Brno Christmas Markets: A great reason to visit Brno in December

Intimate Christmas cheer in the Czech Republic's Second City

Brno Christmas Market Image of statue, St Michael's Church and Christmas lights
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This is my guide to Brno Christmas Market, a small but beautiful festive celebration set in two squares in one of the most underrated cities in Europe, Brno.

Brno Christmas Market is a great place to visit if you’re thinking about spending a Christmas in Czech Republic. It’s not as obvious a choice as some Christmas Market breaks, such as Vienna or the wonderful Prague Christmas Market.  

Christmas in Brno Czech Republic is a considerably quieter affair than in Prague. The Brno Christmas Markets are spread across just two squares in Brno Old Town, with a brilliant ice rink a five-minute walk away.

Image of an angel at the Brno Christmas Nativity installation at the Christmas Market
One of the angels at the impressive Brno Nativity installation

Then there’s the fairytale setting of one of the loveliest hidden gems of Europe, full of gorgeous medieval cobbled streets, Art Nouveau townhouses and Gothic spires on the skyline.

It’s a magical place to experience Czech Christmas traditions, and a great introduction to European Christmas markets in general.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Brno Christmas Market, and what to do in Brno besides (hint: plenty). We’ll also offer advice on the best Brno hotels, or how to go about planning a day trip from Prague or a day trip from Vienna if that’s all the time you have available to visit Brno.

Brno Christmas Markets – All You Need to Know

Image of the Brno Christmas Market in Dominican Square Brno Czech Republic
Some of the Brno market stalls in Dominikanske namesti

The Brno Christmas Market is spread over two sites a minute’s walk apart. The main market is on Namesti Svobody Brno – Freedom Square, the hub of the Old Town

A smaller market is a minute’s walk away on Dominikanske namesti (Dominican Square), next to St Michael’s Church and the New Town Hall

Image of life-size figures at Brno Christmas market Nativity scene
Mary Joseph, Baby Jesus and sheep at the huge Brno Nativity scene

The Dominikanske namesti Brno Christmas Market is the more atmospheric of the two. There is a life-size carved wooden re-creation of the Nativity scene, with the Holy Family, Three Wise Men, angels, animals and more, at the top of Dominican Square Brno

There is also an open-air ice rink outside St Thomas’ Church and the Moravian Gallery, five minutes’ walk or a minute’s tram ride away (the stop at which you need to alight is Česká).

Image of a bar at the Brno Christmas Market on Freedom Square
One of numerous bars at the larger Christmas market on Namesti Svobody (Freedom Square) Brno

Brno Christmas Market Dates and Opening Times

According to the Brno official tourism page the Brno Christmas Market will open from the 25th November until the 23rd December 2023.

Brno Christmas Market opening hours tend to be 1000 until around 2200 until December 23rd.

Where is Brno ?

Image of St Michael's Church and Spilberk Castle Brno
A view over the Brno rooftops to St Michael’s Church and Brno Spilberk

Brno is the capital city of the region of Moravia, in the south-east of the Czech Republic. It’s an hour north of the border with Austria, and a similar distance from the border with Slovakia.

It’s 205 km (127 miles) south-east of Prague and 136 km (85 miles) north of Vienna, Austria.

What is Brno like ?

Image of the Brno Christmas ice rink outside St Thomas' Church
Brno’s Christmas ice rink outside the Moravian Gallery and St Thomas’ Church

Brno Moravia is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. We had been tipped off by an old friend that it was rather special, but it blew the both of us away. It’s a gorgeous city with a stunning Gothic cathedral on top of one hill and a medieval castle on the summit of another.

There is also plenty of exquisite Czech architecture from medieval to Baroque to Art Nouveau to functionalist, and some great Brno restaurants and bars to discover.

One day in Brno gives you a good introduction to the city, but if you have an extra day (or two) available, spend it in Brno.

Is Brno Cold in Winter ?

Image of people at bars at Brno Freedom Square Christmas Market
People enjoying a drink at the Freedom Square Christmas Market in Brno

The Brno temperature in winter is similar to most other parts of Central Europe. We visited Brno in December and January, with maximum temperatures around 5°C and minimum night temperatures dropping to -6°C.

It does sometimes snow in Brno, but as several locals mentioned to us, as a result of climate change this tends to happen much less frequently than before.

Things to do in Brno

Image of Zelny trh, or Cabbage Market, a beautiful square in Brno
Brno Cabbage Market, or Zelny trh, has a great view to Brno Cathedral

The Old Town is a couple of minutes’ walk from Brno train station, and another five minutes from Brno bus station.  The first of the Brno sights you see on your left is Brno Cathedral, a soaring Gothic edifice on a hilltop overlooking the Old Town.

