Nestled between the countries of Germany, Poland, Austria, and Slovakia lies the quaint country of the Czech Republic. This country is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, as well as its selection of beer. However, what some might be surprised to find is that this country is home to quite a few impressive spa towns, especially those in the Bohemian Spa Triangle. The spa culture of the Czech Republic is astonishing. Many of the spas date back to the 1500s and are known for their impressive healing powers. Three of the most popular spa towns, Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad), and Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad), make up the Bohemian Spa Triangle. These spa towns offer not only soothing mineral springs you can unwind in, but also some interesting historical and cultural highlights as well.
Spa destinations in the Czech Republic: Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad
Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad, is a charming little spa town known for its amazing variety of healing thermal springs. The area offers a variety of walking paths you can use to get to the various springs to relax in, many of which are bordered by colorful houses.
Things to Do in Karlovy Vary
There are a handful of things you can do while staying in Karlovy Vary.
Climb Up Diana
Diana is a popular spot to venture to while in Karlovy Vary. This historic tower was built in 1914 and you can climb up it to get stunning views of the town below you on its observation deck. Diana also is home to a butterfly house which contains numerous types of colorful butterflies. You’ll also find plenty of spa forest activities you can partake in, like geocaching and cycling. You can even stop by one of the many unique attractions located near Diana, like the Lookout of Charles IV (the oldest lookout tower in Karlovy Vary) and Forest Devotion which is a large altar constructed out of stones. Diana is home to a funicular so if you don’t want to walk around too much or want to get a unique perspective of the area, you can hop on this transportation device which runs every 15 minutes.
Visit the Jan Becher Museum
Another place to visit while here is the Jan Becher Museum. This museum is entirely dedicated to Becherovka, a famous Czech liquor. You can tour the museum which is home to various pieces of equipment that make this drink as well as view a film that shows the intricate process of it being made. At the end, you can grab a glass of this delicious liquor so you can try it yourself.
See the Mill Colonnade
The Mill Colonnade is a unique neo-renaissance structure built around 1893 that was intended to be the highlight of the spa town, but failed in its mission due to it not being so popular with the locals at the time. You can visit this towering structure and gaze at its 124 magnificent columns that cover an orchestra stage as well as terraces that are filled with statues.
Visit the Moser Glass Museum
The Moser Glass Museum is filled with intricate glass pieces created by the famous glassmaker Ludwig Moser. Inside the museum you’ll be able to view historic pieces of glass created by Moser as well as some equipment pieces used to make the glass.
Besides historic pieces, you’ll also be able to view some of the more modern pieces created by the Moser Glass company. When you’re done exploring, you can step inside the Moser Glass shop where you can buy some of the Moser glass creations for yourself.
Explore the Market Colonnade
Located near the Mill Colonnade, the Market Colonnade is a decorative structure built with Swiss architecture that covers numerous hot springs beneath it. It was designed by Fellner and Helmer back in the late 1800s as a temporary place for people to enjoy the soothing waters. However, it grew in such popularity, especially after the water was said to have incredible healing powers. Today, you can step inside and see its three historic springs for yourself: the Lower Castle Spring, the Market Spring, and the Charles IV Spring.
Relax at Park Colonnade
This elegant structure is the only remainder of what was once the historic Blanenský Pavilion and is located over soothing springs you can relax at. Park Colonnade has three springs you can use: Snake Spring, Park Spring, and Freedom Spring. All are very easy to access, but Snake Spring might be a bit difficult to find. You can access this spring at the decorative snake mouth in the structure. The water from this spring has high levels of CO2 in it which is known to help heal the skin from various ailments.
Where to Stay in Karlovy Vary
Zamek Luzec Hotel
While in Karlovy Vary I stayed at the Zamek Luzec Hotel. This hotel features stunning architecture and its interior is decorated with historic pieces of art, ironworks, and massive wooden doors. This cozy hotel offers many amenities for guests to enjoy, like a medieval pub and a large swimming pool.
Spa destinations in the Czech Republic: Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad)
Situated in West Bohemia, Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) is a historic spa town known for being bordered by an impressive forest. This town is the second largest spa town in the Czech Republic and is known for its cultural events in addition to its soothing mineral springs.
Things to Do in Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad)
When in this spa town, you’ll discover many outdoor and cultural activities you can enjoy. Below are some popular things to do.
Explore the town center
The quaint spa town of Mariánské Lázně is a peaceful spot known for its beautiful location that has it surrounded by fragrant forests and bubbling mineral springs known for their healing powers. Besides its stunning location, the center of this town includes many interesting attractions you can enjoy. A popular one to try out is the Singing Fountain. This famous spot bursts colorful water into the air while synchronized music plays. The fountain is also known for its decorative artwork which has engraved flowers in it.
Another great place to visit while here is Central Park. This park pays homage to former Jewish residents who needed to escape the city during World War II or who lost their lives during this horrendous war. The park includes many different memorials scattered around its manicured grounds you can view as well as a few gardens.
If you’re looking for a museum to check out, you can stop by the Town Museum. This historic building, considered to be the oldest in the town, was built back in the 19th century and features traditional Czech architecture. It has many exhibits inside that include artifacts that tell about the history of the town as well as some famous visitors to it. You’ll find a plaque highlighting Goethe’s visit as well as an exhibit about King Edward VII. The museum also features an exhibit about the nearby Slavkovský Les, a forest known for its rolling hills lined with ancient spruce trees that wind through the mountains.
