Czech Getaways: Pilsen / Western Bohemia Spa’s
Second of a six part series of weekend getaway spots in the Czech Republic.
Plzeňsko is a picturesque region of forests and tourist routes. Slightly rolling wooded landscape with numerous rivers and artificial lakes, nearly untouched nature, picturesque little villages and numerous castles and chateaux are characteristic for this region. Plzeň (Pilsen) is the centre of the region as well as the economic, cultural and social metropolis of the whole western Bohemia. The town of Pilsen became world-famous for the pilsner beer style, which was invented here. The best-known Czech beer, Pilsner Urquell, is still brewed here to this day. The historical centre, founded in 1295 by King Wenceslas II on the confluence of four rivers, was declared a town conservation reserve thanks to its numerous historical sights. The Church of St. Bartholomew with its 102.6 m tall tower is the dominant of the town. An extensive part of the Plzeňsko region is covered by woods; the best known is the Brdské lesy (Brdské woods) in the eastern part. The protected landscape area and the UNESCO biosphere reserve Křivoklátsko is partly located in this region. Some water areas (such as the Hracholusky reservoir on the Mže River, the Bolevecké Lakes on the outskirts of Pilsen, or the lakes of the southern Plzeňsko area). The whole region is suitable for recreational, family or professional tourism. There are ideal conditions for walking tours, cycling and water sports. Sports fishing, hunting, agro-tourism, horseback-riding and ecotourism are among popular forms of recreation with domestic as well as foreign visitors.
European highways: Praha – Plzeň – Rozvadov – Germany. Main railways: Praha – Cheb – Nürnberk, Plzeň – Fürth im Wald.
Western Bohemia Spas
The most westerly tourist region, located along the border with Bavaria and Saxony, became famous thanks to its spas. The number and variety of mineral curative springs is unique in the world. Due to diverse chemical consistency, the local springs have a wide range of curative effects, used for various cures and therapies. Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) and Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad) are world-famous spa towns. The Jáchymov spa town became well-known by its radioactive springs. Kynžvart and Konstantinovy Lázně are less well-known spa resorts. Curative stays in the spas can be combined with visits of the local historical sights (namely numerous well-preserved castles and chateaux), with walks in the extensive parks or walking tours in the environs. Three 18-hole golf courses are concentrated in the region. Numerous architectural jewels are worth visiting. The reliquary of St. Moor, the most precious cultural jewel of the Czech Republic after the crown jewels, is exhibited at the castle Bečov nad Teplou. And finally, the mountain resorts of Krušné hory (the Ore Mouuntains), such as Boží Dar, Klínovec, Potůčky and Pernink, offer excellent conditions for winter sports.
Dense network of international and main roads: Praha – Karlovy Vary – Cheb – Würzburg, Karlovy Vary – Cheb – Plauen, Cheb – Stříbro, Bochov – Teplá – Tachov. Main railways: Ústí nad Labem – Chomutov – Cheb, Praha – Plzeň – Cheb. Regional transport system is included in the system of Euro Region.
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