The second biggest city in the Czech Republic is the address of great architecture, castles, vineyards, hipster cafes, fine dine and adventure. With so many 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-month train trip through Scandinavia and Central Europe.
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. But no no, it is 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 let me tell you we had busy days.
We prepared a list of unique and cool things to do in Brno, so you can make the best with your time in Moravia region, considering attractions and experiences that you can only find there. We’ll show you places to visit in Brno, like 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 with a lively vibe.
Unique things to do in Brno and around
Discover hidden stories in Brno old town
You might think that there is nothing cool or unique in touring the old town, but the truth is, when choosing the right tour guide, Brno can be a really interesting place. Our tour took place under snow, in a cold and miserable morning, but Pavel, our guide, was a day savior. 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 is programmed for you to visit Brno’s top attractions, but we must say the highlight of the tour are the stories told, which you won’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, the incredible Brno Ossuary and ask him to tell you about the story of Brno Dragon, the well, and the indecent little man.
Another good story is about one of the most famous attractions in Brno. You will find out that the twisted pinnacle of the Brno Old Town Hall is not a design gone wrong, but actually a very well 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 so you won’t miss the incredible view.
Booking a tour in Brno is as simple as it can be. 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, as well as other 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 Modern architecture 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, the well-know Bauhaus artist, together with the modern designer Lilly Reich, and it’s a magnificent piece of modern architecture, a movement that changed the whole concept of art across Europe during 1920’s. And their work can be seen and felt in Villa Tugendhat because it is a building one of its kind: the technical room, the ventilation system, the boilers and the retractable windows are mind-blowing.
Inside of Villa Tugendhat, you can understand the designers’ idea of open space and flow. See some of the unique furniture designed by Mies van der Rohe for the Tugendhat family, which are still called a statement of art until nowadays. There is one catch, though: Villa Tugendhat can receive only a handful of visitors per day. If you decide to visit Villa Tugendhat [which you most definitely 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 this opportunity.
Stay at Hotel International Brno
Usually, hotels need to be comfy, clean and have a good value for the money you pay. But what could be better than staying in a place that not only has all that but is also an architectural statement? The Best Western Hotel International Brno was built from 1959 to 1962, designed by Ernest Krejza and Molos Kramoliše. It was inspired by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Of course, for us, it was a delightful surprise staying in a hotel that not only showcases the late features of Functionalist architecture, but that was inspired by an amazing architect from our country.
To be honest, when we arrived in front of the building, I have to say I was a bit 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 a strong identity, and, let’s not forget, 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 yummy breakfast. We had flawless service, gorgeous amenities and great organic honey served in breakfast which is harvested on the roof of the building: how nice is that? The hotel is in the heart of the city and from there you can walk to all of the attractions in Brno. Ask for a room on the top floors and choose the view: Špilberk Castle or Old Town. We stayed at the Executive Junior Suite facing the city and we loved 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 its good beer, but it is also a wine producer and the good ones come from the South Moravia region. You should 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, Lednice Castle became the summer residence of the Liechtenstein family and its interior is as beautiful as its facade. So go inside and visit the rooms, see some of the original pieces of furniture and the impressive one wooden piece carved staircase. It’s a trip to the past which starts with you visiting the castles and ends at the with you being mesmerized with the huge gardens with a minaret tower standing solo in the middle of the fields.
Just a few minutes down the road is the Valtice Castle standing in the middle of a cute town, along with an impressive church and a lovely square. The perfect composition for photos. The Liechtenstein family was also the owner of the Valtice Castle, 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, for the pleasure of people like us, wine lovers, you can taste them.
The National Wine Salon is open to the public during the whole week [Sundays only during summer] and you can have a sip of the 100 best wines in the country. Every year a tough competition selects the best of the best, and if you fall in love with any wine, you can buy a bottle, or more, take it home.
On your way back to Brno don’t forget to stop by the picturesque Mikulov town, and walk around the main square, see the castle and the church. You will see another beautiful town lost in time.
