Advantages Relaxed atmosphere, feels more "Czech" than Prague.
Disadvantages Not much to see; lacks genuinely great pubs, restaurants & nightlife.
Brno has been my home for two and a half years now, and the capital of Moravia is so laid back, I've only just got round to writing about it. Chances are, if you are visiting Brno for the first time and coming from Prague, you're going to feel one of two ways - first, you might welcome the break from tourists, the more relaxed atmosphere, and the distinctly Eastern European feel that Prague has had renovated out of it. Or second, you might roll up, wander around for a bit, think, "Is that it?", and then move on.The real charms of the Czech Republic's second city reveal themselves over time. With a population of around 400,000, it often feels smaller, with many locals evacuating the city for the countryside at the weekends. The immediate center is tiny, and Brno's attractions can be easily navigated in a day by the casual sight seer.
From Namesti Svobody, the city's smattering of sights are all in easy walking distance. When it comes to eating, drinking and partying, Brno lags well behind Prague in terms of options, with a surfeit of truly decent pubs and restaurants, and night life is a bit retro to say the least.The most striking point on Brno's skyline, and one of it's iconic symbols, are the soaring twin spires of the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (Kostel Svateho Petra a Pavla). The cathedral has dominated the surrounding area since the 13th Century, and it's certainly worth the hike up Petrov Hill to investigate. The neo-Gothic exterior is far more impressive than the rather bland interior, but it is fun to climb the creaky wooden steps to the bell tower. For a truly nerve-shattering experience, try standing under the bell when it chimes!
A short distance away and also one of the city's reference points is the Spilberk Castle, crouched on its own hill. While not as visually impressive as the Cathedral, or indeed many castles in the UK, it is still worth a visit and offers excellent views of the town and surrounding countryside. Originally established in the 13th Century, it grew into an important stronghold during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when it was also a notorious prison.
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|Ease of getting around|
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