The city holds the name of its founder, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia Karel (Charles) IV. Around 1350 he and his entourage enjoyed the natural beauties of the surroundings of the nearby Loket Castle, and the first spa on the grounds of today’s city was founded by the emperor himself. The quickly developing city got its city privileges in 1370.
Another important and interesting milestone in the life of Karlovy Vary is the year 1807, when the production of the beloved Becherovka began here. Karlovy Vary as a city of pleasure and relax attracted not only Czechs, but also Germans and other nationalities and the city offered a lively cultural and societal scene. After the Second World War, the German part of the population was displaced from the city. The International Film Festival is another staple in this city, the first IFF taking place in 1946.
Historical and natural sites
In strolling around the city centre, the lucky visitor will have the chance to admire several historical monuments. The city is home to countless churches and chapels, among which the most prominent are the Baroque Church of Saint Mary Magdalene or Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Tourists enjoy venturing to a nearby forest to refresh themselves in forest café Linhart and exploring the ruins of the Romanesque Church of St. Linhart, built here in the 13th century. Wellness lovers will love the Imperial Spa or choose another of countless traditional spa houses.
After the treatment enjoy a relaxing walk on the city’s five colonnades. City itself offers magnificent views combining beautiful architecture with breath-taking nature, that can be the best enjoyed from one of the four observation towers.
What more can Karlovy Vary offer?
Karlovy Vary is a city of spas and culture. Local spa treatments are based on the use of mineral water with healing effects, which originates in granite crystalline at depths of about 2,000 meters. The water has a beneficial effect on the healing of liver and intestinal diseases, the stomach and the liver. Thanks to the geological ressources, the city has also a rich tradition of porcelain and glass making. Apart from the star-studded International Film Festival, the visitors and local alike take advantage of other culture events, such as JazzFest, Tourfilm (international festival of touristic films) or the Food Festival Karlovy Vary.
The lovers of performative arts will enjoy The International Antonin Dvorak Vocal Competition, and the Vítězslav Nezval Theatre. Many spa houses offer big open outdoor pools where visitors can satisfy your need for swimming and other waters sports. Another active and sporty way of spending time in and around Karlovy Vary is to lend a bike and take advantage of the beautiful nature and its hiking and biking trails.
How to get there and where to stay?
Visitors can get to Karlovy Vary with virtually all means of transport, it even has its own airport! It is also comfortably reachable by car from Prague (highway D6 in direction to Cheb), Chomutov (road I/13) or České Budějovice (I/20). Those, who prefer to travel by train, use the railway line between Cheb and Ústí nad Labem. Karlovy Vary loves its visitors and offers a wide range of hostel, guesthouses and luxury hotels. If you plan to stay in the city during or around the time of the International Film Festival, don’t forget to reserve your accommodation well in advance.