Rolling green hills covered with vineyards, countless wine cellars, magnificent castles, and old towns with cobblestone streets.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind upon mentioning this? Probably dreamy Italian Tuscany or perhaps vineyard regions of Slovenia? Well, that’d be my first thought too. But guess what – I’m talking about gorgeous South Moravia, a picturesque region in the southeast of the Czech Republic. Due to its beautiful landscape that resembles the one in Italy, it’s actually often called – Moravian Tuscany. And I know Prague might be a more famous Czech destination, but I promise you, this South Moravia road trip is worth adding to your (wine?) bucket list.
I was lucky enough to visit the South Moravia region in the fall – just in time for a grape harvest, so I got the chance to become a winemaker for a day at one of the many Moravia wineries. Yes, I took the job seriously. Yes, this also means I was usually on my third glass of wine before noon.
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This South Moravia wine tour was combined with visits to the medieval castles and other SUPER fun things you can do in Moravia, and I’ve decided to put together a little Moravian Tuscany road trip guide for you. Focused on wine (duh!), but with a dash of city exploring and a step or two in the history.
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW…
Part of this trip was sponsored by South Moravia Tourism, but the opinions – along with all the sassy comments – are entirely my own.
5-DAY BRNO & MORAVIAN TUSCANY ROAD TRIP (SOUTH MORAVIA)
DAY 1: Explore Brno, the Capital of South Moravia
You’re most likely to start in BRNO, the second largest city in the Czech Republic and a charming capital of the South Moravia Region. Here’s the thing – I love Prague, but Brno was THE love at first sight. Smaller, cozier, and full of cute cafes, historical landmarks, cool pubs and quirky places.
There are a number of things to do in Brno, from exploring the Old Town to visiting the historic Spilberk Castle, perched atop a hill overlooking the city. The castle has a long and fascinating history, and it’s well worth a visit for any history buff. From the top of Old Town Hall, there are stunning views over the city. If you wanna be as cheesy as me, climb the stairs just before sunset.
You can spend your morning on a walking tour around the city center, admiring the architecture and learning about the history of this fascinating place (search for the famous dragon!). If you love quirky stuff, you won’t be disappointed – there are plenty of super weird and interesting places to visit in Brno! Aim to finish your first day with a delicious dinner at a traditional Czech restaurant – and a pint of two. You know, to balance all that wine that is waiting for you.
I’d actually suggest spending at least 2-3 days here, but even if you have only one day in Brno, you can see a lot since the center is small.
For more details, check out my Brno itinerary post, with suggestions for spending 1, 2, or 3 days in Brno. (I spent more than a week there)
Here are a few suggestions for where to stay in Brno:
DAY 2: Start Your Moravian Tuscany Road Trip! / From Slavkov Castle to Beer Spa in Kyjov
Now it’s really time to hit the road! Rent a car in Brno and head south after breakfast.
Start the day with a visit to SLAVKOV CASTLE, where, with some luck, you will be welcomed by the lord and lady of the castle, offering you a glass of bubbly at 9 a.m. Well, you might need to make an appointment in advance for this – so that the lord of the castle can get ready and dress up in his best Sunday clothes, of course. 😉
ADDITIONAL INFO: There are various tours available in this castle – two classic and “special”- where they entertain you with stories or show you the attic. You can find more information about guided tours of the castle and reservations here.
I can honestly say that I haven’t laughed so much on a guided tour in a long time. The “slightly” self-absorbed count and “a bit” too chatty countess created a fun atmosphere and showed us around their castle – which they call a tiny summer house, by the way. At the end of the tour, we had a mini tea party in the grandeur castle hall accompanied by traditional Czech snacks and pastries.
Slavkov Castle (Slavkov-Austerlitz Castle) is a huge baroque palace in Slavkov u Brna. It is famous because one of Napoleon’s most important battles took place near the castle in 1805. France won, and Napoleon addressed his soldiers from the same balcony you visit during the tour. Well, it is also rumored that he slept in one of the beds in the castle. Whether he slept there alone or not… the countess will tell you 😉
It took 62 years to build this castle, and the last owner died in 1913. After World War II, the castle became state property, and in 1996, the municipality bought the castle. I’ve heard that they will sell it to you for one Czech crown now. You know, so that you can save some money to maintain a 100+ room house. 😉
Continue your road trip in the direction of the SPIELBERG WINERY, where you can also stop for lunch (with prior reservation), or just book a winery tour and your first wine tasting on this mini Moravia wine tour.
At this point, I should probably mention that South Moravia is known mainly for white wines such as Riesling, Muscat and Pinot. In general, I prefer red wines (#malbecforever), but I was pleasantly surprised by Czech white wines and sparkling wines.
Another thing I can’t stress enough is if you’re driving (oops, I feel sorry for you), do NOT drink. This goes without saying, but still… Instead, taste the wine as the professionals do – take a sip or two, taste it, write down your observations if you want… and spit it out.
