Beyond Prague: A Day Trip to Plzeň, Czech Republic

Inside of the worship hall of The Great Synagogue in Plzen, Czech Republic. Photo by Nina Bosken.
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About Plzen

Nestled 56 miles Southwest of the Czech capitol of Prague sits the charming Bohemian city of Plzeň (Pilsen), Czech Republic. It is the fourth most populated metropolis in the Czech Republic, and its the birthplace of the world-famous Pilsner beer (still brewed within the walls of Pilsner Urquell Brewery today).

Pilser Urquell Brewery
The gate to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Photo by Nina Bosken.

Even though Pilsner can be brewed in other places, the pivo (Czech word for “beer”) continues to inspire the creation of other beers across the globe.

Though the prevalence of beer reigns supreme, there is more to this Bohemian paradise than meets the eye. To show us hidden treasures and popular traditions, the Visit Plzen tourism board led A World of Dresses and I on a fully-packed day tour.

Leading us through cobblestoned streets to secret hideaways, we discovered more of what makes Plzeň the perfect and affordable day-trip from Prague.

Read below to learn about what we explored and ate on our full-day itinerary:

Stop 1: Pilsner Urquell Brewery

A six-minute walk from the Hlavnni Nadrazi Station is the crown-jewel of Plzeň: the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. A legend in its own right, the facility has been enticing thousands of visitors to its grounds each year, and continues to inspire beer enthusiasts across the globe.

Pilsner Urquell Brewery
Inside the brewing room at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Photo by East Coast Contessa.

The facility has remained active since the first beer was bottled in the mid 1800’s. 120,000 bottles are processed per hour, so visitors can get an insider’s glimpse at the art of beer-making on numerous tours.

Guests over the age of 18 can choose from five daily tours that showcase three brew houses,, the water tower, and ingredients used:

  1. The traditional Pilsner Urquell Beer Tour (250CZK for 100 minutes) and offered in English, Czech, German, and Russian;
  2. The Gambrinus Brewery tour (200CZK for 120 minutes) offered in Czech, German, and English;
  3. The Brewery Museum tour (90 CZK for 60 minutes), offered in CZ, DE, EN, FR, RU, ES, PL, HU, IT, and NL;
  4. The Pilsen Historial Underground tour (120 CZK for 50 minutes), offered in Czech, German, English, and Russian; and
  5. The Story of Pilsner Beer tour (390CZK for 180 minutes), offered in Czech, English, and German.

All tours except educational programs and those with underage school groups include a beer tasting from the barrel. Na zdraví!

Pilsner Urquell Brewery
The bridge on the campus of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Photo by Nina Bosken.

Stop 2: The Great Synagogue

A 4-minute walk from Plzeň’s center, The Great Synagogue stands as Europe’s second largest synagogue.

Though it may look unsuspecting and usual from its outward appearance, the Neo-Renaissance “palace” of worship is anything but.

Boasting two external 45-meter towers and granite buttresses, the very heart of the synagogue is even more stunning. Romantic, Russian Orthodox, and Arabic style decor line the walls and ceilings today, but the synagogue underwent many dark times.

The Great Synagogue
Inside of the worship hall of The Great Synagogue in Plzen, Czech Republic. Photo by Nina Bosken.

From the mid 1900’s to the 1970’s, a long period of disrepair and abandon during World War II and the Communist Era loomed. The Jewish community began to disappear, and after the last service was held in 1973, the synagogue wasn’t restored until 1995.

Since reopening in 1998, the synagogue remains a place of worship for the 70 Jews that call Plzen home. Its main hall is now used for concerts and photography exhibits.

Stop 3: Lunch at Pivstro

When travelers visit the Czech Republic, the thought of relishing in delicious Mexican cuisine isn’t a likely one.

In Plzen, however, the burritos are just as popular as the beer selection at the local hotspot known as Pivstro.

Pivstro Bistro
The chicken burrito at Pivstro Bistro in Plzen, Czech Republic. Photo by East Coast Contessa.

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A city center favorite, Pivstro serves up classic comfort dishes with a twist. Offering a small but unique range of culinary selections, Pivstro is the  to enjoy a burger (or a burrito).

