Following in the footsteps of European royalty and world famous people I travelled to their beloved Spa Resorts of the Czech Republic. I wanted to check out for myself why this region is so popular for ‘taking the waters’. Spa resorts conjure up images of relaxation, rejuvenation and health treatments.
The region known as Bohemia’s Spa Triangle is full of legend, history and healing and includes the famous towns of Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne, Frantiskovy Lazne and Jachymov. During my 4 night stay, I visited each famous Spa town and enjoyed spa treatments, luxury accommodation and gastronomic delights. Not only did I visit the Spa towns, but I also visited a castle and a mine as well, to discover the source of the mineral springs of Jachymov. Not many people get the privilege of travelling 500m deep below the surface to find the source of their famous Radon mineral water.[su_note note_color=”#ffc400″]If you are short of time you can now book a day tour to Karlovy Vary with lunch included. Admire the modern Hot Spring Colonnade, taste the healthful spa waters from the local springs, and stop for a break to enjoy a delicious 3-course lunch. Book here.[/su_note]
(Editor update 2020)
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Czech Republic Map of the Bohemia Spa Triangle
Located only 90 minutes from Prague, the Capital of the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary is close to the German border and this region known as Bohemia. It is breathtakingly beautiful with landscapes of lush green heavily wooded forests, meandering rivers, castles and historic buildings, and of course many hot and cold mineral springs.
Many of the Spas date back to the 15th Century. Karlovy Vary is located on the Tepla River which means ‘warm river’. Karlovy Vary had to be rebuilt over the centuries as many of the buildings were originally constructed in wood. Today, wood is forbidden to be used on the construction of buildings.
When the Black Plague struck Europe in 1347, Karlovy Vary was spared. Rats were the carriers of the infection. There were no rats living in the cellars of the buildings of Karlovy Vary due to their aversion to CO2 gas and hot steam from the mineral springs in the region.
Karlovy means “Charles” in Czech and Vary “is an old bohemian word for hot boiling water”.
I was travelling the Bohemian Spa Triangle Region as part of an organised tour hosted by Czech Tourism and TBEX Ostrava. TBEX is “Travel Bloggers Exchange” where travel bloggers and travel companies come together for networking and learning.
Our guide, Jitka Hradilkova, who is now 70 years old, spent the 4 days with us guiding us through the region. Jitka is famous in her own right for guiding European Royalty, Arab Sheiks and world-famous people through her hometown and the Bohemia Spa Triangle. Jitka is the foremost authority on her region and Spa treatments. She even told us her secret of how she stays looking so young and her daily ‘taking the waters’ regime. I am moving to Karlovy Vary, but maybe it is just a little too late.
Karlovy Vary and Its History
Karlovy Vary is the largest and most famous Spa Resort in the Czech Republic’s Spa Triangle. You may know it as ‘Carlsbad’ which is the German word. Travellers from over 90 countries have visited Karlovy Vary and the famous spa town has over 10,000 beds on offer. Karlovy Vary is one of the most beautiful cities in the Czech Republic.
Click here for details on one of the best selling day trips to Karlovy Vary from Prague that includes lunch.
The oldest International Film Festival in the World is held here in July of each year.
I love to hear legends when I travel! Apparently, King Charles IV was on a hunting trip in the local forest with his entourage and his dog took off to chase a deer. The group heard the dog wail and rushed to its assistance and found that he had fallen into a pool of boiling water – the Vridlo. The dog was not scalded but the wounds that he had were being healed by the water. Charles IV heard of this and he too was intrigued and went to the same pond and dipped his limbs into the water and found that his own wounds too were healed. He then ordered a settlement to be established in the same area.
In 1370 Karlovy Vary was granted ‘a royal town’ by Charles IV.
Karlovy Vary is famous for its good clean fresh air and of course its mineral springs. In the 16th century Karlovy Vary physician, Vaclav Payer, came up with the notion that maybe the mineral water would have benefits for drinking as well as bathing. Later in the 18th century, Dr. David Becher found that different springs when consumed treated different ailments.
