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:
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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