Saturday, March 2, 2024

Finest Issues to Do in Karlovy Differ Spa City

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Karlovy Differ Spa

In case you’re searching for the very best issues to do in Karlovy Differ, often known as Carlsbad, search no additional.

A sublime spa city within the Bohemia area of the Czech Republic (a European nation now known as Czechia), Karlovy Differ has fairytale structure, steaming mineral springs, woodsy strolling trails and loads of spas.

This journey information will assist you plan your journey.

Elegant buildings in Karlovy Vary spa town
Lovely Karlovy Differ – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Karlovy Differ, Czechia – Day Journey From Prague

I can’t get sufficient of Czech spa cities, and Karlovy Differ (often known as Carlsbad) is likely one of the greatest, most glamorous spa cities in Europe.

As a spa knowledgeable who has written about European spas for some fairly heavy-hitting publications just like the New York Put up, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Toronto Star (she says humbly), I can let you know Karlovy Differ Spa makes an important day journey from Prague.

I’ve made a number of journeys right here, and whereas Marianske Lazne is my favourite Czech city for a long run spa trip, you’ll be able to’t beat vigorous Karlovy Differ for a weekend or a day journey.

Try a Full Day Karlovy Differ Tour from Prague right here.

One Day in Karlovy Differ

You may simply go to Karlovy Differ by yourself as you’ll be able to just about sightsee in a line from one finish of the pedestrian spa promenade to the opposite.

For a lot of that point you’ll be blinking in astonishment on the pastel-coloured villas and lodges that stand up via the Tepla River valley like a pale rainbow confection.

The remainder of the time you’ll wish to comply with this issues to do in Karlovy Differ information.

Panoramic view of Karlovy Vary
Dreamy Karlovy Differ – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

A Temporary Historical past of Karlovy Differ

Karlovy Differ was based within the Center Ages by Charles IV, the King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor. Supposedly he found the new springs whereas out on a searching expedition.

Even immediately, the spa city’s declare to fame is its mineral-rich thermal water that gushes up from some 79 totally different springs.

13 of those springs are used for consuming cures and also you’ll discover fountains sprinkled throughout city.

Ingesting Mineral Water

Right here’s the loopy factor about visiting Karlovy Differ: Ingesting mineral water turns into an journey as you progress from pavilion to pavilion sipping from the assorted springs.

It’s like a wine tasting …. with no wine! How enjoyable is that? Proper? Proper?

However again to the historical past of Karlovy Differ. Within the 18th and nineteenth centuries the city turned the spa vacation spot of alternative for lots of the European wealthy and aristocratic, internet hosting A-list guests reminiscent of Beethoven, Tolstoy, Mozart, Kafka and Peter the Nice.

Don’t Diss the Karlovy Differ Spa Treatment

Whereas many North People scoff on the therapeutic energy of sizzling springs, the European mindset is totally different. Karlovy Differ sizzling springs have been used for hundreds of years to deal with varied well being issues reminiscent of digestive points, gout, diabetes and arthritis.

There’s a large vary of wellness remedies obtainable like thermal water baths, mud packs and even bizarre issues like gum irrigation.

(I gave gum irrigation a shot. It’s not a lot enjoyable, however it does get the circulation entering into your gums. If you recognize, you want circulation in your gums.)

Therapeutic Water

The recent springs in Karlovy Differ and different Czech spa cities are thought of so therapeutic that the Czech authorities frequently subsidizes spa stays for its residents with sure medical circumstances.

And may I simply say, for the period of time I spend at Czech spas – and the fervour of my devotion to them – I ought to be granted honorary citizen standing so I can have backed spa cures too.

Staircase near the Karlovy Vary spa promenade
Strolling in Karlovy Differ- Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Beginning Your Karlovy Differ Tour

For this self-guided stroll we’ll begin on the north finish (the underside) of the spa zone and work our means up (which is south).

And sure, north would logically imply up, however it doesn’t work that means in Karlovy Differ, however someway is smart while you’re there.

In case you’re coming from the bus station cross the busy avenue and look or ask for instructions to the pedestrian avenue of Masaryka, a diagonal avenue that may lead you as much as the spa centre.

Don’t make the error I made the primary time I visited Karlovy Differ:

I used to be too shy to ask instructions and ended up crossing the Tepla River and heading straight out of city. By the point I lastly discovered the spa quarter I used to be exhausted.

