The Czechs call Pilsen the “beer capital” as it is the home for the famous Czech beer Pilsner. It is brewed from the day the city was founded. The city appeared here in the 13th century and still has its medieval spirit of those historical periods. Nevertheless, now it is an industrial, commercial, cultural and administrative center of Western Bohemia.
Pilsen (or Plzen in Czech pronunciation) is the fourth largest city in Czech Republic and only 100 kilometers from Prague. Located in the zone of a moderately warm climate, it has warm and dry summer and cold winter days with a lot of snow. The average air temperature in summer reaches +20 C and in winter it is about -10 degrees.
The city was founded by the Czech King Wenceslas II at the end of the 13th century on a flat area. According to the “construction project”, Pilsen was divided into several blocks. In the center of the city was the largest in the Western Europe square, which served as a place for market trade. In addition, there are catacombs under the city with the total length of 25 kilometers.
During the World War of 1939-1945, it has been through huge damages. Many of the historical monuments as well as architectural masterpieces were destroyed. Therefore, tourists come here to find out the old beer drinking and brewing traditions.
Most noteworthy, that Pilsen is one of the largest beer producers in the world.
There are approximately 167 thousand people on the territory of about 140 square kilometers. Public transport in the city consists of trams, trolleybuses and buses. The city has an international airport as well as several railway stations.
Main sights in Pilsen
Museum of beer
The main attraction of the city is the museum of brewing Pilsner Urquell, located in the building of the local beer factory. The museum is one of the few institutions of this kind in the world and in particular in the Czech Republic.
Can you imagine that the first brewers appeared here in the distant year 993? In the museum tourists will see the process of brewing, collection of beer labels, a huge wooden mug. If you have never been to such establishments, you will be impressed by the atmosphere and smell of real beer.
Entrance fee: 90-220 CZK, depending on the excursion.
Museum of ghosts
Another popular museum is the Ghost Museum, which is located in the heart of the city in the building of the former guest house. The subjects of the ghost museum’s exposition are closely connected with ancient legends and Czech folk tales.
The duration of excursions in the museum is less than an hour. There are also educational and entertaining contests for children of different ages. In the middle of June you can get to the annual thematic celebration, which gathers people wearing ghosts and other mysterious costumes.
- Full price 80 CZK;
- Reduced price 50 CZK;
- Family ticket 220 CZK.
Museum of puppets
The puppet museum is located in Republic Square. It opened not so long ago, only in 2009. The museum occupies the largest in the province building, preserved since the Middle Ages.
The exposition of the ground floor introduces the history of the Czech puppet theaters, beginning with the strolling artists who moved on horse-drawn carriages until the first puppet theater in the city. There are about 300 unique copies of dolls, which pleased and entertained many generations. And the exhibit allows taking items and studying them.
On the second floor of the museum visitors will learn about the outstanding creators of puppet theaters, get acquainted with the history of the first theater of the 19th century, will see a unique animated model of the theater, carefully restored from photographs of past years. The next exposition is devoted to favorite modern characters of puppet shows.
- Adults 60 CZK;
- Children 30 CZK;
- Family ticket 150 CZK.
The museum is located in the Renaissance building of the former Hotešov Monastery. It shows interiors from the 14th to the 20th century, filled with furniture, faience, porcelain and other household items.
In other rooms you will see painted rural furniture of the 18-19th centuries, ceramics and various household items. A collection of rural and urban costumes is very rich. The museum also presents a large collection of photographs of rural architecture.
The museum’s concept is to study the development of the culture of the city and the village and their interaction.
- Adults – 40 CZK;
- Children, students and disabled – 20 CZK;
- Family ticket – 60 CZK.
One of the most famous art museums not only in Plzen, but in the Czech Republic is the West Bohemian Gallery. Its collection is huge and exhibited in 2 buildings. The main building of the museum is in the very center of the city. Originally it had the Gothic style, but later was reconstructed in a Renaissance style.
In the gallery you can see the masterpieces of Czech masters of the 19-20th centuries. There are paintings by Mikoláš Aleš, Karel Purkyně, Antonín Slavíček and many others.
Pilsen Historical Underground
This object can be described as a city under Pilsen. Underground passages and labyrinths appeared in the 16th century. However, scientists note that transitions and premises have already been created under the ground earlier, around the Middle Ages. Most of the dungeons and cellars of the city belonged to breweries. Dungeons also occupied malt houses – special rooms for germinating grain for malt production and distillery.
In addition, they also served as storehouses and cellars for storing food, workshops and shelters.