Caves and adventures near Brno
Whenever we visit a new place, we always try to mix sightseeing, nature, adventure, and food in our travels, and with Brno it wasn’t different. The cool things to do in Brno are not only related to culture and history, it’s also a whole lot about nature. We visited Brno during Winter, but the bad weather wouldn’t be enough to just put us off: we woke up early and went on our adventure to visit the Moravian Karst.
The car trip from Brno to the Moravian Karst took us about half an hour. The complex is huge with more than 1100 caverns and gorges. It is surely a paradise for people who love caving, but I confess it was a big challenge for me. I’m afraid of caves and everything that lives inside them. But as a grown-up woman, It was time to faced my fears, so I 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.
Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!
We ventured ourselves through the huge corridors of Punkevní jeskyně [Punkva caves]. The guide explained about the limestone formation, the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, and the tour ended with a nice cruise along the underground river. The water from the river is crystal clear. The boat took us to the bottom of the famous Macocha Abyss, the biggest gorge in Central Europe. The view was stunning, with the river running calmly surrounded by the snow hanging on the trees and limestones. It was worth it fighting against my fear after all because that place was too beautiful and unique not to be seen. It was 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 in the morning and then go visit the Lednice – Valtice Castle during the afternoon. You can do both trips from Brno by yourself, but I highly 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 second of all, you can drink all the wine that you want, once you won’t have to drive back later.
We did the day trips from Brno with Holiday Moments. You can ask them to plan the tour in one or two days, and 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 to centuries. But modern cuisine and the hipster culture is booming all over town, which means traditional food cooked in a contemporary way. So you have cafes that serve tea and coffee with art, for example, and you can taste the best of traditional food with a contemporary twist. In Brno, design and good food are merging together, resulting in delicious experiences.
Seriously, absolutely all the places we ate and drank were freaking delicious, I just don’t have a single complaint. And that’s something new for me because I am mainly 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 is also super nice: it is 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 if you are into having some beer for 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 ended up staying hours just talking and enjoying. 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, because it’s like an institution of experts when it comes to Czech food and local beer.
The good thing 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. Enjoying a good beer or some fine 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 its 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 of the show. We had a 5-course menu all paired with different wines. OMG, so yummy!! The best part is the price: for the quality and variety you get, it’s a steal. Book a table in advance, because the restaurant is pretty small and I’m sure you don’t want to miss this unique place in Brno.
Bars and nightlife in Brno
I know your days will be packed with things to do in Brno and you might want to go to bed early. But nightlife in Brno is something you can’t miss. The streets of Brno come 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 just outstanding and unmissable.
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 will be hard to choose the best bar and the best cocktail in town, and it will also be hard to wake up early the next day, but this is just a tiny 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 Bar 1920 London, with 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 in the 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 pours into your glass will taste amazing.
We saved the best for last: our favorite bar in Brno has to be 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 as a palate cleanser, and then a narrow stair will transport you to a circus that mixes the 50’s décor with neon colors. Believe me, 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.
So, hmmm, the best cocktail or my personal recommendation? Honestly, 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 tastes you like and which ones 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 and restaurants in Brno, so you can do your own food tour and evaluate the places, as well as 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 we loved it. The Barceló Brno Palace is another good option for travelers who 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 hotels and hostels in Brno that can fit your budget, like 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 Booking.com and Agoda. They have the best selection of hotels in Brno.
Renting a room or an apartment on 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 buses, 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, because it’s comfortable, and you can reach most cities and also enjoy the views. A selling point: the restaurants onboard serve incredibly delicious food! Rob’s favorite was the chicken schnitzel with baby potatoes.
The Czech Republic was part of our 3-month 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 as well, 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 many more places… The list of what to do in Brno and places to visit outside town is big and I kinda have the feeling this list will probably make us 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 the Czech Tourism Board. But as usual, you always get our honest opinion and travel tips.