Prague Day Trip: Karlovy Vary

Highlights: stylish spa town; gorgeous architecture; historical break
Duration: eight to twelve hours
Exertion level: low to moderate
Accessible by: bus, train

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Karlovy Vary

The spas of Karlovy Vary offer a restful respite from Prague. Photo: Salvador Canet.

We hate to be predictable, but Karlovy Vary can't really be beaten. The Czech Republic's best known spa town, Karlovy Vary has a lot to offer visitors, whether they be spa-oriented or architecture hounds.

To see

In a country that values its spa towns, Karlovy Vary rises above the pack. It's a city with a grand aristocratic tradition. Today, its streets are filled with rich Germans and Russians in town to take the waters.

You can join them, of course, for day sessions that range from mudbaths to complicated therapeutic procedures to simply sitting in mineral-rich waters. None of it comes particularly cheaply, unfortunately.

Alternately, you can explore Karlovy Vary's churches, which include a Russian Orthodox house of worship. Also interesting is the monument to Karl Marx, less out of place in these one-time aristocratic stomping grounds than you might think. Marx spent time here, as did a dizzying list of creative and wealthy types.

Getting there

As much as we love trains, the best way to get from Prague to Karlovy Vary is by bus. A bus journey should take just over two hours, and it will cost about CZK384 for a round-trip ticket. Buses for Karlovy Vary (and, for the record, most buses for most destinations) leave from Florenc Bus Station. It is possible to take a train between Prague and Karlovy Vary, but it takes almost twice as long.

For more information, visit Karlovy Vary's official municipal and tourism site.


Want more? Check out our article on Prague day trips, featuring excursions to the cities of Brno and Plzen.

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