Czechia's most liveable cities: A complete guide to expat life in Brno

As the country's second-largest city, Brno has a constantly growing expat community, job opportunities, and a unique cultural scene.

Melis Karabulut

Written by Melis Karabulut Published on 29.11.2023 17:05:00 (updated on 29.11.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

Although Prague locals may think otherwise, as the country's second-largest city, Brno has a constantly growing expat community, job opportunities, and a unique cultural scene. In this article, we will explore various aspects of living in Brno, including the cost of living, housing options, work-life for non-Czech speakers, education, services, and how it compares to the more popular Prague.

A buzzing hub for expats

Brno is brutally underrated. Having spent more than three years studying and working in the South Moravian capital, I've had the chance to observe how fast the city has grown into a buzzing hub for expats – and that happened regardless of the pandemic slowdown! 

Brno's unique selling point for expats is its laid-back, "small city" energy while still offering a very vibrant cultural scene, an inclusive expat community where one can find groups, activities, and events to their liking, and its genuineness in how it represents Czech culture from the Moravian angle – with spectacular wine, almond fields, and the Dragon Legend

View of Brno. Photo via iStock by RudyBalasko
View of Brno. Photo via iStock by RudyBalasko

Cost of living

Brno is, first and foremost, a student town. While prices have been rising gradually in recent years, they remain more affordable than in Prague. 

  • Basic expenses such as groceries, transportation, and entertainment are reasonably priced, allowing residents to enjoy a decent lifestyle without breaking the bank.
  • While there are still quite a few places in Brno where you can have an espresso or a pint for as low as CZK 30, prices of fine dining or drinking out in high-end bars, however, resemble those in Prague.
  • As of 2023, one can have a comfortable life with a gross salary starting from CZK 45,000 to 50,000 to cover housing, bills, basic expenses, and entertainment.
Data Via Numbeo
Data Via Numbeo


Finding accommodation in Brno is somewhat more affordable than in Prague, while there is not a remarkable difference in the rental prices. On the other hand, expats will find fewer English-speaking landlords in Brno, and they might face higher resistance towards renting flats to foreigners. 

  • On average, a 1KK or 1+1 apartment in the city center can cost around CZK 16,000 per month including utilities.
  • Outside the center, the prices may drop to around CZK 13,000. If you are looking for a bigger place (2kk to 3+1), the prices vary from CZK 20,000 to 30,000.
  • If you prefer to buy a property and pay a mortgage, the prices will also depend on the location and size of the house or apartment, and start from an average of CZK 16,000 and up.
Aerial view of historical center of Brno. Photo via iStock by 1Tomm
Aerial view of the historical center of Brno. Photo via iStock by 1Tomm


Brno is home to a growing number of international companies and has a mostly IT-focused business environment.

  • While knowledge of the Czech language is generally beneficial for job seekers, there are opportunities available for expats with English as their primary language, particularly in the IT departments of multinational companies such as AT&T,, Red Hat, Honeywell, IBM, Kyndryl, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and many others.
  • The majority of these companies base their customer service departments in Brno, and they regularly open positions that may require other language skills such as Polish, Italian, French, Turkish, German, Finnish, and so on.
  • Expats in Brno are also known to find employment in the formal education or academic field. International schools or private language schools recruit expats as language instructors, or universities may also offer job opportunities for them as academics.
  • Lastly, Brno's expats are known for introducing international cuisines to the city's gastronomy landscape. From authentic Italian bakeries to Israeli diners, as well as restaurants serving Indian, Greek, Egyptian, Georgian, Ukrainian, and many cuisines, expats contribute to the diversity of Brno's many tastes.
Old town colorful houses in Brno. Photo via iStock by Sanga Park
Old town colorful houses in Brno. Photo via iStock by Sanga Park


Brno offers a moderate range of educational options, including international schools, which cater to the needs of expatriate families. 

  • There are two international schools in Brno that offer formal education from the 1st to the 12th grade, namely the American Academy and the International School of Brno.
  • It is worth noting that international schools in Brno can be relatively expensive, and admission may require careful planning and early application.

university life

University life in Brno is one of the highlights of coming to the city as an expat. Among the seven universities in the city, Masaryk University, Mendel University, and the University of Veterinary Sciences are popular among international students for various programs in the English language, as well as certifications like TEFL or CELTA.

  • As Brno universities are internationally very open and welcoming, the academic year fills the streets with foreign students visiting the town with Erasmus or other exchange programs as well.
  • Among the programs that welcome expat students, Masaryk University's programs such as General Medicine, Informatics or Social Studies, and Mendel University's Agriculture or Economics programs get the most traction from students from all over the world.
  • Even though students have to pay a yearly tuition fee for the English programs, the fees are lower than in the universities in Prague or some other major European cities. (As an example, Masaryk University charges CZK 380,000 per academic year for General Medicine, while Charles University in Prague charges CZK 500,000).


