Last updated on February 10th, 2023 at 03:44 pm
If you’re wondering what to do in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second-largest city, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll find the best things to do in Brno and all the information you need to plan the perfect trip to this lesser-known Czech city.
Brno is a compact and affordable city that hasn’t been affected by mass tourism yet. Therefore, if you’re looking for a laid-back and authentic destination for a city break, Brno might just be the one. Here’s what to do in Brno for a trip to remember!
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Where Is Brno
Brno is a city in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic. It was the former capital of the historical region of Moravia and it’s now the capital of South Moravia. Brno enjoys an amazing location, a stone’s throw from the gorgeous South Moravian countryside, often referred to as Moravian Tuscany.
What To Do in Brno at a Glance
Although compact and very easy to get around, Brno isn’t a place you should visit on a day trip. With countless fantastic things to see in Brno, you need at least three full days to appreciate the city and its charms. Brno is a year-round destination but spring, summer and autumn might be the best seasons to visit in terms of weather.
The city of Brno is a study in architecture, with many trends and styles co-existing to narrate Brno’s history in the most eloquent way. Apart from the city that you can see with your eyes, there’s another one that lies hidden, the famous Brno underground. Moreover, Brno was, is and forever will be attached to science and high technology and there are many things to do in Brno that attest to this legacy.
Furthermore, Brno is a city to enjoy with all your senses. Brno’s food, coffee and nightlife scenes are second to none and guarantee a unique experience. Outside of the city, dreamy castles, gorgeous scenery and impressive landscapes await.
But let’s have a look at what to do in Brno in more detail.
25 Amazing Things To Do in Brno
1. Wander Around The Old Town
You know we have a thing for Old Towns and Brno couldn’t be an exception. Strolling around the historic centre is a fantastic thing to do in Brno in its own right. This is mainly because of the city’s diverse architecture. Baroque, Art Nouveau and Functionalist buildings come together to define the very essence of Brno. To better appreciate the charm of Brno Old Town, join a walking tour with an expert guide.
2. Learn About Functionalist Architecture
If there’s one architectural trend that stands out in Brno, it’s functionalism. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Brno is a study in functionalist architecture. According to Wikipedia, functionalism is the principle that buildings should be designed based solely on their purpose and function.
The Czech Republic was one of the first countries to embrace this architectural style and Brno is dotted with functionalist buildings. Some of the most notable among them are Hotel Avion, the Brno Exhibition Centre, Villa Stiassni and the most famous of all, Villa Tugendhat.
If you’re interested in learning more about the buildings constructed in Brno between 1918 and 1945, the City of Brno and the Brno House of Arts have done an admirable job recording them in the Brno Architectural Manual, a project that gives architecture lovers access to a wealth of information about the city’s architecture. Click here for more.
3. Step Inside Villa Tugendhat
As mentioned above, Villa Tugendhat is one of the finest examples of functionalist architecture in Brno and one of the main Brno attractions. Suffice it to say that it’s impossible to visit without making a reservation way in advance.
The villa was built between 1929 and 1930 as the residence of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat. It’s a monument of modern architecture and this is why it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. The villa’s living room is beyond words impressive while the villa and its grounds enjoy spectacular views of Brno city.
4. Walk to The Old Town Hall
From modern architecture to the oldest secular building in Brno. That’s the magic of Brno’s architecture! The Old Town Hall in Brno served its original purpose from 1373 to 1935 when the Town Hall was transferred to a new building at Dominican Square.
To enter the Town Hall, you have to walk along an arched passageway where you will be greeted by the legendary Brno Dragon, in essence, a crocodile. The Brno Dragon and the Brno Wheel, which you can also see at the entrance of the Old Town Hall, are related to two of the city’s most fascinating legends. To hear more about those from a knowledgeable local, join a guided tour of Brno.
Another reason to visit the Old Town Hall is for the breathtaking panoramic views it offers from its 63-metre tower.
5. Pay a Visit to The Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul
Dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, Brno’s Cathedral overlooks the city from atop Petrov Hill. Diverse as the city of Brno itself, this imposing structure’s exterior is Gothic while its interior is Baroque.
