Brno

The Bishop´s Palace and the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul

Brno (German: Brünn, Štatl in the local dialect) is the major city of Moravia (a historical region in the Czech Republic). It is the largest city in Moravia and the second largest city in the Czech Republic by population and area. It was founded around the year 1000; and since the 14th century, the city served as the capital of Moravia. Brno is the heart of Moravia and its cultural hub, it's home to many institutions related to Moravian history and culture. At the same time, Brno represents the administrative center of South Moravian region. It has a population of around 380,000 people, and it's located in a beautiful natural environment between South Moravian vineyards and the Moravian Karst.

Understand

The New Town Hall (don't be fooled by its name, in fact it's very old).

The city was founded about 1000 years ago, it received city status in the year 1243, and for centuries it served as the capital city of Moravia, until 1948 when communists abolished autonomy of Moravia. The city flourished mainly during the 19th century. Today's Brno is a mixture of many different architecture styles, there are many beautiful places. But still, it's a home to great culture, and countless beautiful buildings, the city has the second largest historic preservation zone in the country (the biggest one is in Prague, the 3rd one is in Olomouc). There are three castles, Špilberk (former royal castle, and former seat of rulers of Moravia), Veveří castle (near the Brno dam lake), and the Líšeň Castle.

For some reason, Brno is not particularly well known by tourists so you can easily avoid crowds and overpriced services.

Brno is the cultural hub of Moravia, it's the home to a number of notable Moravian institutions, e.g. Moravian Gallery, Moravian Museum, National Theatre Brno, Brno City Theatre, etc. It's a city with a long tradition in motor racing (on the Masaryk Circuit), huge exhibitions and trade fairs (in the Central European Exhibition Center), and as vibrant university city. There are about 89,000 university students in Brno, a city with 380,000 inhabitants, it makes it the country's largest student city by percentage of population. Since 1998, there is also an international firework competition held annually at the end of May and beginning of June - Ignis Brunensis, it attracts about 100,000-200,000 visitors every day it's being held.

The most interesting places in Brno includes the Brno Underground, a labyrinth of underground cellars which includes the second biggest ossuary in Europe (after the Catacombs of Paris), the two (or three) castles in Brno, the cathedral on the Petrov hill (pope Benedikt XVI. visited the cathedral in 2009), the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady in the Old Brno District, the St. Jacob's Church, the Moravian Museum (the biggest museum in Moravia and the second biggest in the country), Lužánky Park which is the oldest public park in the country, Denis Gardens, and various historical squares, churches, palaces, and other interesting buildings.

There are also many places which might be worthy of visit outside of the city centre, like an old Jewish cemetery in Brno-Židenice (by area, the biggest one in Moravia), or the Marian Valley in Brno-Líšeň, it's which is a cascade of lakes between forested hills. From the north, Brno is surrounded by hills and very pleasant nature, probably the most notable place is the Moravian Karst.

Brno lost its status of the capital city but it still behaves like a "cosmopolitan" capital, there is a rich variety of various cultural events, clubs, pubs, etc., and several excellent museums and theatres. Also there are two interesting things about theatres in Brno, Reduta Theatre is the oldest theatre building in Central Europe, and Mahen Theatre (part of the National Theatre Brno) is the first theatre in the entire Europe which was illuminated by Thomas Edison's electric light bulbs (in that time, it was only four years old invention). Brno also serves as the capital of judicial authority of the Czech Republic (it's the seat of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court) as well as many other state authorities, the rest of it is located in Prague.

Get in

By train

Brno is an important stop on the Prague–Vienna and Prague–Bratislava–Budapest railway line; all IC and EC trains stop here. For some trains originating in Prague, it is a terminal stop.

Standard tickets are expensive when bought at train station (CZK 333 first person, CZK 200 second, CZK 166 others), but you can get a great discount (up to CZK 180) if you buy them online, see SporoTiket Česko at Czech Republic#Train tickets. Currently (Jan 2012) there is also a special PROMO fare of CZK 200.

Be careful that you get in to the proper train, because another train to Brno via Břeclav departs at around the same time which will add 2 hours more to your trip.

Brno hlavní nádraží (Brno Main Station) is located close to the city center; almost all attractions are just within a few minutes walk. These attractions are to the north of the station, to the left coming out; follow the sign marked "Centrum," not the one marked "Centra."

By car

Using highways - Ostrava, Bratislava, D1 highway from Prague or using any of the national roads. For the highway you have to buy a toll sticker.

By coach

There are coach services from various European destinations including Prague where frequent buses run touting assorted amenities and stops (such as Prague Airport). You can find the timetable for all buses including international on . The page is in Czech, English and German.


Taxi

Try to avoid getting taxi on the street (public transportation is always the better option in Brno) and if you have to, try to negotiate the price in advance. If you take taxi on the street, you should know that maximum price set by the city council per kilometre is 30 CZK/km (approx €1.30). It's advisable to call one of the major Brno Taxi services:

By air

Brno-Tuřany Airport

(IATA: BRQ) Although it has a limited amount of destinations Brno Airport is highly convenient and boasts an extremely impressive structure. Those interested in modern architecture may want to visit even if they are not lucky enough to fly into the airport.

