Discover the lesser-known places in Pilsen that are worth checking out
In the historical centre of the city, you’ll find the majority of the most interesting tourist destinations that you definitely need to see during your visit to Pilsen. These include the city’s TOP 10 locations and simply can’t be missed. Pilsen, however, still has so much to offer, including novel places that lie just a bit off the beaten path while still being relatively close to the centre. In fact, many Pilsen natives don’t even know these places exist. So set off with us and take a detour from the main tourist path.
The secrets of the Great and Old Synagogues
Pilsen’s Great Synagogue, which ranks as the fifth-largest synagogue in the world, has opened its doors to the public once more after several years of reconstruction. When visiting Pilsen, be sure not to miss it, just as you shouldn’t miss the large inner courtyard area named after the Czech acting legend and Pilsen native Miroslav Horníček. You can visit this garden space found right behind the Great Synagogue on sweltering days as a way to escape the hot sun or simply to rest after a long day.
However, you also shouldn’t miss out on the second survivor of Pilsen’s original five synagogues: the so-called “Old Synagogue”. Hundreds of people walk right by it every day without even knowing it’s there. That’s understandable, though, as few people would seek out the Old Synagogue in the pleasant inner courtyard at the Smetanovy sady park, not far from the Great Theatre. After you tour the structure, you can take a load off at the nearby tea shop.
You’ve surely already heard about the creative zone DEPO2015, which once served as the city’s public transportation hub, later to become the epicentre of this European Capital of Culture. It isn’t, however, the only cultural centre housed in a former industrial space. Actually, you’ll find a number of them in Pilsen. The once paper mill in Pilsen’s Slovany neighbourhood makes for a second multifunctional location. You’ll find it nearby the depot on the other side of the Radbuza River. Diverse events are regularly held here, everything from concerts and lectures to exhibits. In fact, until July 7, you can see an interesting interactive exhibit here with an augmented reality version of The Little Prince by artist Eliška Podzimková. Your attention will surely also be captured by the café here, which breaths industrialism and offers fantastic coffee and other treats.
Another cultural space worth visiting can be found in the building of the former train station in Pilsen’s Southern Suburbs. Moving Station primarily serves as a place to present contemporary art, education, and entertainment. But you can also stop by for the coffee at Moving Café, the exhibit in the former train station hall, or one of the numerous cultural events that are held here throughout the year in place of the sounds of passing trains.
A view over all of Pilsen
Pilsen’s truly dominant feature is St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, which prides itself on having the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic. But if the view from the country’s tallest church tower isn’t enough, set out to discover the three Pilsen lookout towers, where you’ll find beautiful views of the entire city and its surroundings. The Lookout Tower Chlum, located on a forested hilltop in the Pilsen neighbourhood of Doubravka (see map), provides a wonderful, circular view of the city, and when the conditions are favourable, you can see all the way to the peaks of the Bohemian Forest. Nearby the lookout tower, you’ll find a place to sit after making the hike as well as a food stand and a playground for children.
Another lookout tower that offers views not only of the Bohemian Forest but also the Hohenbogen and Brdy foothills is Krkavec, which you can make your way to via the beautiful outdoors surrounding any of the hiking paths leading around the Bolevec Ponds (see map). You also shouldn’t miss out on the Sylván Lookout Tower (see map). This is the only viewpoint in Pilsen where you can catch a glimpse of the northern horizon.
Where to visit the water in Pilsen
Have you already seen everything in the centre? Then go check out the Bolevec Ponds which rank as one of the most popular places to spend free time in Pilsen. They can be found in the Bolevec neighbourhood and you can go for a walk here either alone or with your family. The paths are paved, making them ideal for bikes and even prams. You’ll find these multiple ponds right on the northern edge of Pilsen, and they’re easy to access even by taking public transport. Also nearby the Bolevec Ponds, you’ll find the romantic natural reservoir Košutka (see map), which was made by flooding the old sandstone mine which was once located here. The water’s surface, as well as the adjacent park, will make you forget that it’s actually located right by one of the largest housing developments in Pilsen.
A stopover at the Old Farmhouse “U Matoušů”
When going from one of these places to the next, you can treat yourself by making a stop in the middle of Pilsen’s Lochotín neighbourhood, where a touch of village idyllic has survived in the form of the Bolevec village green. Here, the Old Farmhouse “U Matoušů” stands as the dominant feature. This unique National Heritage Site shows visitors what life used to be like as well as how the peasants used to work in and around Pilsen. You can view the freely accessible exposition in the granary and barn. And if you find yourself getting hungry along the way, you’ll find a tea house nearby and a pub just a bit further on, where you can order any of the truly classic Czech meals, beer, or something a bit lighter.