The Cathedral’s bells ring every day at noon. Yet noon in Brno is at 11 am instead of, well, noon in remembrance of an instance of utter ingenuity on behalf of the locals. In the 17th century, the Swedish Army was conquering one European city after another. Brno was resisting but for how much longer?
One August morning, the Swedish commander boasted that if his army didn’t take Brno until noon that day, they would stop the siege of Brno. As the Swedish army advanced, the locals made sure the bells of all Brno churches rang at 11 am that day, tricking the Swedes into thinking that they had lost the bet and, thus, saving the city of Brno.
6. People-Watch at Freedom Square
Freedom Square (Namesti Svobody) is where the heart of Brno beats all year round. At Christmas, there’s a Christmas market at the square. That said, you will always find something exciting happening there, no matter what season you’re visiting. Food trucks, carousels, live bands, you name it. Freedom Square is also home to several interesting buildings, such as the functionalist Moravian Bank building.
7. Claim Your Gift From The Astronomical Clock
However, the most fascinating thing to see at Freedom Square is Brno’s Astronomical Clock. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you probably won’t realise that this controversially shaped black construction is a clock. You most probably won’t be able to tell the time either. But Brno’s Astronomical Clock holds an exciting surprise.
Every day at noon – remember Brno’s noon i.e. 11 am – the clock releases a glass marble from one of its four halls. If you’re lucky enough to find it, you can keep it as a souvenir. But bear in mind that you might have to fight for it as there are plenty of people claiming it.
8. Admire Art at The Moravian Gallery
For art lovers, the Moravian Gallery is one of the best places to visit in Brno. The gallery’s vast collection numbers more than 200,000 works of art and is spread across six buildings. Ruben’s Medusa, one of the Moravian Gallery’s most celebrated works of art, is permanently exhibited at the Governor’s Palace, a gorgeous building that adorns Moravian Square.
9. Hang Out at Moravian Square
Moravian Square (Moravske Namesti) is a favourite hang-out among locals. It’s also one of the city’s most recognisable meeting points. The square is dominated by a tall bronze statue of a knight riding a horse with unrealistically long legs. What’s very realistic about this controversial statue that was added to the square quite recently – in 2015 – is the view you get when you stand below the horse’s belly.
10. Mingle With Locals at The Vegetable Market
Another unmissable place to visit in Brno is the city’s open-air Vegetable Market or Cabbage Market as locals call it. This market has been in the exact same location since the 13th century. It’s the best place to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables and mingle with locals. The market is open every day except Sunday.
While at the Cabbage Market, you can also taste delicacies from the on-site food trucks and admire the famous Parnas Fountain, designed by the artist who built the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Before you go, don’t forget to look for the quirky statue of Mozart, too.
11. Get Lost in an Underground Labyrinth
Under the Vegetable Market, you can visit an underground labyrinth of medieval cellars and dark corridors with many tales to tell. This network of underground rooms gradually expanded throughout the centuries as farmers and merchants needed more space to store their goods. The total underground area is vast and you can visit a part of it by guided tour only. Otherwise, you’d risk getting lost. For good.
The Labyrinth under the Vegetable Market isn’t the only underground attraction in Brno though. Brno underground is huge and it’s estimated that about 20% of it is yet to be discovered. Here are a couple of other Brno attractions that lay hidden in the city’s depths.
12. Visit Brno Ossuary
Brno is home to the second-largest ossuary in Europe after the Catacombs in Paris. Founded in the 17th century and expanded in the 18th century, the underground ossuary is situated below the beautiful Church of Saint James in the heart of Brno.
Brno Ossuary is the final resting place of over 50,000 people. What’s almost impossible to believe is that the ossuary’s existence was unknown until very recently when it was discovered by chance during a land survey in 2001. Brno Ossuary can be visited by guided tour only.
13. Step Inside a Capuchin Crypt
Since we are on the subject of long-gone yet not forgotten people, Brno’s Capuchin Crypt is another essential stop on this quest to uncover as much of Brno underground as possible. In the depths of Brno’s Capuchin Monastery, lie the mummified corpses of several monks, an eerie yet literally unique sight to behold.
