Best Things To Do In Brno, Czech Republic – 14 Ideas For Your Brno Bucket List

Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic located conveniently between Prague, Vienna and Bratislava. Despite its location, it often gets overlooked by visitors to central Europe.

The city is certainly worthy of more attention than it receives, as there is an abundance of great things to do in Brno minus the crowds you’ll find elsewhere including its rich history and culture as well as an incredibly photogenic historical centre.

This article delves into the best places to visit in Brno, whether you’re planning a day trip, a short city break or you’re exploring more of the South Moravian Region. There are plenty of things to fill your Brno itinerary.

So read on, and see how many things you can tick off your Brno bucket list! 

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Spilberk Castle, Brno

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What To Do In Brno Czech Republic - At A Glance

No time to read this whole Brno city checklist right now, no worries, just skim over this first section.

If you only have a limited time to visit Brno, then after the full list, I’ve suggested the top 5 things you HAVE to see in the city that can be visited within a few hours. This is perfect if you’re just passing through.

However, if you have longer, then you’d be able to see all these Brno attractions in a few days. You might also find this free Czech Republic bucket list downloadable useful.

Brno; What To See

      • The Brno Dragon
      • Drink beer in a cellar tavern
      • Horse & Knight statue on Moravian Square
      • The Astronomical Clock
      • Explore the alleyways and courtyards
      • Climb the Old Clock Tower
      • Enjoy the artisan Coffee and Cocktail Scene
      • Visit the Ossuary at St James Church
      • Explore Castle Špilberk
      • Discover the Secrets Behind the 10-Z Bunker
      • The UNESCO world heritage site Villa of Tugendhat
      • Eat Mechovy Dort
      • Labyrinth Under the Vegetable Market
      • The Brno Observatory and Planetarium

 

…and if you’re really pushed for time, bump these five things to the top of your to-do list

Best Of Brno

      • The UNESCO Villa of Tugendhat
      • Climb the Old Clock Tower
      • The Brno Dragon
      • Explore Castle Špilberk
      • Enjoy the artisan Coffee and Cocktail Scene   
.

What you can expect in this article...

I’ve partnered with Visit Czech Republic and Visit Brno to bring you this travel guide. This article is based on the destinations and experiences I took part in. All views and opinions are my own.

14 Great Things To Do In Brno

Find The Famous Dragon Of Brno

One of the most famous legends in the city of Brno is about a dragon that once threatened the people by savaging the citizens and their livestock. Today, this legendary dragon resides under the archway of the Old Town Hall.

Not only is this one of the top things to see in the city, if you’re looking for free things to do in Brno, seeing the dragon won’t cost you a cent.  

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this legendary dragon is actually a crocodile which was gifted to the city 700 years ago.

The legend tells of a ferocious dragon that was tormenting the city and causing havoc. The story goes that the dragon was slayed, but not in a typical way with a sword. They tricked the dragon into being poisoned. A clever farmer used an animal carcass filled with lime (cement) and water and when it was eaten by the dragon, it caused a chemical reaction in its belly. This killed the creature, vanquishing the citizens of its wrath.

The Dragon tops the Brno must-see list, as it’s synonymous with the city. The dragon (or crocodile) is the symbol of the city. You won’t have to look too hard to find motifs of it, they’re dotted on everything from socks, sports teams, and drain covers to cookies and trains!  

Location: (The Old Town Hall) Radnická 8, 60200, Brno

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The famous Brno dragon

Drink Beer In A Traditional Cellar Tavern

Did you know, the Czech Republic has the world’s highest beer consumption per capita, with a claim to fame like that, it would be foolish not to join in.

Brno is full of great drinking places, and what could be better than finding a local tavern to try their national drink? The city of Brno had one of the earliest rights in the country to brew beer, they started producing it here in the 12th century. However, the cities of Plzeň and České Budějovice are the leading producers of beer (producing Pilsen beer and the original & the best Budweiser, respectively).

Whatever beer you order (as long as it’s Czech and not an import) will be delicious. I’m not usually a beer drinker, but the beer in the Czech Republic is up there with some of the best you’ll find in Europe. If you’re really not into beer, South Moravia is one of the biggest wine producers, with vineyards nearby, so you’ll be able to opt for this local drink instead.

