A Natural Wonder Near Brno: Punkva Caves and Macocha
Melis Karabulut has everything you need to know when visiting the natural wonder of Macocha and the Punkva Caves, just half an hour drive from Brno… Credit: MK / BD
Brno, Oct 24 (BD) – Brno is a pretty interesting and fun city lately, with tons of events going on and the Halloween spirit surrounding us as well. But if you are getting a bit tired of the city buzz, let me take you to discover the natural beauty lying just a few kilometers out of the city to get some real spook going on – the Punkva Caves!
We have long heard about the beauty of the region surrounding the Punkva Caves and the Blansko region. With its hiking trails, caves, rivers, and history, it is surely a great area to discover, worth more than one visit. It is also not so far from Brno, which makes it even more of a great addition to your go-to list. In this article, we are limiting ourselves to the Punkva Caves and Macocha.
Punkva Caves are the most famous caves in the Moravian Karst, mainly due to the romantic-yet-scary cruise on underground River Punkva that passes through the caves, and also the opportunity to be at the bottom of the Macocha Abyss. The caves are a part of the largest and longest cave system in the Czech Republic.
What To Know Before You Go?
- Reserve Your Ticket Beforehand
Punkva Caves are highly popular with Czechs and foreigners. Especially in summer, getting a ticket to visit the caves can be challenging. It is a friendly suggestion to book your ticket at least a few days before you go there to make sure that you secure your spot. Online booking information can be found here.
Entrance tickets cost CZK 250 for adults, CZK 200 for students, and CZK 150 for children.
It is possible to reserve your ticket by email or phone, and the ticket office speaks English. This way, you can pay for your reservation on spot, by card, or by cash.
The tours take place from 8.30am to 4pm, and the last tour starts at 3pm. Each tour takes approximately 65-70 minutes and involves around 1.2 kilometers of walking. The tour language is Czech, but it is definitely worth a visit even if you don’t understand one word of it!
- Bundle Up – It Is Cold!
The temperature inside the caves is a maximum of 8 degrees. It is a good idea to wrap up warm before you start your journey.
- By Public Transport
Reaching there by public transport is a tiny adventure. First, take the train from Brno Hlavni Nadrazi to Blansko. Then, take bus 226 from Blankso to Skalní Mlýn – you will need to pay the driver for the ticket. Get off at the Skalní Mlýn tourist center, where you can either walk to the cave entrance, which takes approximately 35 minutes, or take the tourist train. The prices of the tickets may have changed, so it is a good idea to take around CZK 150 to make sure that you are covered.
- By Car
If you have the chance to go there by car, that would make your trip much easier. By following the highway from Brno to Blansko, and then cutting through the curved paths leading to the Moravian Karst region; in about 35 minutes you would reach the car park near the Punkva Caves and complete your journey. The parking ticket costs CZK 50.
The Wonderful Trip
From the parking lot, you reach the starting point that welcomes you with a few gift shops, a nice cozy cafe, and a panoramic view of the Macocha Abbys and the breathtaking nature. There, you will also find the information desk and the ticket office, where you can get some informative brochures.
There are several ways to walk down to the entrance of the caves, but for a quick and scenic option, I suggest the visitors take the telfer going down through the massive rocks and autumn-colored forests. A return ticket for the telfer costs CZK 70.
There is only one path that will lead you to the telfer (Lanova Draha), with clear instructions. The telfer will take you down to the Canyon of Pustý Žleb, the national natural reservation of the Punkva in the protected landscape area called the Moravian Karst. This is where you will start your journey to the deep cave world! Even the starting point is absolutely stunning, especially in this season covered with all the autumn colors and an atmosphere out of the movies.
As you follow the instructions of the tourist guide, you dive into the misty, spooky yet beautiful depths of the Punkva Caves entering the Přední dóm. We learn that the caves were discovered in stages in the years 1909–1933, and have been damaged by several natural disasters through the years. It still retains its beauty and mystery, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. The tour guide may shut down the lights or play dramatic songs a few times as you walk through the passages. This is just for fun, no need to be scared!
The tour passes through several passages, gates, and rooms full of stalactites, stalagmites, and heavy humidity reaching up to 100%. The Czechs like to make up tales about the shapes of the rocks; such as angels, crocodiles, elephants, Turkish graves, and more. Legend has it that there is this one unique stalactite and stalagmite couple that is being acknowledged as Romeo and Juliet; not being able to make their ways meet as they are not able to grow taller.
The cave rooms lead the visitors to the world-famous Macocha Abyss, which is simply an otherworldly view that cameras cannot capture adequately. You may feel that you are feasting your eyes on heaven, or that you are on the set of Lord of the Rings, as this place is unique and has a soul! The abyss is almost 140 meters deep, with a dark blue puddle at the bottom. The legend says that the abyss received its name after a malevolent stepmother who married a widowed man from the region. The man had a son from his dead wife and his new wife decided to throw him into the abyss to make sure that she inherited the wealth from her husband. Later on, the villagers threw the stepmother into the abyss after finding out what she had done to the poor boy.
Approximately one kilometer of the walk is over now, and the visitors follow the motorboat ride along the underground river that is still surrounded by the cave ceilings. From that point, taking photos is not allowed, which allows you to really take the magical atmosphere in and enjoy the ride to the fullest. The journey includes a visit to the Masaryk Dome, also known as the theatre, which has one of the most impressive views of the whole trip.
The trip ends near the starting point, as the visitors leave the boats. Now, you have the option to take a nice long hike in the area on one of the many great hiking routes, or you can take the telfer back up to the car park and have lunch or coffee at the Chata Macocha. The prices are very reasonable, there is a warm environment that will surround you with much spookiness and beauty, and there is a varied menu for every taste.
You can also keep enjoying the spectacular views around the place, prolonging the walk, or discovering nearby villages and caves for more.