There are already three months since I moved in Brno, a South Moravian city in the South Eastern part of the Czech Republic, and I hope that this post about my first living tips here may guide a bit the healthy enthusiasts who plan to visit the city. Just one thing before start reading this – I made an exception and only in this post beer is considered a healthy aliment. In Brno beer is extremely fresh, cheap and it is part of the local food culture. Even though I haven’t liked beer before, now I can say I’m a smeller and, sometimes, a taster – is it just beginning?! Not quite (: I found that Moravia is extremely appreciated for the viticulture, so I’m lucky that I caught the grape harvest which usually takes place in September and November each year.
#Confession – or skip it and go directly to #MyTravelBag
People often ask me why am I here instead of living in fancy European capital. Long story short, my soulmate has been working in Brno for three years in IT, having a job that he likes a lot. This summer we decided to end up the distance relationship and live together again, in Brno. I am extremely thankful to my clients because they agreed with me working remotely, so that my working schedule remained the same – about 8 h/day. This may sounds cool: new country to discover, working from home… but the less fancy part is that I really miss my friends from Bucharest, its vibe and events, my former workplace and the team. The nice part is that I invest my free time in many things that I had missed for a long time. And I am extremely thankful and happy _/\_
- reading. kindle or audible are constantly active.
- watching movies. randomly on Netflix.
- cooking. try & error. no hard feelings.
- finishing studies. finally I managed to finish the University (5 years later) presenting the case study on sports&cultures and the nutrition school I started in 2016.
- increase my flexibility. oh boy, and I still have a lot to practice.
- listening more. talking less.
- loving more. because I have so much to offer.
- … and many more
BRNO IN #MyTravelBag
… because I still feel I am a traveler here.
I hope that my following recommendations are useful for the ones who may choose Brno as temporary business location or as a holiday destination, the ones who are looking for less commercial, healthy and cost effective places. If you’ve read my articles or Instagram posts before you know that I’m trying to live a healthy life (as much as possible) and I’m spending much time on documenting about places before going.
A BIT ABOUT THE CITY’S CULTURE
What I call “a little city” is in fact the second largest city in Czech Republic (400,000 residents) and with an emerging economy. Brno has a vivid history, booming business centers (especially in the IT sector), top universities (there are 14, wow!) and a wealthy cultural life.
Before coming here you should know some basic Moravian phrases that are not so difficult. Like many other nations, people really appreciate your struggling to speak their language. So, HERE you can find a (very) basic speaking guide. For the very beginning is ok to know how to say ‘Hi’ [ Dobrý den (polite) or ‘Ahoj’ (used as a friendly greeting or to attract attention) ].
Being blessed with its great location, Brno is at only 2 hours (or less) by car from Prague, Vienna or Bratislava and this makes the city being wonderful for travel lovers. Moreover, “The Little City” is directly connected by train to Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague and Berlin and it’s very close to the south Moravia winery region which we’ve recently discovered: Mikulov – Lednice – Valtice.
WHERE TO FIND AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION
If you come here to stay several days, you’ll see on AirBnb that the cost/night in a modern/spacious apartment in the center is around 30$/night. And I truly recommend you to choose the city center if you have to stay just few days in Brno.
If you plan to stay more, look for an apartment in a house – you’ll have terrace/yard and parking/garage or a flat with a generous yard outside, like ours. Happily, many apartments (especially in our neighborhood – Královo Pole) have big and green backyards where you can do sun baths, grills, read or stay in quite.
WHAT TO FOLLOW when you’re looking for long term accommodation: TESCO nearby (local shops are not so well equiped and people rarely speak English); if you’re not looking for the city center, look for a tram station nearby – and it will be difficult to not find a place without a tram station because the public transportation is well developed.
DISTRICTS : I found on the city’s official website that Brno is divided in 29 city districts . As far as I know I’ve been everywhere by car, but 2 districts remained my favorites: Cerna Pole and Královo Pole. Both are close to the city center and Lužánky Park (the city’s largest one). In Cerna Pole the architecture is impressive, it’s extremely quite, but the rental prices are a bit higher than other districts. Královo Pole is family friendly – lots of shops and outdoor markets, cozy parks for outdoor sports or recreation.
