Lovely South Moravia enjoys the highest amount of sunshine in the Czech Republic, so no wonder it is the second most frequently visited region of the country after Prague. The region’s edges sit on the country’s borders with Austria and Slovenia.
The region is also home to the Czech Republic’s burgeoning wine industry, spectacular natural beauty, and many beautiful chateaus. Quirky student town Brno is the capital of the region and a must-visit when in South Moravia.
Here are 27 interesting things to do in wonderful South Moravia, Czech Republic.
27 Interesting Things to do in South Moravia
Table of Contents
- 27 Interesting Things to do in South Moravia
- 1, Visit Brno’s Oldest Building
- 2. Explore the Cabbage Market above and below ground (Zelny trh)
- 3. The Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul
- 4. Go Cocktail Hopping
- 5. Villa Tugendhat
- 6. Visit Europe’s 2nd Biggest Ossuary
- 7. Take a cruise along the Brno Reservoir
- 8. Veveri Castle
- 9. Take a self-guided Sculpture Walking Tour
- 10. See if you can catch the glass ball at the Brno Astronomical Clock
- 11. Taste some Czech Wine at the Just Wine Bar
- 12. Visit a Nuclear Fall Out Shelter
- 13. See the views from Spilberk Castle
- 14. Villa Stiassni
- Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
- 15. Lednice Chateau
- 16. Chateau Valtice
- Outside Brno
- 17. Visit Slavkov Chateau
- 18. Enjoy a Beer Spa at a Brewery
- 19. Drink Czech Republic Sparkling Wine at Spielberg Winery
- 20. Become a winemaker at Skalak Winery
- 21. Visit a Castle Winery
- 22. Catch the views from the Chapel of St Florian and St Sebastian
- 23. Explore life in the Moravia of old in the Straznice Open-Air Village Museum
- 24. Take a Cruise along the Bata Canal
- 25. Visit Petrov Wine Cellars
- 26. Try Burcak
- 27. Try Misa Rezy
- Where to Stay in South Moravia
- How to Get to South Moravia
1, Visit Brno’s Oldest Building
Brno’s Old Town Hall was the center of government from the mid-13th century to 1935. It is also home to the most famous symbol of Brno, the Brno dragon. The dragon is actually a crocodile suspended from the ceiling.
Legend has it that the Brno dragon was killing cattle around the city. One day a butcher decided to end his carnage by adding some fresh lime to a dead sheep and placing it near the river. Sure enough, the dragon came and gulped down the sheep complete with lime.
The addition of the lime made the dragon thirsty. When he went to drink from the river, the combination of the lime and water caused him to explode, and Brno’s sheep population was safe.
Today, Brno’s Old Town Hall is home to the tourist office, a pretty courtyard and a tower with a lookout gallery. There are also some giant letters spelling out Brno if you fancy a selfie.
2. Explore the Cabbage Market above and below ground (Zelny trh)
For centuries the residents of Brno have visited this 13th-century square to buy fruit, vegetables, flowers and more. The center of the square is a baroque fountain called Parnos. In the lower part of the square, it is possible to visit an underground labyrinth from medieval times.
For me, the highlight of visiting the square was the brightly colored carts and displays of the vendors. The mix of dried and fresh flowers, plus colorful fruits and vegetables, make for some great photos. I also bought some Czech paprika to take home.
3. The Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul
The origins of the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul in Brno date back to the 1170s. The cathedral has been through one gothic and two baroque reconstructions and now dominates the Brno skyline.
The Cathedral is known locally as Petrov and is home to one of Brno’s most prized treasures, a statue of Mary from the first half of the 14th century. Petrov also has beautiful stained glass windows.
At the base of the cathedral is a lovely park, Denis Gardens, that has panoramic views over Brno and to the south of the city.
