A Walk Through the Historic Old Town Centre of Brno

In this guide we take a walk through the historic old town centre of Brno and visit the city’s main sights.

A short stop in Brno

After a great ride on the Hungaria EuroCity train from Budapest I had arrived in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic and the unofficial capital of the historical region of Moravia.

As I had to be in Prague in the evening I could of course have stayed on board as the train would continue in that direction.

However, I had purposely decided to book two separate tickets: One from Budapest to Brno, and one from Brno to Prague on another train departing two hours later.

This would allow me to have a quick look around the old town of Brno, a city I had never visited before.

Although two hours would certainly not do justice to a historic city the size of Brno, it would at the very least give me a decent first impression and make for a nice walk to stretch my legs on the long journey from Budapest to Prague.

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When you arrive by train from the south you can easily spot Brno’s cathedral. ©Paliparan
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At Brno, I disembarked the Budapest to Berlin “Hungaria” EuroCity train. ©Paliparan

Brno old town

When you approach Brno from the south by train you can see the city’s cathedral towering high above the buildings along the railway line.

It reminded me a bit of Cologne, as the cathedral in that city is located right next to the station and railway tracks as well.

Obviously, the cathedral was therefore my first destination on my little walk through the old town centre of Brno.

Once you exit Brno’s central train station you will already find yourself in the heart of the old town, so all the main city centre sights such as the cathedral are within an easy five to ten-minute walk.

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The old town is just a few metres away from the railway station. ©Paliparan
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Brno’s cathedral towers high above the old town. ©Paliparan
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Walking across the Capuchin Monastery in the old town of Brno. ©Paliparan

Zelný trh

On my walk up the hill to the cathedral I first came across one of Brno’s main squares called Zelný Trh, which simply means Cabbage Market or Vegetable Market in English.

Indeed, a small fruits and vegetables market was held on this lovely square when I passed by.

Several important buildings can be found along this historic square such as the 17th century Dietrichstein Palace, which now houses the Moravian Museum.

Other important landmarks on Zelný Trh are the baroque Parnas Fountains right in the middle of the square, Reduta Theatre and Hotel Grandezza with its imposing façade.

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Small fruit and vegetables market on Zelný Trh. ©Paliparan
Zelný trh
The baroque Parnas Fountain is located in the middle of this square. ©Paliparan
Zelný trh
Zelný Trh. ©Paliparan

Brno Cathedral

Located on Petrov Hill, the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul dominates the Brno skyline.

This 14th century cathedral is an interesting mix between the Gothic architecture of its exterior and the fine Baroque interior.

The twin towers built in Gothic Revival style were only added between 1901 and 1909.

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The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. ©Paliparan
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The hilltop cathedral can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. ©Paliparan
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Road leading to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. ©Paliparan
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The baroque interior of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. ©Paliparan

Denis Gardens

Right below the cathedral you can find the pleasant Denis Gardens (Denisovy Sady).

The Denis Gardens are named after the French historian and Slavicist Ernest Denis (1849-1921) as he made a huge contribution to the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.

In this public park you can find a colonnade and an obelisk commemorating the Napoleonic Wars.

Perhaps best of all are the views from the park towards the south over the Brno suburbs.

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Old town street around the cathedral. ©Paliparan
danis gardens
Entrance to the Denis Gardens. ©Paliparan
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Brno’s Denis Gardens. ©Paliparan
denisovy sady
The Denis Gardens are located at the foot of the cathedral. ©Paliparan
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View from the Denis Gardens. ©Paliparan

Spilberk Castle

Together with the cathedral, Spilberk Castle (called Hrad Špilberk in Czech) is arguably Brno’s most famous sight.

Just like the cathedral, Spilberk Castle is located on the top of a hill overlooking the entire city of Brno, so if you are after some fine views this is the place to go.

Indeed, on this lovely autumn day the hike up to the castle was absolutely amazing.

The autumn foliage on the hill and the views back towards the cathedral and the old town of Brno were simply stunning.

spilberk castle brno
With its hilltop location, Spilberk Castle overlooks the entire city of Brno. ©Paliparan
spilberk castle
Climbing up on the hill towards Spilberk Castle. ©Paliparan
autumn foliage
The autumn foliage on the hill was gorgeous. ©Paliparan
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On the way up there are fine views back over the cathedral. ©Paliparan
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Gorgeous view from Spilberk Castle Hill over the old town of Brno. ©Paliparan
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View from Spilberk Castle over Brno. ©Paliparan
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The entrance to Špilberk Castle. ©Paliparan

Inside the castle

Spilberk Castle was completed in the 13th century under the rule of King Ottokar II and primarily used as a royal residence.

Under Habsburg rule, Spilberk Castle was however turned into an impressive citadel and most of the fortifications you see stem from this era.

The castle even had the reputation of being one of the toughest prisons in the Austrian Empire.

As I only had limited time in Brno, I unfortunately only managed to have a quick peek at some of the outer walls and fortifications.

