Karlovy Vary - Healing power of the Springs

Discover the grace and charm of the Czech’s largest spa. Visitors from all over the world come here for the healing hot springs. Get carried away by the beauty of the local colonnades with exquisite spa houses, sample local specialties and enjoy a unique day in the spa, just like its many guests have over the centuries. You will get to understand why Goethe said that the only places he could live in were Rome, Weimar (where he came from) and Karlovy Vary.
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Title
You are taken back to the 14th century, to the deep woods near the royal castle of Loket. The forests are full of wild animals, singing birds and underground hot springs whose beneficial effects were appreciated even by the King and Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg himself. That is why he established a town here, which bears his name and the spa legacy to this day.


© Ladislav Renner
 
Trace the footsteps of the European aristocracy and world-famous artists. Take a stroll through the splendid spa colonnades, taste the traditional Karlovy Vary delicacies and discover the healing power of the hot springs bubbling out from the depths of the Earth. You can also marvel at the variety of architectural monuments, spacious colonnades and magnificent spa houses, tightly clamped together along the river Teplá, which may remind you of the picturesque towns of the Netherlands interlaced with networks of water canals. However, the cosmopolitan town of Karlovy Vary contains monuments reminiscent of many other faraway places. During your stroll you can therefore take a peek into 19th century England, Ancient Rome or into Russia under the tsar.
 
Enjoy the dream-like beauty and relaxing atmosphere, just like those who visited the town before you – the poet Goethe, tsar Peter the Great, composers Beethoven or Dvořák, violin virtuoso Paganini, empress Elisabeth nicknamed Sisi or the irresistible womanizer Casanova.

Interesting thing

If it is the thirteenth spring of Karlovy vary – Becherovka – that has won your favour, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Even the Austrian emperor had a soft-spot for it. In 1904 the Johann Becher company even received the title of the “Main Imperial and Royal Supplier” – every month the company supplied the emperor’s court with fifty litres of Becherovka.

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Your journey in search of the beauties of Karlovy Vary cannot start elsewhere than on the colonnade. Before you start your walk through the centuries, stop by the Elizabeth Spa. It carries the name of the famous empress Sisi and is one of the most beautiful elements in the mosaic of the town’s architecture. Next in line is the Park Colonnade, from where the beautiful building of Spa III (today the Windsor hotel) is only a few steps away. A walk downstream along the river Teplá will take you to the monumental, enthralling Mill Colonnade, the largest of the town’s colonnades. From there your steps will lead through the Market Colonnade to the Vřídlo Hot Spring Colonnade which is famous for its hot water geyser gushing up to a height of 12 m. Do not forget to descend underground and discover the secret of the origin of the famous stone roses. Or try to imagine the exhilarated crowd applauding the unparalleled art of the Italian violin virtuoso Nicolo Paganini who played a concert at the Vřídlo spring. Opposite the modern building of the Vřídlo spring, take a chance to look at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, a beautiful example of the High Baroque. Then you can continue towards the famous Grandhotel Pupp and Spa I – but at this point it will be about time to refresh yourself with one of the local culinary specialties. The selection of what to do after lunch is wide and the choice is entirely up to you. In any case you shouldn’t forget to pay a visit to the magical world of the famous crystal glass. The Moser Museum offers the special opportunity to see the making of the unique crystal. But you can also discover the mystery of the famous herb liqueur Becherovka in the Jan Becher Museum. You can enjoy the tasting of several specialties at the museum bar. You can wrap up the day full of enjoyment by taking the funicular up to the Diana lookout tower and watching the town fade in the soft light of the setting sun.

Common Tips

Spa wafers of Karlovy Vary
 
The traditional spa wafers of Karlovy Vary have been a symbol of the famous spa’s unique atmosphere for almost 160 years. Their fluffy lightness, unique aroma and delicious taste have already won the favour of many famous personalities. The first written mention of the Karlovy Vary spa wafers can be found in a Karlovy Vary guide from 1788. It reports a tradition of homemade wafers that had been going on for about eighty years before the first actual wafer manufacture was established. In 1867, the Karl Bayer company was founded. The Karlovy Vary spa wafers were exported into many European countries such as Spain, Germany, Romania or Russia and the company even became the exclusive wafer supplier to the emperor’s court in Germany and Austria-Hungary. Even today, while walking the spa colonnades, you can sample the traditional delicacy in an almost unchanged form.

Transportation

Karlovy Vary is about 130 km away from Prague.
By car you can get here in less than two hours, by bus in about 2 hours and 15 minutes (bus leaves every 30 minutes) and by train in somewhat above 3 hours (train leaves every three hours). The bus and train stations are in a walking distance from the centre.
It is also possible to get into Karlovy Vary by plane. There are regular flights from Yekaterinburg, Moscow – Sheremetyevo and Saint Petersburg – Pulkovo. The airport is about 4 km away from the city centre. The connection with the city is operated by public transportation, approximately every two hours, or you can take a taxi.

