The 23 Best Things to Do in Pilsen

By ClaroCaro | Aug 24, 2022
Europe > Czech Republic > Pilsen

The city of Pilsen is better known for its famous beer – the Pilsener Urquell. However, the fourth largest city in The Czech Republic has even more to offer. It is an hour away from Prague by car and is well suited for a day trip.

Particularly worth seeing is the historic old town, which is under a preservation order. Pilsen has a rich history as well as religion has always played an important role. Here you can discover impressive churches and magnificent synagogues from the past.

The historic City Center of Pilsen www.visitpilsen.eu

The historic City Center of Pilsen www.visitpilsen.eu

Culture is not neglected in this Czech city. In addition to countless museums for young and old, you will find operas, ballets and musicals which are performed in the theatre.

The city makes children's hearts beat faster. When visiting one of the children's museums, they immerse themselves in an enchanting fantasy world. The Pilsen Zoo and the neighboring Dino Park are popular destinations for the whole family.

In addition, in 2015 Pilsen was a European Capital of Culture and the remnants of this cultural event program have been preserved. If you are looking for a break from historical history, then the modern Pilsen is just the right thing for you to visit. A former bus depot and the architect Adolf Loos are just two terms I mention here.

Wander around the old town of Pilsen


The historic city center is not very large and so the old town can be explored within a day. There is no need for a city map, you can't get lost, and everything is within walking distance.

The best way for exploring is to start at the old town on Republic Square and the St. Bartholomew's Cathedral with its large church tower. The historic buildings are characterized by their Gothic and Renaissance architecture. You will find a variety of restaurants and cafés here. Among them are rustic breweries and pubs, where freshly tapped beer and Bohemian specialties are served.

Republic Square


The central square in the old town center from the 13th century is one of the largest and most beautiful city squares in Europe. It is surrounded by pretty townhouses that impress with their colorful facades. In the middle is St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, and a visit is almost a must. Furthermore, historical sights on Republic Square are the Town Hall, the Plague Column, and the three golden fountains.

Republic Square in Pilsen www.visitpilsen.eu

Republic Square in Pilsen www.visitpilsen.eu

In 2015, Pilsen was the European Capital of Culture, and the opening ceremony took place on Republic Square. But apart from that, there is a lot of celebration in the square, like cultural events or concerts. Even a big beer festival, for example. When there is no celebration, the square is the home of a farmer's market. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 you can buy typical products of the region.

The Square is also home to the Museum of Ghosts and the Puppet Museum. These two Pilsen museums are particularly popular with children.

Next to the town hall is the tourist information office, and here are free City maps available in Czech, English, and German. Tourist map of the center (PDF, 683 kB)

The tourist information office has also had a branch at the main train station since 2021. Here you will find the usual information material and souvenirs. Apart from that, an observation tower is built there, which is 12 meters high. From the observation deck, you can overlook the train station and the city center.

Observation Tower at the Train Station www.visitpilsen.eu

Observation Tower at the Train Station www.visitpilsen.eu

The Pilsen Tourist Office offers a cheap city tour. The tour always takes place every Saturday. The start of the tour is 3 pm at the office of the tourist information on Republic Square. More information about this, at Tourist Information Centre Pilsen

The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew


The most striking sight in Pilsen is St. Bartholomew's Cathedral on Republic Square. The construction work on the Gothic building began with the founding of the city and ended in the 16th century. In the beginning, it was just a church, which was then transformed into a cathedral by Pope John Paul II in the 90s when he created a bishop's seat here.

St. Bartholomew's Cathedral www.visitpilsen.eu

St. Bartholomew's Cathedral www.visitpilsen.eu

The Belltower is 102 meters high, making it the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic. If you want to see Pilsen from above, you should climb the 300 stairs of the tower. At a height of 60 meters, there is a viewing platform, and from here you have a wonderful view over the city and its surroundings.

Access to the cathedral is free of charge. However, for the church tower, you have to pay a small entrance fee. A single ticket cost 90 CZK for adults, 60 CZK for children, students, and seniors. A family ticket is 180 CZK.

The opening hours of the cathedral are Mon. – Fri. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The tower is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with the last visitors allowed in until 6 p.m.

Pilsen Town Hall


The Pilsen Town Hall is another attraction, it is found opposite of the cathedral. It was built in the middle of the 16. century. And it is still the administrative center of Pilsen, to this day. The building in its Renaissance style stands out for its beautiful façade. The decorations show the coat of arms of Pilsen and important Czech rulers.

