Znojmo, an undiscovered region in Czechia

By Lizet Wesselman - 16/11/2022 - In collaboration with the Czech tourism board

Znojmo, an undiscovered region in Czechia

By Lizet Wesselman - 16/11/2022 - In collaboration with the Czech tourism board

When I moved to Prague in 2018, it was about the only place I had seen in the Czech Republic. Pretty soon it became clear to me that I was not alone in that. The Czech Republic is one of the most underrated countries in Europe, and yet it is so conveniently central in Europe and has a lot to offer. For instance, “the land of lager” also has a beautiful wine region in southern Moravia, the country’s south-east. A region that is wildly popular among Czechs for holidays in their own country, but relatively unknown among the majority of travellers. Time to introduce this region!

A wine journey in the Znojmo region

Znojmo is one of four wine regions in southern Moravia, Czech Republic. The smallest, to be precise. But that certainly doesn’t make it any less worth a visit. Here you will find, among other things, the oldest vineyard in the Czech Republic and several more modern vineyards. You can read all about wine in Znojmo here.

In this article, you will find out more about the whole Znojmo region and why it is worth a visit even if you are not a wine lover. The eponymous town of Znojmo is located right in between Brno (the 2nd largest city in the Czech Republic) and Vienna, in the middle of a beautiful nature reserve. This nature reserve is already well known and loved by cyclists and hikers, but the region as a whole doesn’t really get the attention it deserves. Time to change that!

The city of Znojmo

Let’s start with the town of Znojmo, the heart of the area. Znojmo plays an important role in history. Its location between Prague, Brno, and Vienna made it a significant trading town. Much trade between the 3 major cities, passed through Znojmo. To such an extent, that the city itself was built in a kind of triangle around the trade routes to those three big cities.

Furthermore, it is also just a very nice little town to see. With coloured houses, as we often see in Czech towns and villages. A beautiful church on a hill with, of course, a vineyard next to it. Also special about this fortified town is that it is surrounded by an old city wall, dating from the 14th century. From parts of the wall you can enjoy fantastic views over the hilly nature reserve on the other side of the river.

But the city also hides some secrets.

Znojmo underground labyrinth

Around 1226, corridors were built under houses in Znojmo. These were intended as storage places for the region’s well-known wines, but also as hiding places during enemy raids! There were even chimneys in many places so that residents could make a fire to keep warm and cook. Walking through the town, you will come across pentagonal openings in the ground, these are from the old chimneys. Znojmo residents sometimes spent weeks hiding here.

According to stories, during a raid, all the residents hid in the corridor system, leading the enemy to believe they had entered a ghost town. They entered the houses like they were up for grabs. But the residents came up one night and took the enemies down to the tunnels, where they were drowned and then brought back upstairs. The unexplained deaths of their comrades terrified the remaining occupiers, causing them to leave the city.

Every basement in the city is connected to the corridor system, and some houses even contain four more underground floors! In total, that makes for a corridor system of no less than 27 km, making it one of the largest in Europe. Yet, the corridor system was only discovered in the last century. This is because the original inhabitants had been driven out, and the new inhabitants probably didn’t know about the existence of the underground tunnel system. This means that, unfortunately, it also wasn’t used during the Second World War, simply because no one knew it existed.

Today, about 8km of the corridor system is accessible, and they’re still working on opening up more. But some parts are closed-off and some homeowners don’t allow access to the part under their houses. Want to check out the corridor system? Then book a tour through Znojemská Beseda. You can choose a classic tour, where you’ll see how the corridors were used, or an adrenaline tour where you have to find your way around in the dark.

Znojmo and nature

Besides wine, nature in Znojmo is also worth a visit. Narodní park Podyjí is a large hilly nature reserve already hugely popular with hikers and cyclists. Here, too, you can of course enjoy some vineyards, such as Šobes, one of the oldest vineyards in the country and one of the 10 best vineyards in Europe. It is said that Queen Elisabeth used to buy wine here. The wine is so popular that bottles are sold before the harvest even begins.

You can’t actually visit this vineyard, but you can admire it from a beautiful viewpoint. Walk past other vineyards to the point “Vyhlídka Devět mlýnů” (prospect of nine mills) and enjoy stunning views of hills and the Thaya River. Walk around the river and cross it at “Lipinská Lávka” to explore the rest of the area.

Znojmo and activities

Still not convinced and looking for other activities, possibly for the whole family? Then this region is right for you, too.

Vranovská Pláž is the place to be for the active traveller. It is a camping site, but you can also just go here for various water sports such as paddleboarding, canoeing, pedal boating. Or go for a climbing course in the forest or have a bubble ball “fight”. Are you really looking for adrenaline? Then you’ll definitely get excited about the Tarzan swing from the bridge. This place in a guaranteed day of fun!

Chateau Vranov nad Dyjí there’s no shortage of castles in the Czech Republic and so there is in this region. We paid a visit to this beautiful castle. No impressive towers, but a building clearly put together by several people. And that’s no difference on the inside. With each room decorated in its own unique way. This castle has changed ownership so many times that you can see the trends of the different periods in its construction. A very impressive building and definitely worth a visit!

Terra technica museum is the perfect place if you prefer to visit museums during your trip. This is possibly my most favourite museum ever. You’ll find a full collection of jukeboxes and pinball machines, from the early 20th century to the present day. You walk through the history of these two machines and get to try a lot of them yourself! Spin your favourite records and see how good you’re still at pinball. I was really rubbish at it…. But had a great time!

Want to make a trip of it altogether? Then book an overnight stay at the jukebox hotel across the street. Here you can revisit the retro influences and play another record in the typical American diner-style dining area.

Why I recommend Znojmo

In short, there is plenty to do and see in the Znojmo region. I myself was really surprised by the variety of possibilities in this region, and there really is something for everyone. I really enjoyed the activities and felt like a kid again, but also enjoyed a lot of wine like a proper adult. For me, it’s a perfect balance between active and relaxed, and I can recommend it to everyone!

Disclaimer: this trip was in collaboration with the Visit Czech Republic tourism board. The blog, however, is completely mine, without any directions from the board. It’s my personal opinion and I do not get paid to write anything or if you’d happen to book through the mentioned links. Those really are there to help you 🙂