In terms of English-friendly healthcare services, Brno's hospitals feel mediocre compared to those in Prague. 

  • While it is relatively easy to find English-speaking general practitioners, physiotherapists, dentists, and other specialists in the city center, they may have a long waiting list (ranging from three weeks to six months) before they accept new patients.
  • For emergencies or complex issues, expats mostly prefer visiting the University Hospital in the Nový Liskovec area.
  • For those who need rapid help for minor emergencies in the city center, the semi-private SurGal Clinic's emergency service welcomes expats with VZP insurance free of charge and employs English-speaking doctors as well.

community and expat life

There is a strong expat community in Brno, with social groups, networking events, and clubs that cater to the needs and interests of expatriates. The community is relatively more intact and connected compared to Prague's expatriate scene. There is a strong tendency in Brno's expats to create communal support for foreign businesses and initiatives. One great example of this is how a single Facebook post urging people to shop in the Syrian market during the pandemic times went viral; many expats and locals offered huge support to help the business survive. 

  • The city hosts various cultural events, festivals, and exhibitions throughout the year, providing opportunities for residents to engage with the local culture.
  • The most distinctive event bringing Czechs and expats together each year is the annual Brno Expat Fair, having hosted 1,300 expats from 91 nationalities at this year's event. The concept brings expat-friendly services, leisure and culture activities, employers, seminars, and workshops together, helping expats find their group to belong.
  • There are countless opportunities for expats to participate in voluntary activities, and NGOs are constantly seeking expat volunteers for various goodwill actions.

culture and arts

Brno is home to many temporary and permanent exhibitions, museums, and landmarks. Especially during summer, the city moves with festive energy, hosting countless events and activities. 

  • One of the most important cultural hubs of the city, Kino Art, is a great initiator of bringing inclusiveness to the cultural scene in the city, regularly airing Czech and other European movies with English subtitles, hosting open-air cinema evenings in English, and more.
  • Music Lab is another culture ambassador in the city, famous for its many swing and blues evenings throughout the summer months.
  • The Moravian Gallery, Museum of Applied Arts, The House of Arts, and Villa Tugendhat are some of the key cultural places that add value to the city.
  • Accordingly, Brno is home to creative expats working in the cultural landscape as well. For example, the city's National Theatre employs a remarkable number of dancers, artists, and musicians from all around the world.
The interior of a museum in Brno
The interior of a museum in Brno

More about life in Brno

  • Nature: Although the parks and gardens in Prague are more sizeable than in Brno, the South Moravian capital hosts some decent greenery with its Lužánky Park, Špilberk Park, Wilson Forest Park, Masaryk Grove, Kamenný vrch Nature Reserve, and the Brno Reservoir, all within walking distance or short-distance public transport access. In addition to that, there are countless hiking trails within very close reach of the city.
  • International travel: Brno provides easy access to the three Central European capitals – Prague, Bratislava, and Vienna with regular buses and trains. The Tuřany Airport has a few regular flights to London and Milano and hosts charter flights to seaside destinations throughout the summer months. The city is only one and a half hours away from the Vienna airport, which is advantageous for residents who want to travel to many destinations around the world.
  • Public transportation: The city of Brno and its surroundings are well-connected with buses, trolleys, and trams. Though there is no metro line in the city, Brno compensates for that with a well-connected tram system, supported by regular night buses as well.

Brno vs. Prague

While Prague may be the more popular and internationally renowned destination in Czechia, Brno offers a unique alternative with its distinct charm and lifestyle. Brno provides a more relaxed and manageable pace of life compared to the bustling Czech city. It boasts beautiful architecture, a rich history, and an interesting cultural scene, making it an attractive option for expats seeking a comfortable, laid-back life.

resources for expats

  • Brno Expat Center is a  free public service supported by the City of Brno, dedicated to helping foreign professionals through individual consultations, interpreting, advice, helping businesses, and more.
  • The Centre for Foreigners of the South Moravian region offers assistance with legal and social problems, Czech lessons, workshops, and more.
  • is a complex service for expats offering assistance in the areas of property, immigration, health care, and transport.
  • InterNations offers opportunities to connect with fellow expats in Brno, join events and groups, get information through expat guides, and more.
  • Living in Brno is a Facebook group focused on living in Brno that includes community support for questions related to everyday life in the city.
  • Multicultural Center Brusinka offers courses, workshops, excursions, cultural events, and international partnership.
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