Prague Day Trip: Brno

Highlights: small Old Town; modern architecture; arts scene
Duration: eight to twelve hours
Exertion level: low
Accessible by: bus, train

Villa Tugenhat Brno

Mies van der Rohe's Villa Tugendhat is one of the best early examples of modern architecture in Europe. Photo: Sandori.

The Czech Republic's second biggest city, Brno, is a far cry from Prague's magic rooftops and picturesque Old Town. Brno is a modern city that seems more in line with the bold Eastern Bloc aesthetics of the 1960s than the classic, wistful beauty of Prague.

OK, we exaggerate a bit. Indeed, Brno has a gorgeous Old Town. It's just that Brno is not as densely packed and self-consciously gorgeous as Prague.

To see

What Brno does have is that second city edge. Brno recognizes that Prague is bigger and more impressive, yet it proceeds to be dynamic and ambitious on its own terms. The museum scene is particularly noteworthy. Brno contains a number of national museums, as well, like the Museum of Romani (Gypsy) Culture and Design Centre of the Czech Republic.

In light of such institutions, it's not a shock that Brno has a vibrant arts scene. And while the Old Town is full of stunning old buildings, the city's modern architecture is truly outstanding. Villa Tugendhat, designed by Mies van der Rohe, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting there

It's quicker to take the bus than the train between Prague and Brno. The bus takes two hours and 15 minutes, and the train takes three hours. Expect to pay around CZK325 for a round-trip journey.

The city of Brno has a beautiful and easily navigable site. See also the Brno Tourist Information Centre site.

Want more? Check out our article on Prague day trips with information on the spa town of Karlovy Vary and the Czech capital of beer, Plzen.

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