Every year in winter I am super excited about the upcoming summer as I plan to do many trips across my own country and explore all the places I have never been to. But as soon as the sun starts shining and the temperature climbs up to twenty degrees my diary starts to fill up with other activities and I can hardly find any time to do these weekend get aways.
This summer I have managed to visit only my home town so far (lovely city called Olomouc) and Karlovy Vary.
How to get to Karlovy Vary from Prague
The best connection offers Regiojet bus company and Flixbus. It takes something over two hours to get there so an hour less than train. Buses leave every hour from the Florenc bus station in Prague so in case you miss one you don’t need to wait ages for another one.
WHAT TO SEE IN KARLOVY VARY
When you hear the name of Karlovy Vary the first thing you might imagine might be the International Film Festival, spa, wafers or Becherovka (the Czech herby liqueur). But did you know that the city was found by Charles IV already in the 14th century right after his crew totally by accident discovered the thermal springs? And that Karlovy Vary has the highest number of the healing hot springs in the world?
After your arrival to Karlovy Vary head to the café called Republica Coffee where they prepare delicious coffee in various ways. You can also get some nibble before hitting the town. I have been to better coffee shops before but this one is probably the best one you can get here.
This ten storey building from the 70’s does not really fit in here but not everyone is aware of the fact that on the roof of Hotel Thermal is the only outdoor swimming pool you can find in the centre of Karlovy Vary. At the beginning of July the International Film Festival takes place here.
My favourite place in Karlovy Vary. Now I will write something probably only Czech people will understand. At Mill Colonnade you don’t really feel like you are in the Czech Republic as it reminds me more of a promenade somewhere in the south of Europe by the sea. Mill Colonnade is lined with 124 columns and huge palm trees and you can find here five mineral springs: Mill, Rusalka, Libuše, Skalní and Prince Václav springs. Colonnade is also decorated by twelve sandstone allegorical statues and each of them represents individual month of a year. Some kind of painting exhibition was taking place inside of the colonnade building during our visit and the terrace was open to public as well.
Lookout tower Diana
Karlovy Vary lies on the edge of Slavkovský forest that is a popular walking spot of all the local spa guests. We went to explore this piece of nature as well and headed towards the Diana Lookout tower. There are two ways how to get there: you can either walk or take a cable car that leaves every 15 minutes from the centre of the city (nearby Pupp Hotel) and it takes only three minutes to get up. The lookout tower was built in 1914, entrance is free and if the sky is bright you can see in the distance of 70 kilometers. If you get hungry you can have a drink or some snacks in the restaurant under the tower.
Hot Spring Colonnade
This colonnade can be found in the old functionalist building from the seventies. Geyser of the Hot spring splashes to the height of 12 meters. In this pavilion are another spring vases and each of them has different temperature. The coolest one has 30 degrees, the hottest one 72 degrees Celsius.
The Market Colonnade is open, richly carved building made in Swiss style that was buildt based on the designs of the architects from Vienna, Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. You can taste some healthy water from the Charles IV. spring. If you do, look up and you will see the relief showing the story about how the city of Karlovy Vary was discovered.
Place not to be missed out on your walk through the city is Grandhotel Pupp that hosts every year the International Film Festival and the Bond movie Cacin0 Royale was shot here in 2006. And because the founder of the hotel was a confectioner you can find small café right next to the hotel where you can try the legendary Pupp cake.
Orthodox church of Saint Peter and Paul
The oldest and most important orthodox church in the country was dedicated the the saint apostles Peter and Paul. It’s characterized by five golden domes and blue painted roofs. I was built according to the Byzantine church in Ostankin. Finances for the construction of the church were gained thanks to the fund-raising campaign that was supported by Serbian and Russian spa clientele.