The Moravian Karst and the entire region have a lot to offer. With its 1100 caves, albeit only 5 of them open to the public, the Mocha Abyss, and gorges, it is a great place to visit for nature lovers and those looking for a family-friendly adventure.
Located north of Brno in South Moravia, it is the most important karst area of the Czech Republic. If you are planning a trip there, you are bound to see stunning formations in the caves, places of historic significance, and culture. It is a great area for a unique road trip that offers a vast range of sites while also being representative of what the region has to offer.
I ended up visiting the Moravian Karst twice during my first actual trip to the Czech Republic, and I would not have minded staying longer. While this road trip itinerary is not an exact reflection of my own route, I believe that it is the perfect itinerary if you want to see a little bit of everything that makes this region of South Moravia a fantastic destination.
The first day is a journey through the show caves of the Moravian Karst. Meanwhile, the second day is full of culture and history in the northwest of the Moravian Karst region. In addition to that, you will also find options for a potential third day of adventures in the region.
Disclosure: This Moravian Karst itinerary is based on a press trip organized by Visit Czech Republic and the Tourism Authority South Moravia. As always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced in any way.
Summary: Moravian Karst Itinerary
As already mentioned above, this road trip includes more than just the caves of the Moravian Karst as it also includes great things to do in the surrounding area. I believe it contains a great stop for every type of traveler and that this itinerary allows you to see a good range of what the area has the offer.
Day 1: Brno – Vypustek Cave – Rock Mill Restaurant – Punkva Caves – Macocha Abyss (– Hotel) [66 km – 1 hour 28 minutes]
Day 2: Hotel – Zámek Rájec nad Svitavou – Cerna Hora Brewery – Boskovice – Brno [71 km – 1 hour 10 minutes]
Should you have more time, I highly recommend a slightly longer trip to the Moravian Karst. After all, there are more caves and great hikes in the area.
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Getting around in the Moravian Karst
While it is technically possible to do this day trip or weekend trip to the Moravian Karst by public transport, it is best to rent a car and turn the day trip into a small road trip.
If you rely on public transport, you will have to walk upwards of 10 km as there are no bus stops directly at some of the stops on this itinerary and you will likely have to extend your short trip to a 3 days long adventure.
Moravian Karst Day Trip (or Day 1)
Total Distance: 66 km + 3.6 km walking or tourist train – Driving Time: 1:28 h + 0:10 h
During the first day of this road trip, you will be exploring some of the best things the Moravian Karst has to offer. It is a rather active day, and if you want to, you can start out your day with a real cave adventure. While this cave adventure is not suitable for everyone, you can also opt for the normal tour, which is also more suitable if you are traveling with children.
I think that visiting the Moravian Karst is one of the best things to do near Brno. Therefore, I highly recommend it even if you only have the time for a day trip and not for this entire road trip itinerary. It is a stunning area and quite different from everything else South Moravia has to offer.
While it is best to start in Brno, you could also start this Moravian Karst road trip in Prague. Just keep in mind that the driving time to the first stop of the day will be longer. The driving time from Prague to Vypustek Cave is 2:25 h and the distance is 229 km.
1. Vypustek Cave
Distance: 22 km – Driving Time: 0:31 h
Exploring Vypustek Cave was my favorite thing to do in the Moravian Karst as this cave comes with an element of adventure, but also has historical significance. Hereby, visitors have to choose between an adventure tour and a basic tour. Thankfully, I basically got to do both of these tours.
This cave used to be the home of many cave bears. Therefore, a lot of remains but also excretions have been found in this showcave. Due to the thick layer of excretions, Vypustek Cave ended up being the most heavily human-affected cave of the Moravian Karst. When fertilizer was needed in the early 20th century, the phosphate clays in the cave were harvested.
The cave was then once again altered when it was turned into a German underground factory during World War II. Following the war, it was then turned into a bunker for the Czechoslovak army. In the 1960s, it served as a secret military command post and nuclear fallout shelter.
a. Basic Tour
The basic tour last around 75 minutes and you have to walk 600 meters. There are 13 steps, but there seems to be a wheelchair-friendly option. This tour costs 170 CZK, and you get to explore the military bunker and the bear hall, where you can see the teeth and bones of cave bears.