. . .
*cost / month (2 rooms apartment, small yard/garden, parking Královo Pole ) = 500 euro
WHERE TO DO SPORTS AND RELAX
Czech people really do lot of sports. I was surprised to see how many gyms are in my neighborhood as well as sports shops with foods and equipments ( compared to Bucharest). Here are are some places for sports and relaxation that I recommend you to try (click on their name for more details):
- LADIES’ GYM | Královo Pole. As the name says, the gym is dedicated to women; it is nice and clean, the only issue can be that not all the teachers are English speakers. These girls are doing their best to help you and are sooo kind – Eliška Boháčová, Katarina Bednářová and Lucie Sedláková
TIP1 use google chrome for translating the website – they do a lot of nice events for women on weekends.TIP2 find out the day time passes if the schedule fits you, they are very affordable (around 15 eur / 5 classes).
- PURE YOGA STUDIO | City Center. this is the place to be for English speakers and yoga / pilates lovers. Monika and Heider, the founders of PYS are the most welcoming hosts and dedicated teachers; the studio is bright and clean and the timing is perfect for the ones with regular jobs.
- LUZANKY PARK | Cerna Pole. it is the largest city park in Brno and the oldest municipal park in the Czech Republic, an ideal place for jogging or doing any type of outdoor work-out. Close to the park, following the signals to Vila Tugendhat, you can find multiple climbing steps where you can train you muscles and enjoy the view of the city from above. Look at this video created by Lucie to see the steps I’m referring to: www.facebook.com/luci.sed
- MAXIMUS SPA CENTER | Brno Reservoir. for the spa lovers this is the place not to be missed. being located in the beautiful Reservoir of Brno, the Maximus Spa Center is offering a zen oasis with indoor and outdoor pools. This place was over my expectations ♡
- BRNO RESERVOIR | a place where a river, forests, a beautiful castle and fairytale houses create a magnificent story. Kindly recommend to go by bike or make a hiking tour during a sunny day.
- SPILBERK PARK | City Center. this is a climbing park with very beautiful view over the city. My cover photo for this article was done there, during a photo-running session one day. The park is running friendly and not crowded, even though it’s an important touristic spot on the top of the hill (the to not be missed Spilberk Castle).
. . .
*cost / yoga pass = 80 eur / 12 classes
** cost / ladies’ gym class = 5 or 6 eur /class (they have also happy hour passes)
*** cost Maximus Spa Center = 16 EUR during the weekend (full price list here)
****running or biking are free everywhere:D Both Královo Pole and Černá Pole are very interesting to discover by jogging.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
We cook a loooot at home, but at least once/week we prefer to go out. These are some of the place we’ve checked so far, the ones which we fully recommend you to go:
- LIGHT OF INDIA | This place is loved by indians and it surely raise their expectations (see almost the same people every time)! Try the white wine named Rulandske Sede with any of the listed vegetarian dishes or non vegetarian and you’ll never forget the Light of India. TIP: for the ones who don’t usually eat spicy food, the “medium spiced” is more that ok to feel the real flavor
- MY MIKA | this place is ideal for having breakfast, brunch or lunch. they have veeeery good coffee that goes extremely well with a raw vegan cake- czeck out their tasty photos on Instagram, liked to the name of the place.
- FABRIK FOOD FACTORY | here I recommend you to choose the vegan burger or the one with beef meat + erteple , which are backed baby potatoes with herbs and a salad aside. they use home made ingredients, extremely fresh and tasty!
- LOKAL | in my opinion this is not the best place to eat outside, but Marius says that the beer is one of the best in town!
- BUTCHER’S | I’m not in love with its stiff design, but the food is over my expectation. This is for meat lovers or flexetarians like me, as the name says.
