Karlovy Vary (sometimes referred to as Karlsbad, meaning Karl’s Baths) is located in the Bohemia region of western Czech Republic, about 60 miles from the capital city of Prague. Karlovy Vary is best known for its picturesque landscape and luxurious spas. The best time to travel to Karlovy Vary is during the off seasons duringf spring and fall. Many popular tourist areas can become exceptionally crowded during the warmer months, resulting in more expensive transportation costs and rates for hotels. You can find great deals on travel to Karlovy Vary around May or September when the weather is mild, the streets are less crowded, and prices on hotels in Karlovy Vary and airfare are considerably reduced. April and October are also good times, when accommodation prices are still fairly low.
Some of the most popular Karlovy Vary attractions are the spas. Many travelers come from all over Europe and the U.S. for the spas in Karlovy Vary and to swim in the reportedly healing waters of mineral pools alongside the locals who swear by them. Many resorts also offer a variety of massages, beauty treatments, fine dining, and shopping. Other Karlovy Vary attractions include its celebrated architecture, including the golden towers of the Byzantine Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul, and the Thermal Building that forms the centerpiece of the city skyline and features a roof-top pool that is open to the public. Other things to do in Karlovy Vary to round out your visit include taking a historic tour or staying fit by Nordic walking. With so many Karlovy Vary attractions to explore, the city makes and excellent destination on its own, or a nice day trip from nearby Prague.
It is very easy to travel to Karlovy Vary from international airports in Prague and Brno and from there, you will have plenty of transportation options. If you fly into Prague, buses run from the main Florenc station to Karlovy Vary and take about 2 hours each way, with reasonable ticket prices and additional discounts for students. Trains run from the capital to Karlovy Vary as well, but tend to take very leisurely scenic routes, resulting in ticket prices that are considerably more expensive (based on the length of the trip rather than the destination). Travelling by train will usually take an additional hour compared to bus or car trips, since they follow meandering rivers through the countryside instead of tracks running directly from city to city. For this reason they are ideal for travelers interested in enjoying the beautiful countryside and stunning views of the surrounding mountains, but can be frustrating for anyone in a hurry. If you’re staying in town, you’ll be able to get around comfortably on foot and by taxi, but getting to the city and exploring the surrounding area is generally easiest with a car. If you fly into an airport at a major city, rental cars will be available in the terminal, or an airport shuttle can take you to city centers where you can pick one up, allowing you the ability to travel on your own schedule and explore destinations off the beaten path. Driving around Karlovy Vary is not as expensive as it is in many other European cities, but in order to drive on the well-kept motorways, you will need to purchase a toll sticker (available at your car rental office). Expect bumpy roads outside of the city’s borders and consider a 4-wheel drive vehicle if you plan to be driving in the mountains.