If you thought the Czech Republic was just about visiting Prague, then think again!
This country is filled with many beautiful cities beyond its famous capital and most of them only receive a fraction of the tourists, making them ideal for absorbing a slice of real Czech culture.
The perfect way to explore the country, getting to some of the lesser-known spots (which I count as just about everywhere outside of Prague!), this 1 week Czech itinerary will provide you with the best road map to do just that.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to visit just one destination outside of Prague, or you’re keen on finding a pitstop as you make your way from Prague to Vienna, then look no further than Brno.
The country’s second city, this historic gem can be found in the south of the country, very near the Austrian border, and boasts some great bars, cafés, sights and day trips.
Situated in South Moravia, Czechia’s wine-growing region, there’s plenty of reasons to visit Brno, not least this list of the 13 best things to do there.
Let’s get stuck in…
- How to Travel from Prague to Brno
- What to Pack for a Trip to the Czech Republic
- Top 21 Things to Do in Prague
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#1 Head to the Cathedral
First up on this list of the best things to do in Brno, it’s head to the Petrov Hill part of this city, which is one of its oldest sections.
Here you’ll find the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, which is a Roman Catholic cathedral, nicknamed Petrov by local residents.
Dating back to the 11th century, this spot is free to visit and, as you climb up to it, you’ll be treated to amazing views over Brno from a conveniently-placed observation deck.
A fortification wall circuit, which has been beautifully restored and which you can stroll for free, completes this great spot.
Don’t miss the Baroque interior of the Cathedral, nor its impressive neo-Gothic exterior, which is framed by two 84m high towers.
Open every day to visitors, this famous Cathedral even appears on the 10 crown coin in Czechia – proving that it certainly is worth a look!
#2 See the Other Churches
But it’s not just the Cathedral that’s worth a visit, because Brno is home also home to a collection of other lovely religious buildings, including a mosque and a synagogue.
Most of the Christian churches belong to the Roman Catholic faith, but there are also a number of Protestant ones too.
Top of my list (and located within the city centre) are…
- Michael’s Church – a Baroque 17th century beauty
- Church of the Holy Cross – where you should check out the crypt
- Mary Magdalene’s Church – built on the site of a former synagogue
- Johns’ Church – built in the middle ages as part of a Franciscan monastery
#3 Discover Luzanky Park & Light Fountain
And now we move away from the churches to some more family-friendly things to do in Brno, and top of the list here are Luzanky Park & the nearby Light Fountain.
Luzanky Park is the largest city park in Brno – it’s located just north of the centre – and is, amazingly, the oldest municipal park in the whole of the Czech Republic.
It spans over 20 hectares and is ideal for picnics, strolls and sports in the summer months.
And just a short distance away, infront of the Janáček Theatre, the Light Fountain is another great place to visit in Brno with kids.
Free to watch and open 24 hours a day, at night the lights and synchronised water patterns here show quirky information like the time and temperature, as well as pretty patterns and colours.
A must-see in Brno!
#4 Check out the Museums
But now we move back to the cultural attractions because another of the top things to do in Brno is to definitely check out some of the city’s brilliant exhibition spaces.
My picks are the Museum of Romani Culture & the Moravian Museum.
The former has a permanent exhibition covering 6 rooms. It focuses particularly on the years between 1945 and 1989 in Czechia, and the situation faced by the Romani community during this time.
The Museum of Romani Culture is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm, except Monday and Saturday.
Last entry is at 4:15 pm and tickets cost 80 CZK.
The Moravian Museum is situated closer to the centre of Brno and is housed in a beautiful Barque building along a street called Zelny trh.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, until 5 pm each day.
Tickets to both the permanent and temporary exhibitions cost 230 CZK, but reduced entry prices are available on public holidays, so time your visit accordingly if you’re in Brno during a local day off!
#5 Chill in a Café
After all that sightseeing, it’s quite likely you’ll need a bit of a sit-down in Brno, and thankfully the city has lots of cute cafes where you can do that just.
Of course, there are lots of trad options on offer here, but I do know what you want, dear reader, and it’s a hipster cafe isn’t it? Don’t deny it!