4. Go Cocktail Hopping
One of the highlights of my visit to Brno was spending an evening visiting the bars in town that belong to Bar Crew. Bar Crew was started by two university students from Brno. In 2012 the two students visited the west coast of the USA on a cocktail bar research trip. On their return, they put together a creative group known as Bar Crew to put their learnings to work in the Brno bar scene.
Their first bar is known as The Bar that Doesn’t Exist and is in the heart of Brno’s old town. It is a two-storey building with a fantastic inside elevator. Although the building has an industrial feel, the ground floor, in particular, feels warm with its comfortable Chesterfield sofas, chandeliers and long bar.
The Bar That Doesn’t Exist has some fantastic cocktails and also serves delicious burgers. It is regularly ranked as one of the best five bars in the Czech Republic.
Next up was Bar Crew’s 4 Corners Bar. This bar has four rooms and four concepts. Visit for breakfast, lunch, cocktails and/or after midnight at the party bar. We followed a visit to 4 Corners with The Whiskey Bar.
The Whiskey Bar feels like a comfortable pub with its relaxed atmosphere and long bar that is lit in an amber light. The list of available whiskeys is extensive, as are the whiskey-based cocktails.
We finished our evening at Super Panda Circus. This wonderfully named bar normally has a queue as it isn’t huge inside (and it is understandably popular). Press the small doorbell to enter, then head into this dark and atmospheric bar.
All seats face the bar, so you can’t miss the charismatic bar tenders adding dry ice, shaking cocktails, wielding blow torches, and bringing all manner of different DIY/drama techniques to creating delicious cocktails.
Don’t miss visiting at least one Bar Crew bar when you visit Brno.
5. Villa Tugendhat
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a world-renowned work of functionalist architecture that was created by German architect Ludwig Miese van der Rohe. The design is focused on formal architecture in a natural setting. It was finished in 1930 and it is amazing how contemporary it feels today. Indeed, it feels quite cutting-edge.
Villa Tugendhat is considered to be a ground-breaking work of architecture because of its architectural purity and the use of a setting in a natural context. The architect also designed the garden in conjunction with a Brno-based garden architect.
The Villa was confiscated by the Gestapo in October 1939 and was home to Germans throughout the war. It suffered serious damage at the war’s end when Brno was liberated. The Soviet Army also used the house in the summer of 1945.
In the 1960s, the house had become the property of the Czechoslovak state and discussions started to be held about the conservation and restoration of its original state. The renovation was completed in 1985, and it became a place for important political meetings.
The most famous meeting held at Villa Tugendhat was in 1992, when then-prime ministers Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar agreed in the garden on the division of Czechoslovakia. The building opened to the public in 1994 and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.
Villa Tugendhat has two tour options. The extended tour runs for 90 minutes and the basic tour 60 minutes. On summer weekends, a tour of the gardens and from the terrace is offered. It is also possible to visit Villa Tugendhat without a guide during opening hours for a small fee.
6. Visit Europe’s 2nd Biggest Ossuary
Located underneath the Church of St James, St James’ Ossuary holds the victims of the black death and cholera plagues in the Middle Ages, the Thirty Years’ War, and the Swedish siege of Brno. This adds up to the remains of over 50,000 people, making it the second biggest ossuary in Europe after the catacombs in Paris.
Take a tour or visit St James Ossuary without a guide. It is eerie but quite atmospheric.
7. Take a cruise along the Brno Reservoir
Brno Reservoir is a large body of water surrounding the dam on the Svratka river, which was built between 1936 and 1940. Five double-decker pleasure boats or one historical single-deck boat run along the river between April and October. Boats are also available for hire. The reservoir is a short tram ride from Brno’s old town.
There are 11 stops along the shores of the 9.5 kilometer reservoir. The most popular stop is coming up next.
8. Veveri Castle
Veveri Castle dates back to at least the 13th century and has one of the largest castle grounds in the Czech Republic. It was the seat to various noble families over the centuries until it was damaged in World War Two.