Where To Stay in Karlovy Vary
Whilst in Karlovy Vary I was fortunate to stay in the top 2, 5 star historical hotels – The Hotel Imperial and the Grand Hotel Pupp.
The Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary
My first experience of Karlovy Vary was arriving at the famous majestic 5-star luxury Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary which dates back to 1912.
Famous Guests such as Sigmund Freud, Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Morgan Freeman, various Royal Families, Bankers, Ministers, Rothschild family members, Douglas Fairbanks and the 1st Russian Astronaut Yuri Gagarin amongst others have stayed at the Hotel Imperial.
During WWW2 the Soviet Union took over the building for their generals and officers.
The Imperial Group took over the hotel in 1992 and after major renovation, the Hotel Imperial has been returned to its former glory featuring neoclassical style architecture, at a cost of 347 million Koruna (the currency in the Czech Republic).
My bedroom was large and comfortable with a desk and great views over the valley. The beds were very comfortable with luxurious linens and plenty of pillows.
A buffet dinner was enjoyed in Restaurant Prague with many different dishes sourced from locally grown produce, with good vegetarian options available.
A full breakfast buffet with excellent choices of hot and cold dishes were also served in the Restaurant Prague.
Check out the Youtube Video on Accommodation at the Imperial Hotel Karlovy Vary:
Ride the Funicular into town
The Funicular runs from the bottom of the Imperial Hotel Grounds to the centre of Karlovy Vary. Dating back to 1907 it is the oldest in Europe and takes 2 minutes to reach the bottom for a cost of 20 CZK or USD1.00.
The Hotel Imperial Spa and Wellness Centre
The Hotel Imperial’s award-winning Spa and Wellness Centre offers guests a variety of therapies and treatments that use local natural resources with the experience of 5 doctors and 45 healthcare staff on hand. In the hotel is the Vridlo Spring that has a temperature of 72 degrees. It is the oldest, warmest and most abundant spring and is available for guests of the hotel to drink. One litre of the thermal water contains 6.46gm of mineral salts, if you drink too much of it you may experience some diarrhoea issues.
The Vridlo has 4 different springs:
- 1a Vridlo (hot spring) cooled to 72 deg C – good for diabetes
- 1b Vridlo cooled to 50 deg C
- 1c Vridlo cooled to 30 deg C
- Vridelni fountain (hot spring fountain) 73.4 deg C
In the town, you can see the column of hot spring water spurt to a height of 12 metres. It yields 2,000 litres of mineral water per minute. Wow! That is a lot. You can also feel the heat of it as you move closer to the spray. I had the pleasure of tasting some of the hotter springs and all I can say, it is a required taste especially the 50 degrees Centigrade one.
Karlovy Vary uses the local mineral waters, natural gases and peloids such as mud, peat and bog for healing as well as the mineral waters for drinking to treat diseases of the digestive tract, metabolism disorders and oncologic diseases.
During a tour of the Imperial Hotel, I was fortunate to experience a visit to the Presidential Suite and a special viewing from the tower at the top of the hotel accessed by a secret stairway (well, not so secret now, but still a very special treat!)
As you can imagine the Presidential Suite is luxuriously large and has spectacular views over the valley and mountain, certainly one that I would aspire to stay in.
The hotel has:
- 205 rooms (383 beds)
- Single or double rooms, Superior Suite, Suite, Superior, Deluxe Suite Rooms and a Presidential Suite
- 2 restaurants – Restaurant Paris and Restaurant Prague
- 1 Café – Vienna Café with its stylish interior
- 1 stylish English Club – Club Imperial with Jazz evenings on a Friday night
- President Lounge,
- Musical Lounge,
- Concert Hall with a piano
- Conference Lounge
- Art Gallery with new exhibitions every month
Examples of Types of Spa Treatments Available (check their website out for full details of all packages and treatments available):
Medical Spa Premium (minimum stay 12 nights):
- includes accommodation on full board with a welcome drink,
- medical examination,
- lab diagnostic tests after medical indication,
- a drinking cure program,
- a medical follow up examination,
- treatment by a nurse 24 hours a day,
- up to 18 spa treatments per week,
- final medical examination, dietary therapist advice,
- free local transport,
- free entry to pool,
- whirlpool bath and sauna minimum length 12 nights
Relaxation weekend which includes:
- 2 nights accommodation half board with a welcome drink
- 4 procedures (1 x aromatherapy massage, 1 partial body massage, 1 x bubble bath, 1 x oxygen therapy
Golf package (2 nights 2 x green fees)
The Imperial Hotel offers a three-day ‘Golf Package’ including half-board accommodation, 2x green fees, including a golf snack, free access to a swimming pool, a sauna plus other services.
