Brno is the second largest city in Czech Republic, founded around the year 1000 and it served as the capital of Moravia until 1948. Today it represents the administrative center of the South Moravian region. City of Brno has around 400 000 inhabitants, out of which almost 90 000 are students. That is no surprise considering that Brno has 33 faculties belonging to 13 institutes of higher learning. The language spoken in the city is, of course, Czech and the currency used is Czech crown (Koruna česká).
The weather in Brno is moderately continental, which means the winters are cold whereas the summers are mild. January is the coldest month of the year while the months of June, July, August and September are the warmest. The average summer temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius, occasionally going up to 30 degrees. Still, keep in mind that June is also the wettest month of the year, so try to avoid it if you’re not a big fan of rain.
If planning holidays in Brno, here is a guide that will give you all the necessary information and help you organize your trip.
Table of Contents
Getting to Brno
Being the second largest city in Czech Republic, the city of Brno has a well-developed transportation system that enables quick and easy entry to the city.
Brno Airport is located approximately 7,5 kilometers from the city centre but it has a limited number of scheduled flights. That is why most people decide to get a flight to a nearby town and then take a bus, a train or a rented car to Brno.
There are a couple of alternative airports relatively close to Brno:
- Prague Airport (approx. 226km)
- Vienna Airport (approx. 188km)
- Budapest Airport (approx. 354km)
- Bratislava Airport (approx. 142km)
- Krakow Airport (approx. 320km).
Keep in mind that Brno has 2 bus stops, Benešova Bus terminal (located approximately 0.6 kilometers from the city centre) and Central Bus Station Zvonařka (located behind the main train station Brno hlavní nádraží, approximately 0.6 kilometers from the city centre).
Brno has a good railway connection with the rest of Europe and cities such as Bratislava or Vienna. There are 3 train stations: Židenice, Dolní Nádraží and the main railway station – Brno hlavní nádraží which is one of the oldest train stations in Czech Republic, operating since 1839.
Brno hlavní nádraží is fairly close to the centre and therefore, easily reachable on foot. Židenice station and Dolní Nádraží are a bit further away, so keep that in mind if arriving by train.
Getting to Brno by car is easy from several directions. There are a couple of highways: if arriving from Prague, Olomouc or Ostrava, you can connect to D1 highway. If you are arriving from Bratislava then connect to D2. Those who are coming from the south should connect to D52 that runs towards Vienna but ends approximately 25km ahead of borders.
Getting around Brno
Public transport in Brno is called DPMB (Dopravní Podnik Města Brna) and it consists of 4 types of public transport: buses, trams, trolleybuses and boats (which operate only in a certain period of the year).
Tickets are valid for all kinds of public transport, and they differ in timeframes and zones. You can buy the tickets directly from the driver or from any of the yellow ticket vending machines located at numerous stops around the city. You can also buy them at information centres, stations and newsagents or through Czech Public Transport IDOS free app.
It is also possible to get a 24-hour ticket,valid for zones 100 and 101 for 24 hours after you ‘’punch’’ it. The 24-hour ticket also serves as a Family Ticket on the weekends. Two people over the age of 15 (or three children under the age of 15) can travel with just one 24-hour ticket. However, on the weekdays only one person can use the 24-hour ticket. Another option is getting a 5, 14 or 30 days ticket.
Buses in Brno operate 24 hours a day with special night buses operating every 30-60 minutes. Most day-time buses operate every 7-15 minutes, and on the weekends every 10-30 minutes.
Keep in mind that the vehicle does not necessarily stop at every stop on its route so you have to notify the driver. Basically, when you hear “zastávka je na znamení”, that’s when you should press the button on the pole. If you want to get in the vehicle, all you have to do is wave your hand and it will stop.
All buses with numbers from 89 to 99 are night buses and they depart every hour. All night buses stop at the main railway station (Hlavní nádraží) in the centre.
There are 14 trolleybuses in Brno with 37 trolleybus stations. They cover the area from Srbská stop on the north till Brněnky stop in the south, Rotreklova is the easternmost stop and Podveská is the westernmost stop.
In Brno dialect, the word for a tram is ‘’šalina’’ (shalina). Currently, there are 12 lines in the Brno tram system with a total route length of approximately 70,4 km and 78 tram stops. They cover the area from Filkukova station in the north to Modřická Cihelna station in the south, Kotlanova is the easternmost stop and Přístaviště is the westernmost stop.
