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The second biggest city in Czech Republic is the address of great architecture, castles, vineyards, hipsters cafes, fine dine and adventure. With such unique things to do in Brno our 4 days in town flew by. Not to mention Brno’s nightlife, that deserves a special chapter in this post.
Our 14 days trip in the Czech Republic started in Brno. The country was part of our 3 months train trip through Scandinavia and Central Europe. After Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rovaniemi, Amsterdam and Budapest, it was time to discover Moravia, the wine region in the Czech Republic.
My first suggestion for your trip to Brno is to stay at least three full days. Many guides will tell you that one or two days in Brno are enough. No, it’s not! To discover the cool things to do in Brno, the nightlife and go on day trips to South Moravia we’ve stayed 4 nights, and we had busy days.
We prepared a list of unique and cool things to do in Brno, so you can make the most of your time in Moravia region. Attractions and experiences that you can only find there. Places to visit in Brno, bars, and restaurants that will blow your mind, and raise the bar for your next travel destinations in Europe. Brno was a delightful surprise, a mix of old and modern, history and hipster culture. A century old town full of young people and a lively vibe.
Unique things to do in Brno and around
You might think that there is nothing cool or unique in touring the old town, but the truth is choosing the right tour guide, Brno can be a super interesting. Our tour happened under snow, in a cold and miserable morning, but Pavel, our guide, saved the day. Seriously, if you have a chance to meet Pavel, grab him by hand and ask him to tell you all the hidden stories behind the buildings and statues. Some of them are really funny.
The tour visits Brno top attractions, but the highlight of the tour are the stories that you can’t find anywhere else. I don’t want to spoil your tour in Brno old town, but make sure your guide takes you to visit the Cabbage Market, to the incredible Brno Ossuary and to tell you about the Brno Dragon, the well, and the indecent little man.
Another good story is located at one of the most famous attractions in Brno. The twisted pinnacle of the Old Town Hall is not a mistaken design, but actually a planned one. Brno has two town halls the old and the new one, and both are worth the visit. Don’t forget to climb the old town hall tower, the view is incredible.
To book a tour in Brno is simple. Walk to the tourist information office located under the crocodile [say what?!?!] at Radnická Street, number 8. There you will find all the info about tours, the list of top things to do in Brno, day trips outside the city.
Visit the impressive Villa Tugendhat
The list of unique things to do in Brno is big, and the Villa Tugendhat is one of the coolest places to visit in Brno. The building is a Unesco Heritage Site as it’s the only piece of Modernism from the 20’s in the Czech Republic.
What is all the fuss about this building? First of all, it’s completely different from everything you might see and visit in Brno. Built between 1929-1930, the house was designed by Mies van der Rohe and it’s a magnificent piece of the modern architecture, a movement that developed across Europe in 1920’s. The Villa Tugendhat, is one of its kind, the technical room, the ventilation system, the boilers and the retractable windows are mindblowing.
Inside of the Villa you can understand the designer’s idea of open space and flow. See some of the unique furniture designed by Mies van der Rohe for the Tugendhat family that are a statement of art until nowadays. There is one catch, the Villa Tugendhat can receive only a handful of visitors per day. If you decide to visit the Villa Tugendhat [what you should] you need to book a ticket in advance. When we visited the house, the tickets were sold out for the next two months.
After reading this post and listing all cool things to do in Brno, go to the official Villa Tugendhat website and book your tour. Even if you are not an architecture lover, don’t miss the opportunity.
Stay at Hotel International Brno
Usually, hotels need to be comfy, clean and a good value for money. But how about staying in a place that is also an architectural statement. The Best Western Hotel International Brno was built in 1959-1962, designed by Ernest Krejza and Molos Kramoliše it was inspired by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. For us it was a great surprise, staying in the hotel that not only showcases the late features of Functionalism architecture, but that was inspired by an amazing architect from our country.
To be honest, when we arrived in front of the building, I was disappointed. The squared building is quite tasteless compared to the buildings around. But once you step inside you can notice that the design is a masterpiece of its time, that has an identity and also super comfy rooms.
The Hotel International Brno aka Best Western International is one of the best hotels in Brno not only because of its design, but the spacious rooms, the views, and the breakfast. The service is flawless, the amenities gorgeous and the organic honey served in the breakfast is harvested on the roof of the building. The hotel is in the heart of the city and from there you can walk to all the attractions in Brno. Ask for a room on the top floors, you can choose the view: Špilberk Castle or Old Town. We stayed at the Executive Junior Suite facing the city and love it! Book your room here!