You also get a great view of the cathedral from Zelny trh, or Cabbage Market Brno, a splendid open square just off Masarykova, the main street linking Namesti Svobody with the two Brno stations.

There are several fascinating underground Brno attractions close by, including the remarkable Brno Ossuary. The bones of around 50,000 people are kept there, and it’s claimed to be the second-largest ossuary in Europe after the Catacombs of Paris.

Image of the Brno Christmas Nativity scene
The Brno Nativity scene and New Town Hall (Nova Radnice)

The other hill in Brno is dominated by Brno Castle, also known as Brno Špilberk. This formidable medieval castle which also served as a prison under the Habsburg Empire.

One of the more recent Brno attractions is Villa Tugendhat, one of the most ground-breaking buildings of the 20th century. It’s a superb example of modern functionalist architecture, and was designed by the famous German architect Mies van der Rohe. Check out our own Villa Tugendhat guide here.

Tours of the interior are usually booked out several months in advance, but you can still turn up and visit the garden for free.

If you’re travelling with kids, make time to see one of the best Brno museums, Vida, around 2 km from the city centre. It’s also known as the Brno Technical Museum, and is brilliant for kids, with over 50 hands-on experiences and experiments to try out. Our Little Man’s favourite was flying a balloon.

What to Buy at Brno Christmas Market

Image of a food stall at Brno Christmas Market
One of the best food stalls at Brno Christmas market, serving garlic potatoes and venison

Most of the Brno Christmas Market stalls sold food or drink. You can find an amazing range of Czech food, including some Moravian specialities. Otherwise there were many stalls selling Czech variants of mulled wine (gluhwein) and also some excellent Czech beer.

The market map we looked at seemed to say there were a small number of craft stalls in Freedom Square Brno, but we went there several times, and there were none. So the Market is not the place to do some last minute Christmas shopping.

What Other Czech Christmas Markets Are There ?

Image of the Prague Christmas market and Our Lady Before Tyn Church
The Tyn Church makes a stunning backdrop to the Old Town Square Christmas Market in Prague

The Prague Christmas markets are by far the biggest and most popular Czech Republic Christmas markets. They are absolutely fantastic, especially the one on Prague Old Town Square, with some of the best landmarks of Prague as a backdrop.

If you’re keen on photographing Prague, the Christmas Markets are an amazing spectacle. They run from late November to January 6th each year.

Otherwise possibilities include the Cesky Krumlov Christmas Market, the Olomouc Christmas market and the Ostrava Christmas Market.

Where To Stay In Brno

We recently stayed four nights at the stunning Hotel Avion in Brno. It’s a Functionalist masterpiece, the work of Brno architect Bohuslav Fuchs. It’s one of the narrowest hotels in Europe but, bizarrely, also one of the most spacious. Check out our Hotel Avion Brno review here for more information.

image of lampshade in room in avion hotel brno
A bedside lamp in Hotel Avion

I’m also a long-standing fan of Grandhotel Brno, the opulent 4-star hotel that hosted Emperor Franz Josef I when he came to town.

We also recommend Grandezza Hotel Luxury Palace, the superb 5-star on Zelny trh (Cabbage Market) with some of the best views in the city.

How to Get to Brno

Image of Brno Cathedral
Brno Cathedral

If you’re not planning to visit any other Czech Republic destinations, it may well make sense to fly to Brno Airport. Ryanair fly to Brno from London Stansted throughout the year. Brno Turany Airport is only a 20-minute bus ride from Brno city centre, costing just 25 CZK (1 euro).

Otherwise it makes sense to visit Brno Christmas Market if you’re planning to visit several Christmas markets in Europe on the same trip. The Vienna Christmas Market is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, and trains and buses from Vienna to Brno only take between an hour and a half and two hours.

If you’re spending Christmas in Prague and want to explore another Czech Christmas market, the Prague to Brno train takes around two and a half hours. A Brno day trip from either would entail a long day. Check Rome2rio for train times and prices. It’s also possible to combine a trip to Brno with Bratislava Christmas Market, which is also around two hours away.  

 


Image of David Angel found of Delve into Europe Travel Blog / Website

David Angel

David Angel is a Welsh historian, photographer and writer. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe.

He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times. 

David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.

He creates detailed travel guides about the places he visits, combining personal experience, historical context, and his images to help you plan a fantastic trip.


 

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