The 2nd most visited city in the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary is the "Jewel of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle". It would be fair to call it the sum of its colonnades, regal spas, whirlpool baths and hot water springs! The fresh geothermal water pouring from its hot springs is said to have healing powers, numerous health benefits at the very least. The town takes its spas VERY seriously. Recognized with its German name, Karlsbad or Carlsbad, Karlovy Vary has countless upscale shops, spa-influenced architecture and impressive cafes. They also say one way to explore Karlovy Vary is to see all the 13 main hot springs! So, if you are visiting this European spa-town, we have curated a list of 11 things you should do in Karlovy Vary!
11 Interesting Things To Do In Karlovy Vary
1. Buy the famous Ceramic cup!
The very first thing to do would be to buy porcelain or ceramic cup. Drinking spring water from these little porcelain cups is the traditional way of sipping the thermal water. Also, spring water that comes from some thermal springs is so hot that a plastic bottle won't suffice. Also, as a responsible traveller, say NO to plastic, no matter where you go!
2. See the 13 Main Natural Thermal Hot Springs
There are about 300 hot springs in Karlovy Vary, 13 of them are the most remarkable ones. The water from these springs is believed to have healing powers that provide health benefits. Gulp down the therapeutic mineral water using your ceramic cup to get the local vibe!
3. Visit the Colonnades in Karlovy Vary
Colonnades are traditional buildings in Karlovy Vary that have grand architecture. These are basically rows of columns that support a roof. They are totally worth the visit and most definitely, picturesque!
Some of the most famous and beautiful colonnades are -
Mill Colonnade -
5 of Karlovy Vary's 13 main hot springs are found here in Mill Colonnade. The colonnade has 124 columns, and above every spring, you will find all details of the water temperature and minerals, engraved on a plate.
Park Colonnade -
A.K.A. Garden Colonnade, Park Colonnade is elegant and standing tall since the 1880s. It was designed by the visionary Viennese architectural firm Fellner and Helmer.
Market Colonnade -
Also designed by Fellner and Helmer, it is the town's only colonnade made from wood! Made in the 1880s, it depicts the discovery of the hot springs in the 14th century by Emperor Charles.
4. Pamper yourself with the spa culture
Spas here are legendary. Most big brand hotels offer spa facilities. What makes the spas of Karlovy Vary stand out is that they use geothermal (hot spring) water for all their spa treatments. The entire long-term spa treatment takes 1-3 weeks, but there are shorter, session-based treatments available as well! Some of the many options you can consider are mineral baths, body massages, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, and heat therapy. Some of the many spas are Tawan Thai House and Imperial Spa.
5. You should also buy bath salts from here
Remember to buy a huge stock of natural and organic bathing salts from Carlsbad. There are lots of shops that will be able to provide you with it. You can't stay in Karlovy Vary forever, but you can take home some of Karlovy Vary with you!
6. Visit the Grandhotel Pupp
The eminent Grandhotel Pupp hosts the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival every year. This hotel has inspired the story of the movie "The Grand Budapest Hotel". Rings a bell? It has also been the filming location of the James Bond movie "Casino Royale" and "Last Holiday".
7. Visit the Moser Glass Museum and Glass Factory
Apart from being known as one of the most spectacular Spa Towns of Europe, it is also a glass-making town. The skilled craftsmanship of the glassmakers of Karlovy Vary is celebrated and displayed in the gorgeous Museum of Glass MOSER and the Glass Factory. It is a must-visit.
8. Climb up the Diana Observation Tower
This is the best hilltop viewing point in Karlovy Vary that offers a spectacular vantage point of the town. The Diana Lookout Tower is surrounded by forested hills and is a landmark that leads to various hiking trails into the woods. Deer Leap Lookout is another viewing point that will give you a view to kill for.
9. Visit the Jan Becher Museum
This incredible museum tells you stories about Becherovka, a cherished local alcoholic-herbal drink. Head's up, it is a little towards the bitter side! The drink is available in most pubs and bars in Karlovy Vary, but if you want to know about the secret ingredients used to make this drink, visit the museum!
10. Have a cuppa coffee at Republica Coffee
Are you a coffee lover too? If you want to see what Czech coffee tastes like, visit Republica Coffee. Their coffee is made from freshly brewed beans. Enjoy your beverage with delectable sides. This cafe is not too far from the Becherovka Museum. They also have a branch in Prague, in case you are planning to visit!
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11. Lose yourself in the Czech cuisine
When in the spa town of Karlovy Vary, treat your taste buds with some Czech delicacies and specialties like potato dumplings, cabbage, pork, meat goulash and schnitzel. End your meal with a delicious local treat - the Karlovy Vary spa wafers!