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Spilberk Castle. ©Paliparan
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Walking around Spilberk Castle. ©Paliparan
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The fortifications of Spilberk Castle. ©Paliparan
Jean-Louis Raduit de Souches
Bust of Louis Raduit de Souches, who commanded the local forces and defended Brno against the Swedes in the Thirty Years’ War. ©Paliparan

Back down

The views on the walk down from the castle were just as splendid as they were during the climb up.

I just absolutely love sunny autumn days like these as you really can’t beat all the wonderful colours around you.

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Walking from Spilberk Castle back to the historic old town of Brno. ©Paliparan
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View from the hill towards the northern suburbs. ©Paliparan
autumn brno
Fine views and autumn foliage on my walk down the hill. ©Paliparan
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View over Brno from Spilberk Castle. ©Paliparan
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Walking back towards the cathedral and old town. ©Paliparan
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Back in the old town after a fantastic hike up to Spilberk Castle. ©Paliparan

City centre

Back in the old town of Brno I still had some time remaining for a walk through the city centre before I had to catch my onward train.

With its many pedestrianised streets, Brno’s old town centre is a pleasant place to explore.

On this sunny day, there were quite some people out on the streets heading to one of the many shops, cafés or restaurants in this part of town.

The heart of the city centre of Brno is Náměstí Svobody (Liberty Square).

Some of the finest architectural gems of Brno can be found around this historic square, with the lovely Neo-Renaissance façade of Dům Pánů z Lipé (House of the Lords of Lipa) perhaps being the most beautiful.

Another interesting building on Liberty Square is Dům U Čtyř Mamlasů (House of the Four Giants).

This turn-of-the-century town house is named after the four statues of mythological Titans who carry the weight of the decorative pillars just like the giant Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders.

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Old town street. ©Paliparan
brno old town
Brno’s old town. ©Paliparan
liberty square brno
Liberty Square. ©Paliparan
Dům pánů z Lipé
Dům Pánů z Lipé. ©Paliparan
The four Titan statues at Dům U Čtyř Mamlasů. ©Paliparan
shopping street brno
Shopping street in the centre of Brno. ©Paliparan

Back to the station

Before I even realised it my limited time in Brno had come to an end and I had to hurry back to the railway station.

On the way back I came across a couple of other Brno landmarks such as the Stará Radnice (Old Town Hall) with its impressive tower and the St. Mary Magdalene Church.

Unfortunately, all the hurrying turned out to be unnecessary as my train to Prague posted a 20-minute delay.

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Old Town Hall of Brno. ©Paliparan
brno tram
Brno tram riding through the old town. ©Paliparan
St. Mary Magdalene Church
St. Mary Magdalene Church. ©Paliparan
post office
The post office right next to the railway station. ©Paliparan
brno train station
Brno’s beautiful train station. ©Paliparan

Conclusion

Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, is a beautiful place with some lovely architecture and interesting sights to visit.

The historic centre of Brno is extremely walkable, with all major sights being a short distance away from the centrally located railway station.

Although the two hours I spent walking across the old town certainly didn’t do Brno any justice, it did leave a great impression and a longing to return one day to explore the city in earnest.

Trip report index

This ‘Trains, Planes, Beer and Tapas: A Trip to Prague and Madrid’ trip report consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Ryanair Bucharest to Chania (Boeing 737-800)
2. A Rainy Chania Stopover
3. Ryanair Hell: My Bad Chania to Budapest Flight Experience
4. Review: T62 Hotel, Budapest, Hungary
5. Review: EuroCity Train “Hungaria” Budapest to Brno
6. A Walk Through the Historic Old Town Centre of Brno (current chapter)
7. Review: EuroCity Train EC 278 “Metropolitan” Brno to Prague
8. Review: K+K Central Hotel Prague, Czech Republic
9. Beer Boozing in Prague
10. Praha Hlavní Nádraží – Prague’s Stunning Art Nouveau Station
11. Review: Leo Express Train Prague to Olomouc
12. Olomouc: An Amazing Art Nouveau City
13. Review: RegioJet Train Olomouc to Prague
14. Review: Erste Premier Lounge Prague Airport Terminal 2 (Schengen)
15. Review: Air France HOP Business Class Prague to Paris CDG (Embraer 170)
16. Review: Air France Schengen Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2F
17. Review: Air France Business Class Paris CDG to Madrid (Airbus A220)
18. Review: Hotel Europa, Madrid, Spain
19. Tapas Crawling Through Madrid
20. Review: Ibis Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain
21. Review: Puerta de Alcala Business Lounge Madrid Barajas Terminal 2
22. Review: Air Europa Economy Class Madrid to Milan Malpensa (Boeing 787)
23. How To Transfer Between Milan Malpensa and Bergamo Airport

koen paliparan rhodes rodos

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

One thought on “A Walk Through the Historic Old Town Centre of Brno

  • September 25, 2022 at 8:24 pm
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    Thanks. I really enjoyed this piece. It brought back some nice memories. I spent a couple of nights there about four years ago on a central Europe railway trip and like you I was very taken with Brno. Its suburbs are also worth a look for the large number of interesting pre-and post-war modernist buildings.

    Reply

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