A lot is said about Brno, in a good way and not such a good way. But the truth is that it is a great place to live, and what is more important for you, it is very student-friendly as well. In what respect? Have a look at our list of tips for places and experiences or new rituals, most of which you will probably adopt in the coming years, whether you do it intentionally or they simply somehow happen. That's the way things are in Brno.
1. Arrange to meet under the clock on “Čára"
The most popular meeting point in the city center is the cross-roads of the streets Česká and Joštova. At any hour of the day or night, you see tens or hundreds of people standing and meeting there. Who has not been waiting for their friend for at least half an hour at “Čára”, as this place is called, only to find out that that friend had been standing few meters away in the crowd of other people, is not a true Brnovian!
2. Drink good coffee
They don't like to hear this in Prague, but during the past ten years, Brno became the Czech coffee capital. Dozens of places with good-quality coffee are sprouting all over the city center and adjacent streets, but more and more in the less central neighborhoods as well. And there are also the legendary movable coffee stands directly on Česká or Mendlovo náměstí that have saved many students from collapsing before some horrible exam. Besides, gourmets appreciate the regular Coffee Week event.
3. Go around by “šalina”
Trams, called “šaliny” in Brno, are the pride of the city's public transport system. They take you practically anywhere and with the student tram card they are super cheap as well. Their furious clinking might be terrifying at times, but if you are not standing in their way, they are mostly friendly. You can also experience parties with cymbalo music or draft beer in them.
4. Fight for a marble from the astronomical clock
The notorious black spectacle shaped as a bullet or projectile on the Freedom Square resembles anything but an astronomical clock that it is. At eleven o'clock sharp, a glass ball jumps out of it – you can catch it and keep as a nice souvenir. Besides this, the Freedom Square hides another gem: a great view of the whole historic city center directly from the roof of Dům Pánů z Lipé (The House of the Lords of Lipá).
5. Go around on a bike and return home by “rozjezdy”
The number of bike fans in Brno is growing and thus the network of biking trails is expanding, too. Even if the situation is by far not ideal yet, the terrain and the size of the city is just perfect for this kind of transport. Besides, you don't have to own your own bike. You might just as well rent it. Shared pink bikes called “Rekola” are located mainly around the center and for a few hundred crown a year you can unlock any of them any time and use it to go anywhere you want or need. (the terms of using “Rekola” bikes are only in Czech)
Since students are night animals, they are usually big fans of the so-called “rozjezdy”: regular night buses that go every hour (on Fridays and Saturdays every half an hour) from the train station to every corner of the city. Coming home from a long party has never been easier. Traveling by these night buses can often turn into an adrenalin experience just like from an action movie and you can meet all kinds of interesting people there.
6. Go to Fléda and all kinds of flea markets
One of the most popular clubs in Brno, Fléda, is the epicenter of student life. It hosts concerts and other interesting events. On Sundays you can come to a flea market here and let some stylish outfit or an antique piece make your day. Flea markets are very popular in Brno, so almost at any given time you can find one of them somewhere.
7. Chill out in Lužánky
Not far from Fléda you can venture into the biggest park in Brno, which is also the oldest city park open for public in the Czech Republic. Lužánky is an oasis of tranquility in the middle of a busy city. In the spring and summer the park comes to life: the grassy areas are dotted with resting people and the trails get flooded by joggers.
8. Watch the stars on Kraví hora
Another popular place where to chill out in summer and enjoy the sun is Kraví hora. It is close to the center, so from most faculties you can reach it on foot. It's a great spot for a picknick or a barbecue and offers other possibilities as well. On the top, you can find the Brno observatory and Planetarium from where you can see all the way to the Moon.
9. Wander through “Kamenka” or around “Prigl”
“Kamenka”, which is the short of “Kamenná kolonie/čtvrť” (meaning “Stone Colony/District”) is one of the most mysterious and charming places in Brno. It is located close to an old quarry by the river Svratka in the Štýřice neighborhood. Narrow streets and distinctive tiny houses hunched on the hillside and out of sight of the city will quickly win you over, if for nothing else then for those interesting cultural events that take place there. You can also get there by bike, just follow the biking trail that then continues all the way to the Brno Reservoir called “Prigl” where you can go sunbathing or swimming in summer. Ask some Brnovian how to get there.
10. Explore the outdoors outside of the city
When you live in Brno, no place is too far. Fifteen minutes on a tram and you get from the very city center right into a forest. How about taking a stroll over the Medlánky hills that are covered in blossoms each spring or visit the well-known pasqueflower meadows on Kamenný vrch? Or go to Hády, all the way up to the radio tower above the quarry that overlooks the whole city. Besides your own snack, pack something tasty for lamas alpacas that live in the nearby Lamacenter Hády.
11. Enjoy a glass of wine on Špilberk
The first spring or the last autumn days are best enjoyed on Petrov or Špilberk with a glass of wine in your hand. Both city landmarks (the cathedral and the castle) are mainly associated with the city's history, however they are also prominent parts of today's life of the city. During the day, you can study for you exams on a blanket in the park, and at night, go ahead and enjoy the view of the city lights from the fortification walls.
12. Compete for the title Miss or King of “Majáles”
The music festival “Majáles” is an inseparable part of the student life as well as of the spring in Brno. It is one of the biggest music student events in the country, it always takes place in May, and besides the musicians, various student societies present themselves there. Last but not least, the Majáles Miss and King are elected during the event. Who knows, maybe next time it will be you.
13. Have a shot of “turbomošt” at Christmas
There aren't many things more traditional than Christmas markets in Brno. The Cabbage Market and the Freedom Square fill up with wooden stands packed with handcrafted products and fragrant delicacies. You have a great opportunity to buy hand-made products and original Christmas presents or simply celebrate the end of the winter semester with your classmates there. Go ahead and taste “turbomošt” or “svoboďáček”, drinks that every year bring thousands of Brnovians to the markets.
14. Explore local architecture
Brno is not all about the famous Vila Tugendhat, although you definitely should not miss that one. You can find a significant building or a historical sight at every other corner of the city. Particularly the Jurkovič House, which looks like it's been cut out of a fairy tale book, is worth visiting. In the city center, you can get a taste of the atmosphere of the First Czechoslovak Republic in the Alpha passage. If you want to explore architectural masterpieces, the website bam.brno.cz could be really useful for you.
15. Become a regular at one of the well-known student venues of the city
Brno has places that are frequented by foreigners, cafes popular among moms with kids, and also pubs and venues that are literally student hubs. Many of them are located on the Veveří street, close to the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Social Studies. Some of the typical student cafes are for example Falk or Podnebí. Other well-known student venues are Spolek, Tři Ocásci or the bar Desert. Find whichever place you like the best and enjoy meeting your classmates there.