Having long been overlooked by international tourists in favour of its more famous sister, Prague, Brno has a common joke among locals – na Brno dobrý, aka ‘good for Brno’ – that makes fun of its status as the country’s second city. But with crowd-free attractions, low prices and a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene, it’s high time that visitors start paying attention to this undiscovered city. Read on to discover just some of the reasons to visit Brno on your next city break.
Reasons to visit Brno contents:
The lack of tourists
Attracting more than 10 million foreign visitors each year, the Czech Republic is certainly not a secret holiday spot, but with 84% of these visitors flocking to Prague, Brno has successfully remained under the radar, and as a result, it’s delightfully untouched by tourism. The beautiful old town and intriguing attractions can be enjoyed without any crowds while the burgeoning bar and restaurant scene boasts only local hotspots and no tourists traps.
The local feel
With such a small number of tourists, a visit to Brno provides a wonderful insight into local life. When walking down the street it’s unusual to hear anything other than Czech being spoken and away from the main attractions you’re likely to be surrounded by predominantly locals. This goes for bars and restaurants too with everything from the trendy cocktail bars to the traditional beer houses packed with Brno residents or Czech holidaymakers.
The Czech Republic has built a reputation for its budget-friendly prices, and Brno is even cheaper than Prague. A beer costs as little as €1.30 in some of the bars while a traditional Czech meal can be enjoyed for around €7. Sightseeing is also pleasingly affordable with many of the city’s main attractions costing less than €5. For a full breakdown of costs including accommodation, travel, sightseeing and eating out, check out this guide to the cost of living in the city.
The compact size
Despite being the Czech Republic’s second-largest city, Brno is perfectly sized for exploring by foot. You can walk from one side of the old town to the other in just 15 minutes and Špilberk Hill (home to the historic Špilberk Castle) is the only major incline in the city centre. Plus, if you do wish to get the tram, you can ride across the city in less than ten minutes at a cost of just 75 cents.
Much like the rest of the Czech Republic, Brno is a city that takes its beer drinking seriously, and sipping on a frothy pilsner is undoubtedly one of the best things to do when visiting. The bartenders take obvious pride in their work, pouring tankard after tankard of perfectly crisp yet creamy pilsners, and strong-armed wait staff are accustomed to carrying large numbers of brews to thirsty punters – it’s incredibly common for everyone in the bar to be sipping on a beer. Pilsner Urquell is ubiquitous across the bars and restaurants with The Erin’s Flag and Pivnice U Čápa boasting two of the best pours, but it’s also easy to find a large number of local craft options at the likes of Zelená Kočka Pivárium and Vycep Na Stojaka. Read more about Brno’s best bars here.
Brno is currently garnering international attention for its bar scene, but the city’s restaurants aren’t being left behind. A line-up of everything from traditional Czech establishments and beer houses to modern cafes and international eats ensures there are a plethora of options to choose from. Stopkova Plzeňská Pivnice and Lokál U Caipla serve affordable and delicious Czech dishes such as svíčková – a creamy beef stew served with bread dumplings and cranberry sauce – while Soul Bistro and SKØG Urban Hub are two trendy lunch spots. Gỗ Brno serves flavoursome Vietnamese cuisine, the Burger Inn boasts some of the best burgers in town, and BistroBastardo is a laid-back Mexican grill.
The unique attractions
Home to everything from a secret underground bunker to Europe’s second-largest ossuary, Brno has plenty of unique attractions to explore, and many of them can be found hidden underground. The Labyrinth under the Cabbage Market and the casemates at Špilberk Castle are two more of the city’s subterranean secrets, and the latter offers an understated alternative to Europe’s more ornate fairytale castles. Even the viewing tower at the Old Town Hall offers a unique perspective with a height of 63 metres that allows for far-reaching views while also enjoying a close-up of the streets below.