TOP 10 - "What You Should Not Miss in Karlovy Vary!"

1. Thermal Spring

Approximately halfway between the hotel Thermal and the Grandhotel Pupp, in the heart of the spa zone, you can find the largest and hottest spring in Karlovy Vary. It rises to the surface with respectable energy. The Thermal Spring can spurt up to 12 m, thus discharging 2.000 liters of hot water and 5.000 liters of carbon dioxide from the underground every minute.

The Thermal Spring is the only spring whose water is indicated for spa baths as well as drinking cure. The spa sanatoriums are supplied with this spring from the underground Thermal Spring Colonnade.

It most likely strikes your mind that the Thermal Colonnade is the place where the Thermal Spring makes its way to the surface. The colonnade structure was built in the years 1971 - 1975 and is one of several buildings encompassing this unique spring.

The esplanade hall that is open daily from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.lets you admire not only the Thermal Spring fountains but also another 5 spring outlets whose water can be caught in a special cup and drunk either warm (72°C) or cooled.

The premises of the Thermal Spring Colonnade also provides several souvenir, costume jewelry, glass and porcelain shops. There is a special stand with original Karlovy Vary wafers, a restaurant and public restrooms.

On the second floor of the colonnade you can visit a gallery or go shopping in a boutique. The old section of the thermal spring underground will soon be open to the public who will be able to go on a guided tour there.

The Thermal Spring is surrounded with a large number of souvenir shops, luxury boutiques, restaurants and hotels and smaller guest houses. Above the Spring, the church of St. Mary Magdalene towers, facing the Chateau Colonnade and the Market Colonnade.

 

2. go for a walk on the Mill Colonnade

2. go for a walk on the Mill Colonnade

Karlovy Vary is a spa city well known for its colonnades. The main purpose of these structures is to provide spa guests with utmost comfort while taking indicated curative water. All the colonnades are situated within a close distance from each other. If you walk away from the Thermal Hotel down the stream of the Tepla River, you will soon come across the Park Colonnade located in Dvořák Park. Several meters further, the largest colonnade - the Mill Colonnade was built in the year 1871 - 1881.

The colonnade roof is carried on 124 majestic columns among which five springs spurt out. The sixth spring is found in the open space in front of the colonnade, opposite the orchestra platform.

The colonnade walls are decorated with allegoric statues. Twelve statues representing one month of the year each look down from the roof. Inside the columns an orchestra platform has its place along with a monument dedicated to the architect of the colonnade, Josef Zítek, or along with a commemorative plaque with the „Thermal Spring Ode’ by Bohuslav Hasištejnsky from Lobkovice“.

 

3. look around from the top of Diana

Diana towers 547 meters above sea level in the spa forests in the vicinity of the Grandhotel Pupp. It was erected in 1914 since when it has been offering a wonderful view of the whole of Karlovy Vary and its surroundings.

Before you can enjoy the view of Karlovy Vary from the top of its gallery, you have to climb 150 steps or take a lift.

Near the lookout tower is a fast food stand and a restaurant where you can eat or have a cup a cup of good coffee.

Information boards will help you to get oriented in the network of spa tracks whose total length is 180 km. They will lead you to many other places, including more lookout towers. The tracks are marked with different color signs, depending on the level of hiking difficulty. Everybody can thus choose the track that is right for them.

 

4. taste the Becher liqueur

To get to know Karlovy Vary through all your senses you should not miss the tasting of the traditional herbal liqueur that is manufactured only here.

The Becher liqueur, or ‘Becherovka’, was first made produced by Josef Becher at his chemist shop in 1807. First, he sold it in vials as gastric drops. The growing popularity of the drink went hand in hand with the increasing size of the flasks in which the liqueur was decanted under its original name „Carlsbader English Bitter“. Approximately seventy years after the creation of the formula Becherovka began to be filled in typical flat bottles.

The Czech name „Becherovka“ has been officially used since the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.

For more than 200 years, the very production of the liqueur has been shrouded with mystery. The exact ratio of ingredients was handed from father to son as a family secret. Today, the Becherovka formula is known only to two people who prepare a special mixture of spices and herbs once a week. The specific taste of the liqueur is acquired, amongst others, by two-week maturing in oak casks and allegedly also by the environment of Karlovy Vary.

A glass of Becherovka can be ordered practically everywhere in Karlovy Vary: in every pub, restaurant or bar. It is served either cooled in a special liqueur glass or in cocktails, the favorite one being perhaps „Beton“ (Becherovka and tonic water).

