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travel van life

Van Life Tips for Brno, Czechia

We spent one week boondocking aka stealth camping in Brno, the second largest city in Czechia. We loved Brno because of its chill vibes, green spaces, and friendly people. And best of all, we were never too far from vegan ice cream because Tutti Frutti vegan ice cream trucks were parked all over the city centre. 🙂

We visited Brno at a good time because that weekend (June 15-17) the city was full of festivals celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the founding of the former country of Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia peacefully split into Czechia and Slovakia in 1993, but both countries still celebrate together.

Parking

Kuba found a free parking lot next to the Bobycentrum Hotel thanks to the Park4Night app. We left the van parked there during the day because the walk into the city centre only took us 20 minutes. During the day, this lot was full but in the evening it was practically empty. We spent most of our nights parked here and were only woken up once by some rowdy young people knocking on the van and giggling as they walked by. (Don’t I sound old!)

This parking lot was convenient for us because of its close proximity to the city centre. It’s also next to a hotel, so we used their toilets a few times. (If you walk in through the main entrance of the hotel and turn right, the toilets are to the left just before you enter the cafe area.)

This free lot next to the hotel was also conveniently located less than a 10-minute walk to a 24-hour Tesco.

We slept in the 24-hour Tesco’s parking lot a few times. This Tesco is part of the Královo Pole shopping mall so most of the parking is in a parking garage. There is a little parking lot above ground, right in front of the mall, so we parked there. We noticed other vehicles left there overnight (for several nights, in fact) and no one seemed to care. At night, it was perfectly quiet and peaceful. This spot was convenient because the toilets in the mall were open until midnight. Also, we could use the toilets again in the morning and easily stock up on food.

For one night, we parked in a free lot near the Brno Water Reservoir. This lot was busy during the day (on Sunday) but quiet in the evening. The lake was just across the street so walking to the water took only a few minutes. This was a good place to spend the night because the beach area had several porta-potties (called Toi-Toi’s), rubbish bins, and even a bar/cafe with wi-fi. (We didn’t end up using their wi-fi, but it’s there if you need it!) The beach area was clean and we even noticed someone cleaning the Toi-Toi’s and picking up rubbish the following morning. We had plenty of space around our van in the evening so using our camping stove was easy.

Our routine while in Brno

We’d park in the lot next to the hotel and leave the van there during the day. We’d walk into town, use the public library’s wi-fi to upload videos and catch up on social media. After spending time in town, we’d return to the van, eat, chill, and then Kuba would go busking while I’d start editing the vlog for the day. Then we’d sleep in the same lot or drive to the 24-hour Tesco’s parking lot, use the toilets inside the mall before they close at midnight, and then sleep in the van. In the morning, we’d use the mall’s toilets again, buy our food for the day in Tesco, and enjoy breakfast in the same lot. Then we’d return to the parking lot by the hotel and leave the van there.

Public Toilets

The public toilet situation in Brno was good. We used the toilets in the Královo Pole mall because they were open until midnight. We also used the toilets in the Bobycentrum Hotel. I’m not sure if these toilets close late in the evening, but I remember using them very late at night and they were still open. We also used the toilets at Starbucks. Even though the door to the toilet says you need a key code (printed on your receipt), it was never locked so we just walked right in. SKØG Urban Hub has nice toilets as well. The public library has toilets but you need to request a key from the coat check counter. The Velký Špalíček mall in the city centre has toilets (and a Tesco Express!) but you have to pay a small fee (5-10CZK) for access.

Laundry

We did laundry twice at two different Speed Queen locations. Speed Queen machines take coins and tokens, but unfortunately (for us) the tokens aren’t universal. (Now I have three extra tokens for one of the Speed Queen’s in Brno. I guess I’ll just save them for next time!) The first Speed Queen we used had wi-fi but didn’t provide a password. The 2nd location had wi-fi but it was slow (unlike the wi-fi at the very first Speed Queen we used in Olomouc).

WI-FI

We mainly relied on the wi-fi at the Jiří Mahen Library in the city centre. The wi-fi was insanely fast and free. My vlogs would upload in under 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe it! 🙂 We just needed to request a username and password from the information and technology desk. The library also has a public toilet. It’s always locked, so you’ll need to ask for the key from the coat check desk and pay a 50CZK deposit. It’s refunded to you once you return the key, so no big deal!

Cafes

We visited two cafes in Brno: Starbucks and SKØG Urban Hub. Starbucks is always a safe bet because they always have wi-fi, soy milk, drinks without caffeine, and easily-accessible toilets. The drawback is that drinks tend to be more expensive than local cafes.

SKØG Urban Hub is a better choice if you want good quality coffee. Their soy milk lattes are tasty and they also have decent wi-fi and nice toilets. They also have vegan cake! Seating can be tight depending on the time of day but it’s still a comfortable place to chill and work. They have English menus available and everyone who worked there was super friendly.

Water

Filling up our water jugs was easy in Brno because of the drinking water fountains in Lužánky Park. They were even labelled “drinking water” so we knew it was safe. 😉

Food Acquisition

We did the majority of our food shopping at the 24-hour Tesco because we were parked there anyway. If we needed a snack while in the city centre, we’d shop at the Tesco Express inside the Velký Špalíček mall. We also bought watermelon from Zelný trh, the produce market in Cabbage Market Square.

In addition to our regular fruit meals and veggie sandwiches, we couldn’t resist Tutti Frutti’s vegan ice cream. I had three ice cream cones in total, and Kuba had four! They have ice cream trucks all over the city centre. We saw four of them during our weeklong stay. All of their flavours are vegan and fruit-based, so they aren’t too heavy or sweet.

Sites worth seeing

Check out Lužánky Park. We walked through it daily since our preferred parking lot was right across the street. This is the largest park in Brno and the best place for a picnic. No matter when we walked through the park, there was always something going on. We saw yoga classes, Tai Chi, musical performances, picnics, lots of dogs and smiling faces as we passed through.

You’ll also find one of the Tutti Frutti ice cream trucks in this park. You can’t visit Brno without trying this vegan ice cream. It’s delicious! If you can’t make it to the park, you can find other ice cream trucks in Moravské náměsti Park and Zelný trh.

Swing by Zelný trh in Cabbage Market Square for some fresh fruit and veggies. We bought watermelon here one day and enjoyed it from the top of the market building. If you take the elevator to the top floor, you’ll find a little roof-top patio. Why not have lunch with a view? 🙂

Walk up to Špilberk Castle. You have to pay to enter but walking around the castle grounds is free. The castle was built on top of a hill so the walk is a bit of a hike. At least there are plenty of benches and shady areas to rest on your way. You’ll find beautiful views of the city below, cafes, a souvenir shop, and even a free public toilet at the top of the hill.

Walk around the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. This cathedral sits on top of Petrov hill in the city centre. I believe the cathedral is free to enter but we never went inside. Parks and walking paths encircle the cathedral so we wandered around there instead.

Big thanks to Zuzana and Zuz for all of their Brno tips and suggestions! Both of them were very helpful and kind to us. Meeting them in person made our stay in Brno even better!

Check out our Brno vlogs here:

By Lisa

In Oct. 2014, I quit my job and started downsizing my life by selling and rehoming all my belongings. Even though I’ve moved around all my life, I officially left the States in Dec. 2015 and have been travelling abroad ever since. I hope to inspire you to simplify your life so you live with intention. I’m an avid writer, videography enthusiast, and a major foodie with a passion for sustainable living.