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Things to Do in Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary is the second most visited city in the Czech Republic after Prague. A spa destination that became the place of residence of several European artists. Take note of everything you can not miss on your trip.

María Cano

María Cano

9 min read

Things to Do in Karlovy Vary

Pragra, Czech Republic | ©R Boed

Historically known for being the refuge of the high bourgeoisie, as well as the place of inspiration of artists such as Bethoven, Chopin, Nietzsche, Kipling or Goethe, Karlovy Vary is a must on your trip to the Czech Republic.

It islocated 130 kilometers from Prague and you can choose to make a round trip from Prague or stay overnight. Below, I indicate all the must-see must-sees. And if you want to plan your trip in detail, do not hesitate to read the post what to see and do in Prague and get the best ideas.

Take a bath in a spa in Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary| ©Jorge Franganillo
Karlovy Vary| ©Jorge Franganillo

On your visit to Karlovy Vary do not hesitate to visit a spa or a spa and immerse yourself in its famous medicinal waters, very popular for being the treatment against numerous ailments.

Currently, the city has more than a dozen health resorts and spas:

  • The most popular is the Vrídlo Spa, from which water gushes at a temperature of more than 70ºC.
  • You can also opt for The Imperial Spa.
  • Or the Beer Spa Berrland, which, as its name suggests, is a beer spa. Yes, just as you read, a spa where while you bathe you can taste blond and black Krušovice beer and then rest on a bed of straw.

If you want to go on your own, you should know how to get from Prague to Karlovy Vary. However, I personally recommend you to book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague: you will not have to worry about transfers or lunches, you will know the most important points of the city and, of course, you will be able to enjoy its thermal waters.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Admire an example of an orthodox church

St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Karlovy Vary| ©Jumborois
St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Karlovy Vary| ©Jumborois

Located in the upper part of Karlova Vary, the Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul dates back to the late 19th century and is characterized by its Byzantine-style architecture, its five golden domes and its 40-meter high tower.

This church is internationally known for its beauty, making it a must-see on your trip to Karlovy Vary.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Be dazzled by a show at the Mestké Divadlo Theater

Theater| ©Josef Rousek
Theater| ©Josef Rousek

Designed by architects F. Fellner and H. Helmer, the Mestké Divadlo Theater or municipal theater is one of the essential visits on your trip to Karlovy Vary. It was inaugurated at the end of the 19th century and is of neo-baroque style.

In its interior the backdrop, the rococo style chandeliers and the frescoes on the ceiling among which are the works 'Party at the table' by Gustav Klimt and 'The Chess Game' by Franz Matsch.

Throughout the year, the Mestké Divadlo Theater offers a full program of theater, musicals and concerts. If you have the opportunity to spend more than one day in Karlovy Vary do not hesitate to check the program and go to a show.

Traveler's tip

Karlovy Vary is an essential visit to your trip to the Czech Republic where you can enjoy a variety of plans such as bathing in the medicinal waters of a spa, taste the Becherovka liqueur or contemplate the views from the Tower of Diana.

Visit the colonnades, a symbol of the architecture of Karlovy Vary.

Karlovy Vary Colonnades| ©R Boed
Karlovy Vary Colonnades| ©R Boed

If you take a trip to Karlovy Vary from Prague you will surely be able to see the colonnades, very popular arcaded structures in Karlovy Vary.

Before making your visit, do not hesitate to buy a ceramic jar sold in the stores of the city and is the typical container used to drink the thermal water that emanates from the fountains that house the colonnades.

  • The Colonnade of the Mill is a neo-Renaissance building from the late 19th century that is more than 130 meters long and has a total of 124 Corinthian style columns. It is the largest colonnade in Karlovy Vary and houses six fountains (the Mill Fountain, the Rock Fountain, the Rulsalka Fountain, the Fountain of Prince Wenceslas I, the Fountain of Prince Wenceslas II and the Fountain of Libuše Fountain) from which medicinal water gushes at a temperature of 53-65°C.
  • The Market Colonnade is a white wooden building also dating from the late 19th century and is characterized by its carved decoration. It has two fountains: the Fuente del Mercado and the Fuente de Carlos IV.
  • The Colonnade of the Park dates from the late 19th century and is neo-baroque in style. It is located in the Park of Dvorak Park and consists of a series of pavilions of metallic architecture.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Let yourself be dazzled by the houses of imperial architecture

Tepla River| ©Da-Eye
Tepla River| ©Da-Eye

Karlovy Vary stands out for its imperial-style architecture. If you walk along the banks of the Teplá River, known as the Old Meadow, you will find some houses that stand out for their beauty such as:

  • The Mozart House.
  • The former headquarters of the Knights of Malta.
  • The Strauss House.
  • The Elefant Café, associated with the writer Goethe and other artists.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague and let yourself be guided by an expert guide who will explain all the secrets of this beautiful city.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Try the highest water temperature in Karlovy Vary at the Vrídlo geyser

Hot Springs Pavilion| ©Jirka Matousek
Hot Springs Pavilion| ©Jirka Matousek

The Hot Springs Pavilion is located in the center and houses the Vrídlo geyser, from which the highest-temperature medicinal water in Karlovy Vary flows at a temperature of 72ºC. The jets are located at a height of up to 12 meters.