Desire a personal tour? Try this Personal Karlovy Differ Tour from Prague right here.

Tepla River in Karlovy Vary in Czechia
A scenic stroll via Karlovy Differ

Issues to Do in Karlovy Differ

The second factor to do in Karlovy Differ (we’ll get to the primary in a minute) is to stroll round and drink all of it in.

After I drink it in, I imply each the water and the lavish Artwork Nouveau and Baroque structure, with a sprinkling of communist concrete to combine it up.

All alongside the pedestrianized spa zone you’ll discover lovely colonnades and gushing fountains simply ready so that you can cease, sip and savour … or make a face since you suppose the steaming barely sulphurous water is disgusting.

(Until you’re like me, and discover consuming spring water as thrilling as a superb Bordeaux.)

The First Factor to Do in Karlovy Differ – Purchase a Porcelain Cup

Fancy porcelain cups with built-in consuming spouts are the normal solution to sip spring water in Czech spa cities.

You may choose up a cup from any memento store or kiosk on the road. Go all out and get a gold-rimmed designer cup you’ll treasure endlessly, or get the most affordable one yow will discover.

Why Purchase a Spa Cup?

  1. Sampling the mineral water is the primary exercise in Karlovy Differ and also you wish to get with this system.
  2. As a result of among the thermal springs are so sizzling a plastic water bottle is in peril of 1) melting and a pair of) releasing all these BPA toxins into your therapeutic water, which defeats the aim of consuming it within the first place.
Porcelain spa cups with drinking spouts
You name it sightseeing, I name it sip-seeing

Move By the Spa Resort Thermal

Armed along with your memento spa cup, amble alongside the spa zone that follows the Tepla River. You’ll know you’re going the appropriate means while you’ll move the concrete Spa Resort Thermal.

Guidebooks like to name the Spa Resort Thermal ugly (and it’s), however it’s really a advantageous instance of Socialist Brutalist Structure.

If you wish to soak, it’s additionally the place they’ve an out of doors mineral pool. 

Karlovy Differ Worldwide Movie Pageant

The Thermal Resort is the hub of the glamorous Karlovy Differ Worldwide Movie Pageant held every July. It’s one of many oldest movie festivals round. (Learn extra concerning the Resort Thermal’s intriguing historical past.)

Dvorak Park with many green trees
Dvorak Park- Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Test Out Dvořák Park

Reverse the Spa Resort Thermal you’ll discover Dvořák Park, named for the composer Antonín Dvořák.

It’s a beautiful stretch of inexperienced with weeping timber and a scenic pond, and is an efficient place to loll round, chill out or hunt up the statue of Dvořák himself.

Park Colonnade in Karlovy Vary
Park Colonnade – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Stroll Via the Park Colonnade

Subsequent you come to the Park Colonnade, an ornate little bit of Viennese ironwork from the nineteenth century. 

The pavilion that when surrounded it’s lengthy gone, however if you happen to wander all the way down to the top, you’ll be able to pattern your first style of spa water on the Snake Spring.

The water of the Snake Spring pours out of a sculpted snake spout at a temperature of 30C (86F).

I’ve heard the spring is known as for the grass snakes that used to hold across the colonnade. Wait – did I say snakes? Don’t fear, I’ve been assured they’re not there anymore.

A Word In regards to the Spa Water of Karlovy Differ

The mineral make-up of every spring could be very comparable, however the temperatures fluctuate vastly, which implies there are totally different ranges of dissolved salts and minerals in every spring.

That’s why they style totally different, too.

Snake spout fountain
Snake Spring in Karlovy Differ – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Cease on the Spectacular Mill Colonnade

The following main colonnade you’ll see is the Mill Colonnade. You may’t miss it. It’s a protracted arcade of sturdy Corinthian columns that lend a certain quantity of gravitas to the artwork of consuming spa water.

You may pattern the water from the 5 fountains right here, however be warned: the spa water is piping sizzling.

(That is when your plastic water bottle will warp and also you’ll actually want you’d purchased that spa cup like I advised you to.)

Mill Colonnade with pillars
The imposing Mill Colonnade – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Historical past of the Mill Colonnade

The Neo-Renaissance Mill Colonnade wasn’t widespread when it was constructed within the late Eighties. Possibly it was too stately for the spa-goers’ style.

Now it’s one of many primary landmarks on the town, though with all these fountains it’s not a lot a landmark as a water mark if you concentrate on it.