The Pilsen Town Hal

The Pilsen Town Hal

But it didn't always look like this. It was only during a renovation that the elaborate sgraffito façade was made. Sgraffito means to scratch. It is a plaster-scratch technique for decorating facades, which dates back to the Renaissance period.

The town hall is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free! On the ground floor of the building, you can visit the entrance hall and a scale model of Pilsen.

The Plague Column of Pilsen


The Baroque Plague Column is found on the corner of Republic Square between the Town Hall and the Cathedral.
The column was erected in 1681 and is intended to commemorate the plague that was rampant in Central Europe at that time. She was donated by the inhabitants of Pilsen as a thank you to mark the end of the plague.

Plague Column

Plague Column

The three Golden Fountains


In the other three corners of Republic Square, you will find the three golden fountains of Pilsen. They do not quite fit into the cityscape of the historic square. However, they were selected from 42 designs in an architectural competition and erected in 2010. This was the year in which Pilsen received the commitment for the European Capital of Culture 2015. Thus, the three fountains are a symbol of the fact that Pilsen is also a modern city.

In their appearance, they remind of a camel, a greyhound, and an angel. The three symbols are also found in the coat of arms of Pilsen.

The golden fountain – The Camel www.visitpilsen.eu

The golden fountain – The Hound www.visitpilsen.eu

The golden fountain – The Angel www.visitpilsen.eu

The garden ring around the old town


A beautiful garden ring runs around the historic city center. In the past, the city walls of Pilsen stood here and today it is a park that invites you to take a walk. The park is lined on both sides by historic buildings, with restaurants and cafes.

On the green areas, you can find various statues of important people from Pilsen throughout the park. One of them is dedicated to the two puppets Spejbl and Hurvínek. But more about Pilsen's puppetry tradition later.

Old City Wall of Pilsen  www.visitpilsen.eu

Old City Wall of Pilsen www.visitpilsen.eu

In one section of the park, there are still the remains of the old city wall. On the historic walls , a restaurant with a beautiful ambience has been opened, where music, dance and other cultural events of all kinds take place.

The garden ring extends from the Great Theatre past the main building of the West Bohemian Museum and ends with the city garden of the former mill race.

The Mill Race – the Venice of Pilsen


The Mill Race of Pilsen is a park that belongs to the Garden Ring and is called the Venice of Pilsen. The former creek is much smaller than its big Italian brother, nevertheless, it is a popular place of recreation.

In the park, there is a café and a restaurant, which serve refreshments and snacks. In the rest of the area, there are benches and large colorfully painted art objects. The sculptures are not only art but also a playground for children.

Mill Race www.visitpilsen.eu

Mill Race www.visitpilsen.eu

The Great Theatre


If you are looking for culture in Pilsen, the Great J.K. Tyl Theatre is the right place for you. Numerous premieres are celebrated here every year. The performances that take place here range from ballet, operas, and musicals to drama. So, there is something for everyone interested in culture.

The beautiful neo-Renaissance style building was built in 1902 and is found on the Garden Ring. The main building houses a large hall with more than 400 seats. From the outdoor terrace, you have a beautiful view of the Nearby Great Synagogue. In addition, guided tours of the Great Theatre are offered, the minimum number is 10 people, and it must be reserved.

The J.K. Tyl Theatre

The J.K. Tyl Theatre

Apart from the main building, the J.K. Tyl Theatre operates another building, called the New Theatre. In both institutions, varied shows are performed, which make Pilsen an important cultural center of the region.

New Theatre


The New Theatre was opened on 2 September 2014. It is found west of the city center. The theatre is a very unusual building that stands out for its striking façade. The cast concrete front impresses with its modern appearance. 39 large holes are distributed all over the entire area. The New Theatre is one of those sights that shines only in the right light. You should visit the theater in the evening. Then the openings are illuminated by LED lights and make the building almost a work of art.

New Theatre www.visitpilsen.eu

New Theatre www.visitpilsen.eu

The new stage and the small stage are housed in the huge building complex. The large stage has space for 461 and the smaller one for 150 visitors. The theatre also has a restaurant called Za Oponou. It is open, not only before and after the performances, but daily from 11 am to 24 pm. The menu can be seen under the following link: https://www.restauracezaoponou.cz/

The Great Synagogue


The large synagogue of Pilsen is considered the third largest synagogue in the world after those in Jerusalem and Budapest. The interior of the synagogue is designed in Moorish style and is particularly worth seeing.