Then, the tour will take you to the German Boiler room, which helped raise the cave temperature to 17 to 20°C, before the tour ends with a visit to the Henry Hall which is now an occasional concert location. You can find out more about the basic route here.
There is a fixed schedule for the basic tour of this Moravian Karst show cave. From November to March, the cave is closed on Monday, and there are three daily tours on all other days. These tours start at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM. From May to September, there are hourly tours from 9 AM to 4 PM every day of the week.
In April and October, the Vypustek Cave is closed on Mondays. Hereby, the tour times in April are otherwise those of the high season, while the tours in October start every hour from 9 AM to 2 PM on weekdays, or 3 PM on the weekend.
b. Adventure Tour
The Vypustek cave adventure route takes you to other areas of the cave and starts with you walking between the bunker and the cave wall. Then, you will reach a hole in the wall through which you will crawl. It is a lot of fun, but I was more than thankful for the knee pads they gave us before entering the cave.
After staying in this area for a while to look at some structures, you will then crawl back before being shown that some sections of the cave wall retain light. It is an amazing thing to see, and I highly recommend doing this Moravian Karst cave tour just so you can see how the wall reacts to UV light. To a certain degree, it resembled bioluminescent waves.
Given that it is a real cave adventure, you have to wear a hard helmet with a head torch during the tour. The entire tour last around 80 minutes and costs 300 CZK. You have to walk and crawl 690 meters, and there are 32 steps.
This tour is limited to a maximum of 10 people that all have to be older than six years. It is necessary to book the adventure tour in advance. You can do so by sending an email to email@example.com.
If you want to take photos, it is best to bring an action camera. Be sure to wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the temperature in the show caves of the Moravian Karst is around 7-8°C.
2. Lunch: Rock Mill Hotel & Restaurant
Distance: 16 km – Driving Time: 0:20 h
After exploring the first cave of the Moravian Karst, it is time to eat some Czech food at the Rock Mill restaurant. It is conveniently located right at the parking area of the next caves, which means no detours are required if you eat here. The food is flavorful, but the best thing is the dessert: the ice cream with raspberries is delicious (and big enough for two).
If you are not yet hungry, you could also eat after joining a tour through the Punkva Caves.
3. Punkva Caves
Distance: 3.6 km return – Driving Time: 0:10 h tourist train ride or walking
To get from the parking lot to the Punkva Caves entrance, you either have to walk 1.8 km or take the sightseeing train that will take you there in 10 minutes. These trains depart every 20 to 40 minutes, and the departure times are synchronized with the starting times of the cave tours. A one-way trip costs 90 CZK and a roundtrip costs 130 CZK.
The Punkva Caves are the most popular show caves in the Moravian Karst and usually, a tour consists of walking through the dry caves before boarding a boat. After entering the caves, you first get to see the intricate structures in the Front Dome while walking on an elevated walkway. At the very end of this Dome, you will find the Mirror Lake which is among the most popular photo motives of these caves.
The tour then takes you to the Reichenbach Dome, the Stalagmite Gallery, and the Back Dome, before you reach the bottom of the Macocha Abyss. Here, you will have a few minutes to take some photos of the towering walls.
After that, you board one of the electric boats. The boat ride over the Punkva underground river is 440 meters long and includes a stop where you leave the boat. During this stop, you get to see the marvelous Masaryk Dome. Be sure to watch your head and arms during the boat ride. At times, the ceiling can be very close and you will have to lean to the side to avoid injuries.
You can look up the entire Punkva Caves route with more details here.
The entry fee for these great Moravian Karst show caves is 280 CZK for adults and 150 CZK for children. If a boat ride is not possible due to high water levels, there is a reduced fee of 170 CZK for adults and 90 CZK for children.
