Christmas is a great time for tourism
Small and large, capital and regional, there are many places that pull out all of the stops for Holiday Season tourism. Photo: @BrnoDaily
Brno has amazing Christmas markets and it is well worth your time to visit them all during the next several weeks. However, I think that one of the best ways to explore the local small cities of Moravia — and even the big cities of central Europe — is during the Christmas season.
Uherské Hradiště and Olomouc are decent-sized cities that are often overlooked. Christmas-time can be a great reason to explore them. Both are close by, relatively inexpensive, and full of holiday cheer.
Here are some tips for spending a nice weekend soaking in the small-city atmosphere of Christmas:
Take the train — Even if you have a car, there is less stress involved with taking the train. These cities have easy connections. The trains are more comfortable than you think. And, you don’t have to worry about icy roads, dark highways, parking or traffic jams. Plus, you can enjoy some wine on the journey.
Get a room in the city center — Each of these local cities have nice centers with many hotels. Some are expensive, others are not. It may be worth splurging for a more expensive room so that you are near the holiday activities and the nicer restaurants. Then you don’t have far to go to drop off the presents you buy.
Bundle up when you visit the Christmas Markets — Even though you probably won’t be outside for too long during one stretch, it can get bone-chilling cold. Long underwear, several layers, hats, gloves, and scarves are essential for a pleasant experience when the temperature dips low.
Try the hot drinks — Some people dislike the idea of hot alcohol, but there are many different styles of drinks available. Try the classic Svařák. At the very least, it will warm you up.
Keep your eyes open for a nice restaurant— As you walk through the city center during the day, note the places that would nice for food. Each city has many options. Enjoy a long, leisurely lunch or a multi-course dinner.
Bring along your own videos — After dinner and drinks, it’s nice to snuggle up in the cozy room for a nice long sleep. Of course, it might be a good time unwind with a movie, too. Bring your computer and watch that movie that you just downloaded.
Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and, of course, Prague are cities that also bolster the holidays season with markets. Each has several English-language websites dedicated to making the experience pleasant for tourists.
Vienna — The capital of Austria sometimes feels more disconnected because of the different language and the different currency, but it is not very far away. A Christmas market has been held in Vienna since 1298 and it is impossible not to feel Christmas joy while looking at City Hall. Click here for more information.
Bratislava — The Slovak capital is close by and the language is similar to Czech. Many Brnoans never go to Bratislava. That is a mistake. The city center is charming and the castle is worth visiting. Click here for more information.
Budapest — A bit farther away, but on several direct trains, the capital city of Hungary has impressive buildings and big squares full of Christmas-time cheer. Click here for more information.
Prague — The Czech capital is also well worth a visit. Every major square in the city will have a Christmas market. It looks and feels different from the summertime; there are still a lot of tourists, but now they are dressed in winter clothes. And, if you are lucky with the weather, Charles Bridge, with a layer of snow on it, is beautiful. Click here for more information.
Of course, don’t forget Brno. Our own Christmas market is packed with great things to buy and drink and enjoy. Visit namestí Svobody and Zelený trh and Dominikánské namestí often throughout the week and weekends. But, if you want a reason to get out of town for a bit, consider using the Christmas markets as your excuse. Find more about Christmas in Brno here.