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Why is Pilsen Ignored in the Rick Steves Book?

We are planning on a late Spring first trip to the Czech Republic. Having read through the "Prague & Czech Republic" book we were surprised to see that Pilsen was omitted from the publication. In talking to a friend who is very familiar with the country he advised us that we should plan on spending a couple of days in Pilsen during our driving trip. At this point in our planning (we will be in Europe by late April) we are thinking about a few days in Prague followed by an extended driving trip (total number of days to still be determined but likely at least 2 weeks). In trying to work out an itinerary should we include Pilsen? We are also considering a deviation to Berlin (we have never visited this city). Any comments or advice appreciated.

P.S. We have noted your suggested driving itinerary

Posted by
6929 posts

Rick’s books get thicker little by little, as he adds destinations one by one. He still picks his “top places,” and those have been what he focuses on as recommendations for (mostly) Americans with (mostly) two weeks or less for their vacation to European destinations.

Our only trip (so far) to the Czech Republic was in spring, many years ago. We’d been in Austria, and were retiring home via Vienna, so only had time for Czesky Budejovice, Czesky Krumlov, and Prague. With more time, Pilsen would’ve been included, too.

By the way, we just got home from a trip in Italy, which included several places never mentioned by Rick, so there are certainly great places out there, in addition to those detailed in Rick’s guidebooks.

Posted by
22984 posts

Steves' books have never claimed to be all inclusive. He provides greater details (that he thinks is important) on fewer locations that he thinks are significant. It works well. If he doesn't cover it go to a different guidebook.

Posted by
7840 posts

It could be fun to all write speculative stories about why it was left out! Rick was once abducted by aliens there and can't bear to return. Rick spilled coffee on his map and it blurred it out. The list could get pretty creative. However, he picks according to his own criteria the places that he feels should be emphasized.

This is why it is often a great idea to check out a variety of tour books/guides when planning. When I say, "check out", I mean literally check them out from the library. I get such good resources there and find a nice variety of perspectives.

Posted by
9 posts

...and worse than that, he has no use for Heidelberg, which is high on the list in most guidebooks!

Posted by
6113 posts

There are gaps in many guidebooks.

I spent a week in Berlin and didn’t run out of things to see. It has a great modern history, decent food and is easy to navigate.

Posted by
10338 posts

His guide books have never been comprehensive. He chooses places that fit an itinerary he recommends.
Buy Fodors, Frommers or other such guide books if you want more inclusive guides.

Posted by
2680 posts

When shopping for guidebooks it’s best to check to see what’s included. If you go to Rick’s website: https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/eastern-europe-guidebook and click on the + sign to the right of “What’s Included” you’ll see what’s covered.
When I visit a place Rick doesn’t cover, I check out Lonely Planet. I see that there is a chapter on Plzeň (Pilsen). What I like most about RSs and Lonely Planet is they are the only two guidebooks that let you know when the next edition will be available. Lonely Planet’s 13th edition will not be available until Mar’23.

Posted by
6939 posts

To your original question, I think Pilsen is worth a stop, or at least I have been there twice. As compared to other cities, it may not offer much, so it is often overlooked. The Architecture is pretty common and the city is basically a working city, used to be a big industrial center.

What it does offer, if within your interests, is the Pilsner-Urquell brewery, they basically invented the...well Pilsner style of beer that most of the world drinks. The tour is actually very nice, finishing with a beer tasting in the underground caverns, with beer specially brewed and lagered in wood casks, lined with pitch, just as it was in the old days. If you are a beer fan, it is one of the big stops on your beer list.

If you have an interest in WW2, they also have a Patton museum celebrating the liberation of Pilsen, and in May, they do a big parade and celebration.

Posted by
1310 posts

The only Pilsen I've visited is the neighborhood southwest of downtown Chicago. According to a promotional website, it's rich in Latino culture, overflows with music, art, culinary tradition, nightlife, award-winning restaurants, iconic music venues, and sensational murals.

Back in 2003 I visited both Prague (4 nights) and Berlin (3 nights) on the same trip with Dresden (2 nights) in between. All three are definitely worth visiting!

Posted by
14210 posts

In 2001 I used Rough Guide Czech Republic to obtain information on going to Pilsen. I don't use RS at all. This was to be a day trip from Nürnberg. My reason was to see the American Liberation Monument in the Zentrum of the city. It's walkable from the train station.

It was at Pilsen that Patton was ordered to advance no further, ie, not beyond the Linz-Pilsen line, otherwise it would have been the Americans liberating Prague.

Posted by
1206 posts

OK, it's been some time since my last trip to Pilsen, so maybe this is history. I'm an hour and some drive away. I was approached by a hooker and had a pickpocket attempt at the square both within an hour. One of my work colleagues then was knocked out and robbed outside of a hotel there in the evening. No problem at the Brewery (good place to park) and local places and the people there were very accommodating. Lots of Police patrolling in the square then. Just saying... I think I would like to visit Pardubice. Check out HONEST GUIDE.