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Karlovy Vary is not only the most famous spa town in the Czech Republic but also the largest.

With more than a dozen hot springs and about 300 smaller springs, Karlovy Vary is a very popular tourist attraction.

Known as the jewel of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle, it sits conveniently about 130 km west of Prague.

The city, also known as Karlsbad (German) or Carlsbad (English), was founded in 1370. It was a German-speaking city before World War II. Thereafter, the Czech settlers moved in and today the official language is Czech.

Karlovy Vary means “Charles’ Bath”, named after Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor.

From ancient glory to today, with its colorful and whimsical architecture, it is no wonder then that it was the setting for many scenes in the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale. For instance, the casino setting in Casino Royale was at the beautiful Lázně 1 (Spa 1) building.


Make Karlovy Vary your home for a few days

Before I go further, let’s talk about accommodation. If you are like me, you don’t enjoy packing and unpacking every other day. Therefore, to stay at Karlovy Vary and explore beyond its borders during your stay, is an absolute pleasure and a great convenience. I’ll give you some accommodation tips a bit later. For now, it’s worth noting that should you take my advice, there is no shortage of beautiful sightseeing ahead of you.

  • Nuremberg: By car, it’s 2 hours 10 minutes (214.4 km) via A6
  • Dresden: By car, it’s 2 hours 11 minutes (176.2 km) via Route 13/E442
  • Prague: By car, it’s 1 hour 42 minutes (128.3 km) via Route 6 and E48. Another option is to book tickets for a private sightseeing day trip. 
Prague Vltava River
Vltava River, Prague
Hot Source Karlovy Vary Spa Historically

Things to do

Market Colonnade

Market Colonnade Karlovy Vary
Market Colonnade
Karlovy Vary Market Colonnade

Market Colonnade is an iconic 1880s structure with 3 mineral-spring drinking-water fountains.

karlovy vary horse carraige
Karlovy Vary Чехия At night
Karlovy Vary Czech Republic Water Garden Park Pond
Promenade and river in karlovy vary

The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Karlovy Vary Russian Orthodox Church
The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Karlovy Vary Russian Orthodox Church Russian OrthodoxKarlovy Vary Russian Orthodox Church

The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, constructed in 1897, has five golden domes and a colorful exterior. Inside the ornate Russian Orthodox church is art and gifts from wealthy Russian aristocrats.

Mill Colonnade

mill colonnade karlovy varyczech republickarlovy varyhistoric centerarchitecture
Mill Colonnade
Mill Colonnade Karlovy Vary

Mill Colonnade (completed construction in 1881 by Josef Zítek) runs parallel to the River Teplá It has 5 different springs.

Diana Observation Tower (Rozhledna Diana)

Enjoy beautiful city views from the historic lookout tower. Taste Czech cuisine at the hunting lodge-style restaurant. There’s also a small zoo.

Photo Credit to Lubor Ferenc, Wikimedia Commons

The Prospect Deer Jump

Karlovy Vary Deer Jump Lookout Czech Republic

The lookout, with completely different city views, sits at 472 meters above sea level. It is believed to be the oldest lookout point in the city, dating back to 1804.

Jan Becher Museum