There are plenty of intriguing Czech Republic towns, and cities to explore outside of its capital, Prague. The city of Plzeň in one of those intriguing locations that is colorful, low key, and home to the country’s most popular beer- Pilsner Urquell. I had stayed in Plzeň to visit its famous brewery, but was charmed over by the quaintness of the city streets, and its friendly atmosphere.
Plzeň, or also pronounced Pilsen (German and English), is a historic city in western Bohemia. It was first mentioned as a castle in 976, and had become a “Royal City”, which quickly became an important town on trade routes to Nuremberg and Regensburg, Germany. During the 14th century Plzeň was the third largest town in Bohemia after Prague and Kutna Hora.
Today, Pilsen is quite the fascinating Bohemian city, and significant in its own right. This is a city with history, charm, and of course a lot of beer! It is only less than an hour by train from Prague, and is well worth the journey to explore this city.
If you are planning a visit to this historic city and needing recommendations, I have composed a short list of my Pilsen favorites – Enjoy!
Pilsner Urquell Brewery
Plzeň plays an important role in the history of beer, including the development of Pilsner, a type of pale lager. The Pilsner Urquell Brewery is headquartered in Plzen, and was opened in 1842. This was the first brewery to produce the pale lager, which has become a world wide popular beer style. It is a well copied beer style, and more than 2/3’s of today’s beer is a paler lager style.
The Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour was very interesting, and a great way to learn about this beer’s unique story. On the tour, the guide educated us on the quality of ingredients used, and brought us to various brew houses from different centuries. I was fascinated with the historical cellars, and the the huge oak lager barrels of beer that lined the walls. This is where we were offered a tasting of unfiltered Pilsner Urquell, straight from the barrel, while standing inside the historical cellar.
Pilsner Urquell is the country’s most famous beer. They are also the largest producer, and beer exporter in the Czech Republic.
For my complete review – Pilsner Urquell Brewery | Discovering Czech Republic
For more information on the tour, go to prazdrojvisit.cz.
The main market square in Pilsen is Republic Square, and it is surrounded by many colorful historical buildings. The gorgeous Gothic Cathedral, St. Bartholomew, has the tallest church spire in the country and dominates the square.
There are also three gold modern fountains representing heraldic figures from the Pilsen emblem- a greyhound, a camel, and an angel. Republic Square and it surrounding neighborhoods have several museums, galleries, historical monuments, restaurants, and cafes to spend quality time in.
One of my favorite restaurants in Pilsen is U Salzmannu, which is the oldest hotel and restaurant in the city since 1637. Inside the unique and cozy atmosphere of this restaurant, U Salzmannu offers proper traditional Czech cuisine. It has also been visited by many political, cultural, and social celebrities including Czech presidents and US ambassadors.
While dining at U Salzmannu, I enjoyed one of my favorite and simple dishes from this region, Smažený sýr or fried cheese. There are many other dishes to try on the menu, but I somehow cannot resist a plate of traditional fried cheese in Eastern Europe.
For tourist information, please visit- City of Pilsen
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