My Spa Treatment Experience at the Hotel Imperial
I was fortunate to be able to enjoy a ‘classical massage’ before a guided tour of the town of Karlovy Vary. The classical massage stimulates and supports the metabolism, trophic factors and increases blood circulation. It was heavenly and certainly set me up for a big day of sightseeing and touring.
Grand Hotel Pupp Karlovy Vary
I wonder if I slept in the same bed as Lou Reed, Gregory Peck, Robert Redford, Daniel Craig, John Travolta, Helen Mirren, Ludwig Beethoven (who stayed in 1812) or Karl IV (who stayed in 1732) probably not the last two, the beds have changed since then but maybe one of the others of the hundreds of other famous celebrities who have stayed there. Two movies Casino Royale and Last Holidays were filmed at the Grand Hotel Pupp.
When you arrive at the main entrance take a walk around the small square to see brass plates embedded into the cobblestones with the names of famous people who have stayed in the hotel over the centuries.
The bedrooms are luxuriously appointed with comfortable furnishings and exquisite bed linen. Toiletries are provided from Botanica. Every room has a desk area for working, a minibar, a room safe and wifi.
Bechers Bar was a perfect location for a cocktail before going out for dinner.
A sumptuous breakfast buffet is served in Cafe Pupp every morning.
Grand Hotel Pupp is only 80 minutes from Prague Airport and 45 minutes from the German Motorway network.
The luxurious 5 star lives up to its reputation. It is the oldest hotel in Karlovy Vary and the most famous and dates back to 1701 and was constructed in the Baroque style.
There are 228 rooms spread over 4 floors with 11 meeting rooms, 2 receptions, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, Cafe Pupp and a Grand Lobby.
Grand Hotel Pupp has the Royal Spa with many treatments available, some are:
- Mud Baths
- Mud Compresses for chronic diseases of joints and the spine
- Carbon Dioxide Baths for the treatment of blood circulation, blood pressure and overall relaxation
- Dry Dioxide Carbon Baths to assist blood circulation, lowers blood pressure and for relaxation
- Inhalation of Vincentka mineral water that assists with upper or lower respiratory tract diseases
Check out the Youtube video of the Grand Hotel Pupp
Guided Tour of Karlovy Vary
The guided tour with Jitka started at the Vridlo Springs where I had a chance to taste the mineral waters – the hottest was the most bitter and one that I probably would not want to try again.
Spa Wafers – don’t leave town without having one
To ease the taste of the Vridlo Springs hot mineral water Jitka introduced Spa Wafers – they could be very addictive with or without ‘taking the waters’. Introduced in 1867 they have become a popular snack! I can recommend that you should try one (probably two or three), make sure it is freshly made and hot and oozing with hazelnut chocolate.
The Market Colonnade
The tour continued through the Market Colonnade which dated back to 1883 and contained the Market Springs and Charles IV Spring. The town had decided to preserve this unique building, and I am so glad! It would be sad to lose such a treasure.
The Charles IV Spring is the one that relates back to the legend of the healing of his affected limbs. The white swiss style building was built during 1882 and 1883 and was only supposed to cover the springs for a few years, but it has now been standing for well over 100 years.
The Castle Colonnade
The Castle Colonnade is an impressive building that was constructed between 1911-1913 and houses the Lower Castle Spring II and Upper Castle Spring.
Since 1857 Karlovy Vary has been the home of the famous Moser Glass Maker started by Ludwig Moser. His creations have adorned the tables of royal weddings, political gatherings and sought after by the elite. In 1873 they were the official supplier to Emperor Franz Joseph I and between the years 1901 and 1908 they supplied exquisite glassware to the Persian Shah and the King of England.
Since 2000 the Crystal Globe made by Moser has been presented at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary.
Click here for details of a day trip from Prague to Karlovy Vary visiting the Moser Glass Factory.
In 2018 a sand equestrian sculpture was created by Tomas Bosambo of the first Czechoslovak President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. The sand sculpture could last 3 months or longer depending on the weather in Karlovy Vary. In previous years he has created sculptures of King Charles IV and the theme “Karlovy Vary in Motion”.
The Mill Colonnade
The Mill Colonnade is supported by 124 Corinthian columns and houses several mineral springs – Mill Spring, Rusalka Spring, Prince Wenceslas 1 and 2 Springs, Libuse Spring, Freedom Spring and Rock Spring – all of the hot springs range from 46.9 deg C to 65.6 deg C.
The visit to the Park Colonnade included viewing the reconstructed building of 2002 and filling my water bottle with the mineral water from the Snake Spring just as the locals were doing, the queue was as extremely long as the health benefits of this spring. Jitka, mentioned that this was one of the springs that she drinks from. Other springs are Park Spring 41.6 deg C, Stepanka Spring 14.2 deg C, Ferrous Spring 14.3 deg C.
What is a Spa Cup and Why You Should Use One
They originated in the 16th century when they were used to protect clients from burning their mouths and getting wet in the process. They first had the shape of a usual mug then later a chubby shape. At the end of the 19th century, the straw was replaced with a hollow handle.
Today the Spa Cups are made of porcelain with a special spout which has replaced the original cups of tin or glass. Now they are a popular souvenir and if you are drinking the very hot springs the spout helps you take small sips only.
Where to Enjoy a Traditional Czech Lunch in Karlovy Vary
Restaurant Karel IV (Charles IV Restaurant) is located in the 170-year-old Becherovka (a locally made herbal digestive aid drink) Factory. The Restaurant has also a small brewery that brews 5 beers under the label of Charles IV. The food was excellent, they even had vegetarian options and the beer went down very well after the morning of sightseeing.
The Top Restaurant in Karlovy Vary – Le Marche
Le Marche has been named the top restaurant in Karlovy Vary as well as one of the top 100 restaurants in the Czech Republic.
It was a balmy night as I sat outside under the stars to enjoy their 3-course gastronomic dinner with our group. Chef Jan Krajc and his team offer a new experience menu prepared from fresh ingredients daily. It was comforting to know that they also catered for vegetarians, the menu was exceptional.
Spa Town Jachymov
Up until 1945, Jachymov was known by its German name of Joachimsthal which means Saint Joachim’s Valley. It is located near the Klinovec Mountain (1244m high) in the Ore Mountains, a stunningly beautiful area in the Spa Triangle, close to the German border.
Jachymov is not only famous for its Radon Springs but it is also famous for its silver mines. At the beginning of the 16th century, the silver mined was used for the first coins minted by the Counts Von Schlick. These coins were known as the Joachimsthalers which eventually gave its name to the Thaler and the Dollar.
Marie Curie who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 discovered radium in pitchblende (a radioactive, uranium-rich mineral ore) ore which contained uraninite from Jachymov. Jachymov was the source of radium in the world up until WW1.
When miners mining the uranium discovered a very strong spring of thermal water, they used it on their aches and pains and experienced relief quite quickly, they did not realise what they had discovered!
The water was examined and it was found that it contained a high concentration of radioactive radon gas. The gas becomes a natural source of energy when it is released from the cracks in the earth and dissolves in underground water.
The Radon Springs assists in healing issues with:
- locomotive organs (musculoskeletal system)
- inflammatory – rheumatism, arthritis
- degenerative – joints and spine
- immune system – lupus, myositis, scleroderma
- other – post injury and post surgery conditions of locomotive organs including joint replacements and spine surgeries
- peripheral neural system diseases
- neuralgia, neuritis, spinal syndromes
- weak cases of paralysis, carpal tunnel syndromes
- metabolic disorders – diabetes gout
- skin diseases – psoriasis
- diseases of the central nervous system – Parkinsons and Polio
Radon Bath treatments are where you are immersed in the thermal mineral water for 20 minutes which contains a high concentration of Radon. The Radon water eases pain, improves movement capability of joints, improves blood circulation and heals wounds.
