Karlovy Vary - In the footsteps of the stars

Camera flashes, spotlights, unrolling red carpets, familiar but also unknown places, attractive locations and picturesque corners. This is Karlovy Vary – a paradise of Czech and foreign filmmakers and the host of the prestigious International Film Festival that is visited by many people every year.
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Go to Karlovy Vary at the end of June and beginning of July, at the time of the most prestigious film festival in Central and Eastern Europe. You won’t regret it. During the two weeks of the festival, the greatest stars of the silver screen parade on the red carpet in front of the Thermal Hotel and the whole town turns into a round-the-clock party.


© Ladislav Renner
 
However, many famous people visit the spa town for another reason: Karlovy Vary is also popular with film-makers from all over the world.  Trace the footsteps of stars such as Daniel Craig, Gérard Depardieu or Jackie Chan. Remember the scenes from Last Holiday, Shanghai Knights or All Quiet on the Western Front. Visit the Thermal Hotel, the heart of the International Film Festival, and lose yourself in the atmosphere of this unique celebration of film.

Interesting thing

The French actor Gérard Depardieu, a gourmet and wine-lover with the reputation of having a quick temper, visited Karlovy Vary several times – always when filming a movie. Those who met him described him as a friendly, cheerful man without haughty manners and as a great companion for a cup of coffee or a glass of good white wine. His last visit of Karlovy Vary was in 2005 when he was filming Last Holidays in Grandhotel Pupp. In the movie he plays the role of a hotel chef. A young shop clerk falls in love with him but she is terminally ill and only has three weeks left to live. During the filming, Depardieu felt like at home in the hotel kitchen – he even taught the others to chop carrots correctly. 

Day 1

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Your journey in the footsteps of movie stars does not begin in Karlovy Vary but in the nearby little town Loket which boasts a medieval castle. This became a very popular backdrop for film-makers. Visit the T. G. Masaryka Street  and Square where scenes from the Bond movie Casino Royale were shot and, thirty years before that, also parts of the film classic All Quiet on the Western Front. You should also drop by the Loket Castle, which appeared in Casino Royale from a bird’s eye perspective and due to its highly-preserved state it is very frequently used as a backdrop for medieval festivals and fairy-tale movies. You can rest in the garden in front of the Goethe Hotel and gather strength for the rest of the trip. Even James Bond himself sat there, accompanied by the gorgeous Vesper.
 
In the afternoon you will proceed to discover more film-related sites in the centre.  Stop by the Mill Colonnade and take the Lázeňská street towards the Grandhotel Pupp, just like James Bond did after having landed in Montenegro – or, actually, Karlovy Vary.  Notice the Castle Tower and then take a stroll around the Tržiště street just like Queen Latifah in Last Holiday. Without stress or haste, on the waves of your imagination, you can then walk along the river all the way back to Grandhotel Pupp, in which James Bond as well as the heroine of Last Holiday were accommodated.  The famous agent sat in a cosy corner of the Grandrestaurant Pupp with a view of the spa colonnade and Gérard Depardieu, another star of the romantic comedy Last Holiday, served his specialties here as chef. 
From here it is only a short distance to the casino – or to the Emperor’s Spa (Spa I) – on the other side of the river. Yes, we are talking about the famous Casino Royale where 007 played a poker game with the villain Le Chiffre and where Jackie Chan performed one of his fight scenes in Shanghai Knights.

 

Common Tips

Exposition of the IFF: Hollywood Stars
Face to face with film stars
 
In the premises of the Thermal Hotel, which regularly hosts the International Film Festival Karlovy Vary, you have a chance to visit the permanent exposition of photographs devoted to the festival and its famous guests. You will be reminded of the atmosphere of the previous festival years and you can look at various photos capturing celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Sharon Stone, Gregory Peck, Michael Douglas, Mia Farrow, Scarlett Johansson, John Travolta or Antonio Banderas. The author of the photos is the Slovak reporter Zuzana Mináčová, who has been taking photos of the festival’s stars since the 1960s.
 

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 goes every 30 minutes) and by train in more than 3 hours (train goes every two 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.
The town of Loket is located 13 km from Karlovy Vary. You can get there comfortably in 15 minutes by car, in half an hour by train with a transfer in Chodov or Nové Sedlo u Lokte, and a bus ride takes about a half an hour too.

 

Day 1

km
6
hrs
10
sights
6

The town of Loket

Become James Bond for a while and take a walk through the streets of the medieval town of Loket. If you keep your eyes open, you might find the precise place near the fountain where Mr. Bond parked his Aston Martin.

Address

Zámecká 67, 357 33 Loket
GPS: 50.186001, 12.754047

Loket Castle

The royal castle allegedly got its name from the place where the River Ohře creates a charming bend in the shape of a human elbow (loket in Czech). Charles IV allegedly loved the place despite the fact that his father John of Bohemia kept him here by force for several months during his childhood. Visit the torture chambers with an audio backdrop which is not for the faint-hearted. You will also see an exhibition of porcelain with unique spa buttons and a romantic fresco dating back to the 15th century, which displays a view from the castle over gardens with fruit trees, flowers and birds in flight.

Address

Zámecká 67, 357 33 Loket
GPS: 50.18706482953268, 12.754161210422751

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 120 Kč

Children fee: 95 Kč

Family fee: 350 Kč

Senior fee: 95 Kč

Student fee: 95 Kč

Lázeňská street and the Tržiště street in Karlovy Vary

Do you remember? James Bond and Vesper Lynd have just arrived into Montenegro and they are starting for the Splendide hotel. Everything is in its place; you, however, are standing at the end of the Mill Colonnade and are setting out for your own mission in the footsteps of 007.
 

Address

Lázeňská, 360 01, Karlovy Vary
GPS: 50.224581, 12.882891

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

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

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