The specialty of the Spielberg winery is that it makes wine only from grapes from its own vineyards (most winemakers buy additional grapes), and Riesling is its best-rated wine. Although this is quite a “young winery,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of its operation in 2022, wine was produced in these vineyards as early as the 14th century! After the Napoleonic Wars, quite a few French soldiers remained in this area since they – you’d never guess – fell in love with the local girls. Supposedly French called the Czech girls “Petit chat” (little kitten), and that is also the name of one of Spielberg winery’s most popular wines, a cuvée (a blend of Chardonnay + Pinot Noir + Pinot Meunier).
My favorite wine was “Moravian Tuscany Wine,” which – if I remember correctly – is the same blend, but aged in oak barrels for at least 14 months, so it has a pretty different taste. Another glass? Wine not!
In the afternoon, it’s time for one of the most fun things you can do in South Moravia! Have you ever heard of a PEDAL-POWERED TRAIN? What about the famous video game Hugo (I can see Gen Z readers mouthing “wtf?”). Well, in quite a few games, Hugo had to use his hands to propel the track cart, which was his vehicle, while he was on the way to save his beloved Hugolina. Something similar awaits you in South Moravia –the only difference being that you use your feet instead of your hands!
A few kilometers long abandoned railway track now serves as a tourist attraction, and even though the track runs more or less on flat ground, it’s quite a workout! An incredibly fun one, that is 😊
Gotta admit it was a little easier for us because we had previously stuffed down tons of traditional Czech pastries – potato pancakes (which don’t taste like potatoes at all) with plum jam and poppy seeds. One needs fuel to power the train! Try finding them in pátisseries of South Moravia; these brambrové placky are incredibly tasty!
GOOD TO KNOW: Unfortunately, the reservation for the pedal train can only be made by phone (contact here), and I think only in the Czech language. I communicated without any problems with my Slovene and a little imagination (they are both Slavic languages), but otherwise, use Google Translate. Alternatively, you can always contact South Moravia Tourism, and I’m sure they’ll gladly help you make the reservation.
Since the Czech Republic is still known as the land of beer, it should not be neglected – even on a wine-themed vacation. So finish your second day of the Moravian Tuscany road trip with something extremely relaxing at Kyjovský pivovar hotel.
In this “beer” hotel with an attached pub, you can treat yourself to something unique before dinner – a beer spa! One hour is just enough to relax in a hot hop bath, next to which there is a keg with an unlimited amount of beer (that’s why I say an hour is more than enough, otherwise there is a risk of drowning 😉). They have baths like the one in the photo, and there is also a huge barrel for couples. I visited this one with my new friend Natasha from The Boho Chica travel blog, and if you do so, keep in mind that you have to be naked in Czech spas. The price is also great (especially with this unlimited beer thing included!) – less than €25 per person.
The best thing is that after the spa and dinner (with more beer), you only need to go one or two floors up before reaching your bed!
DAY 3: Lots of Wine in Moravian Tuscany! / Skalak Winery & Chateua Bzenec
Moravian Tuscany is gorgeous, and its lovely landscape creates a perfect background for AH-mazing photos. So, drive in the direction of the Skalak winery, stop at any spot you like, put on your walking shoes, grab a camera, and go for a walk! No matter the weather, you’ll end up with some great memories! (I actually prefer taking photos when it’s cloudy!).
Grab a snack and head to the SKALAK WINERY. Wine will taste even better after a few kilometers of walking! At the Skalak winery (Vinné Sklepy Skalák), you can also try your hand at winemaking! If you’re traveling with several people, split into groups, and the sommelier will pick a winner. Guess who won while we were there? 😉 #callmeawinemakerpro
If you’re traveling to South Moravia in the fall, ask them if you can also become a winemaker for a day! You’ll learn everything from grape harvesting to making your own fresh grape juice! Pictures tell more than words – I had a blast.
In the afternoon, head to the small town of BZENEC, and visit the small chapel of St Florian and St Sebastian that sits atop the hill. The climb is not challenging – it takes approx. 15 minutes to climb the stairs that lead from the town all the way to the chapel. The views are lovely! Try to find the mansion in the picture below because that is your next destination after taking a short afternoon nap (or a coffee break) at a cozy Hotel Lidový dům Bzenec.
The CHATEAU BZENEC WINERY is next to the pseudo-Gothic mansion, an iconic building that is not open for tours but has a rather important function. The wine cellar is located inside the mansion’s centuries-old underground corridors!
During the tour of this boutique winery, you walk through dark tunnels full of wine barrels, and in the longest 300m-long corridor, you’ll encounter thousands of bottles of sparkling wine, which bears the name “1876”. Wanna know why? Because the first sparkling wine in the country was produced here in 1876!