The guides tend to be very strict when it comes to the tour schedule, so ensure to arrive on time. Additionally, it is also advised to be at the front of the group if you want to take photos during the tour. Otherwise, you might miss out on some photo opportunities.
Between October and March, the caves are closed on Monday and there are tours from 8:40 AM to 2 PM on all other days. During the high season of the Moravian Karst from April to September, there are Punkva Caves tours from 10 AM to 4 PM on Mondays, and from 8:20 AM to 4 PM on Tuesdays to Sundays.
4. Macocha Abyss Viewpoints
Distance: 12 km – Driving Time: 00:16 h
The get to the two Macocha Abyss viewpoint bridges in the heart of the Moravian Karst, you can either drive to the respective parking area or take the cable car that connects the Punkva Caves with the viewpoints.
The cable car departs around 150 meters behind the cave entrance and arrives behind ‘Chata Macocha’ right at the first viewpoint. A roundtrip ticket costs 130 CZK and a one-way ticket costs 90 CZK.
The first viewpoint ‘Horní mustek‘ is only a short walk away from the parking area or the cable car. While there is some gravel, it is wheelchair accessible. This bridge was built in 1822 and from it, you can look down 138.5 meters into the chasm.
The second viewpoint bridge ‘Dolni mustek Macochy‘ is only a 7-minute long walk away and you have to walk down staircases and some sloped paths to get there. Once there, you have a stunning view of the bottom of the Macocha Abyss. You can see the spot 92 meters down where you previously walked and likely took some photos during the Punkva Caves tour.
The Abyss is named after a local legend and ‘mocha’ means stepmother. According to the legend, an evil stepmother threw her stepson into the abyss. Realizing what she had done, she leaped into the abyss after him. It is said, that the boy survived as he got caught in some bushes and was later on rescued. Meanwhile, some say, that you can still hear the weeping of the stepmother that perished after leaping into the abyss.
If you only want a Moravian Karst day trip, you drive back to Brno after visiting the viewpoints. Alternatively, you could stay in one of the two hotels below which are ideal if you want to spend another day exploring this area of South Moravia.
Where to stay
While there are many places to stay in and near the Moravian Karst, the following two are among the nicest. These two hotels are located in a central location in terms of the itinerary and are a great place to relax after a day of adventure in the Moravian Karst. After all, both of them have a wellness area that includes a whirlpool.
I stayed in both of these hotels and checked out both their restaurants and wellness areas while there. And let me tell you, that they are both amazing options if you are looking for a hotel near the Moravian Karst.
Option 1: Wellness Hotel Panorama
Distance from the last stop: 16 km – Driving Time: 0:21 h
Wellness Hotel Panorama is a hotel in Blansko that is ideal if you are traveling with children. After all, there is a stable of donkeys on the property and it is allowed to feed them.
The front-facing rooms have a scenic view, while others have a view over the garden area.
As the name says, this hotel has a wellness area with a hot tub and sauna. Massages are available as well. Just know, that you have to book a slot for the wellness area in advance. In addition to that, there is an outdoor swimming pool.
The food at the hotel restaurant is good, and there is a private room for bigger groups available. The breakfast is continental.
Option 2: Hotel Sladovna
Distance from the last stop: 23 km – Driving Time: 0:27 h
Hotel Sladovna is located in Cerna Hora and therefore further away from the last stop of the day, but it is ideal if you are looking for a comfy hotel with a bigger wellness area that includes a sauna. You can also book a beer bath or a massage.
The rooms are spacious and decorated in a homely modern style. And if you want to treat yourself, you can even book the ‘Sladovna Suite‘ that comes with a private jacuzzi.
This hotel is located inside the old malting buildings of the Černa Hora brewery, which makes for a unique experience. You can sample the brewery’s beer at the hotel restaurant.
Moravian Karst Itinerary: Day 2
Total Distance: 71 km– Driving Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
On the second day of this Moravian Karst road trip, you will actually leave the caves behind to explore what else the area has to offer. It is a day full of learning more about the area’s history and there is also a stop at a local brewery. I, for one, believe that it is a nice contrast to the nature of the Moravian Karst and highly recommend doing these things after you have explored the caves.
