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More affordable and less touristy than Prague, Brno sets the scene for a charming city break in the Czech Republic.
Brno, Czech Republic.
Known as the “hidden heart of Europe”, Brno is garnering well-deserved recognition as a charming city-break destination. Short direct flights mean it’s easy to reach, while it remains less tourist-filled (and more affordable) than Prague. Come here to hop between intimate wine bars and dine in lively restaurants hidden inside modernist Czech architecture.
Mornings should be spent eating pastries and sipping coffee in Náměstí Svobody, the city’s main square, where locals gather beneath traditional Czech townhouses for morning chitchat. Stroll around Brno’s centre, where cosy cafés are sandwiched between towering cathedrals and crumbling churches. Stop by the 11th-century Cathedral of St Peter and Paul, where you can climb to the top of the tower for views across the city, or the Capuchin Monastery to visit the crypt, where the mummified remains of 18th-century monks are kept.
On a sunny day, laze in Lužánky park, the city’s largest green space, with decadent monuments and trickling fountains peppered throughout. In the evening, slip down one of the city’s side streets to find hidden wine bars or return to the square to sip on beer from local brewery Starobrno, which dates back to the 14th century.
A day trip to the Moravia countryside. Just outside the city, Brno Reservoir is perfect for a day spent hiking through thick forests and walking along the shore. Be sure to visit the 13th-century Veveří Castle – it’s one of the largest in the Czech Republic, often hosting exhibitions and events with views over the lake.
Who to take with you
A Mozart fan. In 1769, when the composer was 11-years-old, he performed on stage at the Reduta Theatre, Central Europe’s oldest of its kind.
When to go
Brno is never packed with tourists, but do plan a visit in autumn when the parks filled with colour. October is when the Moravian Autumn festival and the Exposition of New Music runs, with orchestras and concerts from across Europe playing.
Where to stay
Stay at U Tomana where light-filled apartments come with king-size beds, roomy living areas and contemporary design.
Most likely to bump into…
People searching for the city’s hidden tunnels. After excavations unveiled tunnels underneath Brno’s churches, passages underneath the Vegetable Market were opened to the public for people to explore the city’s labyrinthine tunnels and cellars.
Essentials to bring with you
Brno can get a bit chilly, so be sure to pack this light-grey Lauren Manoogian Fisherwoman sweater made from a blend of alpaca wool and organic cotton – it’s versatile enough to match with most outfits and perfect for chilly evenings.
How to get there
Fly directly to Brno–Tuřany Airport in just over two hours.
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