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).
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.
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:
- The traditional Pilsner Urquell Beer Tour (250CZK for 100 minutes) and offered in English, Czech, German, and Russian;
- The Gambrinus Brewery tour (200CZK for 120 minutes) offered in Czech, German, and English;
- The Brewery Museum tour (90 CZK for 60 minutes), offered in CZ, DE, EN, FR, RU, ES, PL, HU, IT, and NL;
- The Pilsen Historial Underground tour (120 CZK for 50 minutes), offered in Czech, German, English, and Russian; and
- 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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
- The Plzeň Zoo;
- The Plzeň Historical Underground; and
- 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.