Plzeň (Pilsen) Czech Republic: all you need to know about Pilsen City
Plzeň (in English and German called Pilsen) is the friendly City, where tourists are still welcome. And thanks to this Plzeň tourism is growing year by year.
Discover where is Plzeň located, why is Pilsen worth visiting and how to spend an unforgettable time in European Capital of Culture 2015.
Plzeň is known worldwide for Pilsner beer. The legend that gave name to all Pilsners and Pils types beer was born here in the mid-19th century. But Plzeň can offer its visitors much more than just the beer
- Where is Plzeň Czech Republic located?
- History of Pilsen City
- How to get to Plzeň from Prague
- How to get to Plzeň from Germany?
- What to see and do in Plzeň?
- Where to stay in Plzeň
- Why to visit Plzeň in 2018?
- Visit Plzeň with kids
- Taste Czech Cuisine
- Czech currency: how to pay in Pilsen?
- Prices of beer in Czech Republic
- Public transport in Pilsen
- The easiest parking in Pilsen
- Pilsen Emergency contacts
- Pilsen tourist information office
#1 Where is Plzeň Czech Republic located?
Pilsen (in Czech language called Plzeň) is situated about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southwest from Prague, the Capital City of Czech Republic (known also as Czechia), and with more than 180,000 inhabitants is Plzeň the fourth largest City in Czech Republic, the central European Country.
Pilsen lies at the confluence of 4 rivers: Úhlava, Úslava, Radbuza and Mže, which meant it was a perfect crossroads for trade, especially goods coming from the direction of Germany. These 4 rivers stream to the fifth river called Berounka, which continues from Plzeň towards Prague.
Download the Map of Pilsen City Center here »
Good to know:
- Plzeň is loacted in the center of Europe and is using Central European Time as Prague
- Country calling code: +420
- Official language: Czech
- the main Plzeň Postal/ZIP code is 301 00
- the population in Pilsen is more than 180,000 inhabitants
- Plzeň is a Univeristy city
- Czech Republic is a part of European Union but it still uses its own currency Czech Crowns: 20 CZK=US$1
- drink driving limit is 0%, max. speed in towns is 50 km/h
- the driver sits on the left side of a vehicle, right side drive rules apply
#2 History of Pilsen City
Plzeň (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpll.zɛɲ]), also called Pilsen in English and German, is the most important city of West Bohemia in the Czech Republic. The City of Pilsen was founded in 1295 by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, who gave to 260 Pilsner citizens the right to brew the beer. The privilege to make beer was very profitable financially, its allowed the holder to sell beer in his house.
But Pilsners had been making beer without the necessary knowledge and education and they had often been improving the tastes by variety of ingredients. No wonder, that the quality of Pilsner beer was really horrible!
The owners of the right to brew beer joined together and choose a special place for constructions of a new brewery and invited a German master brewer Josef Groll to prepare German style lager beer. The taste of new brewed Pilsner beer was extraordinary! Probably because of unique Plzeň water. It was the year 1842 when the legendary Pilsner Beer was born.
Plzeň was part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy until 1918, when it was included in newly independent Czechoslovakia. It was taken by German forces in 1939 and became a leading producer of German weapons during World War II. In 1945 the city was liberated by US Army and returned to Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, shortly after the end of the War the Czech country was taken by Communist regime in February 1948 and begun the time of a persecution, imprisonment and a nationalization of private property.
Great Synagogue in Pilsen is the second largest synagogue in Europe and the third largest in the world.
Plzeň used to be a grey and sad city during communist time (1948-1989) with mostly people working in heavy machinery: Škoda Works. After the Velvet Revolution and a fall of communism in 1989 many houses were returned to their original owners, who started to reconstruct their properties, the municipality of Pilsen takes care about Pilsen monuments, sights, parks and streets and Plzeň is getting more and more visitors each year.
It is amazing to observe how Pilsen City has changed its face but of course the industrial character of the city has been kept up to the present day.
#3 How to get to Plzeň from Prague?
Plzeň belongs to the most visited places near Prague. Pilsen lies only 90 kilometres southwest of Prague, the capital of Czech Republic. Thanks to the short distance from Prague many tourists choose Pilsen as a goal for a one day trip from Prague. But maybe after the visit of Pilsner Urquell Brewery and tasting of famous Pilsner Beer you would prefer to stay overnight. You can come to Plzeň by a car, train, bus or you can book a direct transfer.
If you are going to come to Plzeň by a car you would like probably to know everything about parking in Plzeň.
Direct transfer from Prague to Pilsen
You can also order a direct transport from Prague to Plzeň. This is really a smart decision if you travel as a family or a group of people. As a bonus you will get free guided walking tour through Prague (4 hours) and the printed map of Prague. The journey takes less than 1 hour. The transfer is possible to book and pay online in advance.