Typically, the beers are pale and with a light flavour with a transparent golden colour. They are served with a high level of foaminess – don’t be surprised if at least a quarter of your glass is topped with foam, I know in parts of the world, this would be frowned upon, however here, this is a good thing!

If you’re looking for a traditional cellar bar while you’re visiting Brno, that serves not only Czech beer but also traditional food, then head to Středověká krčma, it’s located in the centre, just off Liberty Square.

Location: Středověká krčma, nám. Svobody 86/17, 602 00 Brno-střed, Czechia

Related Article:  Not into beer? You might prefer this self-guided wine tour instead

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Czech Beer is some of the best in Europe!

Pose Beneath the Statue of the Knight on Moravian Square

If you’re after a bit of giggle, one of the most fun things to do in Brno is to strike a pose standing under the statue of the knight riding a horse on Moravian Square.

The statue is named ‘Courage’ (Odvaha in Czech) and features an 8-metre high bronze statue of a knight riding a horse with disproportionality long legs.

At first glance, everything looks innocent, until you see people standing under it and looking up from below before giggling at what they can see.

It’s only when you position yourself between the horse’s front legs and look up towards its neck and snout that you’ll get a cheeky surprise.

Location: (Outside the Church of St Thomas), Moravské nám. 611/6, 602 00

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The horse statue, looks inocent enoigh, until you discover the cheeky view

Try to Catch the Marble From the Astronomical Clock

Every Brno sightseeing tour will point out this unconventional-looking astronomical clock in Liberty Square. If you’re expecting something like the one in Prague, then think again. The modern clock was built to commemorate the city’s 17th-century victory against the Swedish invasion.

The black granite obelisk is supposed to resemble a bullet, and at 11 am each day, the clock releases a large glass marble. This is one of the more unusual things to do in Brno, and it’s not as straightforward as you might think, as there are 4 different holes it could come out of.

You’ll find a mix of residents and tourists gathering here from as early as 9.30 at one of the holes, each person hoping to be the lucky recipient of the marble.

Location: (Liberty Square) nám. Svobody, 602 00

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The Brno Astronomical clock

Wander the Photogenic Alleyways and Courtyards

One of the best things to do in Brno is to simply wander the beautiful courtyards and alleyways. The historical centre is full of them.

One of the prettiest cobbled lanes was the one looking up to St Peter and St Paul Cathedral perched atop Petrov Hill. Stand outside the Capuchin Crypt and look up to the Cathedral for a beautiful photo spot.

Another beautiful spot to get a photo is in the courtyard behind the Old Town Hall. Stand in the courtyard and take a photograph looking up to the Old Clock Tower, you can get to this courtyard directly from the famous Vegetable Market.

The whole historical centre is incredibly photogenic, so you’ll find no shortage of beautiful places to get snap-happy.

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St Peter & St Paul with the pretty streets

Climb a Tower for a Panoramic View

There are several places in the city worth visiting to get beautiful panoramic views of Brno. Two of my favourites were the Old Clock Tower and the twin spires of St Peter & St Paul Cathedral.  

The inside of St Peter and St Paul Cathedral starts with a winding staircase leading up to the small ticket office. It then continues to an upper level. This level is directly beneath the bells, so if you time your visit wrong, it gets VERY loud. They chime every 15 minutes so try not to be directly under them when this happens.

At the top, there are two old wooden doors (one for each tower) leading out to some of the best views in the city. One door looks over the south of the city, the other looks back over the old town.

If you have a fear of heights, you may want to skip these, although the first wooden door you get to (with the view over the south) does have a balcony that a few people could fit on. The second door, across the inner bridge, has a balcony that’s more like a pulpit, it’s quite exposed. However, this one has by far the better view over the Old Town.

The other great view is from the Old Clock Tower, which is attached to the Old Town Hall and the main Brno Tourism Centre. The Old Town Hall is one of the oldest buildings in the city, with the oldest part of the building dating back to 1240!

Climb up the 63-metre tower for 360-degree views of the Old Town. This is one of the better views to photograph Špilberk Castle.

Location: Old Clock Tower, Radnická 8, 602 00 | St Peter & St Paul Cathedral, Petrov 9, 602 00

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View overlooking the Old Town
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The Old Town Hall

Enjoy the Artisan Coffee and Cocktail Scene

Brno isn’t just known for delicious and locally produced beer and wine, Brno also has a thriving coffee culture, and is home to some of the best coffee houses in the country. Not only that, but they have several craft cocktail bars too.