If you do not feel up to another day of exploring the area because the weather is bad or because you just want a relaxed day, you could also spend your day at the spa areas of one of the two hotels listed above. Hereby, I especially recommend the spa area of Hotel Sladovna.
1. Zámek Rájec nad Svitavou
Distance: 8,5 km – Driving Time: 0:09 h
Zámek Rájec nad Svitavou (which translates to ‘Paradise above Svitavou’) is a Rocco-Classical palace and a stop here should be part of every extended Moravian Karst itinerary. Built between 1763 and 1769 for the Salm family, one of the best castles in the Czech Republic. It was designed by the French architect Isidor Amanda Canavela.
This castle is best known for its many collections. While there are collections of decorative chairs with intricate designs, goblets, and paintings by famous European painters, it is the extensive library that is the highlight.
Said library is among the largest castle libraries in the Czech Republic and consists of 60.000 books in 11 languages. There is even a room with a more mythical section, where you will also find quirky sculptures of skeletons that are posing.
You can choose between three different tours of the castle. The tour of the representative halls includes the library, but you can also join a tour of the private and guest apartments as well as the treasury, or a tour of the chapel. If there is no English tour available during your visit, you will be given the information in written form. There are no tours from November to late February. Look up the tour schedule here.
Zámek Rájec nad Svitavou is surrounded by a castle garden that is 13 ha large. The garden is open year-round from 6 AM to 8 PM. There is also a castle greenhouse, but it is only open to the public when the camellias are in bloom.
A smaller version of the castle’s garden dates back to the 1790s, but it was not until the early 19th century that it was expanded to the romantic landscape park full of rare trees and scrubs. As you walk around it, you will also find a swimming pool and a pond with a waterfall.
During World War II, the garden was used as a prisoner-of-war camp. After this horrible time, the garden was restored to its former state between 1950 and 1980.
2. Černa Hora Brewery + Lunch
Distance: 6,2 km – Driving Time: 0:07 h
The history of beer in Černa Hora dates back to 1298, and this brewery was first mentioned in 1530. It was started by brothers from Boskovice and was at one point managed by the Lichtenstein family.
The brewery uses traditional brewing methods and local ingredients, and in addition to beer, they also produce beer-based mixed drinks like Radler and ciders.
If you want to tour the brewery, it is possible to do so. Just know, that you have to book your tour at least one week in advance. You can do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The brewery tour costs 170 CZK per person and there is a minimum occupancy of 8 participants per tour. It lasts one hour and includes a beer tasting.
If you want to enjoy a cold beer without a tour, you can do so at the brewery restaurant. This restaurant is a great place to eat lunch on the second day of your extended Moravian Karst road trip. Everything from the soups to the main dishes and desserts is delicious. Be sure to order a selection of brewery drinks while eating at ‘Restaurace Sladovna’. They offer beer taste testing.
Distance: 15 km – Driving Time: 0:14 h
Today, Boskovice is best known for its Jewish Quarter. The first Jews moved to the town in 1556, but it was not until the 18th century that the Jewish Quarter was established. From then onwards until 1981, Boskovice was split into two towns, and each of them had their own mayor, town hall, and school.
Traditionally, five to six families lived in one house. The shapes of entryways on the first floor are reminders of this multi-family occupation. At its peak, 2000 Jews lived in the Jewish Quarter. Wealthy Jews moved to Brno when separation laws were abolished and in 1942, 458 Jews were deported to concentration camps. Only 60 of the Jews that survived had returned to Boskovice by 1948.
Some of the most interesting locations in the Jewish Quarter include the Jewish municipal house, which is now an exhibition, and the so-called ‘Well of Death’ which received its name as the water was so bad it spread diseases. You should also walk to the gates that divided the Quarter from the rest of the town. They had to be closed at night and during Christian holidays.
The remaining synagogue of three synagogues is another interesting place to visit. It was built in 1869 and was likely built to replace a wooden synagogue that was in the same spot. It has intricated decorations on the walls and the ceiling, some parts are painted with Hebrew liturgical texts. These drawings date back to 1705. There is a gallery of drawings from 1942 in the upper area.
