PRAGUE is rightly one of our favourite European city breaks, and the Czech capital always has something new to offer.
But it’s not the only city that is worth visiting — so why not extend your holiday with a couple of days in beer-mad Pilsen?
The Astronomical Clock in Prague’s Old Town Square always attracts a throng of tourists[/caption]
Try the famed beer or Pilsen’s Purkmistr Beer Spa, which insists a beer-soaked bath reduces stress, relaxes muscles and eases vitamins into the skin.[/caption]
The Charles Bridge across the Vltava River is the highlight of the route from Old Town Square to Prague Castle[/caption]
Classic sight: The Astronomical Clock in Prague’s Old Town Square always attracts a throng of tourists — the hourly dancing figurine show is a Prague staple.
But few realise you can see the clock from behind.
The Old Town Hall Tower, which hosts the clock, is climbable from the inside.
Go around sunset and you get a fantastic view of the city and its twinkling lights.
Fun neighbourhood: Mala Strana is a hive of little lanes and beautifully decorated buildings.
The walk from the monastery rewards the nosey, who will find mini-museums, small shops and under-ground brandy bars.
It’s the prettiest part of Prague.
The wow moment: The Charles Bridge across the Vltava River is the highlight of the route from Old Town Square to Prague Castle.
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It’s from the more-is-more school of architecture, with 30 grandiose statues.
Walking across is rarely quiet unless you go at dawn, but the stalls selling handmade ornaments give the bridge a festival atmosphere.
New for 2022: Want to replenish the jewellery box?
You can make your own as part of the Pragl Prague Glass Experience.
This studio has glass-blowing demonstrations, then lets novices have a go at making their own. See pragl.glass
Fantastic feast: The impressive Cerveny Jelen restaurant challenges the tastebuds with dishes that put a twist on local cuisine.
That might mean sour mushroom soup with a runny egg that melts in your mouth or a beer cake for dessert. See cervenyjelen.cz.
Cultural fix: Pilsen, a 90-minute train ride west, is a marvellous place.
The main square is one of the largest in Europe, with the 13th-century Cathedral of St Bartholomew as the Gothic centrepiece.
The Museum of Bohemia, telling the stories of this heritage-packed region, is a short walk away. See zcm.cz.
Top tour: Pilsen is the home of pilsner beer, and the Pilsner Urquell brewery is like a small city in itself.
Brewery tours take place in the historic brewhouse and they let you taste the beers. See prazdrojvisit.cz.
With the kids: Children with a sense of adventure will enjoy exploring Pilsen’s underground tunnel network.
COVID: You must be fully jabbed.
Those who have had both doses and a booster will not need to take any tests, but anyone who has not had a third dose must take a pre-departure PCR test.
Getting there: There are direct flights to Prague. Easyjet, for example, flies from Bristol, Gatwick, Luton and Manchester. One-way tickets cost from £22.99.
You can take a tour through pits, wells and cellars, part of an estimated 12 miles of tunnels under Pilsen. See prazdrojvisit.cz.
One more treat: Soaking a bath full of beer isn’t exactly a standard spa treatment
But Pilsen’s Purkmistr Beer Spa insists it reduces stress, relaxes muscles and eases vitamins into the skin.
And you can pull your own free beer from the tap. See purkmistr.cz/en/spa.
The grand hotel: The Occidental Praha Wilson has classic but inviting rooms.
It’s next to the main shopping district and close to many tourist highlights.
Rooms cost from £45 per night. See barcelo.com.
In Pilsen, the Courtyard by Marriott Pilsen has rooms from £72 per night.
For more information see marriott.com.