One of the celebrities vacation spots

Europe doesn’t lack in great spas that offer treatment for all types of diseases. But not all of them can boast of the beauty of the buildings architecture as can Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary).

The resort is situated in the valley of the river Teplá in Western Bohemia, at heights reaching from 370 to 644 masl. Some fantasy enthusiasts can thus associate it with Tolkien's elves city, Rivendell. Terraced buildings of the spa come from the nineteenth century, the earlier were burnt (not only once but twice, in 1604 and 1759). Tourists are especially delighted by the postal court, theater and the sanatoriums – which were restored, nonetheless kept the ornamentation and asymmetry of Art Nouveau style. Two local promenades, Stara and Nova Louka, are equally beautiful.

This town has hosted many celebrities. Goethe, Chopin, Dumas, Beethoven and Karl Marx were treated here. Tsar of Russia and Peter the Great himself appreciated the beauty of Karlovy Vary, and a few hundred years later Hollywood stars began to arrive, including Gregory Peck, Mia Farrow, and Whoopie Goldberg.

“Becherki” with a peak

Healing water flows in Karlovy Vary under five colonnades. Mlynska Kolonada amazes with its high marble arches, and Sadova – with finely wrought iron (designed by Viennese architects). The hottest of the springs, in the colonnade Vridelni, lure with the famous geyser – the water gushes precisely every minute from a depth of nearly 3 thousand meters at 73°C to a height of 12-15 meters.

Strolling around the spa, visitors sip water from cups with a peak. It’s called ‘becherki’, and owe its name to Jan Becher, a local doctor. In 1789 he examined the composition of the water and recommended to drink up to 400 ml per day. Earlier, the spa visitors drank up to two liters a day, which eventually caused all sorts of problems.

Becherovka – a recipe for friendship

Anyone who comes to Karlovy Vary surely become acquaint with Becherovka - a liquor that has a very interesting origin. The recipe was brought here by Christian Frobrig, a personal physician of count Plettenberg-Mietingen. Two hundred years ago, the count stopped at the house belonging to the Becher family. The physician, who was tired of boredom, quickly found a common ground with the head of the family, Joseph. Both men were very interested in new methods of mixing alcohol, herbs and essential oils. When leaving, Frobrig left Josef the recipe, which was later improved. Then, in 1807, they began to sell Carlsbad English Biters - "drops" now known as Becherovka.

You can visit the liquor factory – it is situated at 57th Masaryk Street. While exploring the building you will see an exhibition dedicated to the history of Becherovka, and cellars full of bags with a mixture of herbs and spices. There are also oak barrels, out of which the oldest is a hundred years old, and the biggest one can contain up to 53 thousand liters. The last part of the tour is the tasting – it’s best to drink Becherovka chilled, with a temperature of 6 degrees.

Campsites in the area

Due to the fact that this region gained a great success among tourists, everyone will find something suitable. Both luxury lovers and those, who prefer to travel on their own and just need a place to park their camper. A few nice campsites arose in the proximity of the resort for the latter. One of them is located in the close vicinity of the forest, and only 2.5 kilometers away from the spa center. It’s Mini Camping (Plzenska 63, 36001 Karlovy Vary / Tuhnice), and is great for families with children. Approximate price per day for double occupancy (including the place for the camper and access to electricity) ranges from 17.20 to 20.40 €.

At another campsie, Sasanka (30001 Sadov 7/Karlovy Vary), you will pay from 18.40 to 21.70 € / day. Camping is fully adapted for disabled people, and the whole area is guarded 24 hours a day. You can freely use the Internet, as well as a barbecue.

Campsite Am See "Vaclav" (Všeborská streets, 35002 Cheb / Podhrad), is also recommended - here, for two nights you will pay from 24.30 to 31.30 €. Every day, from April to September, you can buy fresh bread, but also use the snack bar and restaurant. Not far away there’s a lake, where you can go fishing, it is also permitted to sail and windsurf- you can take your own boat, as long as it doesn’t have more than 6 meters.

What Karlovy Vary is famous for?

The largest spa town in Czech Republic lures not only with healing waters. The International Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, is held here annually in July. Its first prize is a Crystal Globe. Here is also the oldest golf course in the country. The resort is also known for Moser branded crystals and porcelain. Visitors willingly buy bottled water Mattoni, Carlsbad wafers and memorabilia from the char stone – you can learn about the the process of its formation during exploration of the undergrounds of Vřídla.

Hilly land and kilometers of forest paths constitute another virtue of Karlovy Vary. Everyone can find a place to rest and admire the beautiful scenery. And everyone will leave fully relaxed and happy.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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