A wonderfully elegant and genteel Spa town, Karlovy Vary is ideal for a relaxed weekend break. The resort was built up in the 19th century on a tributary of the Ohre river. It’s grand hotels and colourful town houses sit in rows up the steep sides of the winding valley. The mood, the aspect and the lack of cars, transport you back 150 years to an aristocratic world where well to do imperial families would promenade up and down the main street peering into gift shops and sampling warn spring water from the many geysers that line the route.
Karlovy Vary Night life
We had actually headed to Karlovy Vary in the hope that, being a sizeable town and one of the few tourist destinations in the area, it might have some night life. This was a misguided move. A pop hits duo in the hotel bar, a trashy club with about 30 bored and wasted teenagers, a metallers bar with at least some life in it, if you could stand the music. Not an exciting offering. As we made ever more desperate inquiries as to where we might find a bit of action, one man told us that people only came out in the first two weeks of the month, after that they had blown all their money and were waiting on the next pay cheque. This only added to the gloom.
Karlovy Vary Day time
Fortunately, day-time Karlovy Vary more than makes up for its empty nightlife. It’s is a joy to stroll round and full of pretty colonnades and amusing activities related to the spar waters. The surrounding hills are great walking territory and contain several of the famous Czech viewing towers. By one is a little butterfly museum that we found totally captivating. Fitting the themes of health and rejuvenation, the butterfly sanctuary was full of exotic specimens and, best of all had a cage of pupae wriggling and jerking their way into a second existence.
Drinks at Karlovy Vary.
Every geyser springs up at a different temperature. The hotter ones are too hot to handle, so you need to purchase one of the specially designed mugs with a straw in the handle that allow you to sip the water slowly. It’s hard to know if these waters do anything for you. I felt pretty lively after downing a few mug-fulls, but who knows.
If hot sulphury water is not to your taste, there is the Jan Becher brewery to help. Great food and a selection of fine Czech beer to wash it down with. Digestive comes in the form of the famous liquor, Becherovka. – spicy!