08 Feb Spa Town Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Karlovy Vary is an elegant spa town in Europe, rich in history and healing waters and exotic treatments.
Spa Town History: Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic
Combine relaxing elegance, impressive colonnades and expertly designed spa buildings in the heart of one of the Czech Republic’s most beautiful regions and you have Karlovy Vary. The spa town was founded in 1350 by the Czech King Charles IV. The name, Karlovy Vary, actually means Charles’ Bath.
Set on the confluence of the rivers Ohre and Tepla, approximately 130 km (81 miles) west of Prague, this corner of the country is part of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle. Karlovy Vary is often still known by its Germanic name, Karlsbad (or Carlsbad).
Over time, the spa town has welcomed some incredible figures in world history including Peter the Great, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka, Karl Marx and Goethe. In fact, the most accomplished European artists still visit. Celebrity or not, anyone who comes to experience Karlovy Vary wants to take full advantage of its superb natural asset: hot springs.
Karlovy Vary boasts about more than a dozen natural springs as well as hundreds of smaller ones. These therapeutic warm waters offer a relaxing and healthy opportunity for a nature inspired soak unlike anyplace else in the world.
The Healing Waters of Karlovy Vary
The Tepla River tepla (means warm) flows through the spa town and from it, powerful gusts of water shoot up to 14 meters high. As a result, the riverbanks are can be found in a cloud of steam. The water’s fine quality has remains unchanged for centuries. In fact, the springs have most elements of the periodic table including 40 elements vital for the human strength.
These special alkaline sulphur springs have many health benefits, many of which have been proven by practical experience throughout history. Soaking in the waters was the best way for medieval noblemen to cure many ailments as early as the 16th century.
Karlovy Vary’s waters help treat gastrointestinal diseases, digestive system diseases, metabolic disorders such as diabetes, musculoskeletal diseases including spinal disorders and periodontal disease. With the help of a physician, visitors can seek treatment in the various springs which vary in temperature and in dissolved carbon dioxide content.
For those who don’t need to help alleviating or curing a particular ailment, the waters are said to be wonderful for simply purifying the body.
Lined with all types of spa hotels and world-class spa facilities, Karlovy Vary is also known for traditional and luxury spa treatments as well as relaxation and wellness programs.
Colonnades of Karlovy Vary
Experiencing this unique spa town starts with walking the pedestrianized spa zone where gushing fountains of spring water are housed in beautiful colonnades. These colonnades are also exactly where visitors can sip the healing waters. It is widely popular for travelers to hop from colonnade to colonnade for “spring water tasting” with a traditional Karlovy Vary cup in hand. These souvenir cups can be bought throughout the city.
The Neo-Renaissance Mill Colonnade was built in 1881 with 124 impressive Corinthian columns, ornate sculptures and an orchestra pit. Five fountains flow freely with very hot waters. The Hot Spring Colonnade, built in the 1960s, is more modern in design. At its core is a geyser that shoots 2,000 liters of mineral water up every minute. Another beautiful colonnade is the Swiss style, white wooden Market Colonnade. Built in 1883, it is uniquely decorated with intricate lace motifs. Inside the Charles IV Spring is noted as the original spring the Czech king soaked in to relieve his body pains. Made up of two sections, the Upper Spring Colonnade and Lower Spring Colonnade, the Caste Colonnade is famous for its relief its interior. The Park Colonnade is uniquely ornate, featuring 19th-century Viennese ironwork. Here, the Snake Spring, which appropriately spurts out of a sculpted snake spout reaches temperature of 30 C (86 F).
Local Architecture and Highlights
Thanks to keen investment, this historic spa town’s impressive architecture has been maintained and restored. Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles reflect its past and continue to give the town a special atmosphere.
With all the beauty of nature and fantastic architecture surrounding Karlovy Vary, it is fitting that the spa town is also a cultural hub. There is a performing arts center, several art galleries, fantastic restaurants and museums. The biggest event of the year is the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Held every summer, it is one of the longest running cinematic events in Europe.
For those who love amazing views, the Diana Lookout Tower is reachable via a stroll through the lush Slavkov Forest or a quick funicular ride. One hundred-fifty steps to the lookout tower affords a panoramic snapshot of the spa town. Several churches are worth visiting for their history and art including the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Built in 1897, it features five golden domes and was modelled after the Byzantine Church of the Holy Trinity in Moscow. The Karlovy Vary Museum is a fascinating look into the history and natural resources of the region. Visitors walk away knowing more about balneology which is the study of medicinal springs and the therapeutic effects of bathing in them. Located in a historical building, the Jan Becher Museum features exhibit dedicated to the local inventor of Becherovka which is a famous Czech liqueur.
A European Spa Town: Karlovy Vary
At Apple Specials, we love highlighting unique cultural and relaxing destinations throughout the world like Karlovy Vary. From healing spas, luxury options, culture and history, there is much to do experience in this incredible European spa town. Have you ever been to a natural spa?