Best things to do in Brno + city guide

Best things to do in Brno + city guide

There are so many great things to do in Brno, Czech Republic, where do I even start? I’ll begin by telling you a bit about the city and my impressions. I hadn’t heard about Brno before I went. I was invited on a press trip to discover the area and I was beyond excited because I saw the schedule and thought to myself, “how does a place I’ve never heard of, have so many cool things to do and places to eat?”. I had to go and see for myself. If it’s possible for you to have a weekend in Brno, take it! You can do a bunch of these activities in 2-3 days if you want to.

I want to thank the Czech Tourism Board for hosting my stay in this lovely city.
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Things to do in Brno Czech Republic street view

 

Brno is one of those cool places that have a ton of cool historical buildings, you know, the cool looking ones that just aren’t made anymore? Yeah, those. But it’s also modern and kind of spacious. How do they do that? The town square is actually utilized by people today…and by LOCAL people. That doesn’t happen in Amsterdam. We avoid Dam Square at all costs!

You may also want to read about my epic hot air balloon ride over Brno

 

How to get to Brno

If you’re visiting the Czech Republic or Czechia as the country is now called, you’ll probably hit up Prague. Am I right? Yeah. You have to visit at least once. We went to Prague over Christmas and it was magical, read all about our Christmas in Prague to see how it went for us. When you do go, head to the cocktail bar Bonvivants. Loved that place!

It is Europe, so taking the train from Prague to Brno is easy and cheap–a perfect weekend trip. The journey is about 2.5 hours, and if you take RegioJet and get Business Class (still cheap) you get free champagne and a cookie. Even better, if you’re like us and are super attached to your computer, there are tables that pull up for you to use it. And…AND there’s an outlet. I paid 20 Euro for Business from Brno to Vienna, it was so worth it. Find your train tickets on GoEuro like we did!

You’ll get a cabin for 4 people and there are luggage racks inside. Though if you pack too much wine you may not be able to lift it above your head to the rack. Not that I learned that from experience or anything…

Anyway, you can also take the bus from Prague to Brno or the train from Bratislava or Vienna to the city. All are good options, I’m just a train fan.

Town square of Brno

 

Things to do in Brno (activities!)

Villa Tugendhat

The Villa Tugendhat is a must-visit spot for Czechs and when visiting their country, I think it’s good to go there too. It’s a house with architecture from 1930 (same as our house!) but its design was ahead of its time (unlike our house). Super modern and fun design with views that make you jealous, that’s what that house is all about.

The real reason it’s a must-see is that it is where the document was signed that separated Czechoslovakia into two countries. Just happens to be that it’s pretty, has historical and design value, and a backyard that anyone, old or young, dreams of having.

Old Town Hall

Go for the views! Goodness, the old town hall has some great views. For just under 3 Euros and a 63-meter climb, you can have this view.

 

View from the Brno Old Town Hall

 

Sunset is always better, but we had a packed day. Even still, I couldn’t believe how pretty it was. If you get to visit at the beginning of your trip, maybe it will have the same effect as it did for me, gets you all excited to explore!

 

Moravian Gallery

The exhibitions in the Moravian Gallery are always changing but always interesting. A few months ago when the Honest Guide guys went, it was about 90’s pop culture. When I went it was about typography and publications.

Not always my thing, I’ll admit. But I did find it really cool to see typography as art and the evolution of some styles.

 

VIDA! Science Amusement Park

Who’s a closet science geek? ME!! Not sure if this is in the guidebooks or not, but go, go, go! Learning is for all ages and I just love that they made it an “amusement park”. Science is amusing anyway, people. Duh. We got a sneak peek outside of the building, but next time I’m going inside the VIDA! Science Amusement Park and exploring everything.

Not traditional, I’ll give you that. But do you want traditional, or cool things to do?

VIDA! Science demo in Brno
VIDA! Science with Jess

 

Špilberk Castle

Some people like to visit castles, if you are one of those people, then Brno has you covered! The Špilberk Castle is a city museum now, but you can still go inside a real castle. There are a few different sections you can visit and can even go in the tower for another view of the city.

 

Take a hot air balloon ride

Now, THIS is a cool thing to do! Or a hot one depending on if you are right under the fire 🙂 We took a ride from Balon.cz and really enjoyed it. I even wrote about my first hot air balloon experience which was in Brno! It has a bunch more pictures.

Tick this bucket list item off in Brno. Sunrise in a balloon overlooking the rolling hills and seeing the Earth from a whole new perspective is simply magical. This is something to write home about (and take TONS of pictures of)!

Jessica in a hot air balloon

 

Visit a WWII bunker

Kryt 10-Z is a fallout shelter that was originally built during WWII and has served various purposes since then. You can take a self-guided tour or book a more in-depth tour. Fancy a sleepover? You can do that, too! It’s a hostel with all the comforts of a bunker. Definitely a must-do for a history buff or someone who wants to say they slept in a bunker!

Fair warning (I’m all about managing expectations!), if you like cushy hotels, comfy beds, and private bathrooms, this isn’t for you. It’s for those wanting a unique experience. There’s something for everyone out there and maybe this is perfect for you! But, at least visit on a self-guided tour. Everyone is super nice and helpful, so nothing too scary…until you put on a gas mask…

“Are you my mummy?!” ← please tell me that someone gets that reference!

