A Weekend Itinerary for South Moravia, the Heart of Czech Wine Country

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South Moravia weekend guide

This article is presented by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Embark on a journey to the wine heartland of the Czech Republic, a land where lush vineyards, shimmering lakes, and quaint sandstone villages with red roofs paint a charming scene. South Moravia, boasting an array of wine cellars almost matching its populace, invites you to swap your beer mug for a wine glass. The region is emerging from a past tainted by decades of communist rule, ready to welcome visitors once again with its rich winemaking heritage.

The capital of this region, Brno, stands as the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, trailing only Prague. The city’s surface offers a visual feast of UNESCO-recognised functionalist structures and Austro-Hungarian elegance. Digging deeper into Brno’s underground secrets uncovers eerie catacombs and the impressive architecture of 19th-century water tanks.

Travel south by train to experience a contrast as factories on the outskirts give way to hills adorned with vineyards. Within the medieval towns of Znojmo and Mikulov, the joyful clinking of Riesling and Pálava-filled glasses resonate from the bustling bars. The influence of the region’s once sizeable German-speaking population, expelled following World War II, still lingers in the German-named locales and the aroma of strudels wafting from cafes.

Day one: Urban Exploration and Creative Pursuits

Morning

Brno’s city centre juxtaposes Austro-Hungarian architecture with quirky artistic pieces. The main square, Náměstí Svobody, personifies this blend with a quirky astronomical clock erected in 2010. Visit the Old Town Hall, ascend its 63-metre tower for a spectacular view, and then wind down to Cabbage Market Square for a delightful farmers’ market open from April to October. Savour lunch from the local Asian cuisine, influenced by a large Vietnamese community that settled here due to a 1950s agreement between Communist Czechoslovakia and North Vietnam. Experience the city’s favourite dish, pho, at Diandi.

Afternoon

The Museum of Applied Arts is dominated by Krištof Kintera’s Demon of Growth installation, a unique assemblage of Christmas ornaments. Explore the permanent collection housing Czech creativity in the form of glass, ceramics, porcelain, and textiles. Later, tour the UNESCO-recognised Villa Tugendhat, an exceptional functionalist building designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe in 1929, exuding opulence through its zebrano-wood veneer interior decor.

Evening

Bar, který neexistuje (The Bar that Doesn’t Exist), a brainchild of students Jan Vlachynský and Andrej Vališ, offers a New York-style cocktail experience. Afterward, immerse yourself in the cultural richness of Brno’s National Theatre at the Janáček, named after the famed Czech composer Leoš Janáček. Opera performances, usually subtitled in English, are the mainstay here.

Day two: Delving into Wines and Natural Wonders

Morning

Commence the day in Znojmo, a town where German was predominantly spoken until 1945. Begin at the Rathausturm (Town Hall Tower) and its nine Gothic spires, wander past Viennese-style cafes to St Catherine’s Rotunda, and relish frescoes depicting the life of Christ. Southward, ascend Vlkova Věž (Wolf Tower) for an expansive view, then descend to sample VOC Znojmo wine tastings in the charming cobbled streets.

Afternoon

After a hearty lunch of svíčková at Slepičák, explore Podyjí National Park’s meadows, pine forests, and vineyards. The park, the smallest national park in the Czech Republic, straddles the Djye river. If hiking isn’t your forte, spend a serene afternoon at the Šobes vineyards, sipping Pinot Gris and Riesling.

Evening

Back in Brno, bar-hopping commences with a hearty Czech meal at Lokál U Caipla, followed by a visit to 4pokoje, a dynamic space serving as a café, diner, or cocktail bar. End the night at Super Panda Circus, a conceptual speakeasy offering an interactive cocktail experience.

Additional Destinations: The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape

Mikulov, the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, is a picturesque Moravian town. Discover stunning chateaus, gardens, and indulge in the Pálava Wine Festival in September.

Visiting Local Vineyards

Explore the family-owned organic Winery Špalek near Znojmo, Lahofer Winery with its unique tasting room, and Sonberk, a lakeside winery known for its award-winning wines.

Subterranean Experiences

Discover Znojmo’s underground food storage tunnels, the ossuary under the Church of St James in Brno, the disused 19th-century water tanks at Žlutý kopec, the brutal prison under Špilberk Castle, and the wine cellars at Vrbice Hill.

More information is available at visitczechrepublic.com, gotobrno.cz, and south-moravia.com.

Getting there: Ryanair operates direct flights to Brno from Stansted. Alternatively, fly to Vienna and take the RegioJet train to Brno.

Important: Tours of Villa Tugendhat and the Žlutý kopec water tanks must be booked in advance. Also, drinking and cycling on main roads in the Czech Republic is illegal.

Accommodation: Rooms at Hotel Passage start from 2,800 CZK (£104).

This story was crafted with support

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about South Moravia weekend guide

What is the capital of South Moravia and what are some of its main attractions?

Brno is the capital of South Moravia. Some of its main attractions include its UNESCO-listed functionalism and Austro-Hungarian glamour, its underground catacombs and colonnaded 19th-century water tanks, and its bustling city center with quirky sculptures and architectural wonders.

What are some renowned bars in Brno worth visiting?

Noteworthy bars in Brno include “Bar, který neexistuje” (The Bar That Doesn’t Exist), a New York-style cocktail bar known for its creative mixes, and Super Panda Circus, an interactive speakeasy offering unique Asian-influenced cocktails.

What can one do on a day trip to Znojmo?

In Znojmo, visitors can explore the Town Hall Tower, St Catherine’s Rotunda, the old city walls, and St Nicholas’ Church. They can also enjoy local wine tastings, have a traditional Czech lunch, and visit Podyjí National Park.

What unique experience can I have at the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape?

Visitors can explore the sprawling complex of castles, gardens, and follies in the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, which was once the seat of the ruling Liechtenstein family. You can tour the opulent Chateau Lednice, wander through the 500 acres of gardens, and sample some of the best Czech wines at Chateau Valtice.

What are some recommended vineyards to visit in South Moravia?

Some recommended vineyards in South Moravia are Winery Špalek, Lahofer Winery, and Sonberk. These vineyards are known for their diverse and award-winning wine collections, as well as their picturesque locations.

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5 comments

LazySunday July 14, 2023 - 9:59 pm

Would love to visit these place one day…sounds so relaxing…especially the vineyards…

Reply
TravelBuddy101 July 14, 2023 - 11:20 pm

Loved the part about the vineyards, couldn’t agree more! the wine there is just too good.

Reply
HistoricHank July 15, 2023 - 2:48 am

Castles, chateaus, vineyards…seems like South Moravia has it all! thanks for sharing this piece.

Reply
markInThePark July 15, 2023 - 8:06 am

Anyone been to Znojmo yet? considering it for my next trip, sounds great from this text.

Reply
JaneS July 15, 2023 - 10:09 am

Wow, this really brings back memries of my trip to South Moravia. Miss that place so much…

Reply

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