I was recently lucky enough to be asked on a fantastic press trip to Karlovy Vary. For those of you that haven’t heard of it before, don’t worry, most people haven’t! Karlovy Vary, also know as Carlsbad, is a spa town situated in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic. It is historically famous for its hot springs as there are 13 main springs around town and around 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River and due to these it’s the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.
It’s a really stunning place so I have put together my reasons as to why you should take a visit there too…
There are a whopping 168 places to stay in Karlovy Vary and most of them are Spa Hotels! The hotels range from 1 star all the way to a very grand 5 star which is a lot of selection for such a small space and means it can suit every budget with prices starting for £17 a night to £140 a the very top end. For someone that often books hotel, I can tell you, paying £140 for a 5 star spa hotel for the night with breakfast in such a stunning area, that this is a total bargain!
A lot of the hotels will offer wellness packages, such as the lovely Hotel Prezident that we stayed in during our trip. For a few nights stay complete with accommodation in a comfortable modern design room, a welcome drink, a lush buffet breakfast, one other meal a day, a bathrobe during the entire stay, slippers to take home, free Wi-Fi with 3xtreatments of your choice per person per stay included with spa tax paid for too, you’re looking at prices starting from £250! Cheaper than a spa stay in the UK, that’s for sure!
Mineral Water & Hot Springs
Karlovy Vary is famous for its hot springs and mineral water, with that being the reason there are so many spas in one town! The amount of springs here is the most in the world making Karlovy Vary a very unique place to visit. The healing effects have been proven over the centuries which is why many people come to visit as there has been proof that the mineral water can cure gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic disorders including gout and aid in helping musculoskeletal diseases.
This incredible mineral water is formed at depths of around 2,500 metres below the Earth’s surface and is drunk from numbered springs around the town from cups as pictured below.
You are able to go under the floor of Hot Spring Colonnade where you can see the drawing, distribution and thermal regulation of thermal water which has been open since 2008. The tour will give you far and more accurate information than I can on how amazing the water is here!
I don’t think I have ever seen so many upmarket shops in one small town! If designer clothing or something very on trend is what you’re looking for then you really won’t be disappointed here. There are also perfumeries, chocolate shops, mini supermarkets, the famous Moser glass store, and more watch and jewelry stores than you’d ever believe! You might need to be taking your credit away with you if you’re hitting the shops there.
The International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary has been held regularly since 1946. The Festival has been named as A-festival, which means it’s amongst some of the most distinguished and best international festivals, not bad for a town you’ve never heard of, right?!
The Festival became endangered and almost fell into the abyss of history when the Communist regime came to an end but it was saved with the help of the Karlovy Vary City’s Ministry of Culture and Grandhotel Pupp. If you’d like to coincide your trip with that then you need to book for the start of summer.
Karlovy Vary spa wafers are a traditional and very popular snack which also taste so good. When they first came about, how they were made differed greatly from today’s wafers as this was around before the 1800s. Back then the cooks would prepare wafers sprinkled with sugar for spa guests, but now the wafers are layered on top of each other and spices were added; these, mixed in with the famous Karlovy Vary spring water and salt, give the wafers their distinctive flavour.
The first bakery to just specialise in spa wafers opened in 1867, and since then they have become the most popular souvenir to bring home! We did manage to fit a few packets into our cases for Christmas treats!
If you’re looking for a getaway that will leave you feeling 100% refreshed, then Karlovy Vary is the place you need to be booking. We do a lot of city breaks and this one left us feeling most chilled after our trip there. We rarely just switch off and relax which is exactly what we did when in Karlovy Vary.
The town was perfect for short walks and for getting some fresh air, the hotel was very relaxed and with having good food, lovely treatments and plenty of sleep we loved every minute. When you leave your hotel, there’s no crazy city rush, there’s no hoards of people and there’s no noise; it really is the most tranquil place I have visited!
There is a lot more outdoor space in Karlovy Vary than you might expect and they really do pride themselves on this. I’d personally suggest going on one of the self-guided walking tours as I’m not overly adventurous! Or if you’re looking for a little more adrenaline, then try canoeing as the Ohře is the 4th longest river in the Czech Republic and along the river, you can find 69 information signboards that are in English to show you along the right routes.
The Ohře Cycle Path leads through four districts in the Region of Karlovy Vary; Slapany to Mostov, Mostov to Loket, Loket to Radošov and Radošov through to Lužný u Perštejna. To do this in one hit would be over 100km so I’d suggest maybe giving one of them a go if you wish to see the sights on two wheels.