Man City fans’ guide to Plzen
Posted on 13th September 2013
While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance, we thought we’d provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.
Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters.
In the meantime, while the below might not necessarily have all the information you’ll be after if you’re heading out to the Czech Republic this week, we’re always available to help – just drop us an email if you have any questions.
We’ll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.
Until recently Viktoria Plzen have had to play their European matches in the Czech capital as their home, The Doosan Arena, wasn’t up to Uefa standards. After renovations in 2011, however, they now play their matches in their home city. The stadium, located to the northeast of the city centre at the confluence of the Mze and Radbuza rivers, is an 11,700 all-seater stadium.
Away fans will be grateful of the work, turning the ground from what was a typical bowl style stadium with a running track around the pitch and uncovered stands into a compact, modern facility, with vastly improved sightlines.
Viktoria Plzen have only recently rose to prominence in the Czech League, winning two of the last three championships (the only titles in their history). Until 2010 they had been a largely mid-table outfit, and had been something of a yo-yo club, suffering relegations in 1999, 2001 and 2004. Despite their relative modest history, they can boast former players of the class of Petr Cech and Pavel Nedved.
Located around 60 miles southwest of the Czech capital Prague, Plzen is a small city of around 170,000 people whose history dates back as far as 976 AD. The city’s royal charter was granted in the late 13th century. An important trade point for Bohemia, most people will know Plzen as a result of its brewing – Pilsener was first brewed here back in 1842, and the original Pilsener Urquell brewery continues to churn out gallons of the stuff to this day. The city has also been chosen as one of the 2015 European Capitals of Culture.
To get to Plzen, assuming you’re not hiring a car, your main choices are by bus or train. There are hourly services from Prague’s main railway station )Praha – Hlavní nádraží) throughout the day, which take just over an hour and a half. Buses are slightly quicker (around an hour) and leave from Zličín metro station. For information on timetables and prices, visit the Czech railways website. For getting around Plzen, PDMP (the regional public transport operator) has an English-language website, although most of the city can be covered on foot.
There are two tourist information points – the most obvious being in the main square (náměstí Republiky), which is open from 9am to 6pm daily. These will offer the usual help and assistance, free maps of the city, and contacts for accommdation if you’ve not pre-booked any.
If you’ve got time to see a bit of the city, we’d recommend the imposing 13th century St Bartholomew’s Cathedral. You can hardly miss it – in the centre of the city’s main square and boasts the highest cathedral tower in the Czech republic. The Great Synangogue, just off to the west of the main square, is the third largest in the world, and worth a look, as is the Town Hall, a renaissance building dating back to the late 1500’s.
If you’d rather learn a bit more about the city’s brewing history, then take the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery tour. Costing 150 Koruna (around a fiver) it’ll fill you in on the history of the brewery, as well as offering a few free samples.