This town is surprisingly a great place to go skiing. You can visit the local ski resort, Skiareal Marianky, to climb up a tall hill which you can then ski down. The area offers many unique terrains so no matter what your skill level is when it comes to skiing, everyone can find something that works best for their needs.
Play on the Royal Golf Course
As the oldest golf course in the Czech Republic, the Royal Golf Course is certainly something every visitor to MariánskéLázně should visit. This course opened in 1905 and has served as the home to many golf tournaments throughout the years. You can play on this 18-hole course which offers a fun challenge to golfers as well as an impressive backdrop. When you’re done playing, you can stop by the golf course’s restaurant to grab a bite to eat.
Visit the Deer Park
As its name implies, Deer Park is a peaceful area in this town that you can go deer watching at. The park is packed with different types of deer, like the roe deer, which you can view while here. You can even feed the deer some apples if you want to see them up close. However, the deer living here are protected so you’ll need to pay close attention to the signs that indicate what you can and can’t do while viewing them.
Explore the Miniature Park
If you’re looking for something unique to see while in Mariánské Lázně, you’ll definitely want to check this park out. Miniature Park is located on a sprawling hillside section of this town and is home to miniature models of iconic places in the Czech Republic. You’ll find small replicas of castles, churches, and other notable places in this country here. You can visit the park by taking a tourist train or a cable car up to it. Keep in mind though an entry fee is required to enter the park.
Visit the Geological Park
This park is a great way to get out and enjoy nature while in the town. It includes numerous trails that wind around the area so you can view magnificent geological structures that are unique only to this town. In addition to this, you’ll also be able to see a vast collection of beech trees, herbs, and other plants, as well as a small exhibit that tells about the rare minerals found in the town.
Where to Stay in Mariánské Lázně
Rubezahl Castle Hotel
When at this spa town, I stayed at the Rubezahl Castle Hotel. This majestic structure is an elegant getaway situated at the top of a large hill so one has plenty of panoramic views from their room. It also has a unique mythological story behind it which you can learn more about while here. The hotel offers many amenities guests can enjoy, like cycling routes, hydrotherapy, a Roman Irish bath, and a restaurant that serves mouthwatering dishes you can enjoy.
Spa destinations in the Czech Republic: Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad)
This spa town is located close to Karlovy Vary and is known for its many UNESCO sites. While the smallest of the three main spa towns, it’s known for its peaceful atmosphere and stunning architectural marvels. Besides offering many spas to relax at, Františkovy Lázně also is home to many nature reserves.
Things to Do in Františkovy Lázně
While a small town, Františkovy Lázně is packed with interesting things to do.
Explore the Soos National Nature Reserve
The Soos National Nature Reserve offers a beautiful landscape you can hike through. The reserve is known for its bogs, springs, and trees which you can see as you stroll down one of the reserve’s many wooden walkways. The reserve also is home to a museum which tells about the local wildlife and even houses towering models of pre-historic animals.
See the Rozhledna Salingburg
At first glance, Rozhledna Salingburg looks as if it was once part of a castle, but it’s not. In fact, it was built this way in 1906 for a reason. Because this spa town didn’t have any significant ruins, builders decided to construct their own. The result was this historic watchtower. This tower is situated on the top of a hill which provides amazing views of the surrounding landscape which includes hills and trees.
Visit the Městské Muzeum Františkovy Lázně
This city museum is situated in an impressive historic structure and tells the story of the history of this spa town. You’ll be able to view exhibits that house pottery, paintings, and clothing as well as many other historical things. You can even stop by the museum’s library and research room if you’re interested in learning more intricate details about the town’s history. Keep in mind admission is required to enter.
See Franz’s Spring
Franz’s Spring was named after Emperor Franz and was built around 1793. Franz’s Spring is one of the oldest springs in this town and is believed to have minerals in it that help to cure many ailments and diseases. Next to this little spring is a statue depicted the former emperor the spring is named after.
Explore Valdstejn Castle
This picturesque castle is located right along the border of this exquisite spa town. You can walk around inside it to view its amazing dining hall created back in the Middle Ages as well as a few exhibits which house interesting artifacts, like those of the White Lady. During the year, it hosts jousting tournaments which are sure to amaze to you. The castle also is home to a small zoo.
Visit Lesopark America
Lesopark America is a destination filled with trails winding through the forest that’s meant to help educate visitors about the local wildlife and plants. The park also has a small zoo which is home to many animals you can watch, like guinea pigs and llamas. The park is connected to the center of this town which can help make getting around much easier.
Where to Stay in Františkovy Lázně
Vetrov Castle Hotel
While here, a great hotel to stay at is the Vetrov Castle Hotel. This elegant hotel is the perfect place to relax at as it’s surrounded by trees and rolling hills and decorated with medieval and other historic artifacts. The Vetrov Castle Hotel offers a golf course you can play on as well as a café where you can grab a quick bite to eat while enjoying a fresh Czech beer.
These spa towns are some of the best to visit when in the Czech Republic. Not only are they historic, but they are relaxing places to help you stay healthy. If you’re planning to venture to the country, definitely keep these spa towns in mind. They are unique cultural attractions to experience while in the Czech Republic that any visitor should definitely consider visiting.