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More than 150,000 travellers a year search for cheap air tickets to Karlovy Vary, most of who have become regulars! Why? Everlasting moments of relaxation, indulgence and spa treatments, in one of Europe’s most prominent spa towns! Set at the western region of the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary boasts 13 primary and hundreds of secondary thermal springs said to have therapeutic properties, through the combination of high temperature and high content of salts and minerals. Visitors in Karlovy Vary have the opportunity, apart from experiencing the much desirable healing, to enjoy a pleasant stay in a beautiful place, surrounded by elegant architecture and historic spots, in a fairy-tale background. A maze of cobblestone streets follows the city’s three rivers, Ohře, Teplá and Rolava, lined with 20th-century Art Nouveau buildings, like a pocket-sized Prague. Cheap accommodation in Karlovy Vary is easy to be found, but you could also visit in a daytrip from Prague; either way, once you’re in Karlovy Vary, prepare to experience the ultimate delight, in one of your most care-free journeys!
Karlovy Vary was accidentally discovered by King Charles IV in the 14th century, during a hunting expedition in the forest. When the Czech King – and Holy Roman Emperor – realised the existence of the thermal springs and their therapeutic effect, he established a castle and named it Karlovy Vary (Charles’s Thermal Springs).
The first baths and spa facilities were founded in 1522 and, over the years, became very popular in Europe, attracting important figures of the political, royal, military and artistic elite. Peter the Great of Russia and military leader Albrecht Václav Eusebius z Valdštejna were among the most well-known visitors during the 18th century, followed by personalities like Bach, Beethoven, Freud and Marx, in the 19th century.
After World War II, Karlovy Vary became even more popular, gaining the title of one of Europe’s primary spa towns.
Today, the spa town of Karlovy Vary ranks among the Czech Republic’s top travel destinations!
Whether you wish to enjoy the therapeutic effect of the thermal springs, admire the magnificent architecture or get acquainted with a beautiful and historic place of the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary will live up to your expectations!
The airport of Karlovy Vary (Letiště Karlovy Vary) is located 6 kilometres from the city centre and is served by bus No. 8. Alternatively, you can fly to Prague airport and take the bus (2-hour drive) to Karlovy Vary.
Getting around Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is quite compact and can easily be explored on foot, but there is also a bus network serving the town. Fares start from 25.00 CZK and minimum taxi fare costs 35.00 CZK.
Karlovy Vary Guide
There are 13 primary thermal springs across the Teplá River in Karlovy Vary, each with different temperature and composition, protected inside five colonnades built around the springs:
- The Orchard Colonnade (Sadová Kolonáda)
The first colonnade you come across upon entering Karlovy Vary, it has three thermal springs with temperatures of 30, 47.4 and 60οC.
- The Mill Colonnade (Mlýnská Kolonáda)
This is the largest and most popular colonnade; a beautiful, Renaissance structure of 124 Corinthian columns, the Mill Colonnade is decorated with 12 statues representing the 12 months of the year and houses five main thermal springs, with temperatures from 53 to 62οC.
Notice the monument situated in-between the columns, to commemorate Czech architect and designer of the Mill Colonnade, Josef Zítek. The plaque is inscribed with the lyrics of the “Ode to the Hot Spring”, by Bohuslav Hasištejnský von Lobkowicz.
- The Market Colonnade (Tržní Kolonáda)
A fine white building, built by Viennese architects Fellner and Helmer in Swiss architecture, the lavishly carved wooden Market Colonnade houses two thermal springs. Built on the location of the first spa ever created in Karlovy Vary, it is said that King Charles IV himself was treated here.
- The Chateau Colonnade (Zámecká Kolonáda)
Located above the Market Colonnade, the majestic Castle Colonnade is built on two levels and features neoclassical details in white colour. Two more thermal springs are to be found here.
- The Thermal Spring Colonnade (Vrídelní Kolonáda)
The glass structure of the Thermal Spring Colonnade is the last one across the river and is the only spring used for thermal baths and for drinking purposes. Dating back to 1975, the colonnade was built to house the hottest (72οC) and richest in minerals hot spring of Karlovy Vary, known as Vrídlo.
Such is the pressure of the spring, that it comes out of the ground in a 12-metre-high geyser, yielding 2,000 litres per minute!
Continue to Karlovy Vary’s other points of interest, situated within the area inside Stará Louka and Nová Louka streets.
- Along Stará Louka, you can find a wide range of idyllic cafes and shops selling local pieces of artwork made of glass
- Nová Louka is lined with fine hotels, centred on the great historic Theatre of Karlovy Vary (Karlovarské městské divadlo). This splendid theatre was built in 1886 and boasts fabulous art collections with works by many notable artists, highlights being masterpieces by Gustav Klimt.
Complete your day in Karlovy Vary with a visit to the Moser Museum. Moser is the brand of the local, top-quality, internationally famous glassware of Karlovy Vary. The museum is dedicated to the history of the factory and the making procedures and techniques used for over 150 years of its existence, featuring excellent collections of over 2,000 specimens.
The official language of Karlovy Vary is Czech.