Pilsen is a queen of the brewery industry, thanks to Charles IV, who established the first brewery in the country in 1375. We all know that it is not a mind-blowing fact we are revealing to you here. We all know what Pilsner beer is.
Let’s be honest: we all tried draft beer while socializing in Prague. Most likely, you gave a chance to Pilsner Urquell (if you have not tried it yet, run to the next-door pub) to experience the taste of the western vibe of the Czech Republic.
Back to the main point-the Pilsen trip. It is much more than just an authentic brewery. Discover what you can do there in less than a day!
A quick history lesson
Pilsen became a thing (according to history, it was a castle) when the legendary battle between Duke Boleslaus II and Emperor Otto II took place in 976. Without the battle, we would probably never have discovered such a beautiful Bohemian city. Later, King Wenceslaus II fell in love with Pilsen, naming it ‘Royal City,’ which would become a crucial trade route that could lead to Nuremberg and Regensburg.
The 17th century became a true deal-breaker for the town. From this point on, it was primarily built in the Baroque style, admired by the high society at that time. To save the city’s beauty as it is, the city center was put under cultural heritage preservation in 1989.
Interestingly, Pilsen is also home to the most popular car in the Czech Republic- Škoda. In fact, Škoda Works was established here in 1869 with the primary aim of supplying the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
World War II has shaken Pilsen’s society, especially the Jewish population. Approximately 2,000 Jews ended up in concentration camps in 1942. After the war, the German-speaking population of citizens left the city (in fact, they were expelled).
What to see in Pilsen?
When you arrive in the historical city center, the first thing that grabs your attention is the breathtaking Gothic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. Just take a look at how astonishing it is!
It was established in the late 13th century and is 102 meters tall. It came to our attention that it is the highest cathedral in the Czech Republic. Who would have thought so? Not us either!
The other ‘must-have’ sight is the Moorish Revival Great Synagogue, in which you can go inside and learn in-depth about the Jewish culture in Pilsen. The synagogue is also a unique piece of religious art. Recently, it was declared that it is the second-largest synagogue in Europe. There must be great architects living here!
The underground life of Pilsen is also one of the tourist attractions. For instance, there is a 20-kilometer historic tunnel (and cellar network now). It has also achieved a European record—it is the longest tunnel in Central Europe.
Unfortunately, only a part of the tunnel is open to visitors—about 750 meters in length and 12 meters in depth. It is small yet worth visiting.
Pilsner Brewery—the gem of the city
Except for the historical city center, the Pilsner Brewery remains an attractive tourist spot. You are welcome to stop at the brewery and discover its history of making beer since 1375. Experts in the field, of course.
The brewery tour will include the most crucial part-degustation at the end—the refreshing flow of delicious wheat, especially in the heat.
Interestingly, the Pilsner beer style was developed a couple of centuries later—only in the 19th century. Why is that so? Learn it on the beer tour. Book your spot here.
Where to eat?
While discovering the city, we visited two places where you could have a delicious lunch and fine snacks. Note: the cuisine is not Czech-infused, so if you don’t feel like discovering the international cuisine, feel free to scroll to the next section!
From the name, you could guess that this is an Italian restaurant! They serve various dishes, yet their specialty is stone-baked pizza. Just look at its size. Super big (that’s what she said).
The spot has a grill-inspired section as well. There you can enjoy juicy burgers as well as steak that is also baked over the fire. Served with homemade fries, resembling the famous McDonald’s option.
The best highlight of the place was the Aperol Spritz. The double size is for the price of 125 Kč. We bet you would never find this in Prague. Inspired by Italian cuisine, this lunch is ideal for hot summer days.
Walter was the second place we visited for a quick snack after the touristy day, and we were amused by it. The name comes from the movie Walter Mitty. In fact, the spot has Mitty’s bakery around the corner, but it was, unfortunately, closed.
At Walter, you can find a vast selection of cakes (except for their famous brunch options, which are also mindblowing). Our favorites were the desert Pavlova, infused with fresh berries, and gluten-free cake with mango and blueberries. A perfect snack for those who did 25,000 steps and discovered all the hidden gems of Pilsen.
The price range was similar to Prague, so we did not see any major differences.
How to get to Pilsen?
The best way to get to Pilsen is by train. It only takes 60-80 minutes from Prague, which is super nice and convenient. Train tickets are more than affordable, at approximately 150-200 Kč. You can discover the precise train schedule as well as fares on the official website of the Czech Railways.
Enjoy your trip and cheers!