Karlovy Vary is a spa region in the west Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. Close to the east of Germany, Karlovy Vary is famous for its mineral water and spa hotels. It has also been featured in a couple of films including James Bond Casino Royale and Last Holiday. A lot of famous people have visited the region, which you will be made aware of when you visit. They like to display photos of their celebrity visitors in the front of restaurants. There’s even a leaflet all about them which you can pick up from the Karlovy Vary tourist information office.
Before being invited on a press trip to the region with Boho Travels, I had never actually heard of it. After spending a couple of days exploring the town, I can now share with you five reasons why you should visit Karlovy Vary.
There are 16 springs around the town from which you can collect and drink the water. The souvenir shops all sell the special drinking cups and you’ll see people walking around with them. Legend has it that if you drink the mineral water here every day, you will live to be 150!
Each of the springs have different healing properties which all depends on the differences in temperature and gas levels. So, if you have some sort of ailment, it may be worth it for you to visit Karlovy Vary!
It’s best to read up on the benefits of each spring though as one in particular (Freedom spring) is especially good for constipation and you’re only meant to take short sips every ten minutes. You don’t want to drink too much of that one without realising!
We were shown these wafers (or ‘Oplatky’ as they are called in Czech) when we were having a guided tour of the town. Made from Karlovy Vary’s mineral water, they are a popular snack to take back to your family. They come in many different sizes and flavours. You can also order a hot one for 10 czk which is a great snack when it’s below freezing outside. My favourites were chocolate, tiramisu and hazelnut.
I bought six small boxes of the locally made wafers to take back home. There was also a generic brand available at Prague airport, so you can still try these even if you don’t get to go to Karlovy Vary.
If you are looking for a relaxing break away and a number of spa treatments, then you definitely need to visit Karlovy Vary. We stayed in the Hotel Prezident which offers such a large variety of treatments. I had a mud bath, the oxygen therapy and a paraffin hand wrap during my two night stay.
There are so many different spa hotels to choose from. I definitely recommend the Hotel Prezident, however a lot of celebrities (including Daniel Craig and Sigmund Freud) have stayed in the Grand Hotel Pupp before. The good news is that not all of the hotels in this small town will cost a fortune, you can still travel to Karlovy Vary on a tighter budget.
If you have seen any of my previous travel posts, then you will know that I love a pretty building. The architecture in Karlovy Vary is stunning. It is what you would expect from an Eastern European country, but so much more colourful. When I googled the town, I saw so many colourful buildings and I couldn’t wait to get there. Along the main strip, there are hotels of all different colours. I was so pleased to find that the Hotel Prezident was yellow. The museum is also a fantastic shade of pink.
If you’re going on a spa break, you want the area itself to be beautiful. You’re obviously not going to be cooped up in the hotel 24/7 so it helps if there’s nice places for you to walk to. Luckily, when you visit Karlovy Vary you have plenty of options. The funicular will take you up to the Diana Observation Tower which will give you the most amazing view of the town and the surrounding forest. If you walk up to the top of the hills in the town, you can take some fabulous photos. I didn’t get chance to go up to the tower this time around, but I definitely will go up next time I visit.
Are you planning to visit Karlovy Vary? Have you ever been on a spa break?