Ever since watching the Queen Latifah movie, Last Holiday. I have wanted to visit Karlovy Vary. I had never heard of this town before watching the film. But, it got me intrigued. So after finally booking the trip to Prague. Visiting Karlovy Vary was non-negotiable. I was fortunate enough that my visit coincided with the 700th year anniversary of King Charles IV, the King of Bohemia. The event that ran until the end of September.
Karlovy Vary beautiful spa town two hours northeast of Prague. Karlovy Vary should be on everyone’s must do list when visiting the Czech Republic. Sadly, it is often overlooked in favour of Cesky Krumlov and Kunta Hora. The town is nestled in the hills near the village that once housed Nazi soldiers, that were eventually left in ruins. Beautiful farm houses are now being bought cheaply, then being lovingly renovated to their former glory.
Things to do
Karlovy Vary is famous for Moser Glassware which they have been making since 1893. Moser Glassware is often the glassware choice of Royalty. Whilst the thought of traipsing through a glass factory may sound uninspiring, it is fascinating to get up close and personal with the talented, and patient, glassblowers. Whilst the beautiful glassware is out of most people’s reach, it is worth having a look after knowing how much love and care go into the making of each piece.
For those who have seen Casino Royale or Last Holiday. They will recognise the iconic Grand Hotel Pupp, the landmark five-star hotel at the southern end of the cobble stoned pedestrian streets. Hotel Grand Pupp was featured in both movies and it was the first place we headed to. The beautiful Neo-Baroque building built in 1701, dominates the entire town. This grand old lady has hosted royalty and celebrities for centuries. The crystal chandelier in the lobby is “enough to make you want to cry”.
The cobbled spa promenade on either side of the Tepla River, contains a plethora of boutique hotels, fashion boutiques, souvenir shops, crystal shops and of course the famous Moser glass. You can acquire some bargains if you take the time to have a thorough look.
Mill Colonnade, the spa centre, is made up of 5 mineral springs including the Freedom Spring. The spa orchestra often plays free concerts here for the general public.
Dvoraks Park, a short walk away, is a beautiful English style garden and dedicated to composer Antonin Dvorak. It’s perfect to wander around or just sit and relax.
Food and Drink
There are plenty of lovely tea rooms and cafes; Czech pubs with many beer choices which are reasonably priced. Restaurace Bernard, a cos bistro in the middle of town, serves Czech dishes including clear chicken and vegetable soup; chicken schnitzel with a mountain of roasted potatoes; Swiss Roll and of course, plenty of Czech beer. Perfect for a filling meal after all the walking that you will do. If you are looking for something special, the Grand Restaurant Pupp serves French style haute cuisine overlooking the spa promenade.
A visit to Karlovy Vary isn’t complete without trying the light sweet wafers and Becherovka herbal liqueur. Made with herbs and spices, and served chilled. It is served everywhere throughout the Czech Republic and has a light herbal flavour with an aftertaste of vanilla and cinnamon. Very Moorish!
Karlovy Vary was everything I expected it to be: beautiful, peaceful and classic. No visit to the Czech Republic is complete without a visit, even for a day.
I promise you won’t be disappointed.