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The tours of Pilsen listed below are within easy walking distance of the Courtyard Marriott. The hotel is directly across from the Pilsner Urquell building. Touring stone and brick buildings that are centuries old will never stop intriguing me. How did they build that? How is it still standing? What was it used for and what is it used for? Pilsen is a chock full of history as told through architecture.

Patton Memorial and Museum

While not an architectural gem, the Patton Museum is full of history. We share a huge interest in World War II. Alex’s father was in the Pacific and my great uncle Lloyd Naugle died of injuries from the D-Day landings. We’ve visited museums and memorials from Pearl Harbor to Amsterdam. There’s always a new opportunity to learn. Neither of us knew Pilsen had a Patton Museum until Alex was checking in and I was roaming the lobby. Don’t skip scanning the brochures! I carried one to the desk and the clerk said oh yes, it’s a big deal here. The first week of May there is a festival to commemorate Pilsen’s liberation. The city is the farthest Patton’s Third Army was permitted to go. Many American veterans still attend and participate in the parade. 

The museum is both humble and comprehensive. We spent a couple of hours reading and taking in the many artifacts. Afterwards, we trekked across the snowy city to find the Patton Memorial. It has two granite pylons inscribed with “Thank you, America!” The bronze plaque between them states, “To the men of the Sixteenth Armored Division. We’ll never forget.” Details of the festival can be found at this link

Republic Square & St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral 

This is one of the largest squares in Czech and easy to imagine hosting colorful spring markets and summer fetes. Even in the snow, it was delightful to stroll the Christmas market and listen to singers. The gothic cathedral has the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic, at 335.5 feet. Three hundred stairs will take you to the top and give you astounding views. The website features wonderful photos. (Note: The church is wheelchair accessible.)

West Bohemian Museum

The museum was established in 1878 and continues to expand its exhibits. We chose to explore two: The History of the Pilsen Region and Archeology. It was nice that the history museum has signage in Czech and in English. The Archeology exhibit is only in Czech, but we still enjoyed it. There are several museum buildings, so if you go, check out the list before making your decision. Or splurge and visit all of them!

The Great Synagogue, Self-guided Tour of Pilsen

In 1504, Jews were expelled from Pilsen and could only return in the 1850s. They began construction of the Great Synagogue in 1888 and completed it in 1893. By 1942, 2,605 Pilsen Jews were deported to the Terezin concentration camp by the Nazis. Following the end of the war, only 204 Pilsen Jews had survived. Although the synagogue survived the communist years when other religious buildings were desecrated, it did face decay. In 1994, the Jewish community banded together and began restoration work. 

Upstairs in the gallery are educational exhibits with before and after photographs and history lessons. It’s quite well done, if extremely emotional. 

The synagogue is still a place of worship and serves as an inclusive concert and community hall for Pilsen.

Note: The Old Synagogue is closed until June 1, 2024.

Pilsen Historical Underground Tour

Tall folks: watch your heads! Alex is 6’2” plus boots and scraped his hard hat more than once. Us short people reign as safe from head-bumping. This tour is not for anyone with difficulty walking on rough terrain or stairs. We had a really great guide and the hour flew by. The 13th century tunnels were used by families as food cellars and paths for avoiding the weather. They were also mini breweries, but only for the houses with brewing rights.

As a water guy (my engineer sold many municipal water systems), Alex was intrigued in the 16th century water tower. The remains of the pumping machine are from 1847. We had walked by the large water tower above ground many times without realizing its original purpose. 

Pilsner Urquell Museum

Ever enjoy a draft Pilsner on a hot August day? Welcome to the city of Pilsen! I’m not a huge beer fan, usually having a half draught of a Guinness per summer. But I admit that fresh, crisp Pilsener beer is a treat. If I hadn’t gotten hooked on Cabernet from Moravia, I’d have enjoyed another beer. We missed the only English language tour of the brewery, but the museum was part of the Underground tour. Signs are in Czech and in English and it was almost history overload! The exhibits are vast and detailed even featuring mannequins working hard at various jobs.

Pilsen is a city that beckons you to return. It is not as tourist-filled as Prague, but is every bit as rich in history. I’m eager to go back and enjoy spring strolls and that cold beer. 

When You’re Touring Pilsen


Although English is not as broadly spoken as in Prague, we had no trouble communicating. 

Getting There

The train station is a ten-minute walk away.


There are so many to choose from!