14. Explore 10-Z Bunker
When we’re talking about Brno underground, 10-Z Bunker needs a special mention. An air-raid shelter during the Second World War, the bunker was turned into a profitable wine store after 1946 when two guys saw an opportunity and grabbed it.
However, their successful business was short-lived. A couple of years later, the Communists confiscated the business and transformed the bunker into a nuclear fallout shelter.
Nowadays, a visit to 10-Z Bunker is one of the most exciting things to do in Brno. A walk along the bunker’s narrow corridors is enough to transfer you back to darker times and re-live significant moments in world history.
However, for an even more immersive experience, you can spend the night in one of the bunker’s cell-like rooms. Yes, that’s right. The bunker is not only a museum but also a hostel and you can book your original-dating-back-to-WW2 bed here.
15. Have Fun With Science
Brno has always been a city that had strong ties with science and high technology. It’s home to dozens of universities and other educational institutions while it’s estimated that 30% of the world’s electron microscopes are manufactured in Brno.
Yet science isn’t just for the selected few in Brno. Science is made easy and fun for everyone. This is evident at the VIDA! Science Centre, an impressive space where adults and children alike come into touch with science via interactive exhibits and simplified scientific experiments.
16. Go Stargazing
Speaking of science, who’s not fond of astronomy? We know we are and this is why we visited the Brno Observatory & Planetarium during our trip to Brno. We’d advise you to do the same on a clear night to watch the stars light up the glorious Czech sky. However, if the weather doesn’t allow a night-sky observation, you can always watch a 3D show at the cosy and high-end planetarium. Have a look at the programme here.
17. Wander Around Spilberk Castle
Stars and castles are for dreamers and Spilberk Castle is indeed a dreamy place to visit in Brno. Dominating Brno’s skyline for over seven centuries, Spilberk Castle has been a royal residence, a military fortress and a prison throughout its long and troubling history.
Nowadays, it’s one of the best viewpoints in Brno and, together with the surrounding park, one of the best places in Brno to enjoy an afternoon stroll, not far from the city centre. For information on how to visit the castle’s interior, click here.
18. One Castle Is Never Enough: Discover Lednice Castle
There are several other castles to visit near Brno. Deciding which one to add to this guide on what to do in Brno wasn’t an easy task. But Lednice Castle was a winner in the end. Surrounded by a human-made forest, this English Neo-Gothic palace is an architectural masterpiece and the ideal place to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of Brno city.
19. Uncover The Magic of Moravian Tuscany
Speaking of day trips, nothing can compare to a day spent surrounded by the utter beauty of the countryside that stretches south of Brno. This area is called Moravian Tuscany for a reason. Think rolling hills and vineyards for as far as the eye can see. Add to that the absolute peace and quiet you enjoy as you walk through a dreamy scenery of unfathomable beauty. That’s Moravian Tuscany.
This area is quite large and it would take more than just a day trip to explore it in depth and visit the multitude of its picturesque villages. However, you can get a good taste by walking between Sardice and Stavesice, two of the area’s quaintest villages.
As you walk from Sardice to Stavesice – or vice versa – your eyes are constantly filled with the magic of a Tuscan-like landscape, dominated by rolling hills and perfect rows of vineyards. The walk takes about an hour without stops but we doubt that you won’t want to stop to take in the beauty at every turn.
Almost halfway between the two villages, the Vyhlidka Observation Tower is a quirky viewpoint that allows you to look at this nature’s wonder from above. These are views to cherish for life.
There are buses to Sardice and Stavesice from Brno but not all of them are direct nor do they run frequently. Check with Google Maps and plan your excursion in advance. Make sure you don’t miss your bus back to Brno as the next one might take a while to come and there’s not much in the way of cafés or other similar establishments in the area.
20. Taste South Moravian Wine
Where there are vineyards, there is wine. South Moravia is renowned for the top-quality wine it produces. When in Brno, don’t miss the chance to try local wine at any given chance. South Moravian wine has a very delicate flavour and you’ll definitely love it.
21. Ride a Beer Tram
South Moravian wine is not to be missed but, hey, you’re in the Czech Republic, the country that drinks the most beer per capita in the world. Starobrno is the biggest brewery in Brno but there are also several microbreweries.