The total length appropriate for walking is about 19 km. But keep in mind that you can enter it only as part of a group excursion with a guide. At the same time, mind taking warm clothes with you while even in hot summer weather the temperature can drop to +6 °C.
- Adults – 120 CZK;
- Children under 14 years and students – 70 CZK;
- Children under 6 years old – free of charge.
It is worth paying attention to the Republic Square. Its length is more than 190 meters, and the width is almost 140 meters. There you will also see the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in the Gothic style, with the highest tower of the city of more than 100 meters in height. Not far from the cathedral is the town hall in the 16th century’s Renaissance style.
There is one more interesting building – the Imperial House of Rudolph II, who lived here during his visits to Pilsen. Also on the Republic Square is the plague pillar, which reminds the inhabitants of the city of the Virgin Mary, who saved Pilsen from the plague epidemic. Tourists can admire the ancient fountains, installed in each of the corners of the square.
One of the most popular and most beautiful places of interest in Plzen is Krizik gardens. It is a picturesque park, founded in the early 19th century. It attracts both locals and tourists, as the atmosphere disposes for a good rest. Shade alleys of the park zone display interesting sculptures and monuments.
Dinopark Pilsen – the most famous and popular in the Czech thematic complex dedicated to the giant reptiles. Not all children know about those creatures that dominated the Earth millions of years ago. But since 2003 everyone can see how they looked like.
The complex recreates an impression of the Mesozoic era with prehistoric forest. Some of the plants you can see here existed on the planet almost 200 million years ago.
The creatures look like alive and thanks to the technologies they behave like real animals, making characteristic sounds and movements. They react at the approach of man which can be shocking for some people.
- April – October (daily) 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Children 3-15 years – 60 CZK;
- Adults – 90 CZK;
- Family (2 adults and 2 children) – 270 CZK.
St. Bartholomew’s Church
The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew was built in 1295 on the order of King Wenceslas II. The height of the main tower of the cathedral is 103 meters, thus making it really impressive.
The tower of the cathedral is the highest in the Czech Republic. In addition, there should have been two of them but there was not enough money to build the second one.
The main shrine of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral is the statue of the Virgin Mary. The author of the sculpture and the exact year of its creation are unknown, but historians claim that this is the end of the 14th century, around the 1390s.
Every October Pilsen holds the largest and one of the oldest beer festivals in the Czech Republic – “Pilsner Fest”. Interesting fact, that the event starts with a free beer spill, the so-called “Plzen Twelfth”. In the main square there are concerts, and in the museum of beer there are costumed performances.
Another interesting festival is “In the Streets”, takes place in the first half of August. At this time in the center of the city are put several scenes on which musical and theatrical performances are arranged.
Where to eat
Being a beer capital of the Czech Republic, every place from this list accompanies delicious meals with tasty beer. The variety of dishes is impressive, as well as the choice of beverages. Nevertheless, there are the most popular places:
- Na Spilce (Address: U Prazdroje 7);
- U Žumbery (Address: Bezručova 144/14);
- Rango (Address: Pražská 10);
- Ristorante Budino (Address: Pallova 6);
- Na Parkánu (Address: Veleslavínova 59/4);
- U Salzmannů (Address: Pražská 90/8);
- Krčma Stará Sladovna (Address: Malá 3).
Where to stay
It is quite hard to pick out some places that would suit every tourist. That is why we decided to single out some categories with hotels, hostels and apartments with the highest review scores:
How to get from Prague to Pilsen
You can reach the place by bus, by train or by car. Whatever you choose, you will be impressed by beautiful landscapes from the window. Keep in mind that the timetable may change.
Prague – Plzen by bus
The route takes 1.30 hours and costs about 3-12 Euro. The bus leaves from the main station every 4 hours. The final station is Plzeň Divadlo Alfa.
Prague – Plzen by train
The train covers the distance in the same time but the price will be 4-7 Euro. It leaves from the main train station and arrives to Plzen station. You will find more details and timetable here.
Prague – Plzen by taxi or car
You can also book a transfer from Prague and Plzen and it will cost 110-140 Euro. Going by car, it will take 1 hour as the distance is 92 kilometers. You will need 7 liters of petrol at a cost of 8-12 Euro.
Main sights in Pilsen review
Even if you don’t like beer the city will impress you with its historic past, beautiful monuments and architecture. In any case, now you know what the main attractions in Pilsen are and can discover them.
Pilsen is a great destination to find out more about the Czech Republic. But you can hardly disagree that the best way to explore new cities is with the local guide. We offer you private tours with local guides who will help you to get the best experience!