I’ve just got back from sunny Brno and had a great time! 🙂 There’s a lot to do in this small city and everything is super cheap, so it’s the perfect place for a weekend city break.
Explore Brno’s historic centre
Walk along the cobbled pathways, explore local shops and restaurants, admire beautiful Baroque buildings or simply sip a coffee in the one of the many squares!
Visit the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul
It’s free to visit the Cathedral’s interior but it’s a small fee to climb the viewing tower. Make sure you visit the Cathedral grounds – there’s a lovely walk around the outside which offers views for miles! There’s also green spaces, cute courtyards and plenty of seating for an afternoon picnic.
Visit Freedom Square
Probably the most popular square in Brno, Freedom Square is outlined with shops, bars and restaurants and features some stunning colourful buildings, beautiful sculptures and a giant water feature. It’s also home to Brno’s famous ‘bullet’ clock. If you visit at 11am, you’ll be able to see it in action!
Try your luck with the bullet clock!
If visiting Freedom Square, you can’t miss the infamous ‘bullet’ clock. This giant black phallic statue is supposed to represent a bullet and links to the 1645 battle of Brno in which the town fought off the Swedish army using sneaky tactics. The Swedes had said if they didn’t conquer the town by 12pm, they would abandon the fight. So, the people of Brno chimed the midday bells an hour earlier which signified the end of the battle! In honour of this, the bells chime from within the clock at 11am every day. A somewhat strange addition involves the release of a small glass ball when the bells chime. There are four slots around the bottom of the clock where you can place your hands to try and catch this ball. As there are only four holes, you’ll need to get there a bit before 11am.
Hike to Špilberk Castle and visit the Brno City Museum
Just outside the city centre, you’ll find multiple entry points to the Castle. It’s then a 10-15 minute walk up a steep hill to reach the top. We ended up hiking up in the rain which wasn’t so pleasant but I can imagine the views and walk in general are great in the sunshine! The castle was established around the mid-13th century, built on a steep, rocky hill (290 m), peering down on to the town’s historical centre. It’s pretty stunning to see up close – its just so enormous! Once at the top, you’ll need to navigate your way to the small ticket office. General entry and entry to the Brno City Museum is 150 Koruna for adults, 90 for students. You can pay more to add different sections on, such as additional exhibitions or climbing the viewing deck. If you are planning to go to the museum, leave at least an hour and half for walking around – it’s HUGE and there is a lot to see!
Visit the Old Town Hall and climb to the top!
You can walk around the Old Town Hall’s grounds for free but it’s a small fee (60 Koruna adult/ 30 student) to visit the viewing deck. It’s a good few stairs to reach the top but there’s a small collection of artifacts to browse on the way up. On a clear day, the views from the top are incredible!
Get creeped out at the Capuchin Crypt
The Capuchin church can be found to one side of Zelny Trh Square, next to the Mendel Museum. The church’s underbelly holds an eerie collection. Alongside some original paintings and walls lined with historical facts, the crypt is also home to a large collection of mummified monks. These Capuchin monks were buried beneath the church over a period of 300 years along with other prominent personalities from the Baroque period, such as an architect who’s work included the Brno Cathedral. The bodies were never meant to be preserved, but the conditions within the crypt (geological composition/ air flow etc) were accidentally perfect for mummification. It really is quite remarkable; you can almost see each person’s personality or pain etched on to their faces – one poor lady doesn’t look too comfortable and it turns out she was buried alive. Definitely one of the creepiest things I’ve done but very interesting!
Visit the many churches
Brno is home to lots of big and beautiful churches as well as the Cathedral. The church of St James is particular spectacular inside.
Go underground in Building 21
Situated in the Zelny Trh (or Cabbage Market) square, Building 21 is home to an underground labyrinth. After a much needed renovation a few years back, it has been open to the public since 2011. This large maze of underground tunnels and rooms is home to a number of mysterious nooks and crannies and medieval cellars, complete with historical and mock artifacts. The tunnels run underneath Brno’s oldest square and each guided tour takes you into food cellars, past oak barrels used for wine, through the evolution of lighting, past an alchemist laboratory and more… finishing in a traditional Moravian ‘pub’. You have to go underground with a guide (tours run every hour) and there are audio devices if you don’t speak Czech. Tickets were 80 Koruna for students and 160 for adults.
Pick up some fresh fruit and veg from the Zelny Trh ‘Cabbage Market’
Taking place from 9am until late afternoon Monday – Saturday, the Cabbage Market is a collection of stalls in the Zelny Trh square, selling lots of different fresh fruit and veg. Prices are super cheap – I picked up a kilo of strawberries for around £2.50/ €3.20 and a huge chunk of watermelon for £1/ €1.50.
Visit Brno Dam
Also known as the Brno Reservoir, this expanse of water is just outside of the main city centre. The area can be reached by tram (No. 1 with destination Ečerova from the stop outside the main Hlavní nádraží railway station). You can walk along the Dam or opt for a boat or ferry trip.
Go to the Observatory and Planetarium
Situated on the outskirts of Brno city, you’ll find the Observatory and Planetarium. With an electronic viewing tower, science exploratorium, astronomical observatory, solar system talks and more… this place is a hit with both adults and children alike!
Learn about genetics at the Mendel Museum
Just next to the Capuchin Church is the Mendel Museum, situated within an authentic Augustinian Abbey, the place of work of scientist Gregor Johann Mendel who was a monk now considered the ‘Father of Genetics’ after his discoveries related to genetics and heredity. Admission is 60 Koruna for adults and 40 for students/ elderly.
Observe a traditional Moravian Village scene
In the same courtyard that houses entry to the Capuchin Crypt, there is also an option to visit a Moravian village and Nativity scene illustrating rural life in the 19th century. There’s demonstrations of contemporary artisans and scenes of traditional rural events. One of those events includes a pig slaughter, so I opted to give this one a miss!
Visit Villa Tugendhat
Villa Tugendhat is a historical building in the wealthy neighbourhood of Černá Pole. The Villa of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat, it was designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and was built in 1929-1930. It’s considered an icon of modern architecture and is the only example in the Czech Republic inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. It’s 15-20 mins away by tram from Brno’s centre and you can opt for a basic or extended tour of the grounds and can also visit the gardens.