 

Play Cryptomania

If you have patience and love puzzles, then Cryptomania is just perfect for you! Cyphers taking you throughout the city and introduce you to things you’ll need to use to solve the puzzle and go to the next spot. What I found super interesting is how different people were able to solve different ciphers so easily. Brains are such funny things.

All you need is to buy the ticket on the website, get to the starting point, and have a phone with data on it so you can use the web browser to enter the answers. The game is available in Brno, Prague, and Bratislava. There’s even one online which I’m going to download because Sean kinda loved the puzzles.

 

Where to eat

By no means can I make an exhaustive list here because there are so many good spots. The city even put together a guide created from an independent agency because they know it was best to have an objective opinion for something so important! You can get their “gourmet” guide from the tourism office (in city hall!) for allllll the best. For now, I’ll stick to a breakfast, lunch and dinner spot. How about that?

 

Breakfast in Brno

Cafe Pilat was really good and light with a cool interior that you just want to stare at. However, if you find a spot outside, you’re rewarded with a great view of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. It’s Middle Eastern cuisine with some excellent teas. I heard the coffee is good, too. I just don’t drink the stuff!

cafe Pilat

 

Lunchtime

4Pokoje translates to 4 rooms because it’s a different atmosphere whether you’re there for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late-night. So, really, it could be an all-in-one for ya! But, lunch here was delish and I highly recommend you get one of their homemade lemonades.

 

Dinner

I like a little fine dining and that’s exactly was Restaurant Pavilion Brno is with modern European dishes. Dress up a bit and enjoy one of the top 10 restaurants in the Czech Republic! Make sure you have wine with dinner because local wines are excellent.

 

Pavilion in Brno

 

Wine bar

Just had to through this in the list. Petit Cru is a great wine bar a quick walk from the main part of old town in the shadow of the castle. In the summer they have the cutest picnic space after 3 pm available to enjoy after you order your bites and wine inside. I left with 3 bottles, so just be prepared for some great wine. And let them recommend some. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Petit Cru Brno

 

Cocktail bar

Super Panda Circus might be the coolest spot in the city. It’s a speakeasy-type bar that might be a bit hard to find but worth the search. Ring the bell to get in and enter the lobby where you are given cold tea to prep you for what is to come. As you ascend the stairs you realize you’re walking into a different world where you order drinks by rolling dice and letting them choose for you (or just ask for something if you aren’t feeling too adventurous).

 

Where to stay

I’m going to put 3 levels here for you. Not everyone wants the same experience and I completely get that. I’m more of a mid-range girl, myself. I like comfortable but not too expensive. Example, in the summer, I need a/c!

5-star experience

This can only be met by one hotel, Barceló Brno Palace. My friend stayed there and just beamed when I asked how it was. She said it was like sleeping on a cloud and felt pampered just by being there. Maybe one day I’ll stay in a 5-star place!

4-star experience

I stayed at the Hotel International Brno. The stay was really nice because it was located very centrally, had air-conditioning, great breakfast, comfy beds, and all the amenities. I was a happy lady here.

The experience, experience.

10-Z Bunker is one of those experiences you have to want and then you will love it. Have you ever stayed in a fallout shelter bunker turned hostel? No? Well, here’s your chance. Super cool concept, you just have to realize it is a bunker, so community showers and thin mattresses. The reviews for this place are all really good.

 

Getting around Brno

Public transport is generally the best option and the tickets can be bought from the ticket machines at most of the stops, or in some shops, including tourist shops. However, walking gets you to most places you’ll want to go. If the trams don’t get you close enough, taxis are a very normal way to get around. We used City Taxi Brno which was pretty easy and you can order online through your phone’s browser instead of an app.

 

View over Brno

 

Changing money

The Czech Republic is in the E.U. but hasn’t adopted the Euro yet. They are still using the Czech Crown. My advice is always to take money out of an ATM. You will likely get charged but it’s a one-time fee. Check the exchange rate ahead of time so you know how much you want to take out. Because you get charged, you want to do this as few times as possible. Use credit cards when possible because they usually get a good exchange rate. If you travel often, you should get a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. That can save you a ton of money!

Language

The language is Czech but many of the people we spoke with in restaurants and bars spoke English very well. Though, not everywhere will have a menu in English so you can always ask for help in translating, use Google Translate, or just ask what the house specialty is and have that!

Tours and day trips from Brno

Even though Brno has a lot going on, it’s a good base for tours, group day trips and exploring on your own. Check GetYourGuide to see what cool experiences I might have missed.


There you have it! The best things to see and do plus your city guide to Brno. I certainly hope this has whetted your appetite to go because I really want you to experience a city that is incredible but not overrun by visitors but still welcomes them.

Click for an interactive map of everything on this list and more!

Brno map

 

Wishing you love and travels!


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10 Comments

  1. I love small underdog cities like Brno! I went a few years ago from VIenna, just overnight with my brother to attend a barcamp – but I took a few hours to just walk around by myself, but I fell in love with the city. I strolled through the bohemian neighbourhood Kamenná Kolonie and had the best aeropress coffee at Kafec. What a city! Thanks for bringing up old memories!!

    Reply

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