Ryanair flies 7 times a week to London-Stansted and 3 times a week to Bergamo (advertised as being close to Milano), twice a week to Alicante. Wizzair flies to London-Luton 3 times a week, Rome twice a week and from December 2011 twice a week Eindhoven. Czech Connect Airlines flies 4 times a week to Moscow and twice a week to Saint Petersburg. UTair flies three times a week to Moscow-Vnukovo. CCA flies once a day - Monday to Friday to Prague as a codeshare of CSA Czech airlines and beyond and Czech budget airline Smart Wings fly to several seasonal vacation destination. Bus 76 runs every 30 minutes from about 4:30AM–11:30PM to the bus and train stations in the city center. Fare is CZK 22, and you can buy your ticket beforehand in the information centre or the ticket machine in the airport.

Bratislava Milan Rastislav Štefánik Airport

(IATA: BTS) The airport is the largest in the Slovak Republic and the home base of Danube Wings, though the budget airline Ryanair flies the vast majority of seat capacity (80%). Additional carriers are Aeroflot to Moscow, CSA to Prague, Sun d'Or to Tel Aviv (seasonal, budget flights), and LOT to Warsaw.

Prague Ruzyne Airport

(IATA: PRG) There are buses to Brno operated by Student Agency. You must change buses at Florenc station in Prague.

Vienna International Airport / Wien Schwechat

(IATA: VIE) It is located near the town of Schwechat in Austria, after which the airport is named. The airport is the home base of the flag-carrier Austrian and the budget airline Fly Niki. Most European airlines and a significant number of international airlines have direct connections to Vienna from their respective hubs. Direct transfer options:

By boat

An unconventional, but beautiful way to get to Brno (well, from just outside town) is to take a boat from Veverská Bitýška village, which takes you (in summer season only) on a trip across Brněnská přehrada (Brno dam lake) to Brno-Bystrc.

Get around

The Integrated Transport System of the Southern Moravia Region (IDS JMK) covers public transport over Brno and major part of the Southern Moravia Region; it includes local trains, trams, buses and trolleybuses. Daytime transport ends up at 11PM, the night buses go hourly and have central transfer node at Main Station.

For journeys within the city, a short transfer ticket (valid 15 min, Kč 20) and long transfer ticket (60 min, Kč 25) are available. Tickets are available at yellow ticket vending machines at bus and tram stops, and also at railway station counters. You can buy the 60-minute ticket at driver for Kč 35.

South Moravia Region is divided into tariff zones, Brno itself consists of two zones. IDS JMK tickets are valid in all buses and local trains (category Os, Sp and R), the price varies on number of zones you travel over.

One-day network ticket cost Kč 86 for Brno and Kč 190 for the whole region. On weekends up two adults and three children can travel on a single network ticket.

See

Church of Saint Thomas and the Annunciation on Moravian square.
Buildings on Konečného náměstí (Veveri street).
Denis Gardens
The Spilberk Castle
Tugendhat Villa


The city center is full of historical buildings, old churches, theaters, fountains, sculptures, clubs, restaurants, etc. It is very compact, so one can just walk around most of the places of interest.

Architecture

Culture

Scenery

Do

Ignis Brunensis, fireworks show above the Špilberk Castle.

Buy

Eat

Czech food is mostly based around pork and potatoes. Another Czech favorite is smažený sýr, fried cheese, which is available at many restaurants and fast food stands. A good option is to visit one of the many pubs or restaurants that usually offer traditional Czech food all day long. You could easily find a restaurant where you get a meal and a drink for around €5, even in the city center. Many of these places also offer cheaper special (limited, pre-prepared) menus at mid-day. Cafés offer a nice selection of rolls and pastries if you're looking for breakfast food. Visit the cukrárna near the House of the Four Idiots on nam. Svobody and try a rakvička ("little coffin", small pastry covered with cream). This is the only place in the Czech Republic to find the chocolate ones.

Drink

The traditional Brno beer is Starobrno, a traditional non-alcoholic drink is kofola (a very different but captivating kind of cola). Both must be tasted in draught form! Although Czechs are famous for their love of beer that love is mostly focused on pale beer, dark beer (černé pivo) is sweet and not very often drunk here. There's quite a few small breweries in the city, among them a small private brewery named Pegas, a block west from the steeple of St James Church (sv. Jakub). The pub is equipped with modern brewing technology, beer is made right in front of the guests' eyes. For a list of other breweries look at this list.

The go-to bar is the cramped and smoky Charlie's Hat (know to most locals simply as Charlie's), east on Koblizna street from the north end of Freedom Square (50 Kč entry, includes drink voucher). A cluster of more down-tempo bars frequented by students can be found along Dominikánská (Kavárna Trojka - students caffee and bar)and Starobrněnská just west of the Zelný trh (cabbage market square). Around the main square you can find a lot of clubs, pubs, restaurants, coffee houses and lounge bars.

In recent years a number of bars have sprung up in and around Dvořákova street in the city centre, including:

Sleep

There are many hotels all around Brno city.You can compare and choose hotels on Brno Hotels Directory.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Avoid the main train station after dark as it attracts a number of unsavory characters, the usual caution applies. Also keep a keen eye out when using Automated Teller Machines in the immediate area for similar reasons. The area is also known be actively visited by pick-pocketers. Also avoid the Cejl street during dark hours for the same reasons. Take the tram or a bus between the stops Malinovského náměstí and Tkalcovská.

Go next

Moravia has a dense cluster of nearby sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Places near Brno - trips less than one hour

Other places

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 14, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.