Brno is the second largest city of Czech Republic (after Prague), and it’s the capital of the region of Moravia. It has a long history and there are numerous historical attractions you’re going to love. It has tiny cobbled streets, bustling squares and a beautiful architecture, which make it a charming city. There are many reasons to visit Brno, however few tourists make it there and just visit Prague. Let’see what are the best things to do in Brno!
First off, you need to know Brno is home to six universities, meaning it’s a student city (an estimated 100,000 students live here). It also means it’s a lively place with plenty of bars, restaurants, clubs, cafes, rooftops, and numerous events. Brno is an underrated city that deserves the spotlight, moreover it’s not far from Vienna, Bratislava, or Budapest. In fact, some people call it “Little Vienna” or “Hidden Heart of Europe”. Let’s see what to do in Brno!
You have to visit it! Located in a quiet residential area, Villa Tugendhat was built in 1930 by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Fritz Tugendhat and his family. It’s hard to believe it dates back to 1930 when you see the wonderful modern architecture.
If you’re into design and architecture, you have to see it! FYI, the agreement to divide Czechoslovakia in two distinct countries was signed in the villa. Villa Tugendhat is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The villa is so popular, you have to book months in advance to visit it! It’s one of the best places to visit in Brno.
The Spilberk Castle
It dates back to the 13th century, and it was built on a commanding hill. Over the years, it was used as a royal castle, fortress but also prison. The castle is home to the Brno City Museum, where you’ll find great exhibitions. The castle also hosts events such as festivals, concerts or theater plays. Spilberk Castle is on top of a hill so from there you can admire a beautiful panorama of Brno. It’s one of the best things to do in Brno!
The Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul
The cathedral is in the heart of the city, perched on Petrov hill, so it’s pretty much impossible to miss it. It features 84-meters high twin towers and a wonderful Baroque interior. You can go up the tower to see the panorama of the city. Fun fact: the bells ring at 11am instead of noon. On August 15th 1645, the Swedes agreed to give up Brno if thay hadn’t conquered it by noon. The locals decided to ring the bells at 11am, and it worked. They still do this to this day.
The Capuchin church and crypt
This is one of the smallest churches in Brno, built as part of the Capuchin monastery. You’ll find there Baroque statues, frescoes but above all the church is known for its crypt and its collection of human remains. You will also see mummified monks and the open casket of Franz Baron von Trenck, an 18th-century mercenary. It may sounds morbid, but it’s actually interesting. Still, this place is not for the faint of heart.
The Brno ossuary
Located just down the church of St. James, this one is less eerie than than the crypt. It’s a vast collection of human bones discovered in 2001, and opened to the public in 2012. About 50,000 people were found, making it the second largest after the Catacombs of Paris. These are the bones of people who died from plague and cholera mostly. The ossuary is actually quite small but it’s impressive, with neat rows of skulls and bones.
Veveri castle is actually about 12 kilometers from Brno, but you have to visit it. Plus it’s easily accessible by public transportation. It’s one of the biggest and oldest castles in the country. It was founded in the 11th century and changed hands and nationality numerous times throughout the years, and it’s possible to visit it now. Explore the interior and admire the loft and dining room, the frescoes and the large collections of furniture. There’s also a wine cellar to sample wine from the best Czech vineyards.
The old town hall
The old town hall dates back to the 13th century. Take some time to admire the architecture, its courtyard, but also the town’s two symbols: a dragon (it’s actually a crocodile!) and a wheel. The legend says once upon a time a dragon threatened the city, a butcher killed it, and the crocodile is the remnant of the said dragon. You can also climb up the tower to enjoy great views of the city. If needed, the Brno tourism office is located here. Click here to enjoy a guided walking tour of Brno.
Namesti Svobody (the main square)
Namesti Svobody (Liberty Square) is the main square of Brno and it’s in the heart of the city. It’s the main hotspot and it’s vibrant all day and all year long. You’ll find there two bronze fountains, a Baroque plague column, and a black clock which looks like a… black cock. Namesti Svobody hosts several events throughout the year such as the Christmas market. In the summer, students have drinks at one of the numerous cafes, or they just relax on the deckchairs.
Other things to do in Brno
There are other things to do in Brno. Check out the vegetable market (Zelny trh), admire the Church of Saint James, laugh while watching the black clock, discover the 10-Z Bunker or just relax at park Luzanky. If you’re into museums, check out the Gregor Mendel abbey and museum, or the museum of Romani culture.
I honestly had a great time in Brno. To me, it’s one of the best kept secrets of Czech Republic. It’s the second largest city of the country, yet few tourists come here. It’s surprisingly compact, but there are still numerous things to do in Brno. It’s one of the best places to visit in Czech Republic. If you spend some time in the region, here’s what I did while exploring South Moravia.
How to get to Brno
There’s an airport in Brno but to be honest, it’s not that well-connected. However there are direct trains and buses from numerous cities in the region: Prague, Ostrava, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Ceske Budejovice, Pilsen, Olomouc, etc. Click here to check the bus schedule.
How to get around in Brno
Honestly you don’t need public transportation to get around in Brno. The main tourist attractions are within walking distance from each other. As I said earlier, Brno is a compact city. If you need to go a bit further, you can take the bus or the tram. There are ticket machines at the stops, or you can buy directly with your credit card in the bus. You definitely don’t need a car.
Best time to visit Brno
You can either visit from March to May, when numerous festivals begin. Or from June to September, during summer, when the weather is warm. You can also visit Brno in December to enjoy the Christmas markets.
Where to stay in Brno
If you’re traveling on a budget, I suggest the Apartmany Brno. It’s offering large rooms, the owners are nice and welcoming, and it’s clean and quiet. Click here to check the photos, reviews and availability. If you prefer mid-range accommodation, Penzion Bird’s Nest is made for you. The rooms are clean, the staff is friendly and the breakfast is delicious. Click here to check the photos, reviews and availability.
If you’re into luxury hotels, don’t miss the Grandezza Hotel Luxury Palace. It’s well-located, the rooms are stylish and the staff is so nice! Click here to check the photos, reviews and availability. Otherwise click here to check the hotels available in Brno.
Brno travel tips
- Traveling soon? Check out my travel resources page! This list of travel accessories can also be useful!
- Never ever travel without travel insurance! It will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. Click here to get one. Here’s why get travel insurance.
- Want a tailor-made trip to Czech Republic? Get a free quote here!
- Always use a VPN when traveling. I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling.