Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic



For our one year wedding anniversary, Brandon and I decided to plan a weekend getaway to the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Czech Republic.  When people think of the Czech Republic, they automatically think of Prague, but Karlovy Vary is the second biggest tourist attraction in the Czech Republic and for good reason. I absolutely loved Prague, it is so beautiful and Karlovy Vary is right up there with Prague for me.  You can see beautiful Eastern European architecture with an array of beautiful colors on elegant buildings.

As the story goes, during the 14th Century, King Charles IV hurt his leg.  He fell into the the hot springs and was convinced that this is what had healed his leg. As a result, he ordered the town to be built around the hot springs because of its healing powers.  Since then, Karlovy Vary has been a spa destination for people all over Europe with lapses in tourism due to the various wars.



Karlovy Vary isn't a crazy expensive city for being a spa town but if you are staying at the 
Grand Hotel Pupp, which is considered the best and most elegant hotel in the Karlovy Vary spa scene then you should be prepared to spend some money.  We weren't wanting to spend so much so we decided to stay at the Spa Sanssouci which is close to the Grand Pupp Hotel.  We found a package here, that included half board, a welcome drink, access to the pools, a harmonizing bath for me and full body massage for Brandon and "floating" for both of us.  

The hotel was okay, but I think Americans will have a different idea in their head about what a spa is.  In this area, most spa hotels have real medical procedures and weight loss procedures that they do.  It kind of seemed like a hospital with a lot of older people.  Not quite the spa that I was imagining.  And a word of advice, don't book a package, I'd book the treatments individually because while my harmonizing bath was relaxing and it made my skin soft, the "wrap" that was included was no more than me being wrapped in a blanket and sitting on a lawn chair for 15 minutes.  If you are squeamish about being naked (as most American are) then this might not be the place for you.  All of the treatments are done naked and even at the sauna at the pool there are naked men and women walking around together.  I opted out of hanging around in the sauna lol

I'm not sure if you've heard of "floating" but these floating spas are popping up all over the world.  Essentially, you go into a pod with room temperature saline solution that you literally float in.  There are no lights or sounds and since you are floating and in a sensory deprivation environment,  you are supposed to attain a heightened sense of meditation. Brandon was all about this but I was kind of freaked out.  First, I hate being in an enclosed space and your body really does float without holding your breath.  I eventually got some solution in my eyes and every tiny cut on my body was burning from the salt so it wasn't really relaxing for me but some people love it.  

 Below is the city center:







While walking around town there are these gorgeous elegant stores that sell the most beautiful pieces of home decor and most notably huge and opulent chandeliers.  They were around every corner.  I contemplated buying one but they were too expensive.  






Everyone in Karlovy Vary purchases one of the porcelain made "sippy cups" to go around the city and drink from the springs.  Each spring is said to have it's own curative powers and they are all different temperatures.  This spring below is the Vřídlo spring.








The cups are pretty and come in all different sizes and patterns.  I bought mine to match my scarf!  I told myself I wasn't going to drink any of the spring water because I know it is foul tasting but "everyone was doing it" haha so I figured I'd taste some and then I forced Brandon to try some as well.  What does it taste like? It taste likes warm blood water.  The amount of iron and minerals in the water give it this distinct taste.  I had a mere sip but people were fillin their cups like it was literally going to cure them of whatever ailments they had.






Above is another one of the springs coming out of a snakes mouth.  Affectionately named "the 13th spring" you can actually find a stand where they are selling the famous Czech alcohol, Becherovka.  Go ahead and fill your cup with that, it's better than the spring water.  

Below, after seeing a picture in a magazine of "The Russian Church" that was in Karlovy Vary, I had to see it.  We walked about a mile away from the city center to find it which wasn't too hard, but this was only the picture I could get because it was under construction and the church is right in the middle of a neighborhood so it's impossible to get a good picture. You'd have to be flying above.




Here's a better picture:


source
Here is the lunch we had in town.  I had chicken with almonds and a cream sauce with dumplings.  It was alright.  Czech food isn't my favorite but this was definitely better than the hotel food, which Brandon kept calling "hospital food."




Before we left town we tried some of the "spa wafers."  There are various fillings but we bought nougat.




This is what it looks like.  Kind of tasted like a communion wafer.




And here are a few pictures I took from our hotel balcony in the morning.  You can see the Grand Hotel Pupp to the right.





So overall, I really enjoyed Karlovy Vary.  It's such a beautiful city.  You can even go hiking and do other outdoor activities in the surrounding forrest.  We took a walk at night thinking it would be scary, but it was so quiet, peaceful, and beautiful.  All of the houses are huge mansions and the landscaping is well-kept.  We walked to an outdoor arena where they were playing a silent foreign movie.  How neat! I would visit Karlovy Vary again, especially considering it's very close to the German border and I may have to go back for one of those damn chandeliers!


Would you visit Karlovy Vary?


There is still one more day to enter my GIVEAWAY for a vintage inspired handmade clutch, here.





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65 comments :

  1. Beautifully breathtaking photos of an intriguing city! Such colour and brilliant sights! Thanks for sharing.

    Poppy

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    1. Well thanks Poppy. It is such a colorful town!

