TRAVEL

Discover Karlovy Vary:

The Emerald of Green Bohemia

March 25, 2018

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Overlooking the beautiful spa town of Karlovy Vary

IMAGE: Information Centre of Karlovy Vary

Nestled in Bohemia, the largest and most westerly region of the Czech Republic, is a

true jewel of a town. Beautiful, restorative, healing, invigorating and enveloped in a swathe of woodland, its name is Karlovy Vary. The literal translation is “Charles’ Hot Springs”, in honour of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV, who, legend has it, discovered the springs in 1350 during a hunting trip. Most of the locals simply refer to the town as Vary. Other names you might have come across include the German name Karlsbad and the English alternative, Carlsbad.

 

Reasons to visit Karlovy Vary

 

To improve your health

 

Karlovy Vary offers a unique natural resource by way of 15 local mineral water springs, each with their own unique health-improving properties. Many people swear by the healing waters of Karlovy Vary, and since a rise in popularity of spa towns across Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 18h Century, people have increasingly flocked to the spa town in the hope of curing their ailments.

 

The town offers access to a plethora of first-class and highly-skilled physicians who are able to assess your specific requirements and prescribe a unique mineral water treatment plan tailor-made for your needs. They explain in detail which is the best water to drink, the exact time of day to drink the water, and help to guide you through the whole process.

 

To enjoy the waters in accordance with local tradition, you can purchase a traditional porcelain cup from one of the many local souvenir shops and then fill up as and when needed during your travels through the town.

 

 

 

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Filling up at the Hot Spring Colonnade

IMAGE: Information Centre of Karlovy Vary

What are some of the benefits of the water?

 

  • Cleanses the stomach and intestines from harmful gastric acids
  • Improves and normalises stomach function for those with digestive problems
  • Cleanses and empties the gallbladder
  • Restores and strengthens liver function and reduces liver damage
  • Reduces and regulates blood sugar levels
  • Improves metabolic function.

 

Studies have shown that the benefits of the mineral water can be experienced in just a few weeks of treatment and can end up lasting for over a year.

 

For superior medical treatment

 

Based on the town’s history as a go-to place for restoring health, it is little surprise that Karlovy Vary has become a hotspot for affordable and high quality medical and wellness tourism.

 

Here you are always guaranteed to find a wealth of private health practitioners and physicians specialising in a wide range of medical treatment with seldom any language barrier issues, thanks to the town’s cosmopolitan demographic.

 

From expert dentists to meticulous cosmetic/plastic surgeons and ophthalmologists, some of the best qualified physicians in Europe have helped Karlovy Vary to gain an excellent reputation around the world for medical services, whilst the surrounding spas provide the ideal setting to recover and recuperate from surgery.

 

 

The beautiful Mill Colonnade

IMAGE: Information Centre of Karlovy Vary

For beautiful things to see

 

The Colonnades

 

The colonnades are a proud feature of Karlovy Vary; there are five throughout the town each offering different styles and experiences.

 

The most popular is the Neo-Renaissance style Mill Colonnade, which covers five hot springs ranging in temperatures of between 50C to 65C. There are 124 Corinthian columns with twelve statues representing the twelve months of the year and stone reliefs that depict important historical events of the city.

 

The Park or Garden Colonnade is a wrought-iron construction in the north of the spa town. Set in the beautiful grounds of Dvorak Park, it is the ideal place to relax and take in the view of the exquisite landscaped gardens.

 

 

The Hot Spring Colonnade

IMAGE: Information Centre of Karlovy Vary

The Swiss-styled Market Colonnade is artistically constructed of wood and comes complete with a bronze relief depicting Charles IV’s discovery of the springs.

 

With its high-rising fountain and stunning design, the Hot Spring Colonnade offers undoubtedly the best photo opportunity of the town.

 

Chateau or Castle Colonnade is a stone colonnade situated in the remains of a Gothic castle and is a must-see for Art Nouveau fans. Its Upper Spring Colonnade is open to the public, whilst the Lower Spring Colonnade is only available for guests of the Castle Spa.

 

 

The Russian Orthodox Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral

IMAGE: Information Centre of Karlovy Vary

The Churches

 

Wherever you look in Karlovy Vary, there’s a plethora of impressive landmarks and architecture to marvel at, such as the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. Built in the 1730’s, the highly-detailed church is a magnificent example of High Baroque architecture.

 

Consecrated in 1893, the Byzantine-inspired Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is one of the most important Russian Orthodox churches in the whole of the Czech Republic.

 

Modelled on Russian Revival architecture and the Church of Holy Trinity in Ostankino, Moscow; its decorative iconostasis and its oil painting depictions of saints are truly a sight to behold.

 

 

 

Beautiful views aplenty from the Diana Observation Tower

IMAGE: Information Centre of Karlovy Vary

Diana Observation Tower

 

For a more invigorating and energetic experience, there are several well-managed footpaths and trails which lead to some of the very best views of the spa town from atop the Diana Observation Tower.  The walks leading there allow the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the forested hill the Observation Tower sits upon, whilst the views from the top stretch for miles and are truly breathtaking to see.

 

For those looking for a less-exertive way to enjoy the impressive views, there is a funicular in Mariánská Lane running every 15 minutes that will take you to the Observation Tower.

 

And there’s always the opportunity to take a short walk to the nearby Karlovy Vary Butterfly House. Home to over 300 butterflies and over 30 different butterfly species, it houses some of the rarest and most fascinating butterflies in the world.

 

Chopinova chata (Chopin's Cabin) deep in the forests surrounding Karlovy Vary

IMAGE: Ladislav Renner

To enjoy the nature

 

Karlovy Vary is the ideal destination for those interested in eco-tourism and in getting back to nature. Providing a gentle balance between nature and mankind, there are plenty of surrounding woodland to explore and enjoy; allowing you to reflect and connect with nature. Whilst outdoor meditation and yoga spots perfect for restoring your energy and unleashing your creativity can be found throughout the surrounding area.

 

In addition to the walking and running routes, there are over 100km of cycle paths. Ideal for

family visits, couples or solo travellers, these routes take you off the beaten track along the Ohre River to the Ore Mountains.

 

The Ohre River is plentiful with multiple species of wildlife, and with over 242km of safe, passable river, it is ideal for boating excursions and is particularly popular amongst canoers.

 

To unwind and indulge yourself

 

They say a good holiday should always include a chance to rest and relax. The alluring surroundings and undisturbed natural forests are likely to provide you with all of the peace and tranquillity that you will need for this purpose. And there is certainly no shortage of luxury and opulence if that is the type of holiday you prefer. Gastronomy is an integral part of the town’s culture, and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to indulgent restaurants for you to enjoy.

 

It is important to remember that the spa hotels and luxury facilities in Karlovy Vary are not just reserved for long term visitors. From relaxing weekend stays to express day treatments, there are a huge variety of wellness packages to choose from which can be adapted to suit any timescale.

 

Finally, sleep well. You will not be able to enjoy all that Karlovy Vary has to offer unless you check in to a quality hotel with sumptuous bed and restful space. The spa town provides a range of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets; enabling you to wake up refreshed and ready to explore more of this captivating spa town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about the magical spa town that is Karlovy Vary please visit:

 

www.karlovyvary.cz

 

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