The price for private transfer of 4 people from Prague airport directly to Pilsen hotel or Pilsner Urquell Brewery is approximately US$85. Click here to check prices and book the transfer from Prague to Pilsen »
Train from Prague to Pilsen
Plzeň can be reached by train from Praha (Hlavní Nádraží), which runs several times a day. Tickets cost 4 EUR each way or you can buy the return ticket which is cheaper than two one way tickets. It takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach Plzeň (Hlavní Nádraží) on a modern and comfortable train. For train connections see the Web page of Czech Railways and choose the English or German language.
Read also: How to get from Prague airport to city centre or train station here »
#4 How to get to Pilsen from Germany?
Coming to Pilsen by train is possible even from the direction of Germany. Plzeň has a direct train connection with the Bavarian Capital Munich. The journey takes 4 hours. Or you can come to Pilsen from Nuremberg, but you have to change twice. Read our detailed guide about How to get to Pilsen from Prague, Munich and Nuremberg »
#5 What to see and do in Pilsen Czech Republic?
In comparison to other cities Pilsen is extraordinary in that fact that all of the historical sightseeing places are located within one area of the city center.
Plzeň is especially famous for Pilsner beer, exported worldwide, and I assume that your first steps will lead to Pilsner Urquell Brewery, which is situated only 500 meters far from the main Pilsen railway station. Pilsner Urquell Brewery is a goal of 750,000 tourists from all over the world every year.
The Pilsner Urquell Brewery tour takes 100 minutes and you will learn about the ingredients from which Pilsner Urquell beer is brewed and about the unique process of brewing this legendary beer.
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
Location: Pilsen, Czech Republic
✔ 2-course lunch
✔ Entrance fees
✔ Local guide
✔ Min. of 4 people per booking required
From US$59 BOOK NOW
Pilsner Urquell Brewery is the biggest producer of beer in the Czech Republic and Pilsner Urquell tour is according TripAdvisor one of the world´s best tourist attractions. Read more about Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour here »
Pilsner Urquell Brewery
U Prazdroje 7, Plzeň
GPS: 49°44'47.339"N, 13°23'10.568"E
Open daily: 8 am – 5 pm (April – September until 6 pm)
Pilsen City Center offers plenty of sights and attractions which remind their visitors of Plzeň rich history such as the Cathedral of St.Bartholomew, Renaissance City Hall, the labyrinth of underground corridors known as Pilsen Historical Underground or the unique Great Synagogue, the third largest in the world. Thanks to that, Pilsen obtained title European Capital of Culture for the year 2015.
Learn more about Top 21 unique Pilsen attractions »
The dominant building of the city is the St. Bartholomew Cathedral which has the highest church tower (102,6 meters) in the Czech Republic. The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew is open to the public and you can climb up the tower to have a beautiful view of the historic center and across the region.
The Cathedral of St.Bartholomew on Republic Square is the most significant Pilsen sight.
Plzeň is usually known as a place where the famous Pilsner Urquell beer is produced, but there is much more what to see and do in Plzeň Czech Republic than just tasting and drinking the beer.
Whether you are visiting Plzeň for the first time or coming back for a special occasion, you’ll discover Pilsen city full of unforgettable landmarks and exciting things to do. Explore Plzeň like a local and find what to see and do in Pilsen here »
#6 Where to stay in Pilsen
Looking for a hotel near Pilsen old town or Pilsner Urquell Brewery? Would you like to know which hotel is family friendly?
With so many hotels in Plzeň it might be hard to decide which one to choose. Well, some of the work has been done for you, we prepared several options which suit all budgets. Read our review of hotels in Pilsen here »
#7 Why to visit Plzeň in 2018?
Pilsen is not among the most beautiful and the most visited Cities but I think that Plzeň is worth a visit, because there are a few things which make Pilsen special:
If you would like to know everything about how Plzeň beer was born and how is it made, if you want to see the production line and taste the beer direct from the tank, then visit Plzeň. And what more: You can even learn how to brew beer! And we know where. Learn more where to drink the best beer in Plzeň here »
2. Liberation of Pilsen by US Army
In 1945, the whole part of Western Czechoslovakia was liberated by US Army at the end of World War II. This is really interesting because the rest of former Czechoslovakia was liberated by Russian forces. On May 6th, 1945 Pilsen was completely liberated by General Patton’s 3rd Army and all German troops were disabled and disarmed. Unfortunately, the American army was not allowed to proceed much further after Pilsen to Prague. It had to stop at a demarcation line a little beyond the town of Rokycany – as had been agreed upon by the Allied leaders some time before the end of the war. From this reason Plzeň Czech Republic is the last European City liberated by US Army.
