Brno, Czech Republic
Escape to Moravia’s capital to experience the height of Czech culture and explore the ancient medieval city’s exhilarating youth. With a unique blend of Baroque architecture and modern functionalist design, Brno is the Czech Republic’s up-and-coming city and Prague’s fiercest rival.
Brno’s countless historical sites, modern museums, and burgeoning bar and music scene will quickly become your favourite Eastern European destination. Trace Brno’s history from the underground tunnels to one of the Old City’s modern microbreweries for an electrifying weekend break.
What to do
Step into Brno’s medieval past at the haunting Špilberk Castle. An intimidating hilltop castle overlooking the city, Czech royalty first constructed Špilberk in the 13th century before the Habsburgs transformed the medieval monument into one of the most horrifying and feared prisons of the Baroque period. Enjoy the magnificent panoramic views of Brno and peek into the terrifying dungeons. Continue onto the neighbouring Petrov Hill where the 14th century Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul stands on the ancient ruins of a pagan temple to the goddess Venus to view the impressive altar and Viennese sculptor Jose Leimer’s detailed figures of St Peter and St Paul.
Wander back into the city centre through Denisovy Sady Park to visit the Church of St James and the Capuchin Monastery, whose crypt features the mummified remains of hundreds of monks, abbots, and noblemen from the 18th century. The Old Town Hall, dating back to the 13th century, has the iconic Brno dragon (a stuffed crocodile) hanging from the ceiling and the famous tower spires with breathtaking views of downtown Brno. Sign up for a tour of the recently-opened Labyrinth beneath the Cabbage Market to see the cellars that were used to store goods and hide civilians during times of war. Finally, be sure to stop off at the Moravian Museum, a natural history and ethnographic museum with more than six million pre-historic, Moravian, and Czech objects and swing by Vila Tugendhat, a UNESCO-protected Bauhaus home designed by Mies van der Rohe in the 1920s to see the height of functionalist design.
Where to stay
Check into Grandezza Hotel, located in Brno’s historic centre behind the Baroque Parnas fountain, to enjoy modern luxury. In a carefully renovated early 20th century building, Grandezza Hotel boasts an original hand-painted glass ceiling and stunning views of St. Vitus Cathedral. Stay in the Onyx Tower Suite, a three-story apartment with a personal lift and amazing panoramic views of Brno and sample the fine cuisine at the Grandezza Restaurant or Caffehouse Momenta downstairs.
Eat & Drink
Brno has slowly established itself as the go-to destination for coffee and bar lovers. Dozens of microroasters and microbreweries now line the streets of downtown Brno and rival Prague’s all-time favourites. We highly recommend sampling the unusual brews in JBM’s Brew Lab, tasting the unique espressos from Ethiopia and El Salvador at Skog Urban Hub, and passing the early hours of the morning at Ktery Neexistuje, Brno’s most famous and energetic bar. For a delicious, locally-sourced meal, try Bistro Franz, whose homemade bread and traditional Czech dishes make it a lunchtime favourite among locals. For dinner, make reservations at Pavillon, located in a sleek functionalist building, for a variety of European flavours by chef Jana Kaplana.
Don’t miss Veveri Castle, a romantic medieval castle on the outskirts of Brno built in the 13th century. New wings are regularly opened up to the public as extensive renovations are completed and wine tasting celebrations will give you the unique chance to taste the fruits of the Moravian vineyards.
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