Wine and Castles outside Brno
After visiting Brno attractions you must explore the beautiful countryside. The Czech Republic is famous for good beer, but they also produce wine and the good ones come from South Moravia region. Take one day to visit the castles and try the best selection of wines in the country. Our first recommendation of unique things to do outside Brno is to visit the Lednice Castle, then going on a scenic drive to Valtice Castle and stop at the National Wine Salon.
In the 17th century, the Lednice Castle became the summer residence of the Liechtenstein family and its interior is as beautiful as its facade. Inside you can visit the rooms, see some of the original pieces of furniture and the impressive one wooden piece carved staircase. It’s a travel to the past, a trip that starts visiting the castles and ends at the huge gardens with a minaret tower standing solo in the middle of the fields.
A few minutes down the road is the Valtice Castle. Sitting in the middle of a cute town, with an impressive church and a lovely square creating the perfect composition for photos. The Liechtenstein family was the owner of the Valtice Castle too, but nowadays the castle is the home of the National Wine Center.
In the cellars of Valtice Castle is the Wine Salon, a collection of the best wines produced in the Czech Republic and you can taste them. The National Wine Salon is open to the public during the whole week [Sundays only during summer] and you can sip the 100 best wines in the country. Every year a tough competition select the best of the best, and if you fall in love to any wine, you can buy a bottle, or more, to take it home.
On your way back to Brno don’t forget to stop by the picturesque Mikulov town, to walk around the main square, see the castle and the church. Another beautiful town lost in time.
Caves and adventure near Brno
We always try to mix sightseeing, nature, adventure, and food in our travels, and in Brno wasn’t different. The cool things to do in Brno are not only related to culture and history, it’s also about nature. We visited Brno during winter time, but the bad weather didn’t put us off, we woke up early to visit the Moravian Karsts.
The car trip from Brno to the Moravian Karst took about half an hour. The complex is huge with more than 1100 caverns and gorges. A paradise for people who love caving, but a big challenge for me. I’m afraid of caves and everything that lives inside them. But as a grown up woman, I faced my fears and visited one of the 4 caves open to the public. The Moravian is one of the most important karst in Central Europe, an area of 100 square kilometers of limestone.
We ventured ourselves through the huge corridors of Punkevní jeskyně [Punkva caves]. The guide explained about the limestone formation, the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, ending with a cruise through the underground river. The water from the river is crystal clear. The boat cruised to the bottom of the famous Macocha Abyss, the biggest gorge in Central Europe. The view was stunning, with the river running calmly and snow hanging on the trees and limestones. It was worth to fight against my fear, that place was beautiful and unique. One of the best day trips from Brno.
Depending on your schedule you can pack the two tours from Brno in only one day. You can do the Moravian Karst early morning and then visit the Lednice – Valtice Castle during the afternoon. You can do the trips from Brno by yourself, but I recommend you to book a nice tour. First of all, you won’t need to worry about renting a car, finding the right way to the attractions, and you can drink all the wine that you want.
We did the day trips from Brno with Holiday Moments. You can ask them to plan the tour in one or two days, they can also personalize your experience depending on what you want to do in Brno and around.
The cafes and restaurants scene in Brno
Brno is an old town, with a history that dates back centuries. But the modern cuisine and the hipster culture its booming all over town. Traditional food cooked in a contemporary way. Cafes that serve tea and coffee with art. In Brno design and good food are merging, resulting in delicious experiences.
Seriously, all the places we ate and drank were freaking delicious, I don’t have a single complaint. That’s something new for me, a fussy girl with food allergies and a picky taste. Among my favorites for lunch or a quick bite is the Cafe Morgal close to the Brno Ossuary. The Mikro Farm, a mix of a boutique butcher, cold cuts ready to eat, hot dogs and delicious soup. Searching for healthy organic food? MY FOOD is a good choice for a light meal or organic coffee.
For an afternoon coffee or to sip some beer at the happy hour, SKOG Urban Hub is the place to be. Modern décor, nice menu and serious coffee. We went there for a little espresso and end up stay hours talking and enjoying the hipster vibe. If you like pubs, Zlatá loď is in the heart of the city serving from breakfast to dinner. For a real Czech experience head to Stopkova Plzenska pivnice, it’s an institution when it comes to Czech food and local beer.
The good things about the cafes in Brno is that they are open all day long. Most of them have menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus the happy hour promotion. To enjoy a good beer or wine is part of Czech culture, so embrace it and try all the delicious beverages paired with local delicacies.
Talking about pairing food and drinks, there is a gourmet experience in Brno that you must try. Retro Consistorium is one of the best restaurants in Brno and their delicious menu is sophisticatedly paired with the best international and local wines.
