Travelling oversees is exciting, but those first couple of days fighting jet lag take a toll. That’s why I always try to plan our first stop to be somewhere quiet, charming and bit more relaxing to ease into your holiday. And, the spa town of Karlovy Vary is just the place! This beautiful city, surrounded by wooded hills, features a kaleidoscope of pastel-coloured Art Nouveau buildings overlooking the rivers Ohře and Teplá. It’s situated about 130 km northwest of Prague, and very close to the German border, which makes this an easy day trip from both countries.
The Spa’s Origins
The city was named after its founder, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, in 1370. The hot springs were believed to have healing powers. As such, the town developed into a famous spa resort during the 19th century, welcoming such greats as, Goethe, Chopin, Bach and Beethoven. Even today, there are 13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs and the warm-water of the Teplá River. The mineral water is formed 2,500 meters below the ground level. Drinking it is said to have a positive effect on your digestive system – that is if you can stomach the taste!
Colonnades can be found all throughout the town. Each with their own unique design. They all offer mineral water at different temperatures. Everyone can be found filling up cup, shaped like a small tea pot, and strolling through the town.
Hot Springs Colonnade
Seeing this is the largest spa town in Czech Republic, partaking in some treatments should be at the top of your list of things to do. There are so many options you can choose from – traditional spa treatments to intensive wellness programs. You might want to consider booking a hotel that features spa treatments. Click here to start your search.
Beyond the spa
If you are wanting to have panoramic views of this charming town, take the Diana Funicular Railway, which climbs 166 meters to the Diana Lookout Tower. This hilltop lookout tower affords some spectacular views across Karlovy Vary and the surrounding forested hills. Then venture down through the easily marked trails through the forest, allow you glimpses of the village as you descend. A perfect way to end off your hike is in an outdoor café with a coffee and apple strudel.
Or, why not stroll the wide sweeping boulevards and take in the pretty pastel coloured architecture of the Art Nouveau buildings.
As a holidaymaker…
Karlovy Vary features the highest concentration of hot healing springs. This spa town is a lux holiday – everything from the spa to the hotels to the restaurants and high end shopping.