South Moravia offers pristine nature, good food, and a journey into the primeval times
If we had to pick one place in Czechia famous for its love to tradition and old customs, it would be South Moravia. Its Rides of the Kings, Dožínky harvest festivals, as well as the local work to preserve folk crafts have made the region famous in all of Czechia. And when it comes to wonders of nature, South Moravia lacks nothing either. Where to see the Venus of Dolní Věstonice? What is a Moravian “patent”? And will South Moravia cater to adrenaline lovers?
Mammoth hunters and the Venus of Dolní Věstonice
South Moravia is full of interesting nature hikes - but one area you should definitely not miss is Pálava. Its main centres are the towns of Mikulov and Pavlov, but tourists mostly come to see its enchanting nature and the legacy of ancient peoples. In this area, you can follow the footsteps of ancient mammoth hunters, Celts, and even Roman soldiers who can be “blamed” for starting the local wine-making tradition, since they were the first to grow wine in the area. And let’s not forget the famous Venus of Dolní Věstonice. The original of the famous curvy woman statue is normally stored in a vault, but you can follow a nature trail from Dolní Věstonice, where the statue was found, to Pavlov and learn about all the archaeological sites in the area. If you need a pick-me-up towards the end of your hike, you can always visit the Pálava Gallery of Wines U Venuše in Pavlov, which has also been listed as a TOP South Moravian wine bar in the South Moravia Gourmet selection.
Tradition in all its forms
The charm of South Moravia is more than just amazing nature and history (and wine-making): it also relies on the many customs, traditions, and crafts which are still alive in the region.- Together with the typical dialect, this creates a unique atmosphere that will make you forget all of your everyday (super modern) worries. You can visit a traditional Ride of the Kings, for example in Vlčnov on the last weekend in May. The tradition is based on the story of King Matthias of Hungary, who escaped the Bohemian George of Poděbrady, in disguise as a woman. The Dožínky festival is another major local event - it celebrates the end of the harvest. Apart from these events, which generally take place on a specific date, you can also sample local tradition by learning about the old folk crafts, which are kept alive to this day. In Borkovany, you can visit an exhibition dedicated to the work of “malérečky”, folk artists who decorate eggs using a special etching technique. Olešnice and Strážnice offer rare original blueprint workshops. The blueprint technique was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019. If you visit for example the Danzinger family blueprinting workshop in Olešnice, they will explain the exact method of this textile printing (one of the oldest in the world), and, if you are interested, sell you some of their many products.
You can also eat your way through tradition :-). Naturally, every area in South Moravia has its own signature dish, but many have become famous across the country. For example, almost every Czech knows the Znojmo pickle - but you can get something extra if you buy them as a souvenir, gift-wrapped and certified as “traditional Znojmo pickles”. Another traditional example is the Moravian “sparrow”, a pork dish that offers a unique blend of all of South Moravia’s typical ingredients. If you have more of a sweet tooth, you can try the traditional Moravian Kolaches or the famous “patents” - potato pancakes filled with plum jam or poppy seed. And if you prefer to have a full experience with your meal, you can also venture to a traditional pig slaughter. One opportunity to get the whole deal, with pig carving, pork feast, thematic folk music with an accordion and a dulcimer and all, is in the Bukovanský Mlýn hotel. The local Miller’s House Restaurant (also on the South Moravia Gourmet list) also offers a number of other Moravian specialities, including patents.
Good food should be followed with a bit of exercise, meaning you might like some cycling options. While some like their standard cycling trips, others might prefer a bit more thrill. In this case, we’re talking about single tracks, special narrow, one-way trails in the nature, made for anybody who likes excitement while cycling. You can find these in the woods of the Moravian Karst, in Jedovnice, but also on the edge of Brno, in the Marian Valley (for more info see www.singlekras.cz/en). The main point of single tracks is adventure and it’s mainly targeted at mountain bike fans (you can also borrow a bike there) – meaning you should come equipped with a helmet, protective gear, enough liquids... and a bit of courage :-).
Regardless of what draws you to the South Moravian Region, one thing is clear - you won’t be bored. In Brno, or anywhere else. In the Moravian capital and in the south, you can pick from any number of activities. You can plan to spend a week or two on your vacation in South Moravia, but you can also make it just a day trip – that’s enough to have plenty of thrilling and fun experiences. And don’t worry, you can easily escape the crowds – if you want tips for peaceful trips, you can look at www.jizni-morava.cz/mimo-davy.