Becherovka is inherently connected with Karlovy Vary that has its „JAN BECHER MUZEUM“.

The museum exposition is situated on the premises where the liqueur has bee made for 150 year. During a sightseeing tour you will watch a short film about Becherovka, walk through the original cellars (where the liqueur matures in oak casks), see a part of production premises and a variety of objects historically connected with the liqueur (the original bottle labels, bottles, imitations, etc.). The museum also has a factory outlet store and a museum bar where Becherovka is served cooled to the right temperature.

 

5. enjoy some of the many spa procedures

5. enjoy some of the many spa procedures

Relaxation massages, whirlpool baths, pleasant warm wraps and packs are not available only to the spa patients. You can also treat yourself.

The history of the Karlovy Vary spa treatment goes back to the 14th century when King Charles IV soaked his wounded body in thermal water. Therapy was gradually developed. Yet sometimes it ran into extremes when it called for half-day continuous baths or excessive drinking cure. The doctors who were very instrumental in the promotion and optimization of the spa therapy were Jan Becher and Jean de Carro.

The spa sanatoriums offer a wide range of wellness and beauty programs. You can enjoy just one procedure or a whole „package“. It’s only up to you. Women may prefer cosmetic wraps and anti-cellulite therapy. Men may go for reflex massages and thermal spring baths.

 

6. visit the permanent exposition of the Regional Museum

The exhibits shown in the museum document the history of the Karlovy Vary region and present its natural riches, traditional crafts, trades and industry.

The exposition also includes minerals, historical writings, things connected with the origin and development of the spa industry, various archeological findings, etc. You can also see the specimens of porcelain products made in or around Karlovy Vary and of glassware from the renowned Moser company.

This permanent exposition was open to the public in 1987 and has remained accessible - without major changes - up to now. The museum building hosts exhibitions of objects from its own depositories as well as from the depositories run by other institutions.

The museum arranges special sightseeing tours for elementary schools and student groups. Children are engaged in a game during which they learn many interesting facts about the history of the Karlovy Vary area. Sightseeing tours have to be ordered in advance.

In addition to the permanent exposition, you ca also visit a library that holds outstanding balneological publications or the exhibition of paintings by W. Gause in the Golden Key house.

 

7. go for a walk on spa paths

7. go for a walk on spa paths

Besides walks on colonnades and esplanades, you should also direct your steps into the calm and quiet environment of the spa forests.

Hikes and bike trips can take place on 180 km long roads, paths and tracks. All the tracks are well maintained and marked. Most of them are named after famous guests of Karlovy Vary. During your walks you will surely see several gazebos, lodges and other small buildings that were erected to provide a rest place or a shelter from rain.

If you set out for a concrete destination, numerous signposts, road signs, tourist marks and orientation plans will help you to stay on the right track. The paths are marked with three colors, depending on their difficulty level: green - low difficulty, blue - medium difficulty, and red - extreme difficulty. Most people usually head for an excursion restaurant or a belvedere spot.

We recommend going on a walk to Charles IV belvedere or to a place called Deer Jump. Both sites can be accessed from the Friendship Height on which the Diana lookout tower stands.

 

8. visit the renowned restaurants of Karlovy Vary

8. visit the renowned restaurants of Karlovy Vary

The Post Office Manor has stood at the edge of the spa zone for more 200 years. Originally, a stable for post office horses, this manor soon became a setting for distinguished social, cultural and political events. It was also a favorite venue of the elite of Karlovy Vary.

This building comes from the end of the 18th century. Its classicist exterior and romantic interior inspire the place with unforgettable atmosphere. Definitely the most spectacular room is Labitzky’s Hall that is decorated with fresco paintings by Master Kramolín.

The restaurant offers a rich menu comprising Czech and international specialties as well as a broad choice of alcoholic and soft drinks. It is ideal for an afternoon sit-down or for a romantic evening. The ceremonial halls often become a venue of wedding banquets or seminars. The dance pavilion is suitable for company parties and similar functions.

If you go past the Post Office Manor during one of your walks, make sure you stop here perhaps just for a cup of good coffee.

The historical center of Karlovy Vary is proud of another notable restaurant located inside the Embassy Hotel. Besides the varied choice of gourmet specialties and exquisite wines, the restaurant boasts about beautiful historical interiors.

 

9. practice sports

9. practice sports

Whether you are an active or passive sports fan, Karlovy Vary has a lot to offer. In addition to regular sports grounds, there are golf courses, tennis courts, extra league ice-hockey matches or horse race tracks.