January was coming to an end and we decided to make a short stopover in Karlovy Vary (also known as Carlsbad) in Czech republic on our way to Slovenia from Germany. We had time to venture off the usual German highway way and I´ve been wanting to visit this amazing Czech spa town for a while now. And even though we only ended up spending one night, it was enough for first impressions and they were really positive. So, what can you see and do in Karlovy Vary? Find out more in this post.
After visiting PRAGUE a couple of times already, I was eager to see what some of the other Czech towns have to offer. And we were really not disappointed by KARLOVY VARY. One of the BIGGEST SPA TOWNS IN EUROPE with its lovely PEDESTRIAN SPA PROMENADE astonished us with beautiful ARCHITECTURE, good RESTAURANTS and NATURAL SPRINGS along the TEPLA RIVER. The town itself was founded by the emperor CHARLES IV who used the springs for healing purposes. Today there are almost 80 different springs to be found in and around the city, the WATER FROM 13 SPRINGS is used for HEALING.
We chose to spend the night in one of the HOTELS on the hill above the pedestrian zone and paid only 27€ a night for a DOUBLES ROOM with breakfast. There are of course many other, more expensive, options. And it is easy to do a DAYTRIP FROM PRAGUE too, as it is only a 2hrs drive each way. For the best visit I suggest you have 2 full days, but you can also squeeze in most of the sights in just 1 day as the town is not that big.
DRINKING WATER FROM HOT SPRINGS | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
In KARLOVY VARY you cannot miss the 13 HOT WATER SPRINGS that have curing powers and the best way to get advantage of them is to BUY A SPECIAL TRADITIONAL PORCELAIN CUP with built in drinking spouts. It is easy to buy them at one of the KIOSKS or SOUVENIR SHOPS in the town. If you wish to TASTE THE HEALING WATER this is the best option, as a plastic bottle is not only eco-unfriendly but it is also not suitable for drinking boiling hot water. It´s just a thing to do in Karlovy Vary, so go with the flow and have fun tasting water.
THE MILL COLONNADE | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
Okay so now that you´re equipped with a PORCELAIN CUP you can hit the PEDESTRIAN ZONE with its famous COLONNADES and HOT WATER SPRINGS. We passed the famous MILL COLONNADES first. Under these amazing CORINTHIAN COLUMNS you will find 5 WATER FOUNTAINS where you can sample water.
THE MARKET COLONADE | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
You also cannot miss this amazing MARKET COLONNADE, where the famous CHARLES IV SPRING is situated. It is believed this is the place where the emperor soothed his legs for the first time when this was just a spring in a forest. Nowadays this is a wonderful place with exceptional architecture that doesn´t directly scream Czech Republic, but nevertheless it is amazingly photogenic and lovely to look at.
THE HOT SPRING COLONADE | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
THE HOT SPRING GEYSIR as this one is called is really amazing as it can BURST THERMAL WATER UP TO 12m HIGH and it is the hottest spring in the town at the same time. The water tempeterature reaches up to 72C.
DAY SPAS | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
If you have the time you should visit one of the spas of course. Most likely your HOTEL will offer one, but if not there is a chance to visit one of the DAY SPAS too. One of the most known ones is the ELISABETHBAD, also known as BAD V. If you wish to experience a DIFFERENT KIND OF SPA you should try the BEER SPA for example. Unfortunately we didn´t have the time but I´d love to try it some day.
CITY SIGN| KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
Close to the HOT SPRING GEYSIR you will find a bridge over TEPLA RIVER with a big CITY SIGN on it. Even though it is one of the tourist hot spots to take a picture, we managed to find a window when nobody was there.
TRADITIONAL LUNCH / DINNER | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
Here, you will find lots of MODERN STYLE RESTAURANTS but also many TRADITIONAL ONES. These ones will mostly serve MEAT DISHES, with pork being their favourite, followed by duck and beef, of course accompanied by yummy sauces. Expect potatoes and vegetables on the side, with cabbage and knodel dumplings being popular too, with a a pint of local COLD BEER or a glass of wine.
OTHER THINGS TO DO | KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
There are lots of other things to do around here besides going to a spa, including trying a glass of the famous BECHEROVKA, a herbal bitter liqueur (you can also visit the JAN BECHER MUSEUM located in the same building where this iconic drink has been produced for the last 150 years) or visiting the MOSER GLASS MUSEUM. In the visitors centre you can learn all about this high quality glass production in Karlovy Vary. Also, don´t miss on climbing up the DIANA OBSERVATION TOWER for the best views on the city and try the POPULAR LOCAL SNACK called KARLOVY VARY WAFERS. We´ve also taken a couple of TRDELNIK topped with cinnamon as a snack between meals.
Our visit was short but sweet and I hope we´ll be back one day for more spa time. Karlovy Vary truly is an architectural gem in this part of Europe and even if you only have the time for a day visit or a day trip from Prague, I highly recommend it.
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