The castle has only recently been partially reconstructed. It is one of the 11 stops along the Brno Reservoir and there are some fantastic photo opportunities of the castle from the river. Once the boat docks, it is about a 10-minute walk up to the castle. It is very photogenic and it has its own wine bar on the castle grounds.
9. Take a self-guided Sculpture Walking Tour
It feels like there is a sculpture on every corner and square in Brno, From fountains to bronze statues to concrete monks to what appears to be a planet complete with rings, there is always a new piece of art to appreciate.
Don’t miss Courage on Moravian Square. This eight-meter-high bronze statue was installed in 2015 and features an unusually long-legged horse and some interesting angles from underneath.
10. See if you can catch the glass ball at the Brno Astronomical Clock
This unusually shaped black granite clock was installed in Brno’s Freedom Square in 2010. It is six metres high and in the shape of a bullet. The clock commemorates those who defended Brno against the Swedish Army in the 30 Years War.
One of the most famous stories of the 30 Years War concerns time. The Swedes had Brno under siege for three months but the residents would not surrender. At the end of the three months, the Swedish General said he would withdraw his forces if the city didn’t fall by noon the next day.
The people of Brno decided to bring in their own daylight savings that day and brought all the clocks in town forward by one hour. So at what was actually 11 am, the Swedish General kept his word and withdrew forces from the city.
At 11 am every day, the Brno Astronomical Clock releases glass marbles within the clock that visitors/locals can try to obtain. There is often a queue, so get there early and get ready to put your hands inside this unusual clock to claim your marble.
11. Taste some Czech Wine at the Just Wine Bar
I was very keen to try some Czech wine when I arrived in Brno. Thanks to google, I found the Just Wine Bar and ended up visiting three times over my stay in town. It is a small wine bar with mostly indoor seating in the old town.
The owner and staff are wonderful. I explained to what I thought was the owner that I wanted to try local wine and the kind of wines that I liked. He provided me with several fantastic options by the glass. It is super cute and cozy inside.
12. Visit a Nuclear Fall Out Shelter
The 10-Z Bunker was originally built during the Nazi occupation of Brno. It became a fallout shelter in 1959 and was designed to protect 600 of the city and region’s political representatives. It was built deep in the rock under Spilberk Castle.
The code name of the shelter was 10-Z, and its existence was classified as top secret until 1993. Today, it is a tourist attraction as well as a youth hostel. Personally, I found it a very depressing and creepy place. I would not want to spend the night here. But if Soviet era depressing tourism is your thing, you will love the 10-Z Bunker!
13. See the views from Spilberk Castle
It is impossible to miss Spilberk Castle as it sits on top of Spilberk hill in Brno. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries as a military fortress. It then became a prison for the worst criminals and political enemies in the Czech Republic.
Today it is home to the Brno City Museum and concerts, festivals and theatrical performances are all held at the castle regularly. It also provides amazing views over Brno.
14. Villa Stiassni
Villa Stiassni was built between 1927 and 1929 by Brno architect Ernst Wiesner for a local textile magnate. The Villa is quite simple from the outside, but the interiors are ornate. Alas, the local textile magnate had little time to enjoy Villa Stiassni as he and his family were forced to flee the Czech Republic in 1938.
The Germans took control of Villa Stiassni during World War Two and, unfortunately, destroyed much of the interior. Luckily, the previous lady of the house had made lots of watercolor paintings of the house, which were used to recreate the interiors.
In the 1970s, Villa Stiassni became a government building and was often used for important government guests. In 2009 it came under the control of the National Heritage Institute and was restored to its original style.
Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
The Lednice-Valitce Cultural Landscape is a 280-square-kilometer UNESCO World Heritage site in South Moravia. The area was developed between the 17th and 20th centuries by the noble Liechtenstein family. They sought to develop a world-class countryside as in France and England.
15. Lednice Chateau
The Liechtenstein family first came to South Moravia in 1249 when they bought a castle in Lednice. This chateau was their home until World War Two. They also made purchases in the surrounding area, including Chateau Valtice, and transformed their property into one large private park.
