08 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions and Things to Do in Brno
1. Moravian Gallery in Brno
One of the most important art galleries in the Czech Republic (it’s also the second largest), the Moravian Gallery in Brno (Moravská galerie v Brne) was founded in 1961 and is dotted across the city over several important historic buildings. Including the Brajac Palace, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Governor’s Palace.
The museum contains an eclectic mix of visual arts including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Other highlights include photography and applied arts, as well as a major graphic design display (the museum has hosted an international graphic design competition since 1963).
An important satellite museum worth visiting is located in Jurcock House. This strikingly attractive former home was built in 1906 by the famous architect Dušan Jurkovic and features exhibits and displays about his life and work.
Fans of the impressive architecture are also interested in the Josef Hofmann Museum, which pays homage to the architect of the same name, who was born here in 1870. Shops and cafés are found throughout the gallery – check their website for details, plus language-guided tours are available. English.
2. The Capuchin Church and the Crypt
While one of the smallest churches in Brno, the beautiful old church on Capuchin Square was built as part of a Capuchin monastery. Besides several important 17th-century frescoes, along with Baroque carvings by Jan Adam Nisman around 1765 , the church is also known for its 17th-century crypt and another unusual collection of human remains in the city.
Upon entering, you encounter the bodies of several monks who, after their burial, have been naturally mummified by a mixture of soil and the site’s unique ventilation system. Although a bit scary, it’s a great show, and a detailed show through a series of interesting exhibits.
Also of interest is an exhibition featuring the open coffin of Franz Baron von Trinken, an 18th-century officer and later mercenary who became a regional legend, and was imprisoned for some time in Spielbrick Castle. For more details on this fascinating story, be sure to pick up one of the helpful guidebooks in English provided with the purchase of your admission ticket (tours are also available).
3. Explore nature at Brno Zoo.
A popular tourist attraction for families, Brno Zoo was founded in 1953 and houses more than 1,800 animals from nearly 400 different species. In addition to the large predators on display here, including polar bears, grizzly bears, and lions, there are many other fascinating creatures to discover, from monkeys to lemurs, fish, and reptiles. Of particular interest are several animals endemic to Eastern Europe and Siberia, including the Kamchatka brown bear and the arctic fox.
Known for its breeding programs, the zoo offers a variety of entertaining and educational programs for children, some of which include animal care and handling. For those traveling with little ones, fun things to do at the zoo include riding the zoo train or spending time in the petting zoo (pony rides are also available), as well as adventure playgrounds and trampolines.
4. See the treasures in the Old Town Hall
One of Brno’s most important historical buildings, the Old Town Hall (Stara Radnice) dates back to the early 13th century and is known for its many impressive architectural developments. The building housed the city’s administrative offices until 1935, and one of its earliest features is the late Gothic portal, an elaborate masterpiece designed by Anton Pilgrim in 1510.
Another landmark, the courtyard, was added later in the 16th century. In the summer entrance rooms such as the Crystal and Fresco Halls can be visited as well as the Old Treasure House (the courtyard is also used for concerts and festivals).
During your tour, be sure to ask the stories behind two of the city’s symbols, the dragon (or crocodile…you decide!) and the whale, references can be found at various points in the town hall. If you are able, be sure to climb the 63-meter tower above Brno with its beautiful views. The city’s tourist information office is also located here.
One of the best ways to see the Old Town Hall is to join a two-hour historic walking tour of the old town centre. Other highlights of this popular tour include the cathedral and the Capuchin Chapel. If visiting in December, you’ll also be able to enjoy the Christmas markets in Liberty Square (the town’s Easter markets are also worth a visit).
5. Take a underground tour through The Labyrinth & Mint Master’s vault.
Another popular attraction worth a visit is the fascinating maze below Zelný trh square (Labyrint pod Zelným trhem), which includes a tour of several old medieval tunnels and underground passages that lead to the center of the city’s old vegetable market. Scroll down. These ancient cellars, which have been used to store food since the 13th century, now house fascinating exhibits about their former use as a prison.
Also worth a visit is the equally interesting Mint Master Cellar. One of the best free places to visit in Brno, the Old Cellar below Dominican Square (Dominikánské námestí) and New Town Hall (Nová radnice) have exhibits about the history of the city, as well as the mint works that once housed here.
If time permits, be sure to also plan a visit to the magnificent 10-Z nuclear shelter, which was built during World War II, converted by the Soviet Union, and is now fun to visit as part of a guided tour. Evening tour options are also available, exploring the technical aspects of this former nuclear bunker.
6. Join the kids at VIDA! Science Centre
One of the best things to do for families in Brno is to spend time exploring VIDA’s many interactive displays! Over six thousand square meters and more than 180 interactive exhibits divided into four themed areas: Planets, Civilizations, Human History and Microworld. Families can unleash a storm, try ocean mobilization, try 3G power simulations, or try to create their own DNA.
Younger children will enjoy the Science Center area, which is a fun area with lots of activities designed just for them. Here, kids can play with water, explore an antique sandpit, play a grand piano, or become a mechanic. There are also many outdoor galleries that cater to the senses.
7. Visit the Museum of Roma Culture.
The Museum of Romani Culture have a collection of 25,000 objects tells the story of the Roma migration that began in India. There is a particular focus on his time in Europe starting in the eleventh century, including life in the Czech Republic during and after World War II.
Dioramas, videos, documents, and photos provide additional information for visitors. There is also a large library on site, as well as lectures, Romanian language courses, and concerts that are open to the public.
8. Take a day trip from Brno.
Once you’ve explored all that Brno has to offer, take some time to explore the surrounding area. The beautiful old Moravian town of Znojmo lies on the banks of the Dje River just 67 kilometers southwest of Brno. Founded in the early 13th century, the town is home to some beautiful medieval architecture, including the Gothic Church of St. Nicholas. City Hall Tower and nearby Znojmo Castle, a Baroque palace built on the foundations of an 11th-century castle, which is currently used as a museum and gallery.
Also worth a visit is the historic city of Olomouc, 78 km northeast of Brno and one of the largest cities in the Czech Republic. Dating back to the 10th century, Olomouc has some beautiful old architecture as well as an active arts and culture scene that includes the Moravian Theatre, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous museums and galleries.
Another interesting destination is Ostrava, a former mining town worth visiting for its Landeck Park and Michel Mine. Although it’s a two-hour drive northeast of Brno, it’s well worth the trip for a fascinating account of the mining history of the area, as well as a visit to a coal site and a first-hand experience of miners’ working conditions. .
Before heading back to Brno, make a short detour to Karlova Stodanka, an 18th-century spa town in the Jesenice Mountains built around several therapeutic cold springs due to its high iron levels. With its wide boulevards, beautiful parks and gardens, this charming city is famous for its wooden architecture, hilltops and numerous waterfalls and rivers.