Great Synagogue www.visitpilsen.eu

Great Synagogue www.visitpilsen.eu

Jewish life has existed in Pilsen since the 13th century. In the past, there were a total of five synagogues, but today there are only two left. The Great Synagogue was renovated after the war and today serves a dual purpose. So it's on the one hand, a place of Adoration and on the other hand a concert hall.

Great Synagogue www.visitpilsen.eu

Great Synagogue www.visitpilsen.eu

The Old Synagogue of Pilsen


The Old Synagogue of Pilsen is the oldest surviving synagogue in the city. It is only a few minutes walk from the Grand Theatre. Hidden in a courtyard of a building complex, it is therefore not so easy to find. If you don't know it's there, you might miss the entrance. The passage to the synagogue is southern of the Smetana-Garten between the pharmacy and an herb shop.

After the end of the war, the Old Synagogue was no longer used until it was renovated in 2014. Today it serves the Jewish community of Pilsen again as an active synagogue. You can visit it, but it should be noted that there are church services. And as a non-Jewish visitor, one should behave respectfully. During the visit, you will learn more about the history of Jewish life in the Pilsen region and their traditions and customs.

Opening hours: Sunday to Friday, from 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: 70 CZK for adults, 40 CZK for children (10-15 years), seniors and students 50 CZK

The West Bohemian Museum


In the West Bohemian Museum of Pilsen, you can get to know the history and culture of the city and its people. In the Czech Republic, it is considered one of the largest museums in the entire republic. The museum was founded in 1878 and is home to over 2 million objects. These include historical, handcraft, and scientific collections. It also includes a library decorated in Art Nouveau style and houses all sorts of books as first editions.

West Bohemian Museum www.visitpilsen.eu

West Bohemian Museum www.visitpilsen.eu

For experts, the weapon department is particularly worth seeing. From the most primitive weapons to muskets from the time of the 30 Years' War to firearms.

Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00 (it is closed on Mondays)
Admission: The West Bohemian Museum is spread over several buildings. This includes the main building and the Puppet Museum, which is located on the square of the Republic. It is advisable to buy a MUSEUM PASS. More information about the West Bohemian Museum

Puppet Museum in Pilsen


Pilsen can look back on a long puppeteer tradition. Therefore, it isn't surprising that there is a puppet museum. It is located in Republic Square and is especially popular with children. It shows exhibits from the beginning, when the puppeteers were still on the road with traveling theaters, up to the present day. The house has several floors and each is dedicated to a different era.

Puppet Museum www.visitpilsen.eu

Puppet Museum www.visitpilsen.eu

In the museum, you can learn more about Josef Skupa, the creator of the two puppets Spejbl and Hurvínek. The two figures are famous personalities in Pilsen and are known far beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. There is also a statue of the two dolls on Republic Square near the museum.

Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: Regular 60 CZK, Reduced admission (for children, students, and seniors over 65) 30 CZK, Family ticket (2 adults, max. 4 children) 130 CZK.
Further information can be found under the link: Puppet Museum

The Ghost Museum in Pilsen


On Republic Square, under the Hotel Central, is the Ghost Museum. In the past, another house stood on this site, which has now been demolished and replaced by the hotel. However, the Cellar still exists and today it is the home of ghosts, fairy tales, and fantasy creatures.

If you like creepy things, this is the right place for you. Although the museum is made for children, adults are just as welcome. The little ones can immerse themselves in a fantasy world of magic and ghosts. You will meet scary creatures such as witches, devils, and dragons.

Opening hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Adults 80 CZK, Reduced (Children & Seniors) 60 CZK, Family Ticket 240 CZK.
Further information on the Ghost Museum can be found on the link www.muzeumstrasidel.cz

The Techmania Science Center Pilsen


In this interactive museum, children get to know Science in a playful way. On an area of 10,000 square meters, there are many scientific areas to discover. These include exhibitions on space, the water world, and the underground world. As well as the history of the 150-year-old industry of the region of Pilsen. In the edutorium, fundamental physical laws can be explored experimentally. The experiments encourage children to participate so that they learn that education isn't boring, but fun.

Apart from the exhibitions, there are other attractions. For example, the very first 3D planetarium in the Czech Republic. Another highlight is the Auditorium, called Science on a Sphere. It is a two-meter interactive globe that floats in the middle of the room.

© Techmania Science Center, o.p.s.