Just across the street, you will find a mikve. It was only discovered 20 years ago as it is located inside a cellar and was covered. It is not known how old this ritual Jewish bath is.
The ruins of Boskovice Castle are another worthwhile stop during an extended Moravian Karst road trip. This castle dates back to the second half of the 13th century and was once an impressive sight. It started to fall to ruins in 1713 when its roof came off, and today, only parts of it remain.
However, it is the location of concerts, events, and a beer garden. There is also a cistern with a pedal wheel that dates back to 1671 which you can see when touring the ruins. The entrance fee is 100 CZK.
4. return to Brno (or Prague)
Distance: 42 km – Driving Time: 0:40 h
After exploring Boskovice, it is time to drive back to Brno. If you want to eat something before doing so, you should do so at Hostinec U Rudyho in Boskovice’s Jewish Quarter. Entering this charming restaurant feels like you are stepping back in time and the menu includes a selection of traditional Czech dishes.
Should you be heading back to Prague, you have 223 km ahead of you and will be arriving after 2:30 hours.
Day 3: Possible Stops
If you feel like extending your road trip with some more adventures, you should spend another night in the area. After all, the Moravian Karst region has even more to offer. Below, you will find a list of suggested stops for a third day.
Jedovnice: Singletrail Mountainbiking & SUPing
The town of Jedovnice might be small, but it is a great location for adventure sports lovers. Here, you can tackle the Moravian Karst singletrail with a mountain bike, or go SUPing or wakeboarding on the lake.
If you want to learn about the UNESCO-recognized art of blueprint, you should visit Modrotisk Rodiny Danzingerů. This blueprint workshop is now in the hands of the 5th generation and still uses methods that date back to the 19th century.
The workshop of the Danzinger family has been operating since 1816 when it was founded in a different house in the same town and eventually was moved to its current location near a creek where the textiles were washed.
The parts of the fabric that are to remain white are covered with a protective substance with the help of one of 350 stencils that all have different motives, and then, the fabric is dyed in a big barrel-like container.
The workshop also has a small store where you can buy everything from small souvenir hangers to oven mittens and aprons. Be sure to buy something to remember your trip to the Moravian Karst region!
As the workshop is not a museum, it can only be visited during certain times. During the season from May 2 to September 27, there are 50 minutes long workshop tours on Tuesday and Thursday. These tours start at 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM. Groups of more than 10 people have to reserve a visit in advance and are possible on other days.
Explore more Show Caves in the Moravian Karst
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, five caves in the Moravian Karst are open to the public, so why not visit more of them while you are in the region? Hereby, you can choose between the following caves:
Catherine’s Cave — See the monumental Main Dome, which happens to be the largest Czech underground area that is open to the public, and the unique stalagmite formations in the New Cave.
Sloup-Šošuvka Caves — While some of the Sloup-Šošuvka Caves can be explored with a normal tour, the real highlight for adventure lovers is the speleoferata inside these caves. The ‘In the Footsteps of Nagel‘ tour allows you to explore a deeper level of the caves and will have you walking on steel ropes.
Balcarka Cave — This cave is known for its colorful dripstone decorations, so visiting it is a must if you are interested in geology.
Roundup: Moravian Karst Itinerary
As you can see, a trip to the Moravian Karst region is all about caves and nature, but also about culture and history. It is a stunning area and more than worth a visit.
While exploring the region and particularly the caves, it is crucial to be a responsible traveler. Therefore: listen to the guides while exploring the show caves of the Moravian Karst and do not touch any of the fragile structures. By doing so, those visiting the area after you will have the same chance to marvel at the natural beauty that you got to see.
With that being said: I hope you have a fantastic road trip regardless of the length of your trip.
More about South Moravia
If you are planning this trip, you might also be interested in these places in the Czech Republic:
How to get to Brno
Which cave of the Moravian Karst are you looking forward to the most?
Let me know in the comments down below!
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