral. It’s Gothic from the outside and Baroque from the inside, and its bells toll noon at 11 am as a memory of a time trick the city used to outsmart and get rid of invaders. I suggest you also climb the tower for amazing views.
The cathedral is a short walk to Zelni Trh (Vegetable Market). This lively square has many fresh produce stands, food vendors, crafts and gift kiosks and it has been used this way since the 13th century. It’s home to Christmas Market during the month of December and that’s when you find the richest selection of specialties and seasonal goodies. The best is to follow your nose and try anything that smells and looks tempting.
Right there on the square, you can find the entrance to the Underground Labyrinth that was discovered and open to the public only a decade or so ago. 60-min guided tour will lead you through centuries of local history some 6-8 meters below the ground.
Then take Radnicka Street where you’ll see the Old Town Hall building, follow Panska and Masarykova Street to Liberty Square. The lovely square is home to the historical landmarks such as the Plague Column and the House of the Lords of Lipa which is a beautiful Renaissance building with many coffee shops, shops, and a roof terrace bar. You cannot miss the quirky Astronomical Clock. It’s a bullet-shaped black granite column with holes in it. Every day at 11 am it releases a glass marble and people gather and stick their hands into the openings trying to catch it.
A few steps from Liberty Square, you’ll find the St. James Church and Ossuary. The Ossuary is a new addition to Brno attractions because it was discovered in 2001 during extensive research of the city’s underground. It took a decade before it opened for public tours. Today, it is the second-largest ossuary in Europe (Paris has the largest one), home to over 50 000 skeletons that belong to victims of plague, cholera, and war.
Along Rasinova Street you’ll reach Moravian Square that features the Moravian Gallery – Governor’s Palace, St. Thomas Church and the Supreme Court Building. You’ll want to take photos with the quirky statues that are in front of these buildings, namely the Horse Statue which is actually the Equestrian Statue of Margrave Jobst of Luxembourg and the Statue of Justice that is across the street.
UNESCO Heritage Sites in Brno
Further from the city centre, there is a must-see Brno attraction called Villa Tugendhat. You’ll need to book the tickets several weeks in advance because it’s a popular spot with entrance limited to small groups. And why is this villa such a sought-after place? For three main reasons.
Firstly, it was built decades ahead of its time as a prototype of Modernist architecture built in 1929. It features modern art and picturesque gardens. Secondly, the villa is a place where Czechoslovakia was split into two separate countries, Czechia and Slovakia. The political leaders met there in summer 1992 and signed the state divorce document. Thirdly, Villa Tugendhat has been enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Castles and more
Spilberk Castle is another important stop. You’ll need around 15-20 min to climb up the hill through lush parkland gardens. The view from the castle hill is worth the effort. The castle houses the City of Brno Museum, a restaurant, wine cellars, open-air cinema, and a bistro. You can tour the museum, underground dungeons and definitely climb the tower for the best views of Brno. On the way down, enjoy a relaxing walk through the gardens that feature many pathways, statues, benches, and scenic points.
Off-the-beaten path activities in Brno
If you have more time, Brno Observatory and Planetarium are worth a visit. It’s a modern interactive exhibition with 3D projections, extraterrestrial rocks, and fossils.
An interesting and very informative museum to visit is the Museum of Romani Culture which will teach you a lot about the Romani ethnic group, their history, art, music, and life in Central Europe.
10-Z Nuclear Fallout Shelter is another unique place to see. Built to accommodate 500 people and classified as top secret until 1993, today it’s open for tours. Click here to buy your tickets.
Those who prefer some modern fun, Brno offers many escape game attractions: Steampunk Laboratory, AR Escape Room, Logiq Game, TheRoom, and Exit Game. If you haven’t tried these yet, you might give it a shot and have some adrenaline fun solving puzzles and logic tricks after all that serious sightseeing.
Foods to try in Moravia’s capital
While you are in Brno, you must try some Czech dishes. The national dish is Knedlo, vepro, zelo which is steamed dumplings with pork and cabbage. It goes well with local beers such as Starobrno. Great local dishes are carp, schnitzel, and goulash. Locals swear by the Hausknecht beer. Other notable beer brands are Cerna Hora Brewery and Znojemnske Pivo. South Moravia is famous for its wine production, so try the local varieties such as Palava, Cabernet Moravia and Moravian Muscat.
The following are popular bars and restaurants worth checking out: Super Panda Circus Bar, Bar Ktery Neexistuje (Bar That Doesn’t Exist), Pub Na Stojaka, Burger INN, Stopkova Plzenska Pivnice (Czech food restaurant) or Stredoveka Krcma (Medieval Pub).
You must try local desserts and cakes in SORRY – pečeme jinak (SORRY – We Bake Differently), Patisserie Aida or Patisserie Vetrnik.
What to do around Brno
If you have time, the countryside around Brno offers tons of beautiful places to explore. Highly recommended are the medieval Moravian castles such as Pernstejn Castle, Veveri Castle, Lednice Chateau, Valtice Chateau. Nature at its best can be seen in the Moravian Karst area with the famous Macocha Gorge and Punkva Cave. Both of these must be booked in advance due to high demand and limited access.
Before you go
It’s a good idea to learn some basic Czech expressions such as ‘thank you’ (dekuji), ‘hello’ (ahoj), ‘good day’ (dobry den), ‘yes’ (ano), ‘no’ (ne), ‘please’ (prosim), ‘sorry’ (pardon) and ‘bye’ (na shledanou). The above tour of Brno is just a short introduction and there are many other interesting places to see.
Those who stay longer can enjoy the city’s many parks, galleries, and theaters. Brno is also well-known for its spacious exhibition and convention complex that hosts numerous international and national trade fairs, shows, and exhibitions. The car and motorcycle racing enthusiasts will know about the Automotodrom car racing circuit. Summer travel to Brno also offers many summer festivals, themed fairs, outdoor concerts and artistic performances held across the city centre.
About the author
Slavka is a travel writer and blogger based in London, Ontario, Canada. She specializes in family, multi-generational and couple travel in Europe and North America. With a special love for Central Europe and Canada, you can find her exploring cities, castles, caves, and mountains in those areas. You can communicate with her in five European languages. She shares her travel adventures, videos and advice on www.on2continents.com.
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