Today the chateaus of Lednice and Valtice are some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Czech Republic and are only a 10-minute drive from each other (and less than one hour by car or train from Brno).
Lednice Chateau is the most popular historic site in South Moravia and the second most popular tourist attraction in all of the Czech Republic. It consists of eight wings, four courtyards, 400 rooms, a detached riding hall and the oldest greenhouse in Europe.
Don’t miss taking a tour of the inside of the Chateau. I was particularly impressed by the hunting-style corridor and the blue room and its amazing spiral-style staircase.
The chateau is surrounded by a beautiful park that is popular with both locals and tourists. Every spring, 30,000 tulips are planted across the gardens.
Top Tip: Annovino Winery is literally next door to Lednice. Drop in any time for a tasting and to explore the gardens and winery. Or book a tour of the winery ahead of time.
16. Chateau Valtice
The Liechtenstein family wanted to create luxury on the scale of the Vienesse Imperial Court at Chateau Valtice, and it is a magnificent building. Different tours are available to explore areas of the chateau as well as its unique herb garden. There is also a torture museum in the chateau’s park if that interests you.
However, the highlight of Chateau Valtice is its basement which is home to The National Wine Salon of Czech Republic. Each year this not-for-profit organization chooses what it feels are the best 100 wines made in the Czech Republic. These 100 wines are then available for tasting and purchase in the National Wine Cellar at Valtice.
There are three options for visiting the Wine Salon. The first and best option is to purchase the open wine-tasting ticket. For less than USD$30 the ticket allows a visitor to try any and all of the wines available in a two-hour period. This is the option I took, and I highly recommend it. It is possible to try all 100 wines in the 2 hours, as one of my friends did achieve this, but I am not sure that I would recommend it.
Once you have paid for your ticket, you will receive a wine glass plus a printed guide to all the wines, and you are free to wander the cellars as you, please. There are baskets available, so you can grab any bottles you like on the way. The wine bottle prices are extremely reasonable.
If you are on a budget, there is a tasting ticket that is less than USD$5, allowing you to taste 16 wines. Tickets can be purchased at the Wine Salon on arrival and do not need to be booked ahead of time. However, if you would like a tour, then a booking will be required.
Note: The Wine Salon is closed for a dry January as it sets up the exhibition for the year ahead. It is also closed on Mondays.
Top tip: Line your stomach before heading to the Wine Salon at Nonna Pizza on the main square. Their pizzas are excellent!
17. Visit Slavkov Chateau
The first mentions of Slavkov Chateau were in the 12th century. In the 15th century, it came into the possession of the old Moravian Kaunitz family. It went on to have more owners but is perhaps most famous for its role in the Battle of Slavkov at Austerlitz in 1805 between France and the allied armies of Russia and Austria-Hungary.
France won the battle and Napoleon chose to share this news with his soldiers from the balcony at Slavkov Chateau. He then named the battle for the chateau.
After World War One, this chateau in South Moravia went into the possession of the state. Today, tours are available of the chateau between March and December. The surrounding park area is also very beautiful and some sporting equipment is available for hire.
18. Enjoy a Beer Spa at a Brewery
The Czech Republic is synonymous with beer and spas, so where better to enjoy a beer spa? Head to Kyjovsky Pivovar in Kyjov and bring a friend as there are two wooden tubs in each of the two spa rooms. The hops will be poured in while you sit and enjoy a beer.
After your spa, head to their traditional restaurant for a tasty local-style meal, don’t miss the potato chips, which are actual potatoes but thinly sliced and fantastic. I also very much enjoyed the goulash.
19. Drink Czech Republic Sparkling Wine at Spielberg Winery
Spielberg Winery is located in Archlebov in South Moravia and has produced wine on 65 hectares since 2002. For the last eight years, they have been in the finals for the Winemaker of the Year competition in the Czech Republic, and they won the title in 2017.