You need to understand that the end of World War to was followed by the Communist time and teachers were forced to teach that we had been liberated by Russian army. But our parents remembered the liberation by US Army very well.
Pilsen Liberation Celebration is probably the most significant event in Plzeň, it attracts thousands of tourists from Europe and USA to Plzeň each year.
3. Low prices
Plzeň is a cheap city: prices for accommodation in hotels or apartments start on US$30. You can have a daily menu in good restaurants for just US$5. Sound good?
4. Day trips from Pilsen
Prague is so close: One of the most romantic Cities in the world Prague is situated just 90 km far from Pilsen. It is an excellent goal for one day trip.
Pilsen is surrounded by a beautiful landscape. You can find hills, lakes and green meadows suitable for many sport activities as biking, skiing, sailing or fishing. History lovers can enjoy plenty of Czech castles, spa towns attract romantic souls.
Discover the most beautiful places in Pilsen region »
5. Amazing events through the whole year
Pilsen lives for the whole year. Many events take place on Republic Square and in nearby parks.
You can look forward to Liberation celebration, beer and street food festivals, Christmas, Eastern and farmer markets, open-air concerts, music and theater festivals.
Learn what´s on in Plzeň in the Pilsen Events Calendar.
Be careful, during major Pilsen events and on weekends are the best properties booked a long time ahead. You can book your accommodation in Pilsen here.
#8 Visit Plzeň with kids
Do you plan to visit Pilsen with children? Are you looking for the right activities for you and your kids? Pilsen is a kid friendly city; most attractions are recommended for children. For example my kids love to climb to St. Bartholomew church tower and to observe the surrounding with our very old telescope. They also love Pilsen historic underground where they receive helmet and see all these old equipment used in Middle Ages. They even love to stay in the park called “Mlýnská strouha” or “Pilsen Venice” where you can watch yellow fishes or enjoy the nearby children playground.
And kids of course love places as Pilsen ZOO and Dinopark. Especially Dinopark in Pilsen is an extraordinary educational and entertainment park with the origin in Plzeň. You can find only 9 of Dinoparks in the world, each is a little bit different. 5 Dinoparks are in the Czech Republic, 2 in Slovakia, one in Spain and one in Russia. And all of them are manufactured in Pilsen.
In Dinopark Plzeň you can find large static models and also computer-controlled, which can handle several types of movements. They are all electric. Each model has its own computer and the program. Models are moving with tail, head, they are raking, blinking, chewing and screaming. Their body is covered by a specially developed a flexible artificial skin. The largest model Apatosaurus has the length of 23 meters, the smallest is Compsognathus with length of only 1 meter, you could see it at the beginning of Spielberg´s movie “The Lost World: Jurassic Park“.
Read more about fun things to do in Pilsen with kids »
#9 Taste Czech Cuisine
Walking in Pilsen and exploring all these historical monuments can be sometimes very demanding. And it is the right time to take a rest and relax in one the parks close to the Plzeň City Center or to taste Czech cuisine.
What is the typical Czech food? Does the traditional Czech Cuisine still exist?
Czech Cuisine is not extra healthy, but it is very tasty, delicious and also fatty and filling. But you did not travel to Pilsen to eat Italian food, did you?
The Czech food consists of a lot of flour, meat, sausages, potatoes and sweet stuff accompanied with beer. And there won’t be many salads or vegetables.
Probably the most famous Czech meal is “Svíčková”, roast duck with cabbage and dumplings, goulash, schnitzel with potato (or potato salad), beef steak tartare and fruit dumplings. Although we (Czech people) cook our meals in a little bit lighter version in last years, we added more fishes and vegetables, these typical meals you can still find in almost every family especially during Easter, Christmas and family meetings.
You can taste traditional Czech Cuisine and drink Pilsner beer in many Pilsen restaurants.
Czech typical food and meals you can taste in many restaurants in Pilsen. To help you to find it easily, we prepared for you a review of the best Pilsen restaurants.
#10 Czech currency: how to pay in Pilsen?
Although the Czech Republic is located in the heart of Europe, we do not use Euros, we have our own local currency: Czech Crowns, abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK.
The approximate value of 100 CZK is 3,90 EUR/5 USD, you can check the website of Czech National Bank.
As the official currency, the Czech crown is the best and often the only possible currency to use when paying. Of course, some shops, restaurants and hotels accept payments in Euros but the exchange rate may not be very good.
You have 3 options:
- To pay with bank card: these payments are possible almost everywhere: in hotels, restaurants or shopping malls, groceries, railway stations etc.