Don’t Drink Too A lot Water

It’s at this level, often, that I begin to really feel like I’m drowning from the within as a result of I’ve drunk an excessive amount of thermal water.

Please be extra smart and restrained about consuming thermal water than I’m. It will probably trigger digestive points if you happen to overdo it.

The place are the Bathrooms in Karlovy Differ?

With all this water consuming you’ll have to discover a lavatory sooner or later. You may be happy to know there are public bathrooms at one finish of the Mill Colonnade – convey change as a result of there’s a small price.

Historic Peter House in Karlovy Vary
Peter Home- Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Look on the Peter Home

Whilst you’re on the Mill Colonnade look throughout the river and also you’ll see the Peter Home. This half-timbered constructing is likely one of the older buildings on the town.

Constructed between 1706 and 1709, it’s now a pizza restaurant, which appears a giant ignoble for a heritage constructing however perhaps it’s actually good pizza.

A plaque exterior is devoted to Peter the Nice, who, in a typical present of manly prowess, helped construct by hand a home throughout the highway.

White Market Colonnade
Cease scratching your head and get out of my shot of the Market Colonnade – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Don’t Miss the Market Colonnade

By now you might be getting drained of viewing fountains and colonnades however there are two extra watery issues to see in Karlovy Differ. One is the frothy-looking Market Colonnade. 

Inside is the Charles IV Spring. That is mentioned to be the unique spring that Charles IV soothed his ailing legs in again within the 14th century when it was nothing greater than a steaming pool within the forest.

The white picket constructing is so darn fairly it’s unimaginable to not {photograph}.

You may, nonetheless, get the urge to start out elbowing different selfie-happy vacationers out of the way in which as a result of they preserve wandering into your shot. Settle down. Chill out. Have a drink of water.

Market Colonnade in Karlovy Vary
One other view of the Market Colonnade- Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Strive Some Becherovka

If the crowds are actually attending to you, look out for a sales space formed like a giant inexperienced bottle and purchase a shot of Becherovka.

This well-known natural liqueur produced in Karlovy Differ acts as a digestive support and is as a lot part of the ‘Karlovy Differ consuming remedy’ as mineral water.

I used to take a bottle again with me to Canada and have a wee sip each night time, hopeful (however not very) that it could convey me good well being.

Tepla River with pastel buildings
The Tepla River – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

See the Church of St Mary Magdalene

Close to the Market Colonnade is the Baroque Church of St Mary Magdalene inbuilt 1737. If it’s open you’ll be able to peek inside to see the ornate altar and a Gothic statue of Mary.

Church of St Mary Magdalene
Church of St Mary Magdalene – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Orthodox Church of Saint Peter and Paul (A Aspect Journey)

Journey tip: Slightly off the Karlovy Differ sightseeing path, within the slightly-faded however very gracious district of Westend is one other gorgeous church value seeing, the Orthodox Church of Saint Peter and Paul.

Hot Spring Colonnade in Karlovy Vary
Scorching Spring heaven within the Scorching Spring Colonnade – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Go Into the Scorching Spring Colonnade – A Main Landmark

Throughout the Market Colonnade is brusque-looking Scorching Spring Colonnade. Right here you’ll get a way of the Czechia’s communist previous via its geometric concrete-loving structure.

Discover the Scorching Spring Geyser

Contained in the Market Colonnade there are a selection of fountains to drink from. The spring you’re right here to see is likely one of the most well-known Karlovy Differ sights, the Scorching Spring Geyser.

A burst of thermal water that may leap as much as 12 metres excessive, the Scorching Spring Geyser is Karlovy Differ’s reply to Yellowstone’s Outdated Trustworthy.

It’s the most popular spring in Karlovy Differ at a mind-boiling 72 °C (162 F). 

Hot spring fountain
Outdoors the Scorching Spring Colonnade – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Take a Espresso Break on the Elegant Café Elefant

It might appear, at this level, that the one factor to do in Karlovy Differ is to drink. That’s a sound level, however at the least on the historic Café Elefant you’ll be able to have cake, too. 

Opened in 1715, this beautiful café is situated at Stará Louka 30. Suppose chandeliers, white columns and gold mouldings … if it was adequate for Beethoven it’s adequate for you.


Karlovy Differ spa city has loads of boutiques so you’ll be able to spend quite a lot of time … spending.