A taxi will be the best choice if you want to check out one of the restaurants or clubs away from the center at night but keep in mind that not all taxis are licensed, the maximum price per kilometer set by city council is 30 CZK (approximately 1.2 €). Here is some contact information if you want one to pick you up:
- City Taxi Brno: +420 542 321 321
- Lido Taxi: +420 542 214 221
The city center is full of historical buildings and monuments, fountains, sculptures and churches. Because of its size it is easy to just walk around and see most of the places of interest.
Ossuary at the Church of St James
It is believed that approximately 50,000 people are buried in Brno ossuary. In the past, due to numerous epidemics and diseases, there was a specific system of burial. The graves were dug up after almost 10 years and the bodies were moved to ossuaries in order to make room for other bodies. Eventually, all churchyards were closed down and the ossuary was forgotten. Nowadays, the ossuary attracts tourists from all over the world as it is the second largest in Europe.
Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall is famous for its ‘’dragon’’ hanging from the ceiling. The legend has it that the people of Brno were threatened by a dragon in the past and they had no idea how to stop it. Fortunately, one butcher that was visiting came up with a great idea. He poisoned some animal skin and fed it to the beast which died shortly after. Expectedly, the dragon was actually a huge crocodile and you can see it on the way up to the tower. The tower is 63 meters tall and provides the best panoramic views of the city.
Cathedral of Sts Peter & Paul
The cathedral dates back to the 11th and 12th century and it is located in the city centre, on the Petrov hill. The cathedral has imposing 84-metre high towers formed with Gothic Revival designs and the interior is predominantly in Baroque style. As opposed to other cathedrals, the bells on towers of Cathedral of Sts Peter & Paul ring at 11am. According to the story, Swedish general Torstenson said he would quit the siege of Brno if his army doesn’t conquer the city before noon. Cunningly, the bells rang an hour earlier.
The crypt is a part of Capuchin Monastery and it dates back to the 17th century. It contains numerous mummified bodies of monks, abbots and nobles. The bodies were actually mummified by accident. Capuchins believed that graves were a luxury so this was just a cheap way to dispose of a body, but due to dry air and composition of the topsoil, the bodies were mummified.
Labyrinth under the Cabbage Market
A two-minute walk from the Capuchin Crypt will get you in medieval cellars and passageways hidden under the ground. You can learn how food and beverages were once stored. In the old wine cellar and a period tavern you can see the local tradition of winemaking. There is also a collection of archaeological findings, an alchemist’s laboratory, replicas of a pillory and a cage of fools. The tour also introduces information on some of the punishments that awaited dishonest men.
The Spilberk castle dates back to the 13th century to protect the city. In the 18th century it became a jail for severe criminals. The castle was known as the most brutal jail in Europe. In 1962, the Spilberk castle was included on the National Cultural Heritage list. Nowadays it serves as a Muzeum města Brna (the Brno City Museum) and they also use it for concerts and theatrical performances.
The villa was once a home of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat. It is an outstanding representation of modern architecture: the interior is made out of onyx from Northern Morocco, Italian travertine, and veneer from exotic woods like rosewood, zebrawood, and Makassar ebony. The technology that runs this modern house makes it truly unique so there’s no wonder that the Tugendhat Villa is on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage sites.
NOTE: We recommend booking your tour of the Villa Tugendhat a few weeks in advance due to great interest.
Astronomical clock (Brněnský orloj)
This unique clock is situated at Freedom Square (Náměstí Svobody) and it is a tribute to the courageous defense of the city during the Thirty Years’ War, which is why it is in the shape of a bullet. It caused a lot of polemics even before it was fully built because of its unusual shape. The astronomical clock is made of polished black granite and it is almost six meters tall.
Brno Lake and Veveří Castle
In the past, the lake served as a water reservoir and a source of electric power. Today, it is famous for its stunning natural surroundings, motor competitions, exhibitions and a firework competition.
Every year in May and June spectacular fireworks are launched from a floating dock on the lake.
On the cliff above the water you will notice the Veveří Castle, one of the oldest castles in Czech Republic. It is famous for housing numerous social and cultural events such as exhibitions, concerts and festivals.
Brno Exhibition Centre is one of the most elegant convention centres in Europe. It was founded in 1928 and it covers an area of approximately 660,000 square meters. Today, the center contains 15 exhibition halls with the total exhibition area covering around 125,500 square meters and it can handle approximately 30,000 visitors per day.
There is no shortage of things to do in Brno, from racing and skiing to tours and bits of history hiding everywhere in the city intertwined with modern touches. There is no doubt that you will find something you enjoy.