You’ll find small pop-up coffee carts dotted all over the city, I lost count with how many different ones I tried, they were all very good however, they do takeaway only. If you’re wanting somewhere to sit and drink, then SKØG Urban Hub and V Melounovem Cukru (who actually serve cotton candy coffee!) are both good options.

If you’re looking for where to go in Brno in the evenings, then try out the craft cocktails scene. Head to either Super Panda Circus or Slast. They make the creation of cocktails into an art form, using premium ingredients presented in quirky ways.

Super Panda Circus is located behind an unassuming door. When you enter, you’ll be greeted by one of the hosts who will invite you to play a game to work out what cocktails you will enjoy the most. You don’t have to play the game and can just go for a drink.

Location: Šilingrovo nám. 3, Brno

Slast is located in one of the underground Labyrinths, just off the Vegetable Market. Inside is a myriad of cellars leading off in every direction, filled with trendy lighting, and quirky artwork. The word Slast (in Czech), translates to pleasure, which sums this place up nicely.

Location: Zelný trh 10, Brno

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Super Panda Circus

Visit the Ossuary at St James Church

If you’re after one of the more macabre things to see in Brno, then visit the Ossuary. It’s located next to the church of St. James and is the second largest Ossuary in Europe. The bones here are from victims of the plague, cholera, the Thirty Years’ War and the Swedish siege.

It’s estimated that this is the final resting place of 50 thousand people. Some of the remains date back to the 13th century when a graveyard was located outside of St James Church.

As the city expanded, a new way to bury people was needed. So after around 10-12 years of being buried and the body had decomposed, the graves were opened and the bone remnants were removed. This made way for another recently deceased body to be placed in the grave. The bone remnants were then moved to special underground areas, called Ossuaries.

The Ossuary at St James’s lay forgotten until 2001 when it was rediscovered during building work. An unfortunate builder fell inside a hole and stumbled on the mass underground graveyard. It has since been fully restored and although you can visit the Ossuary during the day, a few times a year, they allow visits by candlelight.

Location: Jakubské nám., 658 78

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The Ossuary by candlelight

Explore Castle Špilberk

If you’re wondering what to see in Brno, then tick off one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.  Špilberk Castle (Hrad Špilberk) sits on top of a hill, dominating the skyline, overlooking Brno and can be seen from pretty much everywhere in the old town.

It’s a pleasant uphill walk to get there through a well-manicured park. There are plenty of benches en route to stop and catch your breath. Some routes are a slope, others steps, but either way, it’s a decent lung and leg workout, but the views from the top are worth it. It’s also worth knowing that this is one of the best spots in the city to come up and watch the sunset from.

Spilberk Castle dates back to the 13th century, however, not much of what you see today is from that time. The building that stands today is a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles.

The castle has been pivotal in the city’s history and previously served as a royal residence, a fortress, barracks and prison. Today it’s used as a museum, an exhibition space and rented out for events.

One of the nice things about this castle is that you can access quite a lot of the outer grounds and courtyards for free. You can purchase individual tickets to join one of the guided tours, for access to the Casemates, Bastion, View-Tower and Water Tanks.

Location: Špilberk 210/1, 662 24

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Courtyards at Castle Spilberk

Visit the Unique Villa of Tugendhat

Located in the classy neighbourhood of Černá Pole, a pleasant 30-minute walk from the historical centre is the beautiful villa of Tugendhat. A tour of this villa is by far one of the best things to do near Brno, and tickets to see the interior can sell out months in advance.

Topping the list of Brno top attractions is Villa Tugendhat. The villa gained UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2001, thanks to it being one of the best examples of functionalist architecture. It features exemplary technologies for its time that still work to this day and is the epitome of functionalist design.

Tugendhat villa belonged to Greta and Fritz Tugendhat. They were given an open check by Greta’s father to build the home of their dreams. They enlisted Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to design their home, with no expenses spared. Construction took place between 1929 and 1930.

For its time, the villa was revolutionary and was the first private home that utilised a steel load-bearing structure. This is what allowed for non-load-bearing walls and an open plan design. The highest quality materials were used in its construction. Inside, you’ll even be able to see the iconic Brno chair, which was based on a modernist cantilever design by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich between 1929-30. It was made for the bedroom of the villa.

