Almost 30,000 live in this South Bohemian town which counts among its famous residents Czech writer Frana Sramek, poets Adolf Heyduk and Richard Weiner, painter Roman Dragoon, and violinist Otakar Sevcik. Also unique to this city is the oldest stone bridge in the Czech Republic and Central Europe; a number of secondary and higher vocational schools make Písek a student Mecca.
The Stone Bridge
The city boasts the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. When you walk on it over the river Otava, you will surely experience the feeling of the centuries which are written in it. In 2002, the bridge bravely survived floodwater. The only part destroyed was the railing; reconstruction was partly sponsored by our divine Karel Gott.
International Student Film Festival
Every year, students from the local Film Academy of Miroslav Ondříček in Písek organise a film festival here, which has already been well established in the world of movies. The program is composed of short student movies from all around the world and held at various places around Písek, though mostly in the cinema (go figure…). The students take its operation as a compulsory subject so the festival always runs like clockwork.
Ok, it was Curry House that won our Best Curry in Prague, but if the poll had covered the whole republic, Tandoori in Písek would have been a strong contender. Based in Písek (with 4 locations elsewhere), the meals are affordable and simply delicious! The restaurants are all run by an Ethiopian who came to the Czech Republic to study medicine at 18. You should definitely try his famed recipe for flat Naan bread filled with cheese and garlic or meat.
For quite a long time, this old brewery was shuttered. Eight years ago, it was taken over by the town council of Písek whch reconstructed and breathed new life into it. In 2009 two permanent exhibitions took place there followed by a never-ending series of very successful exhibits including “Anthill”, “(Do Not) Play With Food” and recently “Forest – a story of 5 trees”. Guided tours are available in English, just make sure in advance there are enough free spots for you.
Pizzeria San Marco
If you happen to be hungry while admiring the beauties of South Bohemia, check out Pizzeria San Marco on the so called “Grand Square” (the largest flat ground around). Dig into crispy pizza and fresh mussels for a reasonable price; they especially stand out for their home-made Italian style ice-cream.
These might better be called hills, as they are covered with beautiful mixed forests and offer nice trails and routes. You can climb the highest peak Mehelník (632 m above sea level) or climb to the lookout tower Jarník, boasting spectacular views across the countryside. Just below you will find Živec cottage, where you can have a beer or Kofola during the season. Certainly you should not also miss nearby quarry Živec. Look under your feet when around it and maybe you will be lucky and find some tourmalines or rose quartz. From the very quarry itself, firefighters have recently pumped all the water out and the city will gradually work on making it available to the public. Maybe even this October! Find out more here.
Christmas Minerals Exchange
Having a significant collection of precious stones, the Museum of the Prachen region hosts a Christmas Minerals Exchange every year. I have spent thousands of CZK there already throughout the years. Yes, a few of the pieces I buy end up on my shelves, but the majority head into the Christmas bags as gifts for friends or family every year. The exchange takes place usually the second weekend of December, but check this page for the exact date.
Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary
You can’t miss the Church when walking around. Its provincial but celestial atmosphere will captivate you immediately! Do you want to check Písek from above? Book a tour with a guide here or call him directly (the number is here). You can also dig deep and have a look at the architectural digs in front of the Church.
Minigolf at the Island
Sports enthusiasts will be interested in the opportunity to play miniature golf on the island of Písek. The equipment needed can be borrowed in the restaurant nearby. The restaurant’s menu is not bad, but what I recommend more is to buy a bottle of wine and sit down on the tip of the island. There is nothing more beautiful than the view of the river Otava in the afternoon autumn sun.
Walking around this building when I was little was really scary for me. The reason? There is this “something” inside moving all day long. Now I know it is … This historical power station tells the story of Písek being chosen to be one of the first Czech towns to handle public electric lighting. Power devices from around 1901 are on display.
*** Secret tip: Let me share with you one last secret tip. The most famous confectionery in Písek is the original Emil Gaigher founded in 1924. The opening hours of the place in Písek are quite short, but the most important fact is that they already have opened 3 locations in Prague with all the typical Czech sweet delicacies, such as větrník, kokoska, and laskonka.