The more we’ve traveled, the more we’ve realized that first impressions of cities are often surprisingly accurate. Maybe the city seems dirty and unkempt or the locals seem unfriendly. Sometimes it seems like the city is boring and stuffy (and we can’t even remember why we wanted to travel there in the first place!).
But sometimes, when we’re lucky, we know we’re going to love the city right away. Our first impression of Brno proved to be spot-on: it’s an incredible city! As we stepped out of our bus and made our way to our Airbnb, we were shocked at this beautiful bustling city. Everywhere we looked there was cool restaurants, beautiful architecture and people rushing around.
It’s a shame, because Brno isn’t typically the first choice for destinations when visiting Czech Republic. That honor goes to Prague, the beautiful capital city that by all accounts does seem to have a bit of a problem with over-tourism. In Brno, we found all of the beautiful culture, history and architecture with none of the crowds of tourists.
If you’re considering a trip to Brno, we would urge you to do it! It’s a special city with very friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and lots of rich history.
Top Attractions & Things To Do In Brno, Czech Republic
1. Visit the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul was built in 1777 and is one of the best known landmarks in Brno. You can see its two massive spires from many points in the city center. The cathedral is a beautiful example of gothic architecture and is worth a visit for anyone coming to Brno.
This cathedral is also part of an old legend in Brno. When the Swedish army lay siege to Brno, the Swedish general said that he would abandon the siege if they couldn’t capture the city by noon. So, Brno supposedly made the clock tower ring one hour early at 11 AM to make the siege end quicker. This story has been proven to be historically false, but it’s still an interesting fable since the noon ringing at this cathedral is still at 11 AM to this day!
2. Enter the spooky Capuchin Crypt
The Capuchin Crypt is located below the Capuchin Monastery, and represents a very interesting part of Brno’s history. The crypt dates back to the 18th century, where the naturally mummified remains of members of the Capuchin order were placed.
While this is definitely not for the faint of heart, it is a very interesting way to see Brno’s history firsthand. We couldn’t believe how in tact the bodies were! The entrance fee for adults is 70 Kč, or about $3 USD.
3. Visit Moravian Square
The Moravian Square is one of the largest squares in Brno, though it is kind of separated by a busy street and railroads. One of the main attractions in the square is the Místodržitelský palác (the Governor’s Palace), which is currently home to a beautiful gallery.
Currently, the square has a couple pieces of modern art that are fun to look at. The most controversial of which is a horse with remarkably long legs, which if you walk underneath is shaped like something…ahem…inappropriate. Head to Moravian Square to see for yourself!
4. Try Czech food
You can’t visit Brno without trying some authentic Czech food! The food is delicious and very hearty, so rest assured that the meals will definitely fill you up. The prices are very affordable, too. We recommend Stopkova Plzeňská Pivnice, which is a local pub that serves delicious traditional Czech food.
A few great dishes to try are Svíčková, which is a beef dish with a special sauce and bread dumplings. Also try Kulajda, which is a sour soup with potatoes, dill and egg. You should also try Kofola, which is communist Czecheslovakia’s alternative to Coca cola. It’s still fairly popular in Brno!
5. Do a Free Walking Tour of the city
We did a free walking tour of Brno with Stano as our tour guide and loved it! Stano was so knowledgable, and it was really great having the historical context behind all the sights that we were seeing. They have both English and Spanish tours, and it’s a great way to kick off your time in Brno.
6. Visit Špilberk Castle
Špilberk Castle is a castle that was built back in the 13th century. This beautiful structure served as a fortress for many years for the city of Brno. Today, it is open to the public and is home to a couple cute cafes and the Brno City Museum.
You have to walk up a pretty steep hill to get to Špilberk Castle, but the views make it all worth it! From the castle, you have some of the best views of the Brno city skyline.
7. Hang out with cats at Pelíšek – kočičí kavárna
If you’re a cat person, head on over to Pelíšek – kočičí kavárna to spend a few hours eating delicious cake, sipping coffee, and petting sweet cats. It’s a really cool concept that is very popular among locals and tourists alike.
8. Climb to the top of the spire of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul for beautiful views of Brno
For only a few dollars, you can climb to the top of one of the spires of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. It’s a great vantage point to look out over the city. It’s also super cool being in the creepy church’s attic, right below where the bill rings every hour!
9. Take of Tour of Villa Tugendhat
Villa Tugendhat is a historical buiding that is located in one of Brno’s most wealthy neighborhoods. It is one of the first examples of modern architecture in Europe, and it was built way back in 1930! Today, you can take tours of this beautiful house to see the forward-thinking architecture for yourself. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
10. Visit the magnificent Church of St. Thomas
The Church of St. Thomas is one of the most well-known churches in Brno. This was one of the many wonderful stops that we made on our walking tour of Brno. It was incredible hearing about the history of this church and seeing the intricate details in person.
11. Try Czech beer!
Beer is a big part of Czech culture. All throughout Brno, cool breweries and pubs serve up craft Czech beer made from breweries from all over the Czech Republic. We tried a Czech beer from Vycep Na stojaka, a popular pub where there are no chairs! Locals purchase a beer and then stand throughout the square drinking their beer.
Brno is an AWESOME city, and it truly is an amazing alternative to Prague. So many people choose to only visit Prague when visiting the Czech Republic, but it can get really crowded and touristy. If you’re interested in a great alternative, then Brno is the perfect city to visit!
We found that a lot of places in Brno were cash-only. This means you should definitely convert a healthy amount of money into Czech koruna. Other than that, Brno is a remarkably walkable city so bring a comfy pair of sneakers and get exploring!