Walking Tour of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, is the largest and oldest of the Czech Republic’s many spas. It was an extremely popular location for the rich and famous of the 19th and 20th centuries. Because of its popularity, the town has a decidedly Victorian elegance and is certainly pleasant to stroll. Karlovy Vary is also the origin of world-renowned Bohemian crystal. There are many shops in town which sell authentic examples.
My walk begins at the vibrant center of town, the Vridelni Colonnade, which features Sprundel Spring, a spouting geyser of hot water, known for its healing properties. You may obtain a cup and sample the water, if you wish.
To the east of the colonnade is the Church of Mary Magdalene, an 18th century structure. Return to the colonnade and cross the bridge, and then turn left to follow the river in a southwest direction.
Just before you reach the immense, elegant Grand-Hotel Pupp, a place which has hosted the rich and famous since 1701, turn right at Marianska, an alleyway which leads to the Diana Funicular Railway. Take the funicular to Diana Tower for fabulous views of the town and, possibly, a pleasant stroll through the forest. When you descend, be sure to check out the hotel before proceeding on your walk.
Now, backtrack along the river and return to the Vridelni Colonnade, but stay on the western side of the river, on Trziste and Lazenska Streets. The House of the Three Moors (#25 Trziste) was where Goethe stayed when he came to town.
Up the hill from here is Zamecka Tower, which dates to 1608 and sits at the spot where Charles IV built his hunting lodge in 1358, after discovering the hot springs. Go back down the hill and turn left, onto Lazenska, passing the Golden Key Museum, to reach the Mlynska Colonnade and, beyond that, the Sadova Colonnade, where you can cross the river.
Next, continue northward on Pavlova to reach the Thermal Sanatorium, a 20th century version of the Victorian-era spas. Above this facility is an Open-air Thermal Pool, where you can recover from your walk with a medicinal swim.From here, walk south, along the eastern bank of the river, to return to Vridelni Colonnade where you started.