In this vein, my top picks across Brno are Cafe Mymika & Café Placzek.
Offering oat milk, sourdough, avo, matcha latte and the other typical trendy fare (which I also love FYI!), they’re a big hit with young locals too!
#6 Stroll Moravian Square Park
Time to walk off the food now with number 6 on this list of the top things to do in Brno, and that’s stroll the wonderful Moravian Square Park.
One of the largest squares in the city, there’s several famous buildings that nestle round the edge of this lovely public space, including the Church of St Thomas and the Governor’s Palace (which houses the Moravian Gallery), along with several of the city’s most iconic statues, including a memorial that celebrates the victory over fascism and the statue of justice.
But the really memorable one here is the 8m high equestrian statue of Jobst of Luxembourg, called Courage, which took the artist, Jarosalv Rona, over 2 years to create.
However more famous than the height, title and obvious aesthetics of the sculpture, is the view you’ll get if you walk between the horse’s front legs and look up at its head.
Not one for families!
Other lovely public spots to visit in Brno include Liberty Square and the often lively Cabbage Market.
#7 Visit the Nuclear Shelter 10-Z
Visiting this nuclear shelter, which was adopted by the communist regime as a shelter against weapons of mass destruction, is quite the eye-opener as to what life was like in Brno during those times.
Essentially a state police secret until 1993, the shelter was a successful wholesale wine cellar before that, but was confiscated by the communist authorities and re-purposed for their needs after World War II.
Built to house up to 500 people in the event of a nuclear attack, here you can marvel at the artefacts and the eerie sense of history frozen in time.
#8 Tick Off All the Statues Off Your List!
We’ve already mentioned the equestrian statue, with its impressive under view (!) on this list of the top things to do in Brno, but safe to say this city has a few more statues you should try to tick off your list too.
Other must-sees include the Holy Trinity Column, the Plague Column, the Mozart Statue, the Parnas Fountain and the Mim Statue, which are all dotted around the city centre in various squares and places of interest, so why not see how many you can tick off your list?!
But the top pick, in my opinion, has to be the Astronomical Clock – not because it dominates the skyline impressively but rather, conversely, because it’s hilariously underwhelming!
A black stone monument set in the main square in Brno, I actually searched for this statue for quite a while before I realised I’d walked past it several times!
Pretty small and non-descript, this interestingly shaped monument actually cost 12 million CZK to construct – something of a sore point with locals.
Even more laughable is the fact that, every day at 11 am, the statue ejects a small marble into the crowd from one of 4 openings.
The lucky catcher can even keep the marble as a souvenir!
Now that’s a big hit!
#9 Enjoy Unique Experiences at Place Store & Anybody Hotel
But what about a bit of shopping in Brno?
Well wonderfully I discovered a few unique, independent shops in the city that I loved.
First up was the Place Store, which sits just off the main square and where I bought a lovely leather bag – you know I have a weakness for a good leather bag!
Anyway, this lovely gift store is well worth checking out if you want to pick up some gorgeous local designer goods.
And the other place to head for if you’re looking for some unique retail therapy in Brno is the Anybody Hotel.
Actually this spot isn’t, as the name suggests, just about shopping, it’s also a gorgeous boutique hotel with a lovely café / restaurant attached and, next door, there’s a cute little arcade with some lovely independent shops too.
And there’s a twist!
I’ll let you discover more about this hotel’s cool concept in your own time.
My only tip would be to make sure you visit with a partner!
#10 Get Your Spooky Fix at the Ossuary
With an impressive 50,000 people thought to have been buried here, the Ossuary in Brno is actually the second largest one in Europe after the Catacombs of Paris.
Located underneath St James’ Church, this place is accessed via street level steps and has a mysterious and delightfully creepy air to it thanks to the fact that it contains tens of thousands of skeletons that had to be dug up from the nearby cemetery.
Built within the city walls, St James cemetery, which was connected with the church, soon filled up, but couldn’t be extended due to the limitations of Brno’s old town walls. Plague and cholera epidemics only exacerbated the problem.
As such, a unique system was developed to service the number of people being buried here… namely that bodies were dug up between 10-12 years being buried to make room for new ones!
