Looking for the best Christmas Market’s to visit in Europe this winter? One of the most popular destinations that often comes up is Czech Republic’s Capital City, Prague. With a beautiful Old Town and one of the largest Christmas Markets to explore, it’s certainly got to be high on your bucket-list. But drive further East for around 2 hours 30 and you’ll find the beautiful city of Brno. Known for its modernist buildings alongside it’s well-preserved historic beauty, it’s a must-see destination in it’s own right. Add a little festive spirit & magical snow-topped buildings and Brno Christmas Market becomes a high contender for your European Christmas Market break. Undamaged by over-tourism, here you can forget the crowds and the higher prices, instead experiencing the markets like the locals. Here’s the top reasons to visit Brno Christmas Market…
AUTHENTIC CHRISTMAS STALLS
So let’s start with one of the main reasons you’ll be going to Brno: the Christmas Markets of course! Stretched over four squares in the city centre, each section has a slightly different feel. The Moravské Náměstí (Moravian Square) is full of large heated tents with tables of stalls, a wide selection of food and drinks and even a tent with live music in. Overall, the atmosphere here is rather rustic and quite distinct from the rest of the market. The best part is the ferris wheel, overlooking the beautiful streets of Brno. If you’re feeling brave enough, be sure to head up!
The next section you’ll walk to from here is probably Svobody Náměstí (Freedom Square) This is the heart of the Christmas market; it’s the largest section, has the biggest stage and is where most of the events take place. To the one side you’ll have all product stalls and to the other side you’ll find all the food and drinks.
Next up from here is the Dominíkánské Náměstí (Dominican Square)- the apartment we stayed at overlooked this. It’s the smallest square but just full of food, often referred to as “Gurmánské Vánoce” (Gourmet Christmas). This is where they have the nativity play you may have seen in pictures and the backdrop of lights on the buildings are absolutely beautiful.
Like in the Freedom Square, there is so so much to taste and try here (one of the best parts of it for sure) but if you’re going to get even just ONE THING, you must must must have a trdelník. These are – long, cylindrical-shaped strips of dough that are covered in sugar and almonds and rotated over piping-hot coals for you to peel off and eat whilst still hot. Delicious!
Last but not least, there’s the Zelný Trh (Vegetable Market) – this was my favourite area of them all because there were so many different hand-made goodies, great for buying new home decorations and presents for friends and family back at home. The Baroque fountain is also a beautifully lit centre-point in this area and the Christmas tree in this section is HUGE! There’s trees in every section of the market but in my opinion, this one was by far the best!
Beautiful right? Brno Christmas Market is a lot bigger than you first think, which is why we actually nearly missed the Vegetable Market, only finding it when we went to the top of the church tower for the viewpoint. Which brings me onto my next reason to visit Brno Christmas Market…
MAGICAL ROOFTOP VIEWS
So there’s a few spots you can choose from when looking for the best panoramic city views in Brno, but I’d say the Brno Old Town Hall tops them all- well, definitely when the Christmas markets are on anyway, because wow has it got a viewpoint…
Uh-huh, utterly breathtaking. The sprinkling of snow certainly helped to make it all the more magical and overlooking all the twinkling lights was just so special. One of the things I love most about the Brno Christmas Market is you actually have the room to move around! It sounds silly but it honestly makes all the world of difference. The markets are busy enough to get a great atmosphere from, but not so cramped you can’t even get chance to see anything! And that was the beauty of this rooftop- despite being a city centre hotspot (and you basically navigate around the edge of the building on a small path fit for one person only!), we pretty much had it to ourselves once night had fell on a Sunday evening. We honestly felt ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!… Well, nearly! But it really did become a well-deserved highlight of our trip.
THE BEST BAR IN EUROPE
Okay so if you love cocktails as much as I do, you are going to LOVE Brno, even for this one bar and one bar alone! We literally spent hours in here (admittedly getting a little bit more than tipsy!) but it was an experience in itself. Introducing… Super Panda Circus. Voted as “the very best cocktail list in the country” by the New York Times and recognised by, um, pretty much EVERYONE as the place to go: of course we had to try it out! Getting there for opening time (6pm) on a Saturday evening, the first bit of fun is finding the place. Yep, Super Panda Circus isn’t like a normal bar. Instead, you look for a red-curtained doorway and for us, it was pretty easy to spot because once we got there, there was already a queue waiting outside.
Once you’re through the doorway, you’ll first wait in the pre-lounge area, where you coats will be taken, you’ll be introduced to how the bar works and get a pallet cleansing drink. We were really lucky because when we got through, we got a couple of seats along the bar (which may not have been the desirable spot for everyone but for us, it put us right amongst the action!) Our bar maid was literally incredible. When choosing drinks, you can either pick them from lampshades, flowerpots or get them made specifically to your taste and personality. How this works? Well, with the flower pots for example- there are different coloured flowers in different shapes & styles and you pick the one which will reveal the drink that matches your choice. So say you’re drawn to a cute little flower, you’ll likely get a sweet drink; a bright bold flower and you’ll get something a little more edgy. Their combinations and creativity when it comes to cocktails are phenomenal though. Below are just a few of the drinks we had. And by the end, our bar girl just got a feel for what we liked and was making them to match our tastebuds and blow us away with new ways of presenting them. At one point- she literally got out a power tool to drill a hole in some ice. Insane! But what an experience. And the best part- even with all these crazy cocktails, the bill wasn’t even huge because it’s Brno- and Brno is super affordable, especially compared to UK prices, which was a massive bonus!
PLENTY TO SEE & DO
From shopping to ice-skating, mooching to live music and entertainment, there’s plenty to keep you busy if you fancy a break from the Christmas Markets.
If you fancy something different however, I totally recommend taking a tour of the catacombs! And yep that’s right, you did read correctly- Brno holds the Ossuary at the Church of St James which is Europe’s second largest ossuary. This was not actually even discovered until 2001, only to shock the finders with 50,000 skeletons stuffed under the square into a medieval charnel. I’ve got to admit, I was a little nervous before entering as I’d never visited anything like this before (something different to tick off the bucket-list right?) yet it was absolutely fascinating. The bones, thought to be from the 1600 and 1700s, are believed to have been dug up from an old cemetery to make space for more burials but to be so close to so many… well, it was a real experience!
Oh and whilst you’re here, you cannot miss the cutest ever Christmas tram… Adorable or what?! So in summary, Brno Christmas Market is an absolute HIDDEN-GEM. Miss the crowds, lap up that authenticity and all for a fraction of the price in comparison to other European destinations during this festive season.
TRAVEL SAVING TIP:
If you’re traveling from the UK I have a super great travel tip… Instead of trying to get a direct flight to Brno, cut costs by traveling to Prague or Bratislava instead and then get a quick train over to Brno. Honestly it is so much easier and you’ll save tens/ hundreds. For us, a return flight to Bratislava from Birmingham was just £41, as oppose to £330+ to get straight there. And if you’re worried about using foreign public transport, trust me- you’ll be absolutely fine. Research before you go, and if you’re unsure- just ask at a help desk. We found everyone to be more than helpful. See… I told you this is a world within reach! 😉
That’s all for now. Any questions- pop them in the comments box below or get in touch via my contact page. Happy traveling and wishing you a wonderful festive season!