Karlovy Vary

Hot springs, cooler drinks, and a dash of movie magic.

Explore Karlovy Vary, a historic spa town in western Bohemia, known for its hot springs, rich art and music scene, and stunning architecture since 1350.

4.6
out of 5

Located in the heart of Bohemia, Karlovy Vary is renowned for its hot springs and elegant architecture. Founded in the 14th century, this spa town features picturesque colonnades and the Moser Glass Museum, showcasing fine glassmaking. The annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival also highlights the city's vibrant cultural scene.

Historical Significance and Spa Culture

Karlovy Vary's history is deeply intertwined with its hot springs. The Mill Colonnade, built in the 19th century, is an iconic neoclassical structure that houses several hot springs. Alongside the Hot Spring Colonnade, another significant structure, visitors can sample mineral-rich waters that have been believed to possess healing properties for centuries. Since the 14th century, the town has been a go-to destination for those seeking therapeutic spa treatments. You can also explore the Stará Louka area, where elegant buildings tell tales of the town's storied past.

Traditional Czech Spa Treatments

The town is famous for its spa culture. Common treatments include drinking cures using mineral water, hydrotherapy, and mud baths. The Elizabeth Spa is one of the largest spa facilities in the Czech Republic, offering various types of traditional and modern treatments. The combination of historical ambiance and therapeutic methods makes for a unique wellness experience.

Main Attractions

The Diana Observation Tower offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding forests. For a touch of history, visit the Market Colonnade, a wooden structure that typifies 19th-century Swiss architecture. Nearby, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene offers another historical stop featuring stunning baroque design.

Local Cuisine and Specialties

Karlovy Vary is also known for its unique food. Be sure to try oplatky (spa wafers), thin wafers filled with sweet flavors like vanilla, hazelnut, or cinnamon. Another local specialty is Becherovka, a herbal liqueur made from a secret blend of herbs and spices, often referred to as the "13th spring". You can learn more about it and even try samples at the Jan Becher Museum.

Local Lifestyle and Atmosphere

The pace of life in Karlovy Vary is calm, reflecting its spa heritage. The town has a relaxed atmosphere with cafes lining the streets and classical music often heard in the background. The annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival brings a temporary surge of activity, drawing filmmakers and movie enthusiasts from around the world.

Transportation and How to Get Around

The town is well-connected by train and bus services from Prague and other major Czech cities. Once in Karlovy Vary, walking is a pleasant way to explore most attractions due to the compact size of the town center. Local buses are also an efficient option.

Average temperatures during the day in Karlovy Vary.
June
17°
Jul
19°
Aug
19°
Sep
15°
Oct
10°
Nov
3°
Dec
0°
Jan
-1°
Feb
0°
Mar
4°
Apr
8°
May
14°

What people say about Karlovy Vary

4.6
People
4
Food
4
Spaces
5
Value
4
Safety
5

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