Brno's Top 15: All the things you should see and do

Foto: 123RF/Tomáš Hájek.

Brno is a city of coffee. Although it hosts a Week of Coffee festival, this status is due mainly to the cafes that are springing up all over the place.The city's slogan “Live It Up in Brno" is often uttered tongue-in-cheek. But if you want to stand up for the place, keep this list: it explains in rough outline things you can do before declaring that Brno truly is a place where you can live it up.

1. Arrange to meet someone at Čára
Čára – or Česká – is the city's busiest street. Here you can meet perfume vendors and musicians collecting coins in a hat. There is a popular meeting place at the end of the street by the tram stops, under the clock.

2. Sip wine on the Petrov hill
Sit on the walls under the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul with a bottle of wine. Chat and look at the city. Any student who never does this is no kind of student bohemian!

3. Fall asleep on the night bus
Brno's late-night public transport is legendary. Every hour of the night – on the hour – its buses gather at the main station before leaving for all parts of the city. As a rule they are filled with socially-tired students, and as a rule someone falls asleep on them.

As a rule night buses are filled with socially-tired students, and as a rule someone falls asleep on them.
As a rule night buses are filled with socially-tired students, and as a rule someone falls asleep on them.

4. See in the spring in a pasqueflower meadow
In the quarter Kamenný vrch there is a nature reserve where beautiful purple pasqueflowers bloom every spring. And from this place there is a delightful view of the city. What better place to go on a springtime date?

5. See Brno from the garden of the Tugendhat villa
After renovation lasting several years the jewel of Brno functionalism is open again. It contains a unique onyx wall and above all a delightful view of Brno's centre. Be sure not to miss it. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

6. Go for a walk at the Kamenná kolonie
If you want to experience a playful, bohemian atmosphere, go to the Kamenná kolonie. This former workers' quarter has been settled by local artists, intellectuals and architects. Cats wander the winding streets under the rock and locals look from their windows and start up conversations with you. Things are most alive here during the local fair.

7. Discover Brno cafes
Brno is a city of coffee. Although it hosts a Week of Coffee festival, this status is due mainly to the cafes that are springing up all over the place; no sooner do you decide on your favourite than a new, better one opens up. But beware – before you know it, you'll be a coffee addict!

8. Go to a Kometa match
Brno regularly swarms with them. You'll recognize them by their blue scarves. We mean fans of Kometa, Brno's ice hockey club. Even a polar bear cub at the local zoo has been named after them. Even if you are no lover of team sports, give it a chance and take in a match. There's a great atmosphere.

Even if you are no lover of team sports, give it a chance and take in a match.
Even if you are no lover of team sports, give it a chance and take in a match.

9. Catch a glass ball from the time machine
The cartridge-shaped time machine on Náměstí Svobody is nothing if not controversial. Some people complain about how much it cost, others that they can't tell the time on it. If at 11am you put a hand into one of its openings, you might catch an original glass ball. To mark important anniversaries these balls are produced in special editions.

10. Drink beer at Bláhovka
You'll find Bláhovka, a cult pub, on the corner of Gorkého and Úvoz streets. In summer people queue for beer, but this doesn't put them off coming here.

11. Try a kebab next to the Fléda club
It's two o'clock in the morning. Where can you get something good to eat? There are many windows offering fried cheese in a bun, but a Turkish kebab from the open-all-hours takeaway next to Fléda is hard to beat. Have it with pitta, noodles or rice – your taste buds will go wild!

12. Sample pho at the market in Olomoucká street
The market in Olomoucká street is very popular with Brno's Vietnamese community. Here you can get top-quality rice and traditional Vietnamese foods. Travellers say that this is the place to sample the best pho in the Czech Republic.

13. Sunbathe by the Brno Reservoir
Not only is the Brno Reservoir the scene of the annual fireworks festival, it is a great place to lie on a blanket and study. For the connoisseur, we should add that there is a nudist beach here.

Sit on the walls under the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul with a bottle of wine.
Sit on the walls under the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul with a bottle of wine.

14. Undergo the "Tour de Veveří"
Downtown Brno is teeming with bars and cafes. Bolder souls go on a pilgrimage in which they try to visit them all in the course of a single evening. Many manage less than a third of the itinerary!

15. Throw five crowns to the legless dog lady
Brno, too, has its homeless. And some of them – the lady with the fake pram, the Romany brothers, the legless lady – are iconic figures. Five crowns never hurt anyone.