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Czech Republic is a popular European destination… perhaps not as popular as France or Italy, but still popular in its own right. Yet, most visitors to the country don’t stray too far from the capital city of Prague. Although Prague has completely stolen my heart and would probably be one of my top 5 must-visit destinations, there is definitely more to Czech Republic than Prague. In the southern part of the country, in the region known as Moravia you’ll find the Czech Republic’s second largest city, Brno, which is definitely worth a visit, as well.
During our last trip to Europe, we rented a car and drove across Germany, Austria, Poland and Czech Republic. Since we were traveling with a toddler, which makes any trip exponentially more challenging, we decided not to spend more than a couple of hours in the car at a time. For this reason, we decided to stay a night in the little-known town of Brno. If you choose to drive, like we did, you can also stop between Brno and Prague at the Zeliv Monastery to further break up the drive.
Why Brno, Czech Republic is worth visiting
Brno really isn’t on the radar of many travelers, and I didn’t know what to expect when I booked our stay. But it turns out there are several intriguing points of interest in Brno, Czech Republic and quite a few things to do in and around the city. We were pleasantly surprised by all Brno had to offer.
Smaller / Less Crowded
Brno is much smaller than Prague, and because it isn’t really a tourist town yet, its way less crowded. Don’t get me wrong, you will find plenty of tourists in Brno, although most of them won’t be American. I’m guessing many of the people who are visiting Brno come in for a weekend from some of the smaller surrounding towns or neighboring countries. Still, in comparison, Brno has significantly fewer people walking the streets than Prague.
Pretty / Charming
Even though it may not be a tourist destination, the city has done a really great job of beautifying the old town area. From the architecture to the cobblestone streets and street cars, the town is dripping with charm. One of my favorite things to do in Brno, Czech Republic is simply roam the streets and shop.
Serene Surrounding Area
Just outside of Brno, Czech Republic there is quite a bit to do for adventure and nature lovers. This region of the country has beautiful fields and rolling hills. In spring and summer the fields are vibrant shades of green. And in fall, the rolling landscape changes to bright gold and yellow.
An amazing attraction just outside of Brno is the Macocha Karst, known mostly for the beautiful Macocha Abyss. Although the attraction is family friendly, there is a bit of hiking and a boat ride that kids will need to sit still on. Our toddler was not old enough yet to sit still on a boat ride, so we missed out on this amazing day trip. It is definitely on our list for when she gets just a little older, though.
It’s safe to say businesses in cities that cater to tourists mark up prices to make a good profit. That’s why cities like Paris and London are outrageously overpriced. People will pay it. In contrast, places that haven’t been pegged as tourist attractions tend to offer better rates on hotels, food, and basically everything else. In Brno we actually splurged and stayed in the most expensive hotel in the town. It was nice! They even served us complimentary champagne when we walked in. But you know what? It was still the cheapest hotel in which we stayed during our entire European trip. If you don’t want to splurge for a fancy hotel, you’ll also find plenty of budget-friendly hostels in Brno averaging around $15 a night. We grabbed dinner from a street vendor and spent about $8 US for our family of three. We ordered three gelatos for the equivalent of $3 US. Your money will go fairly far in Brno, Czech Republic which makes it all that much more appealing!
Lots of things to do in Brno
Brno’s Old Town is somewhat small, but surprisingly there is still a lot to do and see. One of the main highlights of Brno is the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. It sits perched on a hill, towering above the city. Aside from this church, there are several others including Capuchin Monastery which houses the mummified remains of monks and nobles, and the ossuary underneath the Church of St. James, which is basically a small chapel made of bones and skulls. Kinda creepy but cool.
Our conclusion: So is Brno, Czech Republic worth visiting?
In our experience, Brno is definitely worth spending a day or two. There is enough to do in and around the city for a great weekend trip. Since it’s relatively close to Prague, Vienna, and Bratislava, you can easily visit Brno on a trip to any of those wonderful cities, as well.
Have you been to Brno, Czech Republic? What is the best little-known town you’ve visited?