- VEGALITE | this place is offering cheap and tasty lunch meal, highly appreciate their website in English, well organized – > vegalite.cz
- VINOTEKA U RYBICKU | this cozy vinoteka caught my attention in my first days here. The staff is very kind, they all speak a good English – ask them what you want to know about a specific wine and you’ll get the story;)
- KAVARNA ERA | what I appreciate most at this place (besides the good coffee) is that they change the menu every day and the food really taste better that their picture looks! This is also an artsy place where you can find local artists paintings or expositions. Must go, no reservation needed.
- SOUL BISTRO | hipsterish place with good wine and vegan options. daily soups really tasty (not a place for origin coffee). love it!
. . .
*cost / dinner or lunch 2 persons = around 800 CZK, 30 EUR (one main course, drinks)
** wine and beer are very cheap – no more that 1.20 EUR / tasty glass
COFFEE AND SUNDAY BRUNCH
I found out in Brno a lot of hipsterish coffee shops with delicious coffee and nice design. I’ve discovered them while during my morning running sessions… a well deserved pausing workout. My favorite type of coffee is flat white
- INDUSTRA COFFEE | flat white*****. cool environment, a bit crowded during the weekends… but it’s worth it.
- COFFEE BAR MYMIKA | flat white*****. always find a place to seat, they have raw-vegan sweets and delicious healthy meals. working friendly place.
- MOMENTA COFFEE | flat white***. nice view over the central market of Brno.
- KULT CAFE | flat white***/*. I’m not decided about the starts because I think they changed the coffee. but the cultural – artsy environment compensates this.
- BRUNCH’S | flat white***. very girlish place. haven’t tried the food yet but the kitchen looks great!
- MOTMOT | flat white****. they have also roastery so you can buy fresh coffee at home.
- CAFE DE FLEUR | flat white**. not a place for origin coffee lovers, but one for sweets and flowers lovers. working friendly place.
- KOFI 2GO | flat white/cappuccino ***. found their bike on Karlovo Pole (close to Kult) and in the city center.
- KAVARNA ERA | flat white***** latest discovery thanks to my yoga teacher. minimalist designed place where the coffee is excellent and so is the food (see the food&drink list). they have also a cozy garden which is open upon request during the cold season – have a coffee and enjoy it!
. . .
*cost / short expresso around 1.5 EUR, flat white around 3 EUR
WALK, VISIT AND BURN CALORIES
- CITY CENTER | lovely streets, cozy and full of local shops.
- SPILBERK PARK AND CASTLE | as I mentioned above the view from the top is splendid… you should not reserve a ticket in advance, just check the schedule.
- VILLA TUGENDHAT | I book a ticked 2 months in advance and I guess it took so long because they organize a lot of events there. It was nice to see another perspective of the recent history (1930 )… a more minimalistic one.
- VILLA LOW BEER | its garden is open everyday to the public and it’s connected with Vila Tugendhat garden, belonging to the same family in the past. It’s a small museum inside, but unfortunately the only language I found is cz.
Hope you have found #MyTravelBag post helpful. I’ll keep it updated and, for more tips I recommend you to join the friendly Facebook group “living in Brno” and check this website www.brnodaily.cz where you can find well documented articles in En, most of them being dedicated to expats.
If you have other going out recommendations for me, please use the comment box bellow the article.
Healthy regards _/\_
BRNO – A BRIEF VISUAL JOURNEY OF THIS POST
View this post on Instagram
MY DAILY BAG *I love starting the day with a walk in the neighborhood, listening to a audiobook and surprising moments like these…* ? discovery : coffee shop @motmot_coffee. I had a flat white 2go, with soy milk because I want to reduce lactose – it was so gooood. ? The Obesity Code : this book is explaining the hormonal issues which can cause obesity in a very simple way. Highly recommended!
View this post on Instagram
MY TRAVEL BAG *Vila Tugendhat has so much beauty in its emptiness.*? . . . The vila is placed in the wealthy neighbourhood of Černá Pole in Brno, Czech Republic. It is one of the pioneering prototypes of modern architecture in Europe, and was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Built of reinforced concrete between 1928 and 1930 for Fritz Tugendhat and his wife Greta, the villa soon became an icon of modernism. Now it is part of the UNESCO heritage and it is open to visitors just by booking with at least 1 month in advance. Check @villatugendhat for more minimalist pictures.