- We were here: in March 2016. It is the last place I’ve been by now.
- Number of days: 4 hours.
- My score: 3/5
The perfect day trip from Prague is this small city where in addition to the architecture of its beautiful buildings, the star is the thermal water that flows every few meters. Founded by Charles IV in 1350 for the alleged healing qualities of the thermal waters, since then it hasn’t stop receiving visitors wishing to drink it or bathe. Unfortunately, there is not a single free hot spring for bathing any more, all have been incorporated into spas (although there is a pool for non-guests at the Hotel Thermal open in summer), but you can drink different types of waters that flow freely from fountains located on colonnades around the city.
HOW TO GET HERE AND AROUND
There are two types of visitors, those who come to spend days in spas and those who come from Prague on a day trip. For the second group, the best way to come is by bus, because it is faster and cheaper than the train. The buses are luxurious and there is at least one every hour even in low season. The company is Student Agency, takes two hours and costs 165 CZK one way. An important detail is that the bus stops at the small station of Karlovy Vary Trznice, but to return, you must go to the main station (bus and train) Karlovy Vary Dolni Nádrazí, 500 meters west of the first (both stations are on the map).
To move around there’s no choice but to go on foot, since most of the tourist area is exclusively pedestrian. Let no one be surprised if you cross the street with a member of the European aristocracy or a Hollywood actor. Karlovy Vary is a luxurious city.
The majority of the city is north of the Ohre river, but the tourist area is entirely south, following the river Teplá.
From Trznice station continue along the Zereyova pedestrian street and immediately turn left for T. G. Masaryka till Zahradní along the bank of the Teplá. The bank on the right hand side begins to show buildings with beautiful architecture; the left side is better not to look given the presence of the horrendous Hotel Thermal, inconceivable that aberration could be built in a city like this. Continuing you’ll reach a beautiful park, at the end of which is the Park Colonnade, for me the most beautiful one.
In each colonnaded is a spring where you can drink for free. In each one is its name and the temperature of the water. The truth is that after testing several of them you do not distinguish much, but still is curious to do, so I recommend that the visitor brings a cup from home or buy one here as a souvenir.
Continuing along the bank of the Teplá we’ll find the Mill Colonnade.
From here I recommend to follow Lazenska street, which leads to the Market Colonnade.
In front of this, is the second aberration of the city, the Vřídelní Colonnade, ugly as the Hotel Thermal, but inside its waters can be tested, up to 6 different types. Behind it, there is one of the two best-known churches, that of Mary Magdalene, though I think is not interesting.
Continuing along the Divadelní bridge, the only thing left is to walk along the riverside to enjoy the architecture.
There are other tourist spots that are out of this itinerary. First are the viewpoints; the best known is the Tower of Diana. You arrive on foot or by funicular, which station is adjacent on the north side of the Grand Hotel Pupp. Return ticket costs 80 CZK (adult), open from 9 am to 5-7 pm (depending on time of year).
The other point of interest that leaves the itinerary is the Orthodox Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, recently restored. The walk to get to it is quite steep. Open from 9 am to 6 pm, free admission.