Guests can sit inside to enjoy the restaurants quirky decor and indoor dining terrace, or enjoy a street side spot in the sun during warmer months.

Other menu items to order include the Fish and Chips, the Brewhemian Pulled Pork Sandwich, and the Guacamole Bagel Sandwich (veggie).

Pivstro Bistro

Prices are affordable ranging from 60 CZK to 240 CZK for a vegan burger.

Stop 4: Cathedral of St. Bartholomew at Main Square

Considered the city’s ‘pinnacle’, the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew’s Gothic-style 103m spire stands watch over Plzeň from Main Square.

Completed at the beginning of the 16th century, it’s home to the famous argillite statue known as the Pilsen Madonna.

Plzen, Czech Republic.
St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. Plzen, Czech Republic. Photo by East Coast Contessa.

The tallest spire in the Czech Republic, it offers sweeping views of the city from its viewing gallery at 60m. Guests can visit the Cathedral interiors and the spire at the days and times below:

Cathedral Interiors:
From April to September guests can visit Wednesday to Saturday between 10:00am and 4:00pm.
From October to December guests can visit Wednesday to Friday between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

Spire tours:
Tours are offered daily throughout the year from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
The entrance fee is 50 CZK for adults, 25 CZK for children (6-15 years), and 35 CZK for students.

Stop 5: Lemonade at Kantyna

After a full day of walking, a freshly brewed Czech lemonade from Kantyna is sweet perfection. At Bistro Kantyna, a wide selection of fizzes await inside of a “secret garden” dining oasis.

While people across the world drink their own form of lemonade, this lemonade holds a special place in hearts and history throughout Czechia.

Plzen, Czech Republic

Made with fresh fruit, fruit juice, veggies, syrups, and herbs mixed with CO2, this bubbly beverage is perfect on a warm day.

Today, melon, cucumber, ginger, raspberry, and lavender are the most popular ingredients used in this made-from-scratch drink.

But what’s best part? Kantyna is only a short 10 minute walk to the Hlavni Ndrazi Main Rail Station, so it’s the perfect spot to grab a snack before traveling.

Stop 6: Hlavni Nadrazi Main Rail Station

Serving as the main transportation hub from Plzen to other Czech towns in cities and surrounding countries, the Hlavni Nadrazi Station is a Czech cultural Heritage site.

The art-nouveau building was first opened in 1862, but experienced a number of damages during the bombings of World War II and into the Communist Era.

Travelers can find an easy route to-and-from Prague on the České Dráhy trains which usually run every hour or on more frequent time tables.

Other sights worth visiting in Plzen are:

  1. The Plzeň Zoo; 
  2. The Plzeň Historical Underground; and
  3. The viewing deck of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral.

To learn more about Plzeň or to book a trip, visit www.pilsen.eu for accommodation and sightseeing recommendations.

**this post was sponsored by Visit Plzen.

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34 Comments
  1. Meghan Emcee says

    Everything about Plzen sounds AMAZING!! I had no idea that Pilsner was from there and I like how there’s a synagogue to see, it changes it up from the regular European church. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Alex Booze says

      It was such a fun day trip! I loved it. It is so different from the churches one usually sees in Europe, and it’s a great little break from Prague!

  2. Tammy says

    Great guide can’t wait to see it in person. Pinned it for later.

    1. Alex Booze says

      Aw thank you, Tammy! I appreciate it. I hope you get a chance to visit it sometime soon!

  3. Abbie says

    I’m digging the step by step stops for the perfect trip! I’m always looking for Czech trips outside of Prague. Thanks for sharing all the inside details 🙂

    1. Alex Booze says

      Thank you! I am going to start doing each blog post like this to make it a bit easier for people to follow, hopefully! I hope you get a chance to go someday!

  4. Linnea says

    I’ve never heard of Plzen! I really want to go on my next trip to Prague. I had no idea they were known for lemonade too! Is just one day enough?