The original circuit was made of public roads around 1930 whereas the current circuit was built between 1985 and 1987. Automotodrom Brno is an elite racing track with very strict criteria as it hosts the world’s most prestigious races in MotoGP and Superbike World Championship.The Brno Circuit offers special events for the public as well: Open Circuit Days, in-line skating, cycling rides, car and motorbike rides and a course on how to safely drive motorcycles.
The National Theatre Brno
Everyone who enjoys opera, ballet and drama will find The National Theatre Brno a real treat as it is the major theatre house in Brno with a long tradition in theatre productions.Theatre consists of 3 stages:
Mahen Theatre – it opened in 1882 and it was the first theatre with fully electric lighting (designed by Thomas Alva Edison himself) in continental Europe.
Janáček Theatre – it was the biggest and technologically best-equipped theatre building in Czechoslovakia when it opened; in 2015 the area in front of the theatre was renovated to serve as a relaxation area with a unique light fountain.
Reduta Theatre – in December 1767 young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed here; it is the oldest theatre house in Central Europe.
The orchestra is located in Besední dům, one of the most important Renaissance Revival buildings in the historic centre of Brno.
Brno’s philharmonic tradition dates back to the 1870s when Leoš Janáček established a Czech symphony orchestra there.
Nowadays, the Philharmonic performs at concert halls all over the world and even organizes several prestigious festivals. Still, every month it performs exceptional concerts in its hometown.
Skiing and Ice skating
During the months of winter Brno has a variety of activities to offer. There are a couple of ski resorts as well as ice skating rinks. If you prefer skiing and snowboarding then you should check out one of these popular resorts:
- Dalacin Ski Resort (approx. 1h 15min northwest of city),
- Ski Club Luka and Jihlavou (approx. 1h west of city),
- Ski Resort Olešnice (approx. 1h north of city),
- Skiing Predklasteri u Tisnova (approx. 40 min northwest of city)
- Ski areál Filipov (approx. 1h 20min east of the city).
For those who prefer ice skating, here is a list of the most popular ice skating rinks: Kluziště Vodova, Kluziště Za Lužánkami, Kluziště Pavillon, Kluziště Olympia and of course Brno Lake. However, be careful and make sure the conditions are safe because you skate at your own risk.
Kohoutovice Water Park (Aquapark Kohoutovice)
This is a perfect entertainment for everyone who enjoys water sports or simply wants to relax and have fun. Kohoutovice Water Park contains indoor pools, a rooftop pool with a summer terrace, a gym as well as a sauna.
One of the most popular attractions is a 90-meters-high water slide and a wild-water river. There is an aqua bar accessible from both dry and wet areas and it serves coffee, desserts, sundaes, hot food and it even has a children’s playroom.
Christmas in Brno really is something special. There are two main centers: The Freedom Square and The Dominican Square.
The Freedom Square becomes a place for cultural and social events and The Dominican Square becomes a place for families, children and all fans of good food. On each corner you can find various offerings of handicrafts, sweet delicacies, pork specialties, hot punch and other Christmas goodies.
The Christmas Market has a policy of using recyclable cups which means when you buy a cup in one store you can swap it for a clean one in the next one and at the end of the fair you can take it home as a souvenir or reclaim your deposit.
Brno Jazz Festival (JazzFestBrno)
JazzFestBrno is an international festival established in 2002, usually held in March. It started as a weekend event but turned out to be a great cultural event hosting not only jazz concerts but also jam sessions and workshops throughout the year. The festival has a reputation as one of the best jazz festivals in Czech Republic and Central Europe which is no surprise given that it presents the greatest jazz masters of the world and over 10,000 people visit it every year.
Beer Festival (Pivní festival Brno)
Beer Festival became a tradition of Brno; it gathers breweries from all over the Czech Republic and abroad in order to celebrate beer and enjoy music and good company. It takes place on the Freedom Square (náměstí Svobody) and the date of the beer festival is different every year.
Burger Festival in Brno takes place at Galerie Vaňkovky. It is a festival for all burger lovers, and they have something for everyone – from classic beef burgers to truffle burgers, vegan and vegetarian burgers and even gluten-free burgers. There are also tents with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as Belgian fries, waffles and corn dogs.
The festival also has its humanitarian side. Every visitor who buys a burger automatically donates 1 crown to the Emil Endowment Fund account, which supports young handicapped athletes. In addition to all this, there are also a number of competitions, workshops and events.
NOTE: The festival is held in a couple of locations around Czech Republic and many times a year so the dates may vary. The best option is to check their official website .
