Recently, I returned from a 2 week trip from Brno, Czech Republic. While Prague is the headliner for the country, Brno is definitely an amazing “2nd city.” If you have the opportunity to visit, here are some places you need to visit.
Trip Report: Brno, Czech Republic
One aspect that makes the Czech Republic great to visit, beyond it’s history, was the fact the dollar is VERY strong. The exchange rate was 21 Kroner (Kc) to $1 US dollar. This would make it a great destination if you are on tighter budget. You could really stretch your money here, unlike parts of Western Europe.
Sites to See:
St Paul Cathedral:
This definitely stands out in Brno. This is on top of a hill in the city and you can see this cathedral pretty much anywhere in the city.
It is a very stunning cathedral and as like other cathedrals (I have been inside), it is free to enter. There is a tower you can climb and it cost 40 Kc per person. There is also a section showing historical pieces from the church.
Much of the pieces were destroyed many, many years ago, but seeing what remained is definitely something you should do.
To reach this point, you had to walk uphill about a half a mile.
While the walk was uphill, it wasn’t too bad, but there were plenty of people taking breaks along the way, soaking up the views.
There were a few different self tours you could take here. We ultimately decided on the old prison cells underneath the castle. This is where they would house the worst criminals.
When we were outside it was about 80 degrees F, once we went inside the prison blocks it was MUCH cooler. In addition, you could feel the moisture in the air. I couldn’t imagine having respiratory issues and being confined down there!
The criminals weren’t kept in individual cells, but in groups of 20-30 (depending on the cell). It would be a little cramped to say the least. They had models of what the sleeping arrangements were as well.
These angle beds, looked a bit uncomfortable. But, there were even arrangements made for the worst of the worst.
This type of imprisonment was stopped, but for a period of time there were prisoners kept like this.
Part of the jail was turned into barracks back in World War II, so you’ll get to see that as well
I found this piece a bit interesting, to say the least.
Each day at 11 am a glass ball drops inside the clock. Many people put their hands inside this clock to try and catch the ball.
We found out this clock cost 12,000,000 Kc, which is about $480,000 USD. I would definitely say they overpaid for this clock, but it was definitely interesting.
This is on outside the town, we were jokingly told this was the Lake of Brno.
From the city center this takes about 15 to 20 minutes by train.
If you are in the city center, you’ll take Train #1 to the Brno Dam. This cost about 25 Kc for a 60 minute pass.
You can take a ferry out into the dam, which the entire ride takes about 2 hours
This was quite the awesome tour! The Labryint is about 8 meters below ground and the tunnels span about 1,000 meters
There are pictures of different torture devices in the tunnels, but no torture actually took place here. This underground area was actually used to store goods from the city.
This will set you back 160 Kc, but I thought it was definitely worth it.
The history of this storage tunnel system is quite interesting
This is probably one of my favorite areas. There something about buying your fruit and vegetables from the market daily that I absolutely love.
We went here daily and nearby are many restaurants/bakeries. Our apartment was only a few minutes was from the central market and the grocery store was just a couple of minutes away from here.
There were a lot of different stands selling fresh produce, flowers, and even an ice cream stand.
The prices were quite cheap and it was cash only!
If you’re a fan of fresh produce, this should definitely be on your list.
This was about 20 minutes outside of Brno and I was really blown away by the Slavkov Castle. There is a lot of history here and the tour was pretty good.
It was an absolutely gorgeous building and has been kept in great condition. This has been the only place I have visited (so far), that required slippers to be worn to preserve the original wood flooring.
This will cost 120 Kc per adult, but it was well worth it.
There is beautiful artwork and woodworkings all through the castle.
I don’t typically mention restaurants, but this one place is worth talking about.
What made this restaurant appeal to us, was the fact it was an all you can eat restaurant for about $5 USD per person.
The restaurant is completely vegetarian and it also came with herbal tea.
I can’t remember what exactly was on this plate, but this place was clean when I was finished. It was absolutely amazing. The price point was perfect and if you a vegetarian, I know if can be hard to find a good restaurant.
Regardless, if you are in Brno, I would definitely recommend this restaurant. It is cash only, so keep that in mind.
Use of Credit Cards:
When shopping in the larger stores, credit cards are widely accepted. Many merchants accepted only Visa or MasterCard. Fewer merchants accepted American Express, and I saw one store willing to accept Discover.
In some cities, I have found there to be a minimum amount to use your credit card. That was not the case in Brno.
I was typically using my Uber credit card, and my USAA Limitless for my purchases.
Also, if a place accepted credit card, they also had the capability to accept NFC payments. To me, this seemed like the dream for someone with the US Bank Altitude. I was definitely wishing I had it!
While there were many places that accepted credit cards, there were also many places that did not.
Use of Cash:
Ahh cash, the 4 letter word I really dislike. Unfortunately, many of the smaller restaurants only accepted cash.
This is where my Charles Schwab debit card came in quite handy! I would just head to the ATM and withdraw ~$10 USD and that would last quite a while.
There were cash exchange locations, but using the ATM was a far better option. If you do not have the Charles Schwab debit card and you travel outside the US, you should probably consider this.
There was a lot to like about Brno and I really did enjoy my time. It is hard to argue with the great exchange rate, and the different sites to see. We had to be there for 2 weeks, so we spread things out over the time we were there.
If you were trying to see more locations, you could definitely see the big sites in Brno in 2 days without really rushing. While Prague receives more attention, Brno is definitely a place you should consider seeing if you have the time.