I recommend that you take a subway tour to the geyser, located underground, where you will also be shown the other five springs of this colonnade.

Today, the building that covers the fountains is a modern, glazed building dating from the 1970s, but it has been transformed at different times throughout history since the 18th century. The Hot Springs Pavilion is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Enjoy an organ concert in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene

Church of St. Mary Magdalene| ©Lucas Klappas
Church of St. Mary Magdalene| ©Lucas Klappas

Located opposite the Thermal Springs Pavilion, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene is characterized by its baroque style decoration, being one of the greatest exponents of the Czech Republic in this type of architecture.

Inside it houses an important and beautiful collection of art from the 18th century. In addition, you will have the opportunity to explore its crypt and an ossuary whose vault has been built with human bones. On your visit you may be lucky enough to enjoy an organ concert - quite a spectacle!

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Look for the plaques in the courtyard of the Grand Hotel Pupp

Karlovy Vary illuminated at night| ©R Boed
Karlovy Vary illuminated at night| ©R Boed

If you follow the pedestrian promenade that borders the river at the end is a square on which stands the Grand Hotel Pupp, an example of imperial architecture.

This hotel has been the setting for several films such as 'Casino Royale' and on the floor of the courtyard are a series of plaques engraved with the names of personalities and the year in which they have passed through the hotel, in the style of the Hollywood walk of fame such as those of:

  • Richard Wagner (1835).
  • Ludwin Van Beethoven (1812).
  • Franz Kafka (1916).
  • Peter the Great (1711).
  • Luis Buñuel (1956).
  • Karl Marx (1874).
  • Susan Sarandon (2012).

Don't hesitate to stop for a coffee.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Enjoy the best panoramic views from the Diana Tower

View of Karlovy Vary from Diana's Tower| ©Lucas Klappas
View of Karlovy Vary from Diana's Tower| ©Lucas Klappas

From the Grand Hotel Pupp you can walk or take a cog railway up Friendship Hill where the Tower of Diana is located.

My recommendation is to take the funicular, which dates from the early 20th century and is quite an experience. Once at the top, you will be less than five minutes away. If, on the other hand, you decide to walk, do not worry, you only have to overcome a staircase of about 150 steps to reach this observatory and it is an effort more than deserved because from the top you can enjoy the best views of the city. Do not hesitate to bring your camera to capture the best snapshots of the city!

The funicular hours are from 9 am to 19 pm coinciding with the summer months and from 9 am to 17 pm throughout the year.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Visit the Jan Becher Museum and taste the Becherovka liqueur

Jan Becher Museum| ©Da-Eye
Jan Becher Museum| ©Da-Eye

The Becherovka liqueur is one of the most typical products of Karlova Vary, a 38º digestive drink made from about twenty herbs.

If you want to learn more about the history of this popular liqueur, do not hesitate to visit the Jan Becher Museum, located in the center of the city, where you can see an old production plant and cellars. Besides, you will be able to watch a short documentary film that shows all the details about the production and history of the liqueur.

The visit includes a tasting and you can take the opportunity to buy a bottle and bring a typical gift to friends and family.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Visit the Moser Museum

Moser Glass Factory, Karlovy Vary.| ©Oda Bhar
Moser Glass Factory, Karlovy Vary.| ©Oda Bhar

Do not forget that Karlovy Vary is located in the region of West Bohemia where the famous Bohemian glass is produced. And, specifically, in the city is located in the Moser Museum, where they produce the objects of Ludwig Moser, one of the most prestigious international brands of this type of glass.

I recommend that if you dare to make a visit book in advance, as they are in high demand and have a specific number of places. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

If you book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague, the visit to the Moser Crystal Museum is included.

Book a tour to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Tasting wafers from Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary wafers| ©Adrigu
Karlovy Vary wafers| ©Adrigu

Walking through the center of Karlovy Vary, you will see some street stalls selling Karlovy Vary wafers, very typical sweets that are a pleasure for the senses and have been made since 1788.

They are made from flour and thermal water and there are vanilla, chocolate, almond, white chocolate, cinnamon, hazelnut.... And if you can, don't hesitate to eat them hot. They are even tastier.

In addition, it is an ideal gift to take to friends and family, as they are sold in boxes of ten. Do not hesitate to visit the official website and learn all about the history of these sweets.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague

Discover the Thun Porcelain Factory

Czech porcelain| ©Kalusmilan
Czech porcelain| ©Kalusmilan

In Karlovy Vary you have the possibility to visit the visitor center of the Thun Porcelain Factory 1794 and take a guided tour. To this day, it is the largest porcelain producer in the Czech Republic and every year it is visited by more than 10,000 people.

You will be shown the production plant while an expert guide will give you all the details about the history of this porcelain brand, you will see the exhibition. And, in addition, the visit includes the projection of an audiovisual that gives to know the whole process of production of porcelain.

Visiting hours are from 9 am to 3 pm. However, you can check all the details in the corresponding section of the official website.

Book an excursion to Karlovy Vary from Prague