The science center is housed in a former factory hall of the automobile manufacturer Skoda. Therefore, one Exhibition is about the history of the car manufacturer.

As you can see, the Science Center offers a wide range of leisure activities for the whole family. You can spend the whole day here. And there is a restaurant, where you can find food such as main courses with drinks and dessert or smaller snacks.

Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: one person: 280 CZK; family ticket: (4 persons) 1040 CZK
More information about the Science Museum and the exhibitions can be found at www.techmania.cz

The Zoo of Pilsen


The Pilsen Zoo is located not far from the city center and is a popular destination for young and old. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals from all over the world. These include giraffes, zebras, lions, rhinos, tigers, penguins, kangaroos, and crocodiles.
On the 21-hectare area there are many outdoor arenas with artificial lakes and visitor centers. Furthermore, here you can see animals that cannot be seen in any other Czech zoo.

In the 90s, the zoo was renovated and has always met the highest European standards for animal keeping. In addition, new facilities have been added in recent years. For example, the House of African and Asian wildlife or the Madagascar House. The latest exhibitions are the Underground World and the Realm of Poison.

But there are other attractions in the zoo. Like the mini railway, with which the little ones like to take a tour of the zoo. Or you can watch the animal feeding of the penguins or chimpanzees. If you get hungry yourself, you can eat fast-food snacks or dine at the African restaurant called Kiboko.

Opening hours: March - October: 8.00 - 19.00; November - February: 9.00 - 17.00
Admission: Different tickets can be bought. The single ticket only grants admission to the zoo, but a combi-ticket also includes admission to the Dino Park.

(Only Zoo): Adults: 190 CZK; Reduced: 140 CZK (Children 3-15, students up to 26, seniors over 60) Family Card: 620 CZK (2 adults + 2 children)

(Zoo + Dino Park) Adults: 330 CZK; Reduced: 240 CZK (Children 3-15, students up to 26, seniors over 60); Family Card: 1050 CZK (2 adults + 2 children)

The Dino Park Pilsen


Next to the Pilsen Zoo is the Dino Park, which is just as popular with the children. In the amusement park, you can discover the moving models of dinosaurs.

The Area is designed like a prehistoric landscape And the Dino's are life-size exhibited. There is also a 3D cinema, in which the children discover the underwater world of the Mesozoic age. On the paleontological playground, the little ones become archaeologists. Because hidden in the sandbox is the skeleton of a dinosaur that can be shoveled free.

DinoTeam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

DinoTeam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Opening hours: April – October every day 8:00 – 18:00
Admission: Adults: 160 CZK; Reduced: 120 CZK (Children 3-15, students up to 26, seniors over 60); Family Card: 500 CZK (2 adults + 2 children)

The Beer Museum of Pilsen


Pilsen is the home of Lager beer. And that's why it's a must, so to speak, that there is also a museum here that tells the story of the famous beer.
In the historic city center in the brewery museum, you can learn more about the Pilsen brewery tradition. The museum is located in an old building from the 15th century, which once housed a brewery. And today you can learn here how beer was brewed in those days.

Beer Museum www.visitpilsen.eu

Beer Museum www.visitpilsen.eu

During a visit, you can see the medieval storage cellar with the large beer barrels. Besides that, lots of tools, and beer bottles, as well as other beer curiosities are exhibited. Such as the world's smallest beer mug. In addition, the museum includes a historic pub where you can taste a glass of Pilsener Urquell at the end of the tour. (Only at 18 years)
You can take part in a guided tour, or you can explore the museum on your own. If you do not choose the guided tour, you can download an app on your mobile phone that will guide you through the museum.

Opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:00
Admission:
· Visit with brochure or mobile app: 100 CZK (Reduced entrance fee 80 CZK)
· Guided tour for groups of 15 people or more: 150 CZK (Reduced entrance fee 100 CZK)
· Family admission (max. 2 adults + 3 children): 220 CZK
· Small group tour + brewery tour + beer tasting + lunch: 1600 CZK

If you're into beer, also check out the 1.5h beer bike tour with unlimited beer!

The Pilsner Urquell Brewery


One of the most famous beers in the world is Pilsner. Originally, this beer comes from the city of Pilsen. And most beers are derived from this variety. They are brewed according to this art of brewing. More than 80% of all beers worldwide, therefore, bear the name Pilsner.

