Great Synagogue © Lubos Motl
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, opened in 1842, is still Pilsen's main attraction. It actually houses two separate breweries that make Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus respectively. Visitors can tour both breweries and can learn about the history of beer at the museum. 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.
Transport: Pilsen is around a one-hour drive from Prague, or one hour forty minutes by train.