One of the quirkiest things to do in Brno is to ride the legendary Salina Pub or beer tram. The interior of this hop-on-hop-off tram is designed to look like a typical Czech pub, complete with tables and beer taps. Sadly, the Salina Pub doesn’t run very frequently, only on selected dates throughout the year. Check out the upcoming rides here and, hopefully, you’ll find one on your travel dates.
22. Experience Brno’s Coffee & Nightlife Scenes
Brno is renowned for its amazing coffee scene. Coffee lovers swear by the quality of coffee found in the city’s cafés. We wouldn’t know as we and caffeine don’t get along very well but everyone raves about coffee in Brno.
Similarly, Brno is abundant in fantastic bars that serve classic drinks but also imaginative cocktails. Unlike the coffee, we have first-hand experience with the drinks and cocktails, of course. Some of the best bars in Brno are Super Panda Circus, The Bar That Doesn’t Exist, Air Café and Rotor Bar. If you’re into clubbing, head to Sono Club for a night to remember.
23. Delve Into Brno’s Gastronomy
From typical Czech food to modern gastronomy to ethnic cuisines from all over the world, Brno has it all. No matter your culinary preferences, Brno won’t disappoint. For us, Brno is one of the best destinations in terms of food because of its countless vegetarian and vegan options. With a couple of locations across the city, Forky’s is one of the best vegan restaurants in Brno.
24. Relax at a Park in Brno
Brno has no shortage of green spaces if you want to relax and unwind at some point. Luzanky Park is Brno’s largest park. It’s also the oldest public park in the Czech Republic. Complete with a playground, an outdoor gym and a public grill for barbecuing, Luzanky Park is ideal for everyone.
If you’re looking for a green oasis in the heart of Brno, head to the gorgeous Denis Gardens, a bijou public park that boasts beautiful views of the city and Spilberk Castle.
25. Enjoy a Day Trip To The Moravian Karst
If you have time for yet another day trip, the impressive Moravian Karst (Moravsky Kras) awaits north of Brno. This complex of caverns and gorges is one of the most important karst areas in Central Europe. Four of the caves are open to visitors by guided tour and it’s recommended to book your tickets in advance. For more information, click here.
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Brno Travel Guide
How To Get To Brno
Brno has an international airport but not many European cities are connected to Brno by plane. Therefore, the best way to get to Brno is by train. Brno is a stop on the railway lines that connect Prague to Vienna, Budapest or Bratislava. This means that Brno can easily be added to an extended itinerary across Central Europe. There are two companies that operate trains in Brno: Czech Railways and Regiojet.
How To Get Around Brno
Brno is a very compact and walkable city. However, some of the places to visit in Brno that are mentioned in this article, such as the VIDA! Science Centre, Villa Tugendhat and the Observatory are a tiny bit far from the city centre. In that case, you might want to save some energy and time and take the tram instead of walking.
Public transport in Brno is efficient, fast, frequent, clean and, most importantly, ridiculously easy to use. The city’s trams and buses have an integrated pay-as-you-go system. Once you get on board the tram or bus, tap your credit or debit card on the reader and that’s it! There’s even a hack to save a few Czech Koruna. If your ride lasts less than 15 minutes, tap your card on the reader again upon exiting the tram or bus.
If you use public transport several times on the same day, the system won’t charge your credit card immediately but the total amount will show the following day. That’s because there’s a daily cap (90 CZK in 2022) and the system won’t let you pay more than that per day.
Where To Stay in Brno
Accommodation in Brno is quite affordable compared to Prague. As Brno is a very compact city, no matter which part you choose to stay in, you’ll always be within easy walking distance or a short tram ride from everything.
Here’s a selection of some of the best hotels in Brno:
Travel Resources For Brno Czech Republic
Now that you know what to do in Brno, you’re ready to plan a trip to the Czech Republic’s second-largest city, this underrated gem that patiently awaits to be discovered. If you’ve been to Brno before or planning to visit soon, let us know how you liked it in the comments. If you’re looking for more off-the-beaten-path destinations to add to your Czech Republic itinerary, here’s our Liberec Travel Guide.
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WORDS & EDITING: Maria