In search of a memento? Pink porcelain and Bohemian crystal are two of the primary issues to purchase in Karlovy Differ.

Eat Spa Wafers Scorching Off the Grill

In all honesty, I don’t discover spa wafers all that thrilling, however in Karlovy Differ they’re a convention.

My favourites are the hazelnut and it looks like a ritual to purchase them at U Jachyma at 34 Stará Louka simply earlier than you come to the Grandhotel Pupp.

Grand Hotel Pupp
Grandhotel Pupp – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Gaze on the Grandhotel Pupp

On the finish of the spa zone is the legendary Grandhotel Pupp. This lavish 5-star property was the mannequin for the lodge within the film the Grand Budapest Resort. 

It’s additionally featured within the James Bond flick On line casino Royale and the comedy Final Vacation starring Queen Latifah.  

With a historical past that dates again to the 1700s, the Grandhotel Pupp is probably the most luxe lodge in Karlovy Differ, and sure, the proper pronunciation sounds a bit like ‘poop.’ Simply let it go.

Head into the hills – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Take the Funicular to the Diana Tower Lookout

You could suppose your tour is over, however the very best is but to come back. In case you stroll to the appropriate of the Grandhotel Pupp you’ll discover a funicular to take you as much as the Diana Lookout Tower within the fantastic Slavkov Forest.

On the high you’ll be able to climb the 150 steps (or take the elevator) up the watchtower for some spectacular views.

In case you like mountain climbing you can stroll as much as the Diana Watchtower from city. There are such a lot of trails and attention-grabbing issues to see within the hills round Karlovy Differ, I can’t start to explain them.

Oh, wait. I already did. Learn my Karlovy Differ Deer Leaping Stroll article to examine that journey.

Different Karlovy Differ Sights

That’s it for the strolling portion of this ‘issues to do in Karlovy Differ’ journey information, however if you happen to’re spending greater than a day right here otherwise you nonetheless have power to spare, there are many different issues to do in Karlovy Differ.

Jan Becher Museum
Becherovka!  – Picture Credit score: Carol Perehudoff

Tour the Becherovka Guests Heart

One of the widespread locations to go to in Karlovy Differ is the interactive Jan Becher Museum, now known as the Becherovka Guests Heart.

Why go to? As a result of lastly you’ll be able to drink one thing stronger than water.

Keep in mind the liqueur Becherovka we had been speaking about earlier? The Guests Heart is devoted to this legendary natural elixir.

What Can You Do on the Becherovka Museum?

  • Tour the outdated cellars
  • Learn the way the historical past of Becherovka is entwined with the historical past of the spa city
  • Do a Becherovka tasting (everybody’s favorite half)

The Jan Becher Museum is situated within the authentic manufacturing unit at T.G.Masaryka 57. Basically that is again the place we began from. Go to the web site for more information.

Clear glass at Moser Glass Factory
Moser glass within the making

A Karlovy Differ Custom – The Moser Glass Manufacturing facility

If shopping for a porcelain cup with a spout isn’t sufficient of a breakable memento for you, tour the Moser Glass Manufacturing facility.

It was again within the 1800s that Ludwig Moser opened a glass workshop in Karlovy Differ, and his celebrated Bohemian crystal quickly turned the toast of the Austrian Hungarian monarchy.

What Can You Do on the Moser Glass Manufacturing facility?

  • Hear concerning the historical past of Moser Glass and study concerning the advantageous artwork of glassblowing
  • Watch grasp craftsmen and their apprentices remodel molten glass into gleaming bowls and vases
  • Store for advantageous crystal souvenirs

FYI: You’ll be cruising previous some fairly sizzling furnaces so now that I give it some thought, you may wish to go to the glass manufacturing unit earlier than you do your Becherovka tasting.

Test the Moser Glass web site for tour occasions and costs. It’s situated at Kapitana Jarose 46/19. You may take Bus No. 1, 2 or 22 from the bus cease Tržnice (Market corridor) within the metropolis centre.

Karlovy Differ Spa Remedies

A Karlovy Differ spa remedy is a part of the enjoyable. Historically, spa holidays listed below are full packages that run for every week to a few weeks, however as Karlovy Differ tourism will increase, there are extra choices for day spas.

Many lodges supply some form of spa remedy choices and, as a spa fanatic, I believe delving into the normal world of Czech spas is likely one of the very best issues to do in Karlovy Differ.

It’s not for everybody although. Remedies are rather more medical than in North America, and your bare physique isn’t all the time fastidiously hidden from the therapist’s view.

The place to Spa in Karlovy Differ

In case you’re staying at a lodge, it will possible have an onsite spa the place you’ll be able to attempt a thermal water bathtub or get a therapeutic massage. If not, you’ve gotten a couple of different choices.

Spa tip: Within the Czech Republic it’s not conventional to wash in public sizzling springs swimming pools, however somewhat to e-book a personal bathtub at one of many spas.

Elizabeth V Day Spa – Spa 5

One place I like for its conventional healing spa environment – although once more, it would too medical for some – is the Elizabeth V Spa.

Not less than it used to be known as the Elizabeth V Spa, named for the Austrian Empress Sissi, however now it appears to be known as Spa 5. And typically the Elizabeth Baths.

Situated initially of the spa zone, even earlier than the Spa Resort Thermal, Spa 5 is a white Neo-Baroque constructing on the foot of flowery Smetana Park and really grand trying from the surface, although sparser inside. 

If you would like an genuine Czech spa expertise, it’s a superb Karlovy Differ day spa to attempt.

The Elizabeth Baths presents remedies reminiscent of thermal water baths, massages and inhalations of thermal water (good for respiratory points).

Additionally they have a pool, however it’s common water not mineral springs. If you would like the thermal water, go for a mineral bathtub.

Spa 5, a beautiful spa building
Elizabeth V

Soak in an Out of doors Scorching Springs Pool

One place you’ll be able to soak in an out of doors thermal pool is on the Saunia Thermal Resort on the Spa Resort Thermal. (Do not forget that lodge with the Brutalist structure?)

Saunia additionally has an in depth vary of saunas and presents spa remedies. Test it out right here.

You may’t beat the placement, and even when the lodge is ugly I spent every week there and am fairly keen on it.

Attending to Karlovy Differ From Prague

By Prepare

There are two prepare stations on the town. In case you’re taking the prepare to Karlovy Differ from Prague, and also you most likely received’t be because it’s a 3.5 hour journey every means, you’ll find yourself on the Horní Nádraží Station.

From there you can take a bus or a taxi to the spa zone.

In case you’re taking the prepare to Karlovy Differ from Marianske Lazne, you’ll find yourself at Dolní Nádraží Station, which is nearer.

Prague to Karlovy Differ by Bus

In case you’re taking the bus from Prague, it’s best to arrive on the Dolní Nádraží Station.

Cross Zapadni Avenue and look or ask for instructions to the pedestrian avenue of Masaryka, a diagonal avenue that may take you in direction of the spa centre.

By Automobile

In case you’re travelling from Prague to Karlovy Differ by automobile or bus it takes about 2 hours.

Vacationer Data: There are two vacationer info centres in Karlovy Differ. One is at T.G. Masaryka 53, not removed from the bus station. The opposite is within the centre of the spa zone at Lázeňská 14.

Accommodations in Karlovy Differ

There are lots of lodges in Karlovy Differ and one thing for each finances.

On the high finish of the spectrum is the Grandhotel Pupp. I beloved my keep right here. Who wouldn’t?

I’ve additionally heard good issues concerning the Quisisana Palace, a Neo-Baroque constructing that dates again to the nineteenth century.

If you would like a real conventional Czech spa expertise, individuals have really useful the Dvořák Spa Resort.

The three lodges I’ve stayed at are the Spa Resort Thermal, the Grandhotel Pupp and the Resort Imperial – I speak extra about them on this Karlovy Differ lodge article.

Day Journeys From Karlovy Differ

In case you’re searching for locations to see exterior Karlovy Differ, take into consideration visiting the historic city of Loket, lower than a half an hour away.

Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) might be the spa city closest to my coronary heart and you are able to do it as a day journey from Karlovy Differ by prepare. Try this Spa in Marianske Lazne weblog publish to study extra about it.

Is Karlovy Differ Price It?

Even you probably have little interest in spas, Karlovy Differ is well worth the journey as a result of it’s one of many prettiest European cities you’ll ever see. In case you like thermal water you’ll be in waterlogged heaven.

Hopefully this journey information will assist you plan your keep, whether or not you’re spending in the future in Karlovy Differ, a weekend, or settling in for an extended keep.

For more information on Europe learn Prime Locations in Europe or go to my Europe Journey class web page.

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