Choosing Pilsen, Czech Republic

As mentioned in, Riding the Train to Pilsen, we choose this city as a new destination between Munich and Prague. I’ll pretty much go anywhere, so when Alex asked, how about Pilsen for the beer, I said sure. While those large cities have an abundance of museums to explore, Pilsen offers many unique treats. It started in the hotel lobby when I discovered that Pilsen has a Patton Memorial and Museum. Our second evening as soon as we reached the main square, the Republica, we received another treat. A trolley went by, covered in Christmas lights creating a scene. It happened so quickly we didn’t have time for a camera or to snap it into our brains. The rest of our time there, we looked for this trolley but never saw it again.

Pilsen’s Christmas Market

Unlike Munich with multiple Christmas Markets, if Pilsen had more than the one in Republic Square, we didn’t find it. As one of the largest Squares in Czech, this market had a lot to offer. Including shoe horns. When is the last time you saw, or used, a shoe horn? Our Munich hotel had one hanging in the closet as did the Pilsen hotel. A coffee booth at the market had a slew of them on the opposite side from the espresso machine. When we arrived in Prague, the first thing I did was check the closet. Yep, a shoe horn! We spent our last night at Prague’s airport hotel (great, by the way), and yes—another shoe horn! To add to the humor, we went to our local hardware store yesterday and do you believe it? They sell shoe horns!

Back to the market … There was Czech food galore, hand made ornaments and hand forged knives. One lengthy stall featured international foods—from Mexico to Asian to corn on the cob! There was a donkey and a pony for kids to pet. They set up a Ferris Wheel and a carousel. A near life sized nativity scene covered the middle of the square. Mulled wine was sparse, but Medovina was readily available. Neither of us are honey fans, so we didn’t indulge. Traditional songs sung by students captivated us. All in, we spent hours exploring this market every day we were in Pilsen.\


When your husband has lifetime Marriott membership because of a near lifetime of business travel, that’s your brand of choice. You might think, really? A chain hotel? Ah, but a chain doesn’t mean that the building isn’t a century old. Okay, that wasn’t the case in Pilsen with our Courtyard Marriott, but it was near the centuries-old city center. And it was lovely on every level. I was so smitten with the Bosolo Hotel on our previous stay in Prague that I tracked it down when we went on to that city from Pilsen. Although it’s now an NH brand and I didn’t get to go in, I sighed in my contented memory of our stay there.

We’ve also stayed in Best Western’s in Europe. Curl your nose? (Sorry, BW.) Don’t. They’ve been some of the finest hotels we’ve experienced.

All that said, we were so pleased with our stay at this Courtyard that Alex sent an email to corporate telling them. They were so happy to hear that, they wrote back.

Adding to the charm is the nearby shop and cafe that may or may not be: Prvni Plzeňská Syrarna. Sorry for not being positive! Also a plus is being directly across the street from the Pivovarské Muzeum, that is the Pilsner Urquell Museum. This is also the spot to pick up the Historical Underground Tour. 

Pilsen Dining

Wandering side streets we spotted the Angus Grill and Steak and followed stairs down to a grotto. We arrived after the typical lunch hour and had the place to ourselves.

The lovely server invited us to sit anywhere. I asked which was the best table in the house. She laughed and said, “Here,” and pointed to a large table in front of the bar, “then I can see when your glass is empty!” A fine table it was because we enjoyed visiting with her during our tasty meal. She was studying for exams and would test in Spanish, English, math, and two other subjects!

(There is another Angus with an outdoor patio along a small body of water near the Courtyard Marriott.)  

The Na Parkánu restaurant at the Pilsner Urquell Museum, directly across from the Courtyard. The setting is rustic, English is sparse, and the food is delicious.

Its sister restaurant, U Salzmannů was an excellent recommendation (by the server at Angus). One of my great travel joys is the blending of languages and cultures. Americans (and Brits and …. ) are spoiled by the dominance of English spoken abroad. Here, we sat near two men—one Czech and one French. Their common language: English. We acknowledged each other, but didn’t speak until we finished our meals. Then we discussed food, travel, and beer! I told the French man how much I love Lyon and that we’d been there three times (husband’s business travel). He said he went with his kids for the first time last summer!

Summing up Pilsen

More on the museums we visited in the next post. Pilsen is so worth visiting, that I expect there to be a summer trip in our future. There are hikes to take, monasteries to visit (don’t tell Alex) and more train rides to be had!

When You Go

Although English isn’t widely spoken, people make an effort to communicate. Kindness is the trait of the day. There will be English menus and English signs. Be prepared to smile a lot to get your message across. We went in an Italian store and the owner didn’t speak any English, but she understood when I rubbed my stomach and pointed at the pastries!


Read, Munich Christmas Markets