Pilsen, despite its status as an industrial city, Pilsen offers many beautiful sights that should not escape the eye of any Pilsen student.
I will recommend a few of them in the four walks in this article. And I am sure that even seasoned Pilsners, who otherwise already know the city almost perfectly, will find something to enjoy.
Pilsen, the city of parks and ponds
Distance: 10 km
Map link: https://mapy.cz/s/cuhuvogosa
In Pilsen, you won’t just see only factory halls and concrete buildings. The city centre offers a system of parks, not far from them you will find the famous Bolevec Ponds. But along the way you`ll also discover other jewels of the city.
Let’s get started with the highest jewel, in the Republic Square (náměstí Republiky) in the centre of Pilsen. The tower of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral is the tallest church tower in the country. At the top of the tower is a viewing gallery from which you can see almost the whole city. The interior of the cathedral itself is also worth a visit.
A little further on, you`ll see the first of the Pilsen parks, the sady Pětatřicátníků. There is the largest synagogue in the country and the second largest synagogue in Europe, built in the 19th century.
If you walk past the J. K. Tyl Theatre, you will reach Smetana’s park (Smetanovy sady) and then Kopecký park (Kopeckého sady). On the way, you can’t miss the building of the Education and Research Library of Pilsener Region and the Měšt’anská beseda, which many students visit several times as part of their studies. After passing the statue of Bedřich Smetana and going around the West Bohemian Museum, the path will lead you to the statue of Spejbl and Hurvínek and the Václav Havel Bench in Šafařík park (Šafaříkovy sady).
Then you’ll pass the Křižík park (Křižíkovy sady), the popular Mlýnská strouha, and the Štrunc park (Štruncovy sady), known especially among football fans. There you can play sports on the local sports grounds or, on the other hand, relax for a while at Bikeheart next to the Sokol Hall (Sokolovna).
Then continue on past the confluence of the Mže and Radbuza rivers (or the beginning of the Berounka River, if you like) to the north of the city to the Bílá hora railway station. Right next to it is the largest of Pilsen’s ponds, aptly named The Great Bolevec Pond (Velký Bolevecký rybník). Behind it is the Small Bolevec Pond, sheltering many species of waterfowl.
Then you reach the Košinář pond and then the beautiful Senecký pond. All of this is connected by pleasant forest paths, complete with fireplaces for roasting sausages. The path ends at the Bolevec stop. From there you can visit the remaining ponds, described in another article.
Up to Radyně
Distance: 7,1 km
Map link: https://mapy.cz/s/nusukuzura
Another jewel, visible from the wide surroundings, is the ruins of Radyně Castle.
You can start at the thematically named stop K Radyni, reached by trolleybus number 13. After 4 kilometres of walking along the yellow tourist sign, you`ll reach the ruin. I recommend you check the opening hours on their website so you don’t miss the view from the tower to the wide surroundings.
From Radyně, go down to the train station in Starý Plzenec.
From Lhota to Litice
Distance: 4,2 km
Map link: https://mapy.cz/s/natugefoza
Lesser known but interesting places can be found in the more remote districts of Lhota and Litice.
In Lhota, right by the same name bus stop 26, take a walk through the picturesque village square with benches and the Chapel of St. Anne. Beyond the village square, cross the dam over the Radbuza River on the Jára Cimrman footbridge and after the underpass under the railway line go into the adjacent forest.
At the end of the forest you will have a view of the surrounding fields and the Litice village. You’d better take a closer look at its current dominion, the Church of St. Peter and Paul. Finally, don’t forget to visit the place that has dominated Litice in the past. I’m talking about the ruins of Litice Castle, which is over a steep cliff at the very beginning of the České Údolí reservoir. Only a few walls, information boards, a pleasant view and a seating area remain of the original monument.
Finish your trip at the Přeučilova bus stop, where bus 21 will take you back to Bory.
Forgotten castles on the outskirts of Pilsen
Distance: 8,5 km
Map link: https://mapy.cz/s/jofudecaha
Start near the Central Bus Station and follow the cycle path along the river towards Křimice. The road is paved and offers the possibility to use a bike or in-line.
Visit the disc golf course on the outskirts of Křimice, where you can also swim in the river or roast sausages. Then go to Křimice Castle. The castle is currently owned by the Lobkowicz family and is not open to the public, except for the castle garden, where many summer events are held. There or in the square near the garden you can relax in the shade of the trees or have a picnic with friends.
From Křimice, the river takes you to Malešice, on its edge is another forgotten castle. It is also inaccessible to the public and is currently used as a hostel.
Tip: On the outskirts of Křimice you may have problems with the closure of some roads during the construction of the city expressway around Pilsen. You can bypass the construction around the Křimice railway station (about 2.5 km extra) or you can take a bus from the “Pošta, logistika” stop.
And that’s not all, my friends!
Unlike Horst Fuchs, the hero of teleshopping and my childhood, I can’t offer you a free knife set or a genius vegetable cutter at the end. However, I end this article with the perhaps surprising information that the aforementioned walks are far from containing all the best that Pilsen offers.
Let’s add that in Pilsen you can visit the largest brewery, beer hall and amphitheatre in the country. The largest in the country is also the Bory prison – but I hope you won’t see it from the inside.
The Pilsen Zoo offers the biggest number of animal species, and the Sofronka Arboretum has the largest number of pine trees in the country.
Architecture lovers will love Pilsen. In Doudlevce you can find the first fully welded arch bridge in Bohemia and in Doubravka you can see the portals of the longest railway tunnel in the Czech Republic. But the Ejpovický Tunnel is about to lose its primacy. Beyond Pilsen is the second oldest surviving building in the country, the Rotunda of St. Peter and Paul.
So if your friends refuse to visit Pilsen, saying that there is nothing interesting, this article will be a strong argument to prove them wrong.