    1. Alex Booze says

      I hadn’t either until I moved there! It’s a charming little city. You can definitely do everything in one day, but if you prefer to take your time, I would recommend two days, leaving in the late afternoon on the second day 🙂

  5. Ivi says

    Looks beautiful! I will definitely have it in mind when I visit Czech Republic

    1. Alex Booze says

      That’s great to hear! When will you be visiting the CZ?

  6. Rachael says

    This place looks so beautiful! It’s nice to read about other places in the Czech Republic too

    1. Alex Booze says

      Yes! It’s so easy to get caught up in just Prague (which is also gorgeous), but there are other parts too!

  7. Valerie says

    How beautiful! I have only been to Prague in the Czech Republic, you made me want to explore more of the country!! 🙂

    1. Alex Booze says

      Prague is wonderful but there is so much more to explore! I loved Plzen and Karlovy Vary. So many more little towns and cities too 🙂

  8. Veronika Primm says

    Yes, Plzeň is fun. I’m Czech so I did take my fair share of trips to Plzeň. The most interesting time of year to visit is when there’s the annual Liberation Festival incl. a reunion of veteran soldiers who participated in freeing the town and with that brought the Second World War to an end.

    1. Alex Booze says

      Oh so lucky! I love CZ. I will have to check out the festival next time I am there. It sounds very interesting!

  9. Michelle says

    We just love Europe! We haven’t made it to the Czech Republic yet but I would love to soon. The synagogue and cathedral look incredible, and all of that delicious food and yummy beer are just the cherry on the top!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Ohh I love Europe too which is why I live here heheh. Next time you are over this way, put the Czech Republic on your list! Yummy beer and pastries.

  10. Micamyx|Senyorita says

    What a vibrant place! Thanks for blogging about Plzen. Pinnong so that if ever I go to Czech Republic, I can refer to this guide if ever I have the time to explore beyond Prague 😀

    1. Alex Booze says

      It’s a hidden gem for sure! Prague is wonderful but getting out to explore every now and then is great too! Hope you get to visit someday 🙂

  11. Diana says

    Thank you for all the recommendations! I’m planning my trip to Prague next month and I might add Plzen to my itinerary. The synagogue looks gorgeous!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Oh you are so welcome!! You will absolutely love Prague — I did! It’s a beautiful city and there are so many towns you can visit that are just a short drive or train ride away. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  12. Elizabeth says

    I didn’t even connect at first that Plzeň is where Pilsner beer is made! I’m more of a lemonade girl myself though. The Czech lemonade sounds really tasty. Good idea about grabbing it before heading back to the train station.

    1. Alex Booze says

      You know, I didn’t put two-and-two together until I moved to the Czech Republic, either! haha. Plzen is one of my favorite cities there. Definitely worth a visit for a day or two!

  13. Sarah says

    LOVE your photos! Prague is definitely on my list, so I will have to keep this guide in mind if I go. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Aw thank you!! Really appreciate that. Yes, I highly recommend visiting the Czech Republic! It’s a very magical place.

  14. Greta Milkovic says

    Plzen seems like a fun town, I been to Prague many times and need to make my way to Plzen next time. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Alex Booze says

      Prague is wonderful, but you would love Plzen too! It’s a different experience and the beer is great 🙂

  15. Tori says

    I’m just in love with the Czech Republic and am ready to return there again and again, at least reading your blog about the trip. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to being there again!

    1. Alex Booze says

      I fell in love with it the first time I visited it! There is just something very magical about it, huh? I hope you get a chance to go back there very very soon! Thank you for stopping by my site!

  16. Katie Dickinson says

    I haven’t made it to the Czech Republic yet, but it’s on my list! I love places like this that are cool in their own right, but close enough to a main hub that if you’re pressed for time you can make a day of it!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Hi Katie! Ohhh it is a truly magical place! I loved living there since there was always something to do. I hope you get to visit one day, and if you have any questions about it just let me know 🙂

  17. Nina Bosken says

    What a fun trip! I was really surprised by how much I loved Pilsen! That synagogue was stunning and the lemonade place was so good!

    1. Alex Booze says

      I loved Plzen so much! I can’t believe it took me so long to visit there when I was just a short drive away in Prague!

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