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  2. Wow, it's all so beautiful!!!! I guess the scenery makes up for the "package deal". lol You're "hospital" experience was cute. ;) We live and learn, right? And what a place to learn. I am sure you are soaking it all up! Thanks for bringing us along. If we ever get back to Germany I will remember this place. Also your advice. :)

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    1. o yes, the hospital experience. At one point he asked me if I tricked him into staying at an old people's home, whatever that means lol

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  3. Wow this looks great! I really want to do a day trip here now. Is it far from our neck of the woods?

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    1. No it's close! It's only two hours away, slightly less than Prague. Plus I had to stop at Cheb on the way back just because you drive through it to get home. Can't say that I will go back to Cheb lol

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  4. Your photos are wonderful and it looks very tempting especially those chandeliers (lol).

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    1. Thanks Petra. I didn't buy a chandelier there but I'll be posting about a chandelier I bought in Germany later today.

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  5. Oh dear, this looks like another destination to add to the wish list! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth, it's definitely a unique destination.

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  6. Love sight seeing with you! The picture of the wall of cups is fab. Love the rose cup you chose. Visiting from Inspired Sunday.

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    1. Thanks Susan I love it too, I might have to drink some fancy wine in it and really confuse people.

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  7. I would absolutely love to visit this place, it looks amazing! The Czech Republic is high on my list, and I never would have thought to include this sweet city. Thanks for sharing!

    Dannielle | Chic-a-Dee

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    1. yes there are so many cool places to visit in Czech. Next on my list is the bone church!

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  8. You made me laugh out loud with your description of the spa and its clientele! I've just started venturing into the spa world and yes, the differences are vast! You've provided some good advice as well!

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    1. lol it was reminiscent of a senior home. But downtown was awesome!

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  9. What an amazing experience! I have never heard of this place it is absolutely gorgeous, though I would probably be a bit squeamish, especially in that pod. Those sippy cups are pretty amazing (as is your description of how it tastes). I would love to visit this place!

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    1. gah the taste of that water was disgusting!

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  10. that looks like a great place to explore. and of course you had to try some of the water! when in rome...er...karlovy...?

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    1. absolutely, when in Karlovy! Thanks for reading!

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  11. You look so beautiful in your pretty scarf and I love seeing all of these amazing photos. One of my favorite movies is The Last Holiday and I've wanted to visit that gorgeous place since I saw the movie! How fabulous!

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    1. Aw, thanks for the compliment, I def wasn't feeling cute that day, so that's nice to hear. And yes, I've heard so much about the movie The Last Holiday and it being filmed at the Grand Hotel Pupp! I've never seen the movie though, so I'm not in with all the hype lol maybe I should watch it.

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  12. That is one of the prettiest sippy cups that I have ever seen - loved your tour of the city.

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    1. Thanks Ruth! What a nice first name! lol

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  13. This is such an interesting town! Wow. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. What a cute town? Not far away at all! We've been looking for some new quick weekend destinations. I made my way over from the link up. It's always fun to find other Bavarian bloggers!

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    1. Lauren, awesome another Bavarian blogger. I followed you on bloglovin in case you feature some sweet nearby trips too!

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  15. What a beautiful place! That will definitely be added to the list of places to see! I know when I went to Bath everyone was drinking the water, and I tried a sip and it was so gross. But I'm glad I had that experience! Love your blog. -Alex @Our Lives Are An Open Blog over from Travel Tuesdays

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    1. Alex,
      Thanks for stopping by from Travel Tuesdays. I saw your post about scuba diving! I went in Jamaica a couple of times. But I thought it was kinda scary! lol

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  16. Wow, this looks beautiful! I have never even heard of this city, but it just made it on to my "must see" list :) thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Glad you liked it! It's definitely a unique destination!

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  17. We lived in Prague for 9 years and I cannot believe we never went to Karlovy Vary. I don't know why, we just never did!
    I remember a time when those chandeliers were affordable!
    There were a few Czech dishes I liked but my favorite was the goulash with dumplings and I liked the vanilla Oplatky wafers. If you go again you have to try a trdelnik. They usually sell them in little kiosks on the street. It's a pastry cooked on what looks like a metal rolling pin, sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar and sometimes almonds. SO. GOOD. I enjoyed your photos and reminiscing!!

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    1. Hi Tina,
      Wow you lived in Prague, now that would be interesting? And for 9 years. Karlovy Vary is pretty close to Prague so I also can't believe you haven't visited yet! But I have a friend who visited Karlovy Vary like 20 years ago and she also said the chandeliers were more affordable. And yes I've tried the trdelniks. Not in Karlovy Vary, but when I went to Prague. I'm also going to Prague again this month actually!

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  18. Oh my, what an amazing and beautiful place. Loved your pics. Thanks for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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  19. Hi Brittany,

    I just discovered your blog through the Travel Tuesday Travel Blog linkup. I have enjoyed reading about your travels. We were just in Germany for the first time a few months ago and really loved it as well! I am now a follower on Bloglovin' to keep up with all your new posts. I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

    I would love to have you check out our new travel blog and follow us as well.

    http://independenttravelcats.com

    Thanks!
    Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats

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    1. Well thanks for following along Jessica! Where abouts in Germany did you go?