Because of the innovative design, with the inner walls not needing to load bear, it allowed for an entire inner wall to be created with Onyx from Northern Morocco, cut in such thin sheets that light can shine through it. It also allowed for a whole wall made of windows, which are electrically operated to open up the entire side of the house to the gardens.

You can visit the house gardens and see the villa from the outside, however, I highly recommend booking a ticket well in advance and doing the interior tour just to see how marvellous the building is.

Location: Černopolní 45, 61300, Brno

Related Article:  Easy Day Trips From Brno

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Tugendhat Villa

Lose Yourself in the Labyrinth Under the Vegetable Market

If you’re travelling with children and looking for cool things to do in Brno, then be sure to visit the Labyrinth Under the Vegetable Market. Yes, it’s a little bit kitsch, with some of the mock-ups and interactive elements, but it was also really exciting to see the dozens of interconnected cellars, caverns and passages under the market square.

Brno has pleny of underground places. Historically, this was where sellers used to help keep food, like meats, cheese, fruit and vegetables, fresh. In the past, this network of chambers was also used as a wartime shelter, an alchemist’s laboratory and even a torture chamber.

The Labyrinth takes you 212 steps down beneath the Vegetable Market and leads through over 1,000 metres of passages. At the exit, there’s a ‘cheeky’ surprise which is based on a story of someone who was once held prisoner here.

Location: Zelný trh 21,65878

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Inside the Labyrinth Under the Vegetable Market

Discover the Secrets Behind the 10-Z Nuclear Bunker

If you’re interested more in the recent history of Brno, then one of the best things in Brno to learn about the war times and Soviet era is in the 10-Z bunker.

It’s located inside the hill leading up to the castle and was originally designed as a fallout shelter against nuclear attack. It was designed to be resistant to weapons of mass destruction and could house a total of 500 people for up to three days.

Amongst other uses, it also served as a wine wholesaler. Today it is open to visitors, where you can either explore the 10-Z Bunker by yourself using the audio guide or take a guided walking tour. The rooms have resorted with authentic furniture and artefacts of the era, so it does feel like stepping into a time capsule.

If you’re feeling really brave you can even book one of the themed rooms and stay overnight here.

Also, keep your eyes peeled. In the park on the way up towards Špilberk Castle, you might spot the secret exit door, hidden in the trees.

Location: Husova, 602 00

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Telephone Room at the 10-Z Bunker

Book In Advance: 10-Z Bunker Entry

Watch the Stars and Planets From the Brno Observatory and Planetarium

The Brno Observatory and Planetariumdates back to the 1950s, and since then has attracted over 3 million visitors. This is one of the most popular Brno/ Czech Republic points of interest which currently attracts over 100,000 people to the institution a year.  

When it was first opened, it only featured one cupola with a smaller telescope. However, today you will find a digital planetarium with a 17-metre diameter projection screen, observation decks, interactive displays and more.

This is also a great option if you’re visiting the city and the weather isn’t great. Another alternative for indoorsy things to do in Brno is to visit the Brno city museum.

Location: Kraví hora 522/2, 616 00

Eat the Moss Cake; Mechovy Dort

If you’re interested in quirky things to do in Brno, then you’ll love this. Sometimes called a forest cake, or a moss cake, Mechovy Dort brings a little of the outside, to the dinner table.

The odd-looking green cake is actually coloured with spinach to make it look like a forest floor. It was invented by Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová and is popular across lots of eastern Europe.

Depending on where you buy it, sometimes it will be only lightly sprinkled with ‘moss’, other times, it will be decorated to look just like a woodland scene. One located just outside of Brno called SORRY – We Bake Differently (SORRY – Peceme Jinak, in Czech) has gone one step further.

The slice of cake comes complete with a little cricket, just to make it look more like an authentic forest. There aren’t any bugs inside the cake (I did check!) this is just for decoration.

Location: Křídlovická 32 /1, 603 00

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How Many Are You Ticking Off Your Brno Bucket List?

How many of these outstanding things have you done? And how many are you adding to your Brno travel itinerary? As I mentioned at the start, Prague always steals the glory when it comes to the Czech Republic but there are a lot of lesser visited and equally worthy places to go.

There’s more than enough to see in Brno and although you could just stick around the city, it’s also a great hub to base yourself in for more exploration of the southern Moravia or Bohemia part of the country.

Take a look at these other inspirational Czech Republic articles to help plan your trip.

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

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