One of the world’s best wellness destinations for centuries is located in the heart of the Czech Republic. Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad, is an entire city founded around the curative mineral springs founded by Charles IV during a hunting expedition. Since this discovery, the entire city has been built around health and wellness and has attracted many famous visitors over the year including Casanova, Freud, Beethoven, Mozart and has even had huge Hollywood blockbuster scenes filmed here.
Besides boasting some of the best mineral water and hot springs there are also many other reasons to visit Karlovy Vary that attract tourists every year to this gorgeous city for the ultimate holiday. Check out these 6 amazing experiences to try in Karlovy Vary.
Curative Mineral Waters from the Hot Springs
You can’t come to Karlovy Vary and not try the curative mineral waters from the various hot springs located around the city. You can purchase a signature porcelain drinking vessel from merchants all throughout the city. While there are many different designs to these cups they all have the same unique shape with a long spout and handle. The long spout is meant to be drank from as the water travels through the long spout to your mouth it gives the water a chance to cool.
Once you have a porcelain drinking cup you can visit the various colonnades in the city and drink the mineral water from the different springs. Each spring varies in temperature and has their own internal healing properties from aiding digestion, boosting metabolism, and helping the musculoskeletal system to mention a few. The warmer temperature waters help calm the stomach and the cooler temperatures work as a laxative to help flush the system of toxins. You’ll notice the water has a very distinct scent and has a strong salty flavor. The mineral water is meant to be consumed in small portions as everyone’s body reacts differently.
People have been using the curative powers from these mineral hot springs since the 16th century and there are even doctors to this day that prescribe patients to visit the springs of Karlovy Vary.
Visit the Colonnades
With over 79 hot springs in Karlovy Vary you can visit the most popular 13 in the 5 different colonnades located around the city. Each colonnade is unique in their own way and and architecturally gorgeous, visiting them are all a part of the experience in Karlovy Vary.
While you’re visiting you will want to make sure you visit all 5 colonnades.
The Mill Colonnade is also referred to as Mlynska and is one of the most impressive structures in the city. The Neo-Renaissance structure contains 6 of the 13 drinking springs located in the colonnades.
Park Colonnade is also referred to as Sadova and is another gorgeous structure made of cast iron. There are 3 different springs in Park Colonnade including the well known snake spring.
Castle Colonnade is also referred to as Chateau. This Art Noveau structure is made of stone and there are parts of the colonnade that are not accessible. There are two hot springs to visit here, the upper springs and the lower springs.
Hot Spring Colonnade is also referred to as Vridelni and is one of the more modern structures in the city built in the late 60s to mid 70s. This structure is very popular with tourists because you can shop and sip on the springs in the indoors here. Hot Spring Colonnade produces mineral water at a rate of 2,000 liters per minute. There are 5 different spots to sip on water and this is a great place to take a rest and sit down indoors during your visit to Karlovy Vary.
Market Colonnade is also referred to as Trzni. This gorgeous Swiss style structure is made of intricate woodwork. There are two different springs to drink from in this colonnade including the Market Spring and the Charles IV spring.
Enjoy a day at the Spa
One of the amazing experiences to try in Karlovy Vary includes a day at the spa. With a city built around it’s natural hot springs and mineral water you can believe there are tons of spas to choose from.
Most hotels offer complimentary spa experiences when you stay as a guest. However, there are various treatments available. From baths for muscle relaxation, baths infused with carbon dioxide for strengthening the immune system, blood circulation, and calming the muscles. Body wraps are also a common spa treatment you can experience in Karlovy Vary where carbon dioxide increases oxygen in the bloodstream as well as improves your circulation. You can also book massages and hydrotherapy sessions at most spas for the ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation experience.
Many of the world class spas available in Karlovy Vary even have outdoor swimming pools, some of which have amazing views of the city’s gorgeous architecture.
Try the Local Delicacies
An experience that can’t be missed in Karlovy Vary is trying the local delicacies. Karlovy Vary is known for their popular spa wafers. You can find these spa wafers for sale all over the country even in boxes in Prague in popular tourist spots like along the Charles Bridge. Visiting Karlovy Vary means you get to try these large, round, tasty, think wafers fresh from the vendors. The wafers come in a variety of flavors and can be purchased all around the city.
Another local delicacy is the herbal spirit Becherovka. This popular local drink originates in Karlovy Vary and much like the water in the city also has its own curative powers. Besides being a tasty herbal alcoholic drink to sip on while socializing, this drink is used to help aid digestion and cure the common cold. You can buy Becherovka all over the city, having a sip on it in Karlovy Vary is an experience not to miss.
Take in the Stunning Architecture
Something to truly enjoy in Karlovy Vary is the opulent and extravagant Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Classical, Neo-Baroque, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau styles of architecture throughout the city. The elegance of the city shines through the architecture of colorful, exquisite buildings.
You may recognize the architecture of Karlovy Vary if you’re a fan of the James Bond movies or have seen The Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah. Scenes from the Bond film Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig were filmed throughout the city including the famous and luxurious Grand Pupp Hotel along the Tepla River as well as the Kaiserbad Spa nextdoor.
Side Trip to Medieval Loket
Speaking of James Bond filming locations there were several scenes also filmed in the nearby medieval town of Loket. Loket is also an experience to enjoy while visiting Karlovy Vary since it can be done in a few hours. Only a 25 minute drive away you can spend a few hours exploring the medieval streets and one of the oldest stone castles in the Czech Republic. The views here are breathtaking and you truly feel like you’ve entered a scene from a storybook. You can get a real taste of the different styles of architecture the Czech Republic has to offer by visiting both the towns of Karlovy Vary and Loket in the same visit.
Bobo and Chichi
Scott & Megan have each visited over 20 countries. They funded their first two years of travel by teaching English in South Korea. Since leaving Korea they have spoken about their unique hyper-lapse photography at events across the world and are carving out a life on the road creating videos and blogging.