According to, the town of Karlovy Vary, aka Karlsbad, aka the largest and most popular Czech resort, has been world famous for several centuries thanks to its 14 springs, of which there are actually 13, the 14th, jokingly, is called the local strong liquor Becherovka. At one time, Peter I, Bach, Paganini, Beethoven, Marx, Turgenev and other equally famous personalities were treated here. Moreover, it was Peter the Great who was the pioneer of the resort for our compatriots and introduced the “treatment on the waters” into fashion, after which Russian patients flooded the local sanatoriums.

But to this day people tend to come to the spa not only to drink water and improve the body, there is a special atmosphere in Karlovy Vary that heals the soul as well. Once here, you are transported to the 19th century, your gait becomes more orderly, your speech is measured, your thoughts are cleared. And immediately there is a reason to walk one of the evening dresses taken with you – Karlovy Vary is not the resort to which they go, having packed only shorts and flip flops. However, leaving an empty space in your suitcase is also necessary – shopping here is excellent: in hundreds of shops with clothes, jewelry, cosmetics and other things, there is a brisk trade from early morning until late at night.

Karlovy Vary Hotels

All places in Karlovy Vary where you can stay are divided into three categories:

  • “Prosto hotels” offer only the actual accommodation and, as a rule, food. They do not carry out spa procedures (and even more so – medical ones), there are no medical personnel.
  • Spa hotels have their own spa treatments. They take various baths (pearl, carbonic, mineral) and carry out standard wellness procedures: gas injections, applications, massages, inhalations, and so on.
  • Sanatoriums, they are also “resort houses”- only institutions that are piped with thermal mineral water directly from the source are awarded this title. Their medical base, respectively, is the most serious and diverse, and some of them have their own medical department.

To take a drinking course, it is not necessary to check into a sanatorium: they still drink water exclusively in pump rooms, directly from the source – this is how it gives the greatest effect (the water that goes through the pipes in the sanatorium is used only for procedures). So the choice between a hotel, a spa hotel and a sanatorium is a matter of a specific treatment course. The more serious the patient’s condition and the more among the procedures prescribed for him it is medical, and not more related to the spa, the better the sanatorium of the desired profile will suit him. If we are talking about a drinking course and general wellness, you can choose between “just a hotel” and a spa hotel. However, the best spa hotels in Karlovy Vary are not inferior to spa houses in terms of their equipment and level of staff. The only and not too fundamental difference is that thermal water is not from a pipe.

To say that spa hotels are more expensive than ordinary ones, and sanatoriums are more expensive than spa hotels, will not work either. There are expensive hotels and affordable resorts. The minimum price can be considered 25-35 EUR per night, in five-star establishments they will ask 100-150 EUR, and sometimes more.

Treatment in Karlovy Vary

The main natural healing factor is thermal carbonic sulfate sodium, bicarbonate sodium containing compounds of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, lithium, bromine and other substances. The mineral waters of Karlovy Vary are mainly used for drinking treatment, the water of the Mill spring is bottled, and the water of the Vrzhidlo spring is the basis for all balneotherapy procedures used in the resort (carbon dioxide, oxygen, radon, pearl and other baths, swimming in pools, washing the intestines, irrigation, rinsing, etc.). Read more about all sources, indications and contraindications, as well as the rules of Carlsbad drinking, on the pages treatment in Karlovy Vary and procedures in Karlovy Vary. And, of course, do not miss the fresh answers of the spa doctor, physiotherapist, candidate of medical sciences and just a very good specialist Elena Khorosheva to patients’ questions about treatment in Karlovy Vary:

What to bring

The most famous Karlovy Vary souvenirs are Moser brand glass, Becherovka herbal tincture, Mattoni mineral water, Oplatka spa wafers and Thun Karlovy Vary porcelain. You can add garnet jewelry to them, as well as Karlovy Vary cosmetics based on mineral water.

It is glass that prevails in local souvenir shops. After all, Ludwik Moser founded his first glassware shop here in 1857, and since then glass named after him has become the main one in the Czech Republic. You can learn more about the history of the brand and at the same time buy real Moser crystal in the museum at his factory, which is west of the city center.

But perhaps the most typical Karlovy Vary souvenir is the famous mugs with straws for drinking healing waters. Almost no one leaves here without them.

If you want to arrange more serious shopping, you can look into one of the city’s shopping centers: there are plenty of popular brands and consumer goods. There is hardly anything extraordinary there, but shopaholics will be able to have a good time and take their souls away.

What to try

The famous Karlovy Vary waffles (“payments”) and the resurrecting drink “Becherovka” are the two main and most authentic delicacies from Karlovy Vary. Despite the fact that they are found and sold throughout the Czech Republic as national souvenirs, their homeland is Karlsbad. Of course, the menus in all the establishments of the resort differ little from the Central Bohemian ones – the good old boar’s knee, the unchanged duck, dumplings, cabbage and beer. Rustic and very tasty.

Cafes and restaurants in Karlovy Vary

Carlsbad is an exclusively tourist resort, so there are restaurants here for every taste, but without fanaticism: if finding a cafe with Italian cuisine is not a problem, then, for example, you won’t find a Mexican restaurant. The most common establishments are, of course, typically Czech, as well as all kinds of coffee houses, breweries and pizzerias. The cost of lunch in them depends on the portion, on average from 200 to 320 CZK.

Places where beer is more expensive than 35 CZK per 0.5 liter are usually designed for tourists. Paying more than this amount for a blessed amber drink among Czechs is simply not accepted.

Pretentious establishments stand apart, where they come not so much for dinner, but for the opportunity to show themselves and see people. For example, a restaurant at the Grandhotel Pupp, where dinner will cost no less than 150 EUR.

restaurants in Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
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