Karlovy Vary (formerly Carlsbad) is one of the most popular resorts in the Czech Republic, which is associated with healing thermal springs, Becherovka herbal liqueur, wafers “salaries” and the annual international film festival. But during your stay at this resort you can not only improve your health, try Czech delicacies and attend famous events. On the territory of the well-known health resort of the Czech Republic there are many attractions that allow you to get acquainted with the original Czech culture. And since most of them are concentrated in the city center, then even in one day you can have time to see a lot, a lot. To make it easier for you to figure out how you can have fun visiting Karlovy Vary – the sights that most deserve your attention are described in this article.
Thermal Spring Colonnades
Everyone calls the main attraction of Karlovy Vary thermal springs with mineral water. No matter how I would like to write something more original, it will not work: the main attraction of the most famous Czech health resort is the thermal springs.
Karlovy Vary has more than a dozen used healing springs, and all of them are distributed among 5 colonnades. All colonnades – Sadovaya, Market, Mlynskaya (Mill), Castle and Geysernaya – are close to each other, in the center of the resort.
Entrance to any of them is completely free, and the use of medicinal water is free. This means that everyone can visit and see in Karlovy Vary independently all colonnades with springs!
Not far from Theater Square is the resort’s most powerful and hot spring – the Geyser (Vřídlo). Thanks to the high pressure of the water, the Geyser fountain bursts out of the ground with noise, reaching a height of 12 m, and then falls into the pool. In a minute, Vřídlo pushes 2000 liters of mineral water, the temperature of which reaches 72 ° C, and 5000 liters of carbon dioxide to the surface.
For Vržidlo, which is considered the main attraction and a symbol of the famous Czech health resort, a separate pavilion – the Geyser Colonnade was built. It is a large modern building made of reinforced concrete and glass, crowned with a dome of glass prisms. This original dome symbolizes the pulsating heart of Karlovy Vary.
In the large hall of Vridelni kolonada there are 5 vases of a spring with healing water cooled to 50 ° C and 30 ° C. In addition to the hall with Vrzhidlo, there is a spacious hall with galleries where you can see different products from Bohemian glass, and kiosks that sell souvenirs. The most interesting souvenirs are those made of cemented sediment that appears in pipes from thermal water.
In the Vridelni kolonada dungeon, the excursion route “Geyser Dungeon” is open – this means that you can see not only fountains that hit the ground in one day in Karlovy Vary, but also underground sources. The route is available only in the warm season (May – September).
The geyser colonnade works according to this schedule:
- in the high season (May – September) – from 06:00 to 19:00;
- in the winter period (October – April) – from 06:30 to 18:00.
Attraction address: Vřídelní 137/57, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
Under the arches of this colonnade, 5 mineral springs are immediately taken out, and in front of the building is the 6th: Skalny (53 ° C), Prince Wenceslas I (65 ° C), Prince Wenceslas II (58 ° C), Rusalka (60 ° C), Libushe (62 ° C), as well as Mlynsky (56 ° C), which gave the name to the entire structure.
Mlýnská kolonáda is a long indoor structure (132 m), which was created in such a way that noble visitors to the health resort in any weather could comfortably go to mineral springs. A light, elegant building, made in the style of a pseudo-renaissance, amazes with its power and strength. It can be seen even in the photo that this attraction of Karlovy Vary is impeccable from an architectural point of view.
Under the arches of the Mill Colonnade, resting on 124 majestic Greek columns, there are not only vases with springs, but also an orchestra sink. The interior walls of the grandiose design and the orchestra sink are decorated with allegorical bas-reliefs of the famous sculpture of Vaclav Lokvenets. On the upper terrace, fenced with a railing, 12 original sculptures are placed, symbolizing all the months of the year (6 on the right and left sides), and between them are numerous stone vases.
You can climb to the second floor of the building, where there is a gallery and an information desk for tourists. From the second floor there is access to a spacious open terrace – from there you can see a beautiful panorama of Karlovy Vary and its environs. You can also see all 12 sculptures from close range.
Since they are standing “in front of the city and back to the terrace”, to see their faces, you have to climb onto a wide parapet and look at each figure from behind. Nobody forbids such “climbing”, and people are not always there: in the midday heat there are not many who want to be under the scorching sun.
It is interesting to look at Mlýnská kolonáda not only during the day, but also in the evening when it is illuminated. In addition, in the warm season, this is where the symphony orchestra often plays classical concerts in the evenings.