- It is always useful to have a small amount of money in Czech Crowns: you can pay with it in small shops, farmer markets or toilets. For this purpose change your money in bank or in exchange offices and always check the exchange rate and the high of commission, it can be very different.
- Take money out of a cash machine. ATM machines are a very convenient way to get Czech crowns.
Please, NEVER EVER change your money on the street. If you do, you may end up being robbed or receiving other than Czech currency in return for your cash.
#11 Prices of beer in Czech Republic
Of course I am joking I want to show you prices not only for beer but also for food, meals and transportation in the Czech Republic.
Prices for food in supermarkets are very similar in Czech Republic but hotel prices and prices in restaurants are very different in every Czech City. For example living costs in Prague are much more expensive than in other Cities in the Czech Republic. See the cost of living in Pilsen Czech Republic below:
Here are average prices in groceries:
|Milk (1 litr)||16 CZK|
|Cheese (1 kg)||180 CZK|
|Bread (1,5 kg)||29 CZK|
|Roll (1 pcs)||2 CZK|
|Eggs (1 pcs)||3 CZK|
|Chicken breasts (1 kg)||150 CZK|
|Beef meat (1 kg)||190 CZK|
|Rice (1 kg)||33 CZK|
|Potatoes (1 kg)||15 CZK|
|Apples (1 kg)||35 CZK|
|Banana (1 kg)||39 CZK|
|Pilsner Urquell (0,5 l)||26 CZK|
|Wine (0,7 l)||130 CZK|
Prices mentioned above can differ according the season, quality of food, local conditions and shop discounts.
Prices in Pilsen restaurants:
|Meal (daily menu)||120 CZK|
|Meal (evening)||170 CZK|
|Juice (3 dcl)||35 CZK|
|Coke (5 dcl)||39 CZK|
|Pilsner Urquell (0,5 l)||48 CZK|
|Mineral water (0,5 l)||29 CZK|
Prices in Pilsen restaurants can vary according a season, quality and location of the restaurant, kind of meals etc. There is a poster next to the door of each restaurant, so you can always check prices before you entry.
The public transport in Pilsen is very reliable, frequent and it takes you almost everywere.
Prices of transportation in Pilsen:
|Public transport (24 h ticket)||60 CZK|
|Ticket (60 min)||20 CZK|
|Plzeň Monthly Pass||480 CZK|
|Train (Plzeň-Prague)||100 CZK|
You can use tram, bus or trolleybus in Plzeň. Read how and where to buy the ticket and more useful information about the public transport in Plzeň here.
#14 Pilsen Emergency contacts
In case of an emergency while you are in Plzeň, always dial 112. It is a free call which will connect you to the police, firefighters or hospital.
Important phone numbers
112 – International European Emergency Number
150 – Fire Brigade
155 – Medical Emergency
156 – Municipal Police
158 – Police of the Czech Republic
Emergency: University Hospital Plzeň-Lochotín
alej Svobody 80
323 00 Plzeň
GPS: 49°45'44.33"N 13°22'48.83"E
Phone Number: +420 377 103 111
Open 24 hours
Dentist emergency in Pilsen
Denisovo nábřeží 4
301 00 Plzeň
Phone Number: +420 378 218 171, +420 378 218 172, +420 378 218 173
Mo-Fr: 6 pm - 12 pm
Sa, Su, public holiday: 6 am - 6 pm
Non-stop pharmacy in Pilsen: Lipová lékárna
Alej Svobody 882/60
323 00 Plzeň
Phone Number: +420 377 533 259
Open non-stop: 24 hours
The most beautiful park in Pilsen City Center serves as a place for your relaxation.
#15 Pilsen tourist information office
In case you are in a need please contact the Pilsen tourist INFOCENTRE. It is located on Republic Square, next to the Pilsen City hall.
Náměstí Republiky 41
301 00 Plzeň
Phone Number: +420 378 035 330
April-September: 9 am - 7 pm
October-March: 9 am - 6 pm
Now, you know why Plzeň Czech Republic belongs to top places to visit in Czechia. Plzeň is the friendly city with a rich history and a low crime rate. Many buildings in Pilsen are very well repaired; but of course some parts of the city are still waiting on reconstruction. And we know for sure, that nobody will get bored in Plzeň and that Plzeň is a right place where you can start with the exploring of not only Czech Republic but also Europe.
For more information before your visit to Pilsen Czechia click here to see the nice video about Plzeň.
Written by Šárka Novotná
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I'm Šárka and I'm so glad you've found this Website! I was born in Plzeň and from the love to my home city I launched PlzenGuide.com. I hope you will find important information and ideas about how to spend an incredible time in Pilsen Czech Republic.