The unearthed bones were then moved to a special resting place – the ossuary – which, in Brno, was actually covered up and forgotten about for many years.
Closed Mondays, the Ossuary in the city now can be visited every other day between 9:30 am and 6 pm, with last entrance at 5:30 pm
You need to buy tickets in advance, but this can easily be done online here.
#11 Snap the Old Town Hall
But it’s not just underground sights you can enjoy in Brno, you can also take in some wonderfully elevated views of the city too, thanks to the fantastic observation platform located at the city’s Old Town Hall.
This former city hall, which was in administrative use until 1935, also boasts galleries and a history exhibition, but best of all is the viewing deck from the tower, which provides one of the top views in Brno.
63m high, the tower is accessible in the summer months between 10 am and 6 pm and is accessed via anarched passage, which runs beneath the iconic bent Gothic turret – another key feature of the Old Town Hall.
Visiting this building, which is the oldest functioning secular structure in Brno, is absolutely one of the top things to do in this city.
#12 Hike up to Spilberk Castle
Spilberk Castle sits on a hill above Brno and offers wonderful views over the city, especially at night.
Built in the 13th century, it’s a huge Baroque structure, that has acted as both a prison, a fortress and military barracks in its time, and boasts a vast complex of rooms, levels, passages and courtyards.
The Brno City Museum is housed here and festival, performances and concerts are often held outside on the walls which give elevated views over the city – well worth the climb!
#13 Cocktail Taste at Super Panda Circus
And now, after all that hard sightseeing work, it’s time to relax a bit and what better place to do it in Brno that at the amazing Super Panda Circus.
This fabulous name belies a little of the quirky and unique experience you’ll get here.
The first trick is to find the bar and ring the doorbell (except on Sundays when they are closed).
(The bar is located at Šilingrovo nám. 257/3, but I didn’t tell you this ok!)
At some point after, you should be greeted and welcomed into the downstairs lobby, where you’ll need to wait for a table to become available. Be warned, this can take up to an hour – yes this spot is popular!
Once a space is available you’ll then be ushered upstairs, shown to a table, given a set of instructions, told to choose a character and then it’s time to start playing the game!
Don’t be afraid, launch in and you’re bound to taste some of the most amazing cocktails you’ve ever tried – it’s as simple as that!
Mind-blowingly affordable given the experience and cocktails you get, try as many as you can on this list and prepare to make a night of it!
Mini Brno Travel Guide
How to Get to Brno?
If you’re coming from far away, it’s likely you’ll fly into an international airport in either Prague or Vienna.
Serviced by many budget airlines, I always use Skyscanner to get the best prices.
Otherwise, if you’re coming from nearby parts of central or eastern Europe, then it’s easy to travel to Brno either via bus or train.
Check out Omio, where you can easily compare hundreds of journeys, view timetables, travel times and buy tickets in English.
When to Visit?
The best time to visit Brno is during the spring months of May and June or the autumn month of September.
You’ll avoid the crowds this way, but still get good weather.
Visiting during the festive season, when the Christmas Markets are in full splendour, is also a great time to visit this city.
Where to Stay?
For the top Brno accommodation picks, click here.
How Long to Spend There?
I loved Brno and highly recommend at least a stay of 2 nights in this city – more if you plan on taking some day trips around.
Travel Insurance for the Czech Republic
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Travel Money in Czechia
When it comes to paying for things in the Czech Republic, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card with me.
The easy way to spend abroad, with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Czech Koruna (CZK) account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in the Czech Republic… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Get yours here.
Where to Travel After Brno?
If you’re looking to explore more of the Czech Republic after Brno, then I highly recommend the country’s third city of Ostrava, which lies in the east of the Czech Republic, close to the Polish border.
Learn more about the top things to do in this city here.
Alternatively, from Brno, it’s just an hour and a half by train to the grand Viennese capital of Vienna.
Learn more about this what to do in this amazing city here.
SAVE THIS TO PINTEREST!
So that’s my list of the 13 best things to do in Brno.
Which was your favourite on your list?
Or perhaps you’ve been to Brno already?
In which case, do let me know if I missed any great things to do off this list in the comments box below….
I’d love to hear them…