The owner asked me – what I thought was a rhetorical question – whether I’d agree this is the best sparkling wine in the Czech Republic. 😉 My answer? “It could be, but I must try them all first!” 😀
If the weather permits, it is possible to arrange the wine tasting next to the chapel, at their über-cute “wine bar,” although the atmosphere in the wine cellar is also beyond superb – now I know how the “Knights of the Round Table” must have felt when they were seated in a circle, sipping aqua vitae😊 Check out this reel!
What I loved about this wine tasting was that we received a recording sheet where we could write down our observations. This also comes in handy later if you want to remember which was your favorite and why. You know, our brains are sometimes funny, especially after tasting ten different wines.
Your hotel is located just 5 minutes away on foot, on the town’s main street, so there won’t be much walking afterward. The breakfast is yummy, and the beds are so comfortable!
DAY 4: Row, row, row your boat! / Fun, Wine & Folklore in South Moravia
Just kidding, there’s no need to row – unless you want to. On the 4th day of your Moravian Tuscany road trip, turn your chillax mode on and take a boat ride or a walk along the BATA CANAL on the Morava River in South Moravia. The Bata canal was named after that very famous shoe brand, and it was built between 1934-36 to facilitate coal transport to the shoe factory. Later, its secondary function was more agricultural – with the help of lock chambers, the nearby fields were supplied with water.
Since 1991, it has been dedicated exclusively to tourism, and the entire waterway is almost 52 km long. I wasn’t kidding, though, when I said you could row your boat – during the warmer months, you can rent a small boat and spend an active morning here. In case you’re not a fan of walking or rowing, it’s possible to rent a bike too. At one of the “ports” (Port Petrov), you’ll find a cute floating café. This is the place to be if you like to take your coffee with a view.
If the whole of South Moravia resembles Tuscany, there is a little village that reminds you of an entirely another place on our planet. Well, I’m not sure if the Shire is actually on our planet…?
Rather unusual but charming wine cellars characterize the village of Petrov in South Moravia. The complex of above-ground “cellars,” called PLŽE, is actually a collection of cute white and blue facades, and the roofs are covered with fluffy green grass, so they strongly remind you of Hobbit holes (if you don’t know about the real Hobbitland in New Zealand, take a look at this post! ). I now officially call this place a “Czech Hobbitland”!
This place is great for a photo or five, to buy souvenirs or to drink a glass of wine with the locals. A few wine cellars are usually open, so don’t be shy and simply swing by! (Yes, there’s also an “official” wine-tasting cellar for those who are extra shy). Not far from there, at the Wellness Hotel Amande, you can have a yummy lunch!
Not far from Petrov village, you’ll find the best place to learn about the folklore of South Moravia, and this is where you’ll spend an afternoon (Believe me, you want to, this place is pretty cool!).
In the SKANZEN STRAŽNICE open-air museum, you’ll find yourself in the past as soon as you start walking among the houses from 19th-century Czech villages. The wooden houses are originals brought here from different parts of the country, and the stone houses are copies of the originals. With the current global housing market situation, I wish I could transport one home too.
I highly recommend a guided tour, because it is much more interesting if someone introduces you to the traditions and customs and tells you something about them.
Several times a year, the museum hosts special events related to farm life in the Czech Republic area during the 19th century. You’ll meet “residents of the village” dressed in traditional clothes, who show you different traditions upon entering each house. Before you know it, you’ll forget it’s the 21st century! I visited the museum during the autumn harvest, and there are special events around Christmas, Easter and New Year. For more information, check out their website, and here’s my Instagram reel – I participated in a handful of fun activities 😊
A NOTE: With the exception of special events, the museum is closed during the winter months.
DAY 5: A Fairytale Castle and Some More South Moravian Wine! / Lednice Castle & Annovino Winery
Do you know what the biggest tourist attraction in the Czech Republic is? You can guess, but I’m going to help you – it’s the beautiful Prague castle. But the country’s second biggest tourist attraction (the fact I didn’t know!) doesn’t fall far behind. At all! Not only is LEDNICE CASTLE one of the most beautiful Czech castles, but I would dare say it is also one of the most beautiful in Europe. Its interior is fascinating to look at, and the guided tour was entertaining – good news for anyone like me who usually doesn’t enjoy guided tours as much. 😊
In fact, there are several different guided tours available – one takes you through the main rooms only (I went on this one), while others also take you to the rooms of the princes and princesses. A huge park with spectacular gardens and many walking paths surrounds the castle, and you’ll find a large greenhouse in one of the courtyards. The park is ideal for a picnic lunch or taking a nap after exploring the castle ground. I recommend at least a few hours to visit the entire place!
Here you can view tours and buy a ticket online.
Before you finish your Moravian Tuscany road trip and head back to Brno, add another place to your wine tour. ANNOVINO LEDNICE is a nearby winery with a gorgeous shop. From wine tastings to winery tours to stocking up on South Moravia wines – you’ll end up your trip with another wine-derful experience!
Do you have any questions about this Moravia Tuscany road trip? Let me know in the comments below or DM me on Instagram!
And don’t forget to save this post for the time you’ll be planning your trip to Moravian Tuscany!