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  20. I love the Czech Republic! I am aching to go back and now when we do I will have to make sure my family and I go to more than just Prague, Such a cute mug you found! I love it and really just adored living vicariously through your travels in the photographs today. Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for #TravelTuesday and I hope to see you again next week!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie, I love following along with your travels as well and seeing all your great pics! I'm actually going to Prague again this month!

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  21. That church looks incredible, I need to add that to my list. The floating spa sounds like pure torture, I'll be sure never to book one of those ;)

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    1. Like I said, some people like the floating! I think our experience was unique in that they made us go in together and we were just kind of bumping into each other the whole time. Not very relaxing.

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  22. I aways love seeing you at THT! I get to visit so many places I probably will never see in person.

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  23. I was glad to see how beautiful this place is in photographs. I have read about it before but the picture I had in my mind was not quite the same (when are they ever) :)

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    1. I think everyone also has a different experience of big cities. Each one is unique and that's the best part about it!

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  24. What a lovely town! We were in Prague last year and it is a lovely city.
    So loved your sippy cup, loved the communion wafer and all your other photos!

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    1. Did you love Prague? I do. Going again later this month! Glad you liked my trip wrap up!

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  25. I spent a pleasant couple of days there last summer. Yeah, the spa treatments are nothing like what we are used to in the West or Asia. Did you try the salt cave?

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    1. I know, totally different than I expected. I even asked if I could trade my "floating" treatment for a massage but that was out of the questions apparently and I wanted a pedi and mani, which they do, but I never got around to it. No I didn't try the salt cave, but I wanted to. Apparently they had it somewhere at the hotel but I didn't see it. What is it like?

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  26. What a beautiful city! I love your honest descriptions of things. I'm a new follower!
    Karee

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  27. What a beautiful place. I would definitely visit if I get a chance :)

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  28. Your description of the wrap had me laughing. I think I would have also expected more. Doing window shopping would be more my style than hanging around nekkid at the spa with other nekkid strangers.

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    1. Yea the wrap was pretty ridiculous. Window shopping is more my style too, but my husband is against anything to do with shopping, so I have to get really creative sometimes, with tricking him into it.

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  29. I recently visited Prague and loved it a lot. This looks amazing too ! Maybe i should go there too one day !

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    1. Definitely should and Prague isnt' too far from there too!

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  30. Oh, I truly enjoyed this helpful and informative post!

    My daughter and son in law took two honeymoons in the month of December almost 4 years ago: the Sandal Carribean beach one, and then took a Christmas River Cruise and stopped all over the place but Prague was their very favorite, they loved it. So I am learning more about East Europe, and this was so good to learn.

    Thank you!

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    1. Well thanks for reading Michele, I'm glad you liked it. I've done Sandals Carribean as well and I really want to do it again!

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  31. These are simply beautiful photos. I'm crazy about chandeliers and I would be there is a heart beat if...

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  32. Well-done, Brittany, so informative about the town, the customs, and the culture! Great read! I really didn't realize either that a spa was medical and thought it odd that my sister-in-law and her family would go after a surgery or to recuperate from a severe illness. We've also been called prudish about the whole going naked thing. I'll have to admit, though, in So Cal, the 20-something crowd my son runs with are a lot more relaxed with being naked at some of the hot springs in the woods, although it's still not a widely-accepted practice.

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  33. We were in Prague last month but opted for Kutna Hora for our day trip instead of Karlovy Vary due to time constraints. The spa town looks absolutely beautiful. I'm not sure there is a bad area to the Czech Republic. I'm glad you got to experience the spa. I had to laugh at their version of a wrap too :) I'm a prude so I don't think I would have even set food on the sauna. We loved those spa wafers and brought a lot home. They were delicious and you're right, we thought they looked like large communion bread.

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  34. Laura,

    Thanks! Haha most 20 somethings are a little more open to being naked these days. I mean, I can't even believe stuff the VMAS that I just saw. Complete crap haha

    Mary,

    Did you like Kutna Hora, I think I'm going there soon and I'm really excited? Lol and there def are some bad areas in Czech, but there are so many beautiful areas too.

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  35. What beautiful photos - thanks so much for sharing a corner of the world I know too little about!
    Off to pin
    XOXO

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  36. Brittany, Congrats! You'll be featured this week at Simple & Sweet Fridays. Thanks so much for sharing these fantastic photos! I always love when you stop by. Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

    Hugs,
    Jody

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  37. I followed this link from Travel Tuesday because we are planning to visit Karlovy Vary soon. Thanks for the honest review! It's a beautiful little town. I was amused to read about your experience in the floating spa. I think I would HATE that too hahaha. Still, the rest of your time sounds really relaxing :) Except those wafers look exactly like communion wafers which I've never been very fond of...

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I love to hear from readers! Questions and comments welcome. I try to respond to everyone (I respond back to your comments on the comments page so check back for a response). Thanks for reading!

-Brittany Ruth