Karlovy Vary is a spa resort town on west of the Czech Republic and is rich with history. You may also find it under the German name, Karlsbad or Carlsbad.
The town was founded in 1358, and has welcomed visitors such as Peter the Great, Beethoven, Chopin, Schiller, Karl Marx, and Goethe. The main attraction here are undoubtedly the hot springs, which literally burst into the Tepla river as it flows through the city, with jets of water shooting up to 14 meters high to the sky.
So what all you can do and see in Karlovy Vary?
In 1893 Ludwig Moser established his glass workshop here and Karlovy Vary has, for more than 160 years, been one of eastern Europe's most important glassmaking towns. At one point in the early-1900s Moser was the crystal supplier to the Emperor of Austro-Hungary, the Persian Shah and the King of Great Britain. You can come to the Moser Museum to get to know the process, from design to glassmaking, cutting and engraving.
And of course you get the opportunity to buy some of the amazing pieces yourself.
Karlovy Vary International Film festival
It is a 5 day film festival, that runs almost continuously since 1946 and attracts stars and crowds of people from far away and not just the Czech republic. Each year up to 130,000 filmgoers come here to watch or promote around 200 or more films. What stars visited this film festival in the past you can see here.
Promenades and colonnades
Whether you just want to admire the amazing neo-renaissance and baroque architecture, with statues, columns and other beautiful details or actually indulge in drinking the healthy water out of one of the 13th springs, you are up for a treat.
You may get yourself a special mug with a nozzle (some with paintings others with Swarovski crystals) from either your hotel or local kiosks - you cannot miss them. Tapping the water is for free and you can drink as much as you please. In case you do not like it, the mug plays a great souvenir to take back home.
Several Spa opportunities
Through out the town you get several opportunities to get a Spa treatment. If you are looking only for thermal water pools, all you want the full body massages and others, ask in your hotel as they either have an offer of their own, or can help you to choose the right one for you. Hotel Thermal for example just did it´s reconstruction and offers outdoors thermal water pool.
Jan Becher Museum
Josef Becher was a pharmacist in 19th-century, who developed his own medicinal tonics, that were widely successful. His son Johann then began to produce a drink called Becherovka, which is now the Czech Republic’s national liqueur.
At the Jan Becher Museum you are able to see the original distillery and see the process of how Becherovka is brewed and stored. The admission to the museum includes a tasting session or you can simply pick up a bottle (even mini bottles) as a souvenir to take back home.
Diana and Charles IV lookout
If you want to see it from the top and get the colorful view of it all, there are some hills surrounding Karlovy Vary and you may go for a little hike. In case you travel with prams or people with mobility impairment, you can use the funicular to take you up to the hill, where you can enjoy a meal in a restaurant (since 1914), butterfly house and a mini-zoo.
Where to stay in Karlovy Vary?
We have stayed in a pet friendly hotel Astoria Medical Spa, right in front of one of the most beautiful colonnades there is. We could admire it each evening we sat on our balcony.
Other hotel we stayed in previously is Spa Resort Sanssouci, which we also enjoyed and can recommend. It is a bit further from the center though, on the other hand has parking (Astoria does not) and is secluded which can be more quiet at times.
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