Speilberg’s signature grape is riesling, although they also have other white grapes such as Chardonnay (their cuttings are from Burgundy) in their vineyards in areas like Valtice. They are known for their dry white wines, which have a long finish on the palate. Having said that, they also have pinot noir and petit Menier grapes.
Spielberg has several ranges, including, Austerlitz, a limited edition organic range and their gourmet range. I very much enjoyed their riesling in particular but the highlight for me was the Cremant de Spielberg. Their sparkling is made using the traditional method and ages for four years. Outstanding!
20. Become a winemaker at Skalak Winery
Skalak Winery or Wine Cellars was founded in 2003 in Skalka. Built in the style of a French chateau, it has a large tasting room, a hunting lodge, a lounge, accommodation, a restaurant as well as a modern production facility.
They have 25 hectares of vineyards and grow a wide variety of white grapes from pinot blanc to chardonnay to pinot gris and, of course, riesling. They also have rose, red and sparkling wines.
I was lucky enough to visit Skalak Winery during the harvest and have a winemaker for a day experience. We headed out to the vines and hand-picked grapes. When we returned to the winery, we could press the grapes and taste the wine straight from the grapes (otherwise known as grape juice).
This was followed by a delicious lunch of pumpkin soup and deer casserole and a wine tasting in the lovely tasting room which offers views of the cellar.
21. Visit a Castle Winery
Zamecke Winery stores its wines in the cellars of Bzenec Castle. The cellars date back to the 15th century and are a tourist attraction in their own right. The city of Bzenec owns the castle, but Zamecke can use the cellars to store their wines. They only have two hectares of vineyard in Bzenec but see these as the heart of their wine production.
Zamecke owns more than 500 hectares of vineyard in the Czech Republic and as well as some of the most prestigious brands in the country, such as Ego and Mikrosvin.
When I visited the Wine Salon at Chateau Valtice, some of my favorite wines turned out to be part of Zamecke group. Whilst they are a big winemaker, they see each of their wine brands and regions as boutique wineries.
Sparkling wine was made for the first time in the Czech Republic in the cellars of Bzenec Castle in 1876. One of Zamecke’s signature wines is their sparkling wine which is called 1876. It is best tasted in the actual cellars.
Of all the wonderful wines I tried in the Czech Republic, the wines from Zamecke were my favorites. I loved their chardonnays even though they are perhaps best known for their rieslings.
A wine tour and tasting at Zamecke costs about USD$8 and includes a tour of the cellars and a tasting of five wines.
22. Catch the views from the Chapel of St Florian and St Sebastian
Bzenec is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Moravia. The best place to get a great view of the area is at the remains of the Sts Florian and Sebastian Chapel. The chapel was destroyed at the end of the Second World War and partially restored in 2017.
You can’t miss the chapel as you head into Bzenec as it sits on the top of a hill. Walk or drive up and visit the chapel and take in the fantastic views. In summer months, wine trucks from Zamecke often visit the chapel in the evening, allowing for a glass of wine with the view.
23. Explore life in the Moravia of old in the Straznice Open-Air Village Museum
The town of Straznice was one of the biggest in Moravia in the 16th century. Today its 19th-century self has been recreated at the Straznice Village Museum, an open-air museum based on the town’s original layout.
Some of the houses in the village were re-created piece by piece or as replicas. There are shops and a restaurant. It is possible to do a self-guided tour, or tour guides are available in busy months. There are two different tour options available. One focuses on human life, and one focuses on work.
The content of the tours varies across the seasons so that they can best represent how people were living at that time in the 19th century. I visited in Autumn, where the focus was on activities like pickling cabbage for sauerkraut.
24. Take a Cruise along the Bata Canal
The Bata Canal runs for 52 kilometers between Otrokovice and Skalice. The founder of Bata Shoes actually created the canal between 1934 and 1938. He needed to get coal to his factories and water onto the fields in the area, so he created this canal.