The restaurant is tucked in a small street. The service was perfect, but the food and the wine are the stars. We had a 5-course menu all paired with different wines.Yummy!! The best part is the price, for the quality and variety you get, it’s a steal. Book a table in advance, the restaurant is small and I’m sure you don’t want to miss this unique place in Brno.
Bars and Brno nightlife
I know your days will be packed with things to do in Brno and you might want to go to bed early. But Brno nightlife is something you can’t miss. The streets of Brno came alive during night time and a small door can hide an incredible bar. We have visited bars all over the world, but what is happening in Brno nightlife is outstanding.
Cocktails, wine, and beers are taken very seriously there. From classic to contemporary drinks, you will be surprised by new recipes and tastes. If you only have one night out in Brno go on a bar hopping [as we did]. It’ll be hard to choose the best bar and the best cocktail in town, also it will be hard to wake up early in the next day, but this is just a detail.
Beer lovers should try Na stojáka Pub, a straight from the tap type of bar. No seats, no frills, only good beers in a friendly atmosphere. Another beer option is the U Alberta that claims to have the largest selection of craft beers in the country. Located at the foot of Špilberk Castle you can add it to your bar hopping list as the first or second stop.
Now it’s time for cocktails! Your next stop must be the Bar 1920 London, gin, whiskey and bourbon drinks served in an intimate atmosphere with small tables and leather chairs. The Bar that Doesn’t Exist [Bar, který neexistuje in Czech] is an icon too. Named as one of the best bars in Brno and Czech Republic, this is the place to meet local people, drink nice cocktails and feel the young vibe of the city. Be bold on your choices, everything that the barman pour into your glass will taste amazing.
We saved the best for the last, our favorite bar in Brno is Super Panda Circus. When you ring the doorbell you know something special is waiting for you. As soon as you step inside they serve you a glass of green tea to clean your palate, a narrow stair will transport to a circus that mixes the 50’s décor with neon colors. Nothing there is ordinary! The place, the drinks and the people make a visit to Super Panda Circus one of the unique things to do in Brno.
The best cocktail or my personal recommendation? I don’t have a clue! The menu is a board with memorabilia and toys, the barman asks about your feeling for the night, what you like and what you don’t. Then the magic starts and in minutes the drink is poured in front of you with a lovely comment from the barman “I hope it is according to your taste”. Well, it was! All the three [or maybe four] drinks we had were freaking gorgeous.
Before trying the restaurants and Brno nightlife, I suggest you download the Brno Gourmet Guide. This is a super cool project, a guide to the best bars, cafes, restaurants in Brno, so you can do your own food tour and evaluate the places, the food, and drinks.
Now that you know all the hidden places to eat and drink, and the cool things to do in Brno, let’s talk about hotels in Brno and how to travel to Brno.
Where to Stay in Brno
There are many hotels in Brno, for all tastes and pockets. As I mentioned before, we stayed at the Best Western International Brno Hotel and loved it. The Barceló Brno Palace is another good option for travelers that want comfort and a bit of luxury in the heart of the old town.
Traveling to Brno on a budget? There are many options of hotel and hostels in Brno that can fit in your pocket as Hostel Eleven, Hostel Jacob, and Hostel Mitte. They have good reviews and are located in Brno Old town. If you want to search for the perfect place to stay in Brno, I suggest you use Agoda and Booking.com. They have the best selection of hotels in Brno.
Rent a room or an apartment via Airbnb is another option, especially if you want to stay longer. Sign up for Airbnb here and get up to 30usd credit to book your first stay.
How to travel to Brno
Brno is very well connected with bus, trains, and flights. A train from Brno to Prague or Prague to Brno takes less than 3 hours. The Czech Republic is a perfect country to travel by train, it’s comfortable, you can reach most of the cities and enjoy the views. A selling point, the restaurants onboard, they serve incredible delicious food! Rob’s favorite was the chicken schnitzel with baby potatoes.
The Czech Republic was part of our 3 months train trip using the Eurail Pass. We wrote a complete guide about Eurail, how to plan a trip, buy the best Eurail Pass and how to avoid booking fees. For Scandinavian countries, the Eurail Pass works too, but they have some different rules. So for Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, we wrote another guide: Scandinavia by train. Book your Eurail Pass here!
Are you ready to discover the best of Brno and around? We talked about the cool and unique things to do in Brno, but of course, there are more places to see in the city. Don’t forget to visit the Špilberk Castle, the magnificent St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral, the interesting “bullet” clock, the museums and much more… The list of what to do in Brno and places to visit outside town is big and gives me the feeling we will probably visit this great town again and soon.
Traveling to other cities in the Czech Republic? Read our travel guides:
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PS: our trip in the Czech Republic was organized in partnership with Czech Tourism Board. But as usual, you always get our honest opinion and travel tips.