The efficient syntheses of 5-(2-hydroxyethyl)- and 5-(3-hydroxypropyl)-substituted pyrimidine derivatives bearing 2,3-dihydroxypropyl, acyclovir-, ganciclovir- and penciclovir-like side chains are reported. A synthetic approach that included the alkylation of an N-anionic-5-substituted pyrimidine intermediate (method A) provided the target acyclonucleosides in significantly higher overall yields in comparison to those obtained by method B using sylilation reaction. The phosphorylation assays of novel compounds as potential substrates for thymidine kinase of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1 TK) showed that solely pyrimidine 5-substituted acyclonucleosides with a penciclovir-like side chain acted as a fraudulent substrates of HSV-1 TK. Moreover, the uracil derivative with penciclovir-like side chain with less bulky 2-hydroxyethyl substituent at C-5 proved to be a better substrate than the corresponding one with a 3-hydroxypropyl substituent. Therefore, this acyclonucleoside was selected as a lead compound for the development of a positron emission tomography HSV-1 TK activity imaging agent.