Today, the primary purpose of the canal is tourism. It is open between May 1, and the end of September and 13 locks are accessible. Cruises offering wine tastings operate through the summer months. There is also a cycling path along the canal.
25. Visit Petrov Wine Cellars
Petrov Wine Cellars look like they should be on a Greek Island rather than in South Moravia. The cellars are made from white lime plaster and have blue retaining walls. The oldest cellars date back to the late 16th century. They were originally constructed for wine storage and are located four kilometers from Straznice. The cellars became a government-listed monument in 1983.
Today the wine cellars are ordered in a semicircle which leads to a central square where festivals and social gatherings are held. All of the cellars are privately owned. Several of the cellars have been converted into bars.
I visited the bar owned by the Tomanovsky winery. Their cellar is over 300 years old. The little bar is at the front of the cellar and it is possible to see the barrels in the back half of the building. It is a very atmospheric and photogenic place to stop for a drink.
I only had a brief visit to the wine cellars in the morning. This would be a great place to come to for lunch or late in the afternoon on a summer’s day.
26. Try Burcak
Burcak is early harvest wine that can only be produced with grapes grown and processed in the Czech Republic. It can only be sold between August 1 and November 30. As the wine is only half fermented, its alcohol percentage is lower than standard wine (usually between 5% and 8%). Plus, it is considered to be a very healthy drink as the high yeast content means the drink is high in Vitamin D.
Burcak is made with both white and red grapes. I only tried the white, and it tastes like a very fresh apple juice and is quite delicious. Burcak should be consumed straight after purchase as once it reaches the point that the alcohol is stronger than the sugar, it won’t taste great.
27. Try Misa Rezy
Alas, I only discovered Misa Rezy on my final day in the Czech public. I hope reading this article will allow you to enjoy Misa Rezy more often on your trip to South Moravia. Misa Rezy is a cake made of three layers: chocolate sponge, a layer that tastes like cheesecake, and glossy chocolate icing. It is extremely delicious.
I enjoyed my Misa Rezy at the Amande restaurant in Hustopece. The Amande is known for its restaurant and it is also a wellness hotel. It is about 30 km south of Brno.
Where to Stay in South Moravia
I really enjoyed my stay at Barcelo Brno Palace. It has a fantastic location on the edge of the old town, which allows easy access to all of the main sites. A tram line is only steps away from the door, as is the walking path up to Brno castle.
One of the best things about the Barcelo Brno Palace is the stunning lobby. The open lobby is six stories tall and topped by a glass roof. It is wonderfully light and bustling, with many couches and fresh flowers.
I booked a deluxe city view room as I was staying for five nights. My room was huge. Upon entering the room, there was quite a long corridor. The bathroom was off the corridor and had a built-in shower and two sinks. The design is modern and contemporary, with a mix of dark greys and white accents.
The room is modern and open with art nouveau interior design touches, which bring an air of luxury. The view from the main window is fantastic. Look to your left, and you will get a close-up of Brno’s Spilberk Castle. To the right are the charming, colorful roofs of Brno’s old town.
Breakfast at Barcelo Brno Palace is a highlight. Head to the ground floor to enjoy a buffet extravaganza emphasizing local sourcing.
The hotel also has a relaxation area with a sauna, fitness center and massage service, which I did not have time to use.
How to Get to South Moravia
Brno has an international airport that operates direct flights between London Stansted and Luton on Ryanair. There are also direct flights to a small number of European cities. The airport is about 20 minutes from downtown Brno.
Brno is about two hours by train from Prague, Bratislava and Vienna. Two railway corridors run through South Moravia. The high-speed Pendolino line connects with Prague, Brno, Breclav and Bratislava. EuroCity and InterCity trains operate several times a day across the region and beyond.
Brno has a terrific public transport system. The trams are very easy to use and run across the city. There is also a major bus depot just outside Brno’s old city. Buses to Brno airport run from here. The 76 bus leaves every 30 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to get to the airport.