Karlovy Vary has a tradition: to create a variety of sand sculptures before the opening of the holiday season in front of the Mill Colonnade. For example, in 2018, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Czech Republic, there was a majestic equestrian statue of the first president of the country, Tomas Garik Masaryk.
Access to Mlýnská kolonáda around the clock.
Attraction address: Mlýnské nábřeží 507/5, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
This building fully lives up to its name, as it is located in one of the most beautiful places in the Czech spa: the picturesque Dvořák Garden. At the end of the 19th century, the Blanensky Pavilion concert restaurant was built on this site, and in 1965 it was demolished, leaving only the east wing of the covered promenade (promenade). Now this is the Garden Colonnade, which fits perfectly into the park landscape: a light openwork construction made of cast iron, creating the impression of incredible lightness and grace. With the onset of the evening, when the backlight is turned on, the “lace” structure looks especially impressive, festive and romantic.
Under the canopy of the colonnade, only one healing spring was removed – Serpentine. It is the coldest in the territory of the famous Czech health resort, its temperature is 30 ° C. Mineral water is poured from a tap that looks like a snake’s head. This source is provided with free round-the-clock access.
There is a passage from the Garden Colonnade to the basement of the Military Sanatorium, where there is a vase with water from the Garden Spring. You can go there any day, but only from 6:00 to 18:30.
Popular points of interest: Dvořákovy sady, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
Streets of Stará Louka and Nová Louka
Along the Teply river, from the Geyser in the city center to the Grand Hotel Pupp, located at the very turn of the river channel, there are two fashionable streets of Karlovy Vary. On the east bank is Stara Louka, on the west is Nova Louka. Staraya Luka is completely pedestrian and ideal for a promenade, while on Novaya Luka there are narrow (in some sections very narrow) pedestrian roadside walkways.
These streets are the heart of the city. In any weather, it is pleasant to take a walk here, watch ducks and swans floating in the river, and watch beautiful buildings. Houses of the XIX-early XX centuries are built in even rows on both banks of the Teply, as if showing off their restored facades.
These landmark houses have expensive hotels, restaurants and bars with the highest prices in the city, crystal and gourmet gift shops, fashion boutiques and shoes. Nova Louka also has a local history museum where you can watch a collection of unique porcelain.
Karlovy Vary is a very green city, on its territory there are several pretty parks. The Dvořák Gardens, located in the central part of the city, got its name in honor of the outstanding composer from the Czech Republic – Antonin Dvořák.
Exotic conifers, plane trees, magnolias, gingko, azaleas, rhododendrons, a lot of roses grow here. There is also a special attraction: two 200-year-old plane trees, the height of which exceeds 22 m, and the trunk diameter is more than 450 cm.
Walking around the park, you will see a lot of interesting things: monuments to Antonin Dvořák and the poet Pyotr Bezruch, a small pond with a stone mermaid on the shore, and also a curbstone with a thermometer, which is considered a national monument of the Czech Republic.
Dvorak Park, the entrance to which is completely free, is loved by locals. There you can safely walk along the neat sandy paths, relax or play frisbee on trimmed lawns, sit on comfortable benches. Of course, no description and even a photo of this attraction of Karlovy Vary will not be able to convey the comfortable atmosphere prevailing here.
On the sidewalk in front of the garden, musicians and mimes give performances, artists and cartoonists paint pictures. The works of the latter can not only be seen, but also bought.
Moser Glass Museum
The Moser Bohemian Glass Museum introduces its guests to the history of the eponymous glass-blowing plant, whose glass and crystal products are well known throughout the world. The exhibition, with about 2,000 exhibits, is complemented by 7 documentaries.
A small glass-blowing workshop was opened at the museum, during an excursion through which you can see how Czech craftsmen blow surprisingly beautiful products from molten glass.
There are several options for exploring this attraction, respectively, and the price of tickets will be different:
- see only museum exhibits – for adults 80 kroons, for schoolchildren and students 50 kroons;
- Excursion exclusively to the glass-blowing workshop – for adults 120 CZK, for schoolchildren and students 70 CZK;
- visiting the museum and the hot shop – for adults 180 kroons, for schoolchildren and students 100 kroons.
Many experienced tourists recommend visiting only the glass-blowing workshop: it is very interesting to see the work of the masters, and the explanations of the guides are not needed. And in the museum rooms, guides simply give out audio guides, and then you have to independently find in the windows what the announcer talks about. This is very inconvenient, since there are no traffic patterns or arrows indicating the direction.
