Brno isn’t as well-known as the Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague, but this hidden gem of a city is definitely worth visiting! Located in the southern region of the Czech Republic known as Moravia, Brno is a wonderful destination for family travelers.
The city offers a unique blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty that is sure to captivate and entertain visitors of all ages. In fact, there are so many fascinating things to do in Brno that make this city in southern Czech Republic a true gem for travelers.
Whether you’re interested in exploring historic castles, strolling through charming old town streets, or venturing into underground caves and gorges, Brno is a destination that is sure to impress.
This travel guide to the best things to do in Brno, Czech Republic highlights the top attractions in Brno and answers the question many travelers have, “Is Brno worth visiting?”
About Brno, Czech Republic
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Its size and population are only surmounted by the capital of Prague.
Located in the southeastern part of the country, Brno boasts a variety of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic and Baroque to Art Nouveau and Modernist.
In addition to its cultural offerings and architectural allure, Brno is surrounded by natural beauty in south Moravia, from underground caves and gorges to colorful rolling hills, and even vineyards, Brno offers a unique experience for visitors.
So, if you’re wondering “Is Brno worth visiting?”, the short answer is an emphatic YES!
How to get to Brno, Czech Republic
Brno is just a short drive or train ride from the cities of Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia. You can get there from either city in less than 2 hours, making it an easy day trip or a weekend getaway from either of these incredible destinations.
It is roughly 2 1/2-hours from the Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague, as well.
If arriving by train, the Brno Main Train Station is just a short walk from the Old Town area.
We arrived in Brno by car, during one of our European road trips, through Eastern and Central Europe. We spent one day in Brno, the lesser-known city in south Moravia, to break up our drive and also explore parts of the Czech Republic outside of Prague.
If you choose to drive and explore the Czech Republic, like we did, the Zeliv Monastery is a great stop between the cities of Brno and Prague.
Renting a Car? Compare rates and book your rental car through Discover Cars.
5 reasons Brno, Czech Republic is worth visiting
Brno isn’t on the radar for many travelers. Personally, we didn’t know what to expect when we booked our stay in this charming city as we had not done a lot of research on the city or the surrounding region.
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 that make Brno worth visiting.
We were pleasantly surprised by all the things to do in Brno and how much this city had to offer.
Although we spent only one day in Brno, you could easily spend a few more days exploring Brno and the surrounding area known as Moravia.
Here are our top reasons why you should visit Brno, Czech Republic. Keep reading or scroll down for the best things to do in Brno, as well!
Brno is much smaller and less crowded than nearby tourist cities
Although Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, it is still significantly smaller than Prague.
With less than 380,000 people, it is about a third the size of the capital city. And because it isn’t really a widely known tourist town yet, it is significantly less crowded.
Don’t get me wrong, you will still find plenty of tourists visiting Brno. In fact, it is becoming an increasingly more popular destination among Eastern Europeans, specifically.
Many of the people who visit Brno come in for a weekend from some of the smaller surrounding towns or from neighboring countries. As with most destinations, weekdays are obviously less busy as are the off-season months of the year.
Still, in comparison, the beautiful streets of Brno are much less crowded than the streets of Prague.
Charm and beauty await visitors to Brno
Even though it may not be a major 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 city is dripping with charm.
One of our favorite things to do in Brno, Czech Republic is simply roam the streets and shop.
Although the city is best known for its modernist buildings, specifically, the Villa of Tugendhat, the Old Town area of Brno has the same preserved historic charm that many of Europe’s other major cities have.
Old Town is filled with shops, cafes, and beautiful plazas and squares boasting baskets of cascading flowers, fountains, and colorful pastel buildings.
The area surrounding Brno is just as picturesque as the city
Just outside of Brno, Czech Republic there is quite a bit to do for adventure and nature lovers.
This region of the country, south Moravia, has beautiful fields and rolling hills of farmland. In spring and summer the fields are vibrant shades of green. And in fall, the rolling landscape changes to bright gold and yellow.
These perfectly manicured Moravian fields are hypnotizing to see. A drive through the countryside to gaze upon the beautiful agricultural fields is a must if visiting Brno and this region of the Czech Republic.
You will also find nearby vineyards and wineries, and Czech Republic’s largest cave system just outside of Brno.
Brno is very affordable to visit
It is safe to say businesses in cities that cater to tourists often mark up prices significantly to make a profit. That is why cities like Paris and London are expensive to visit and feel very overpriced. But that is not the case in Brno.
While tourists will pay more for lodging, dining out in restaurants, and visiting attractions while on a holiday or vacation in major tourist cities, in Brno, you’ll find your money goes further.
In places that haven’t been pegged as tourist attractions, you tend to find better rates on hotels, food, and basically everything else.
In Brno, we splurged and stayed in one of the most luxurious hotels in the town. It was fancy! They even served complimentary champagne when we walked in. But you know what? It was still the least expensive hotel in which we stayed during that 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 $25 a night.
We ordered street food from a local vendor in Brno and gelatos for dessert and enjoyed a great yet inexpensive dinner.
Your money will go fairly far in Brno, Czech Republic which makes it all that much more appealing to visit!
Where to stay in Brno, Czech Republic
If you plan to spend a night or two in Brno, there are plenty of conveniently located hotels, hostels and other accommodations in and around Old Town. Here are a few recommendations.
- Barcelo Brno Palace (Luxury)
- Grandezza Hotel Luxury Palace (Luxury)
- Grandhotel Brno (mid-range)
- Royal Ricc (mid-range)
- Wake Up Wellness Hostel (budget)
Also Read: where to stay in prague, czech republic
11 Fun Things to Do in Brno
While it is picturesque and inexpensive, those are not the only reasons to go to Brno or the only things that make Brno worth visiting.
There are so many fascinating things to do in Brno that make the city fun to explore.
Even within the historic city center there are a lot of things to do and see all within walking distance.
Here are a few incredible and fun things to do in Brno, Czech Republic to add to your Brno itinerary.
Visit the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul
One of the main highlights of Brno is the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. It sits perched atop Petrov Hill, prominently overlooking Old Town Brno. It is a national monument in the country and is featured on the Czech Republic’s 10 crown coin.
This lovely church is surrounded by beautiful statues and features a crypt which dates back to the 11th century.
One of the most unique things about the church is that the noon bell tolls at 11 a.m. instead of noon. The reason for this dates back to the 1600s when Brno was under siege during the 30 Years War.
Those attacking the city pledged to retreat if they did not conquer the city by the time the church bells rang at noon. Those defending Brno rang the bell an hour earlier, possibly saving the city from being conquered.
The tradition has rang true for 400 years!
Tour Europe’s Second Largest Ossuary
Walking through Saint Jacob’s square, you would never know that directly beneath you is Europe’s second largest ossuary. Second in size only to the Catacombs in Paris, the Brno Ossuary is believed to hold the bones and skulls of 50,000 skeletons!
For a small fee, you can access the underground ossuary through the Church of St. James.
Although the ossuary dates back to the 1600s and 1700s it wasn’t until 2001 that it was discovered. It didn’t open to the public until 2012.
There is something creepy, yet strangely fascinating about walking through a hallway and into a room or chapel made entirely from bones. The bones are believed to be dug up from a cemetery to make room for new burials and placed in the ossuary.
Walk through the Capuchin Monastery and Crypt
Another one of the great things to do in Brno is a tour of the Capuchin Monastery. If the Brno Ossuary isn’t too morbid for you, then add the Capuchin Monastery to your Brno itinerary, as well.
The Capuchin Crypt in the basement of the monastery houses the complete mummified remains of 24 monks and nobles.
The mummified intact bodies lie perfectly preserved in rows on the floor in the main vault. Wearing their cloaks and robes, some of the remains are still clutching a cross or draped in a rosary.
While it is eerily intriguing, for some people skeletal remains might be a bit disturbing.
Take a stroll through the Old Town
Even if bones and mummified remains aren’t your thing, there are still a lot of things to do in Brno that are much more, let’s say “lively”.
The picturesque streets of Old Town Brno are a great place to simply wander, shop, and grab a coffee, an ice cream, or something more hearty to eat.
There is no shortage of great restaurants and shops to duck into as you roam the beautiful cobblestone streets. The colorful buildings and narrow streets create a charming atmosphere that will captivate your kids.
Catch a Marble from the Astronomical Clock in Freedom Square
Freedom Square is one of the main squares in Brno. In this lively area of the city also known as náměstí Svobody, you’ll find an eye-catching point of interest.
In the center, there is a black stone monument that looks like a giant bullet.
This monument is actually an astronomical clock that releases a stream of glass marbles at 11 a.m. each day. Similar to the bell at St. Peter and St. Paul, the clock chimes at 11 instead of noon.
Spectators gather around at 11 a.m. to catch one of the marbles to take home as a souvenir.
Climb the observation Tower at Brno Old Town Hall
For a panoramic view of the city head to Brno Old Town Hall. The medieval town hall dates back to the 13th century. You can climb the 63-meters (207 feet) high observation tower for a bird’s eye view of Brno and surrounding Moravia.
The oldest secular building in Brno, Old Town Hall is a fun place to go to learn about the legend of the Brno Dragon.
Hanging overhead in the passage that will take you between Freedom Square and the Vegetable Market, you’ll be surprised to find a seemingly out-of-place crocodile. According to legends the townspeople once believed a crocodile to be an evil dragon.
Shop for Fresh Foods at the Brno Vegetable Market
For years, the Brno Vegetable Market has been the central place for locals to buy fresh produce and flowers. Also referred to as the Cabbage Market, this daily market is also a great place for visitors to the city to simply hang out, enjoy the atmosphere, and support local vendors.
You’ll also find food trucks and vendors happily ready to serve up an inexpensive meal.
Interestingly, directly under the vegetable market is a labyrinth of passageways that date back to the Middle Ages. You can even book a tour of these underground passages to escape the sun on a hot day and see Brno beneath the ground.
On the tour you’ll learn about how food and wine were once stored, and how the underground tunnels also functioned as a shelter during war time.
See a UNESCO World Heritage Home
Designed by the famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Villa Tugendhat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1929-1930.
It was one of the first examples of modern architecture in Europe, and for this reason Tugendhat Villa has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
Considered one of the most important examples of modernist architecture in Europe, the three-story house is now a museum that you can tour.
Although the villa isn’t in the city center, it is worth the short trip to see this restored marvel.
Your family will love exploring the villa’s unique design and learning about its history.
Marvel at the Moravian Karst
An amazing attraction just outside of Brno, the Moravian Karst is a network of underground caves and gorges. It is known mostly for the beautiful Macocha Abyss, a sinkhole inside the underground cave system.
Although the attraction is family friendly, there is a bit of hiking and a boat ride, so if visiting with kids, they need to be old enough to sit still while on the underground river boat ride.
The Macocha Karst is just a short drive north from Brno near the town of Blansko, and worth the day trip to see the beautiful, natural area.
The karst offers a unique experience that your kids will never forget. They will love exploring the caves and seeing the stunning rock formations.
There are also plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas in the karst, making it a great place to spend a day in nature.
See the Spilberk Castle
One of the city’s most important landmarks, Spilberk Castle rounds out our list of the top things to do in Brno. The 13th century fortress located on a hill overlooking the city, offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
Over the castle’s long and fascinating history, it has served as a home, a prison, and now as a museum.
Inside this Brno City Museum you’ll find both permanent and temporary exhibits. Sitting just on the edge of the Old Town city center, the sweeping views from Spilberk Castle make the hike up to it worth the trip!
You and your kids will love exploring the castle’s underground passages and learning about the castle’s role in Brno’s history.
Explore Veveří Castle
About 7 miles north of the city center, Veveri Castle is a former royal palace that sits on the banks of the Svratka River. One of the oldest castles in the country, it dates back to the 1100s, when it was believed to be a royal hunting lodge.
For many years, it fell into a state of disrepair, but under the National Heritage Institute in Brno, the castle has undergone renovations and reconstruction and was able to open to the public in 2002.
This beautiful castle, located on a hill overlooking the Brno reservoir, has a fascinating history.
You and your kids can take a guided tour of the castle and learn about its various uses over the centuries. One of the highlights of the tour is the Knight’s Hall, which features an impressive collection of medieval armor and weaponry.
After exploring the castle, take a stroll through the surrounding gardens, which offer beautiful views of the countryside.
If you visit during the summer months, you can even rent a boat and paddle around the reservoir for a unique perspective of the castle.
Our conclusion: Is Brno, Czech Republic worth visiting?
In our experience, Brno City is definitely worth spending a day or two. There is enough to do in and around the city for a great weekend trip.
Have other questions other than “Is Brno worth visiting?” We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about any of these things to do in Brno. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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This guide to the best things to do in Brno, Czech Republic was first written in January 2017 and was most recently updated in September 2023 for accuracy and current information.
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