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Elisabeth Spa in Karlovy Vary

The elegant Elizabeth Spa is one of the most attractive buildings of the spa metropolis. You can see for yourself that it resembles a chateau rather than a regular spa building.  Walk through the French garden, listen to the sound of bubbling water in the fountain and give yourself over to dreaming.
 

Address

Smetanovy sady 1, Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.230264, 12.872037

Park Colonnade in Karlovy Vary

An entire impressive pavilion used to stand here but today you can only admire the cast-iron colonnade which, under its masterfully crafted framework, shelters two of the local magical springs.
 

Address

Dvořákovy sady, Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.227275, 12.878991

Spa III (Windsor Hotel) in Karlovy Vary

The monumental building of the Spa House which has since the beginning of the 20th century borne the name Spa III, offers traditional spa treatment, modern spa procedures, important cultural events, noble architecture and the legacy of the ancestors.

Address

Mlýnské nábřeží 507/5, 360 01 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.226558, 12.880480

Mill Colonnade in Karlovy Vary

This breathtaking building is the largest of the town’s colonnades. It is also the most frequented one, and rightfully so.
 

Address

Mlýnská kolonáda
360 01 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.225283, 12.881859

Market Colonnade in Karlovy Vary

Legend has it that Emperor Charles IV treated his ailing limbs in the local spring on the site of the historical market beneath the Chateau Tower. The oldest spa in Karlovy Vary used to stand here.
 

Address

Tržiště, 360 01 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.223386, 12.883175

Vřídlo spring in Karlovy Vary

If you come to Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), you should not miss the Vřídlo hot spring – the symbol of this world-famous spa city. Vřídlo is the only source of thermal water used for the local spa baths, shooting 72 °C mineral water up to 12 metres at an average rate of 2,000 litres per minute. 

Opening Hours

Grandhotel Pupp

Leaving Karlovy Vary without having visited Grandhotel Pupp would be criminal. Not only because history was written here, but above all due to the high quality gastronomy, comfort and neo-Classicist surroundings. 

Address

Grandhotel Pupp *****
Mírové náměstí 2
360 91 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.2194158206652, 12.8787575741913

Emperor’s Spa (Spa I)

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re placing bets. Last cards are dropping on the table, the suspense in the room is almost palpable. The Emperor’s Spa – aka Casino Royale – is the setting of the dramatic scene when 007 encounters the villain Le Chiffre. And it is also where Jackie Chan fulfilled his dream.

 

Address

Mariánskolázeňská 360/2, Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.218965, 12.881406

Moser Glassworks

Investigate the remarkable history of the creation of Moser brand crystal art glass. Glass makers, grinders and engravers have been breathing their art into the glass here for more than 150 years. Visit the museum at the Moser Glassworks in Karlovy Vary or the Moser Museum on the Old Town Square in Prague. Experience the atmosphere of glassmaking right in the glassworks in Karlovy Vary. You will see master glassmakers transforming molten lumps of glass into unique products. 

Address

Kapitána Jaroše 46/19
360 06 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.22801800585915, 12.837438802123984

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 80 Kč

Children fee: 50 Kč

Family fee: 180 Kč

Student fee: 50 Kč

Jan Becher Museum

Taste the most famous of Czech herbal liqueurs and find out more about its history. Jan Becher founded his company more than two centuries ago and nowadays, Becherovka is a world famous brand. The secret of its ingredients is carefully guarded, only known to two people. 

Address

Jan Becher Muzeum
T. G. Masaryka 57
360 01 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.2302506, 12.8670564

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 120 Kč

Children fee: 30 Kč

Family fee: 240 Kč

Student fee: 60 Kč

Diana lookout tower and its surroundings

Take the trip to the Diana tower and other lookouts in its surroundings to discover some previously unseen beauties of the region.
 

Address

Vrch přátelství 5/1, 360 01, Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.218940, 12.872281

Opening Hours

Grandhotel Pupp

Leaving Karlovy Vary without having visited Grandhotel Pupp would be criminal. Not only because history was written here, but above all due to the high quality gastronomy, comfort and neo-Classicist surroundings. 

Address

Grandhotel Pupp *****
Mírové náměstí 2
360 91 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.2194158206652, 12.8787575741913

Art Hotel Royal Golf

Take a look into a villa, which is reminiscent of a small chateau thanks to its grandeur. A hotel with a superb restaurant is hidden away here nowadays. Try out Czech and international cuisine, as well as Russian specialities prepared using traditional methods. 

Address

Hotel Royal Golf ****
Cihelny 5
364 64 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.1762638889, 12.8397833333

Grandhotel Pupp

Leaving Karlovy Vary without having visited Grandhotel Pupp would be criminal. Not only because history was written here, but above all due to the high quality gastronomy, comfort and neo-Classicist surroundings. 

Address

Grandhotel Pupp *****
Mírové náměstí 2
360 91 Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.2194158206652, 12.8787575741913