Pilsen, Czech Republic - Stein Travel
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Pilsen

In Tokyo you drink sake and in Moscow you drink vodka, but in Pilsen (known locally as Plzen) you drink beer. This small town in Bohemia claims to be the birthplace of beer, with a tradition going back centuries. The town was founded in 1295 and granted coveted brewing rights, spawning more than 200 microbreweries that developed the famous Pilsner brewing methods that create some of the best beer in the world even today. The Pilsner Urquell Brewery offers tours, and is still Pilsen's main attraction.

Aside from its beer, Pilsen tends to be overlooked as a travel destination, but visitors will enjoy exploring a variety of museums dedicated to everything from ethnography and history to ghosts and puppets. The town itself is pleasant to walk through and has some beautiful buildings to see, including the 16th-century Town Hall, the Cathedral of St Bartholomew, and the Great Synagogue.

Just as you'd expect in a town famous for its beer, Pilsen has a lot to offer in restaurants and pubs. There are many places to try local Czech cuisine, and bars serve coveted unfiltered beers, which are considered far superior to the filtered exports.

Information & Facts

Language

Czech is the official language but English and German are also widely spoken.

Money

The official currency is the Czech crown, locally known as the Koruna (CZK), which is divided into 100 haler. Most credit cards including American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard are accepted, but it is best to have cash handy when travelling away from Prague and the main tourist centres. Travellers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels; commission is highest in hotels. Banks are closed on weekends. ATMs (known as 'bankomats') are becoming more common in Prague and are probably the best way to obtain local currency at a good rate and without commission. The Czech Republic is still cheap compared to the rest of Europe, though the gap is closing.

Time

GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

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