Very few, if any, Americans are ignorant of the brand of beer called Budweiser. What most do not know, however, is that the name originates from the South Bohemian city of České Budĕjovice.
The city was founded in the year 1265 by Ottakar II, the “King of Iron and Gold”. It took very little time for the Budĕjovice beer to make a name for itself; the Svitavy brewery was established the same year that the city itself was founded. The German name for Budĕjovice is “Budweis” – and, from this, we get the name “Budweiser”.
České Budĕjovice brewed up such good beer that, for a while, it was the location of the Holy Roman Emperor’s imperial brewery. The Svitavy brewery had a good, long run, closing only in 2002.
Other breweries include Pivovar Budějovický Budvar, or Budweiser Budvar Brewery; this one has the rights to use the brand name “Budweiser” throughout most of Europe. It has also successfully resisted all efforts from American brewer Anheuser-Busch to gain the exclusive right to the name. The brewery has a visitors’ center, where you can try the real, authentic Budweiser.
Beer aside, the city is a delightful jewel box of various architectural styles. The main square, Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II, is more than a hectare in size, making it the largest square in the Czech Republic. It is lined with gorgeous houses painted a variety of colors, with a Baroque fountain in the center. The city has many attractions, including the following:
The Jewish Cemetery and Memorial Hall – The cemetery dates to 1866; a monument commemorating the victims of the Nazis was constructed here in 1950.
Caseroom Escape Game – Prague isn’t the only city to have an escape room! Test your wits here. (Note: The website is in Czech only.)
Hopsarium – A godsend for those with children, Hopsarium claims to be the largest indoor park in South Bohemia. A ball pit, climbing wall, trampolines, and a climbing tower are among the many attractions for children. The website is in Czech, English, and German.
Museum of South Bohemia in České Budĕjovice – This museum has several seasonal exhibits, as well as permanent ones. Around April, one exhibit centers around Easter; one that will end on November 11, 2018, appropriately commemorates World War I. The website is in Czech only.
Observatory and Planetarium – The website is in Czech, German, and English.
When you get tired, and, of course, thirsty, there are several microbreweries and beer bars to choose from. An outpost of that old standby, Dobrá čajovna, can be found there (along with several other tea rooms). The city boasts several restaurants, so you will definitely find something that appeals to you.
You can take the train directly from Prague to České Budĕjovice, with no stops. The journey lasts around two hours. You can also take the bus; both Flixbus and RegioJet operate service between the two cities. If you can, make it a weekend or a three-day trip, to enjoy as many sights as possible.