When, in 1842, a very clever and quite extraordinary brewer by the name of Josef Groll cooked up some ale using a new method called bottom fermentation, he had no idea it would become the beer against which all others would be measured. The Plzeň district is a place that will be forever associated with a centuries-old tradition of beer brewing, a beverage the Czechs call their “liquid bread”.
The city of Plzeň is the fourth largest urban area in the Czech Republic and dominates the region. It’s packed with historic sights and boasts a busy cultural scene. If you decide to kick back in one of the old Czech taverns in the city centre, you’re more than likely to have a view of the Cathedral of St Bartholomew, which boasts the tallest church spire in the Czech Republic.
Discover the largest synagogue in the country
A location between Prague and Germany has always meant that Plzeň has been a place where various cultures collided. This has, of course, had a considerable effect on the city’s architecture. Here you’ll find the ornately decorated Great Synagogue, the world’s third largest. You can also inject more life into your time here with a trip to the borderland Chodsko region with its colourful folk traditions. Nor should you miss the picturesque village of Klenčí and the centre of the Chodsko region, the idyllic town of Domažlice with its arcading and leaning tower.
The minute you enter Plzeň, you’ll know this is a city that lives for beer. The vast majority of Plzeň’s visitors take a tour of the famous brewery, which gave the world Pils lager. The exhibition here acquaints visitors with the process involved in brewing real Plzeň (Pilsner) beer, a beverage produced in the city since the 13th century. So-called beer trails, running from one small brewery to the next, are growing in popularity.
If your head is feeling a bit sore from all those tasting sessions, the beauty of the surrounding countryside is guaranteed to clear it. One of the most popular destinations for tourists is the Šumava National Park, an area offering myriad winter and summertime activities. If you feel like relaxing, be sure to stop off at one corner of the famous West Bohemian spa triangle.