Brno 16 Film Festival
Brno 16 Film Festival is one of the oldest short film festivals in the world, it has been going on uninterrupted since 1960. The film festival presents various kinds of short films such as professional, amateur, student, animation, live action et cetera. Besides the competition, the festival is accompanied by workshops, exhibitions and discussions. Festival name refers to 16mm film, one of the most common film gauges of the past. It is usually held in October.
Being the second largest city in the country, there have always been some hotspots for partying or just socializing at night, but with the recent influx of tourists, this is changing and there are more and more places to go out. Brno’s nightlife scene is perfect for creating memorable nights!
Here is a list of the best places to visit:
Stopkova Plzeňská Pivnice – an authentic Czech pub that serves great beer and excellent Moravian cuisine while maintaining a traditional feel.
Fleda Club – definitely a top pick for an unforgettable night out since it has a huge stage for live music, wild parties and good cocktails at a reasonable price.
Charlie’s Hat – disco-pub with a friendly atmosphere, located in the cellars. This is the place where international and local students gather but it is also a good fit for more mature guests who prefer to grab a drink and chat
Malej Velkej Bar – in translation: Little Big Bar; it is a place with friendly staff and a great offer of cocktails and during the day it is perfect for a good cup of coffee or a glass of delicious wine
Food and beer
Czechia has a very traditional “meat and potatoes” cuisine, with dishes heavy on gravies and root vegetables. Staying warm is important when it’s cold, which is why winter is the best time to try Czech cuisine, as their delicious soups are best then.
Here are some of the must-try dishes:
- Guláš – a stew made from beef, pork or game with onions and spices. It is usually accompanied with knedlík (dumplings) or sometimes bread.
- Roast pork with dumplings and cabbage – one of the most typical of Czech dishes, a hearty delicacy.
- Marinated sirloin – a popular dish consisting of braised beef covered with a thick, creamy sauce of parsley root and carrots. It’s usually served with a side of cranberry sauce and whipped cream.
Some of the establishments where you can try them:
Pegas – an authentic Czech restaurant located in the cellars with traditional food and excellent beer at cheap prices, the heart of the cellar is the brewery with a classic two-vessel brewhouse, and it also has a wheelchair access from Jakubská Street.
U Blahovky – it is located about 1.5 kilometers from the old town and it is the perfect place for all meat lovers, good beer, friendly staff, cozy atmosphere and reasonable prices.
Potrefená Husa – it is located in the Vaňkovka Gallery, the menu has a wide offer of traditional Czech dishes followed by modem recipes, there is also a large selection of beer which includes beer cocktails.
Vegalité – the menu consists of vegan and vegetarian dishes with gluten-free options, they brew two of their own beers but they also make beer from other local microbreweries. The restaurant is pet-friendly and in the nighttime, they often offer live music.
Výčep Na stojáka – one of the most popular places in Brno; there are two gastropubs, both located in the centre. The staff is very friendly, the prices are reasonable and the menu consists of traditional Czech dishes and beer delicacies.
However, if you prefer cooking on your own, we recommend going to the Cabbage Market (Vegetable Market) at Zelný trh. This local market is the best source of fresh fruits, veggies and meat. Most things on the market are locally grown and prices are a lot more agreeable than in a supermarket. The offer varies with the season and in the winter the vegetable market does not operate because it is a part of the Christmas market.
Whether it’s souvenirs, a gift for a loved one, or just buying something because it caught your eye, Brno does not disappoint.
Olympia Brno is the biggest shopping mall and entertainment center in South Moravia. Whatever it is that you are looking for, you will find it here – from clothes and accessories to the cinema, bowling, children’s playground and other attractions. If you are coming from the center, the best option is to take the free blue Olympia bus line which will take you from Úzká to the shopping center in 15 minutes.
Galerie Vaňkovka is a spacious urban shopping centre, located only about 1 kilometre from the old town, with over 100 well-known chain retailers, a supermarket, cinema and a food court.
Velký Špalíček is a small mall in the city centre, so there aren’t too many shops. On the flip side, Mall serves as a cinema, so you could catch a movie after finishing with shopping.
If you want to visit outlets, Outlet Hall and Outlet Centrum are the most popular ones located in Brno.
Brno’s hotel and hostel selection is robust and there is a wide variety of all kinds of places to choose from for everyone from backpackers and campers to families and couples.
Country dialing code: +420
City dialing code: +54
Fire department: 150
Hospital: +420 532 231 111
Pharmacy working 24/7: +420 545 424 811