Also, many guests of Karlovy Vary claim that it is better to see Moser products in a company store operating at the museum. And that’s why:
- the collection there is richer and more interesting;
- visit the store is absolutely free;
- sellers know and talk about Bohemian glass and crystal much more than Czech guides.
Naturally, in the store you can not only see, but also buy souvenirs, dishes – there would be money! And the prices are high: the cheapest products cost from 650 kroons.
The Moser Glass Museum is located at Kpt. Jaroše 46/19, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
The work schedule is as follows:
- museum – every day from 9:00 to 17:00;
- glassworks – daily from 9:00 to 10:30 and from 11:15 to 14:30; excursions take place every 30 minutes;
- shop – every day from 9:00 to 18:00.
Temples worth seeing
There are many religious buildings in Karlovy Vary. Which of these attractions to see first?
Catholic church of St. Mary Magdalene is a famous attraction not only of Karlovy Vary, but also of the whole Czech Republic: it has the status of a special historical object and is protected by the state.
The light building, the tops of the domes of which acquired a noble greenish color, is located next to the Geyser fountain. Inside there is something to see: Gothic and Baroque sculptures, well-preserved ancient frescoes, as well as an altar icon that miraculously survived during numerous fires of the 18th century.
The church is open for visiting, anyone can go in and see the interior. Services are held on Sundays.
Organ concerts are also regularly held here. You can buy entrance tickets in the temple itself just before the concert or in advance at any information center.
The church of St. Mary Magdalene is fraught with another attraction: in its dungeons is a medieval funerary crypt. Those who wish to go there with a guided tour can buy a ticket at a kiosk located at the Geyser.
Temple address: Svobodova 701/01, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
The Church of Saints Peter and Paul is the largest Orthodox church in the city.
Decorated in white and blue tones, with a carved porch, a bell tower 40 m high, and several turrets with gilded crosses at the top, the church looks very elegant and solemn.
It is also interesting to look at the rich interior: the bas-relief of Peter I, rare icons donated by Nicholas II, an old oak iconostasis. It is especially interesting to look at the stained glass windows depicting the Savior, Basil the Great, the Holy Princess Lyudmila, St. John Chrysostom.
The church is open every day from 8:00 to 18:00. On Sundays and on Orthodox holidays, services are held.
This attraction is located on the southern outskirts of Karlovy Vary, at the foot of the mountains. Address: Marianskolazenska 3, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
Country complex “Diana”
Locals say about this attraction: “Whoever was not at Diana did not see Karlovy Vary.” “Diana” – a massive stone tower, standing on top of the hill of Friendship (547 m) in the resort forest park.
The height of the tower is 40 m, and at a height of 35 m a comfortable observation deck is equipped. To climb it and look at Karlovy Vary, you can use the elevator or go up the stairs of 150 steps. The elevator as well as the entrance to the observation deck is free of charge.
In addition to the tower, the Diana complex includes the Butterfly House, a small zoo and a playground for children. You can see the inhabitants of the mini zoo and visit the playground for free.
In addition, a souvenir shop and a restaurant serving delicious food and coffee are located on the hill.
Diana Complex Address: Vrch pratelstvi 5/1, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
The forest park has many paths for walking, there are benches and pavilions for relaxation. On these paths it will be convenient to return to the city from the “Diana”, and it is best to climb the hill to the sights by funicular.
Wagons depart every 15 minutes; in time, the entire journey from the lower station to the top of the hill takes 3 minutes.
Tickets are sold at the box office, their cost:
- for children from 6 to 15 years – one way 30 crowns, there and back – 45 crowns;
- for people older than 15 years – 60 and 90 kroons, respectively.
The lower station, from where trailers depart for suburban attractions, is located next to the Pupp Grand Hotel.
Address: Stara Louka 72, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
The Diana complex is open to visitors every day, including on holidays (the exception is every year on December 24). Funicular schedule:
- January-March, November, December – from 9:00 to 17:00;
- April, May, October – from 9:00 to 18:00;
- June-September – from 9:00 to 19:00.
The last call to the observation deck – 15 minutes before the funicular stops working.
Prices on the page are for July 2019.
We are sure that you will have a memorable trip to Karlovy Vary – the sights of this Czech resort are very diverse and interesting. Let you manage to see the brightest of them so that you can bring home a maximum of positive impressions!
One-day tour of the main Czech resort: