Karlovy Vary hotels
Kooky Karlovy Vary
Famous for the supposedly restorative effects of its spas, Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic has been dismissed as a town obsessed with both looks and kooky treatments to preserve them. But while it may seem glossy and extravagant just for the sake of being glossy and extravagant, there is far more behind the façade then you would expect – although with Milan Mottl home to the best chandelier glass in the world, it really is a very nice façade…
The rich history of Stag’s Leap, where Emperor Charles IV established Karlovy Vary, provides a good contrast to the dubious modern lymphatic drainage treatments. See and be seen at the Town Theatre or in one of the many cafés lining the trendy Stara Louka and Zeyerova parts of town, both of which are far more enjoyable when you’re not suffering the after effects of steam inhalation therapy!
Karlovy Vary's Top 10
10. Dvorakovy Sady This beautifully landscaped park is a more authentic relaxing experience than a day spa.
5. Karlovy Vary Museum This small but important museum holds exhibits about the history of the city.
9. Vridlo The geothermal pools derive their warmth from water over three kilometres (1.8 miles) below the earth’s surface!
4. Nova Louka One of the busiest streets in the city, it is also the hub of culture and of the well-heeled people who seek it.
8. Stara Louka The most famous shopping street in the Czech Republic is lined with the best boutiques and cafés in the city.
3. Jan Becher Museum The historical liqueur manufacturer showcases its brewing process. Look out for free samples.
7. Zamecke Lazne The Castle Baths are renowned for their healing qualities. Does it work? Well, it can’t hurt…
2. Moser Glass Museum One of the leading glass manufacturers in the world, this museum holds the most exceptional examples of local handiwork.
6. Church of St Mary Magdalene Dedicated to one of the more controversial saints.
1. Diana Lookout Tower Catch the funicular up to the top of the mountain for stunning views.
Karlovy Vary History
- Municipal Theatre – This beautiful theatre was built in the 1800s and is a great example of neo-baroque architecture.
- Postal Court – What started as a stall for postal horses in 1791 is now one of the favourite gathering places in Karlovy Vary.
- Castle Tower – This magnificent tower was built in the 1600s and is a remnant of Karlovy Vary’s tumultuous history.
- National House – Built in the early 1900s, this building is another great example of Viennese architecture.
- Main Post Office – The four allegorical statues in this historical building are the main attraction for visitors.
Karlovy Vary Art & Culture
- Moser Glass Museum – This unique museum features works of local glass art.
- Church of Saint Mary Magdalene – An 18th-century church is a great place to learn about the religious history of Karlovy Vary.
- Jan Becher Museum – This unique museum offers tours of the cellars where a famous medicinal herbal liqueur is produced.
- Karlovy Vary Museum – Small and unique museum traces the sometimes troubled history of the area.
- Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – This festival has grown to be one of the largest in Europe.
Karlovy Vary Shopping
- Old Louka Street – The most famous street in Karlovy Vary for shopping, which makes it a great place to find unique gifts.
- Paul and Shark – Those looking for trendy clothing come to this favourite locals shop.
- Moser Store – This store in Karlovy Vary is a great place to find unique glassware.
- Milan Mottl – Unique glass shop features more contemporary works of glass art.
- Nava – If you are looking for local maps or reading material, start here.
Gay & Lesbian Karlovy Vary
- Bar E & T – A gay bar that attracts a younger crowd.
- Becher’s Bar – This is one of the most popular gay bars in the city, due largely to its ambiance.
- Gay and Lesbian League – This gay organization provides help for gay travellers to Karlovy Vary.
- Hotel Jizera – The smart rooms at this gay-friendly hotel attract a refined crowd of travelers.
- Hotel Ontario – The superb views of the Tepla River make this gay-friendly hotel a favourite.
Karlovy Vary Outdoor
- Vridlo – This geothermal spring comes from a depth of nearly 3,000m below the ground.
- Castle Baths – An outdoor spa is a great way to spend an afternoon.
- Dvorakovy Sady – This scenic park is one of the best places for a relaxing stroll in the outdoors.
- Diana Lookout Tower – Visitors hike to the top of this lookout for some of the best views of Karlovy Vary.
- Lazne III – This outdoor spa is a great way to spend the day relaxing after a hard day of shopping.
Karlovy Vary Sport
- Play a round at the City Golf and Racing Club.
- Swim some laps in the pool at Hotel Thermal.
- Skate on the lovely ice at KV Arena.
- Stay in shape at the Karlovy Vary Fitness Centre.
- Ride the bike trails at Krusne Mountain near Karlovy Vary.
Karlovy Vary Events
Forget the wheat-free, fat-free, flavour-free health stores and hit up the Food Festival in May, attracting local farmers and international chefs.
The Czech film industry has come into bloom over the past decade, and August’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival wants you to know it.
The Folklore Festival in September highlights the myths and tales surrounding the indigenous tribes of the Czech countryside, and is worth seeing just for the costumes.
Autumn holds special significance for the people of Karlovy Vary, and Dvorak Autumn sees the season set to a classical music soundtrack by the local orchestra in September.
It’s no American Idol, but at least you won’t be paid out by Simon Cowell at the Dvorak International Singing Contest in November.
When To Go
July and August are the European holiday months, when student backpackers fill the Czech Republic to take advantage of the warm weather.
May and September are the optimal visiting times if your main concerns are warm temperatures and minimal rain.
Winter temperatures average around 10ºC (50ºF).
Most of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of each other.
A rental car is a great option, allowing you to see the countryside at your own leisure.
Renting a motorbike is becoming increasingly popular, but the cobbled lanes are difficult to navigate.
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