The brewing tradition has existed in Pilsen since 1295 when the king granted the right to brew. From then on, everyone was allowed to brew their beer in Pilsen and sell it. But the quality was sometimes very different and sometimes the beer was inedible. As a result, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery was founded in 1842, and still exports the popular beer all over the world today.

Pilsner Urquell Brewery  www.visitpilsen.eu

Pilsner Urquell Brewery www.visitpilsen.eu

If you want to learn more about the history and the art of brewing, you should visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Various guided tours are offered. During the tour: Pilsner Urquell brewery tour you only explore the grounds of the brewery. Here you get to know the raw materials, visit the brewhouse, and the brewery cellar, taste an unfiltered beer, and learn how the finished beer gets into the bottles in the large bottling plant. For the brewery cellar, you should wear something warm because it can get a bit cold.

On a another guided tour, you will also visit the old town, which is only a few minutes away from the brewery. This tour is called: The story of Pilsner beer. Here you can visit the Pilsner Urquell brewery and taste a beer in the brewery cellar. Afterward the tour leads through the old town center to the main attractions of Pilsen.

In addition to the guided tours, workshops are offered, such as various beer tap courses. Or you can enjoy the restaurant on the brewery grounds, with a delicious lunch, of course with a freshly tapped glass of Pilsner Urquell.

The historical underground of Pilsen


A somewhat unusual attraction is the old tunnels in the underground of Pilsen. The well-preserved passages from the Middle Ages have a total length of 20 km and are the largest underground labyrinth in the Czech Republic.

You can take a tour of these historic corridors and cellars. During the one-hour guided tour, you will learn about the history of Pilsen and the beginnings of beer production. In addition, one learns how the tunnels were used in times of siege. At the end of the tour, all visitors older than 18 years will receive a voucher for a Pilsner Urquell, which can be redeemed in one of 3 selected restaurants.

The tour of the Pilsen underground starts at the Beer Museum. If you buy a combi-ticket, you get a 15% discount. You can buy tickets for two or three facilities. For this, you can choose between the beer museum, brewery, and historical underground.

Architecture Interiors by Adolf Loos


Adolf Loos is a world-renowned architect. His modern interiors were sometimes a photo backdrop for model shoots for fashion magazines. He is considered the co-founder of modern architecture. As in Paris and Prague, there are many architectural buildings by Loos in Europe. But after Vienna, Pilsen is the city with the most Loos projects, as apartment interiors.

Apartment of the Kraus family www.visitpilsen.eu

Apartment of the Kraus family www.visitpilsen.eu

In Pilsen he redesigned and furnished several apartments in the 20s and 30s. From this time, eight apartments have been preserved. And to date, 3 of them have been reconstructed and made available to the public. During guided tours you can visit the modern interior design homes and learn more about the stories of the former owners.

Apartment of the Kraus family www.visitpilsen.eu

Apartment of the Kraus family www.visitpilsen.eu

Two tours are offered. There are the apartments of the Kraus and Vogl families and the Brummel-Haus. In the high season from April to October, guided tours take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And in the low season from November to March, tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets can be purchased online on the Loos Interieurs website or at the Visit Pilsen Tourist Office.

DEPO2015


Pilsen can also be very creative. When the city was the European Capital of Culture in 2015, the site of the former bus station was transformed into a modern cultural and creative center.

Various events, exhibitions, or festivals take place on the site throughout the year. In the summer, the outdoor area is used to organize street food markets. In the large square of the courtyard there is currently an exhibition showing sculptures made of old containers and barrels.

Depo2015 (c) Plzeň 2015, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Depo2015 (c) Plzeň 2015, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also a venue for a car show, the Festival of Lights, and the Pilsen Design Week. Since the DEPO2015 is located on the site of the former premises of the transport association, there is a permanent exhibition about the history of this place.

More information about the DEPO2015 and the exhibitions can be found at: https://www.depo2015.cz/en/

Beer Pilsen Museums History Europe Czech Republic Brewery Zoo Things to do Synagogue Old Town Cathedral Architecture

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Written by ClaroCaro
When I was around 21 years old, I worked and lived in Barcelona for a year. This international experience has shaped me interculturally very much and made me a cosmopolitan person. From then on I wanted to see the big wide world. This was followed by smaller city trips and larger tours across Europe. Over time, friends referred to me as a “globetrotter” and often asked me for advice when they were planning their vacation. My first significant travel experience was an Interrail tour, all by myself through Western Europe, when I graduated from high school. Not everything went as smoothly as I had imagined, but I made it home safe and sou... Read more

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