My Radon Bath Treatment
My 2nd Spa Treatment in the region was at the Radium Palace Hotel where I was staying.
The treatment was based on 20 minutes immersed in the Radon Bath where the temperature of the bath water is between 35-37 degrees centigrade. The concentration of the radon reaches the ideal amount of 4-5kBq (unit of radioactivity) per litre of water. A successful treatment requires 10 baths in total during your stay.
I visited the Mine Svornost (meaning Concord) which was opened in 1518 (the oldest working mine in Europe and the most productive) and travelled 500m deep underground to walk to the source of the radon water spring a round trip of just over 1km. Along the way, I witnessed the evaporating radon which coloured the surrounding walls in vibrant colours. It was a little unnerving to travel down so deep in a rickety iron cage, I was glad when eventually I made it back up to the entrance and to see daylight again.
The Radon water is some 12-35 thousand years old. It is pumped from 4 boreholes on the so-called 12th floor of the Concord mine. Everyday 21 miners of the Jachymov mine work 500m underground down to ensure the water gets to the spa complex without any problems. The water passes through 3km of pipes to the individual spa facilities.
The wells produce 370 litres of water per minute and the concentration of radon varies from 10 to 20kBQ per litre.
Jachymov Accommodation – Radium Palace Hotel
The Radium Palace Hotel was built in 1912 in the neo-classicism style. There are 302 beds, single, twin and double in 4 categories I.A, deluxe, superior and superior plus.
The hotel is designed for medical treatments for international clients from all over the world.
Check out our Youtube video on the Radium Palace Hotel in Jachymov
Where to Eat in Jachymov
The Jezirko Restaurant is located just outside Jachymov and it is a ‘foodies gastronomic delight’. The menu is based on seasonal locally grown produce from the local farmers and producers and even delights from the forest.
Address: Jáchymov 770, 362 51 Jachymov
Spa Town Marianske Lazne
If you only have a day to spa you can visit Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne in a one day tour from Prague.
Marianske Lazne came about when a local monastery discovered mineral springs in the area in the early 1800s. Famous people such as King Edward VII, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Frederick Chopin regularly visited to take the waters. Once a marshy valley Marianske Lazne became a beautiful town with a large park in the centre, neo-classical spa houses, colonnades and pavilions.
In 1818 Marianske Laske received the title of Spa Town.
Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) is world famous for its great number of mineral springs (over 100) with very different chemical compositions which are suitable for treatments of a whole range of diseases such as kidney disease, urinary tract issues, bronchitis and pneumonia. Spa treatments began in 1808.
Marianske Lazne is a candidate for UNESCO 2018 because of the Maria Spa which is celebrating 200 years of being declared a Spa.
The cold hypotonic acidulous water is used for drinking cures, inhalations and preparation of carbonic and mineral baths. All the springs in the area are cold with temperatures ranging from 7 – 10c.
I experienced the gas mineral treatment with oxygen therapy which is applied whilst sitting in a dry carbon gas bath fully clothed with the gas reaching to waist deep. The treatment lowers blood pressure, improves heart activity and improves blood circulation. The treatment dates back to 1905. It was a unique experience, very soothing with classical music playing in the background and a video showing the history of the spa.
Some of the Springs and their treatments:
Cross Spring – good for the digestive tract, the water has a laxative effect especially if you drink too much of it
Rudolph Spring – used to treat kidney disease and urinary tract issues
Karolina Spring – used to treat kidney stones
Some of the other treatments:
Carbon dioxide bath – helps treat kidney disease, vegetative dystonia and cardiovascular diseases
Gas bath – immersed in gas from the Mary Spring with a composition of 99% Co2
Gas injection to treat skin disease
Wraps and packs (peloids)
The Church of the Assumption
The 19th century Church of the Assumption sits proudly overlooking the town of Marianske Lazne. The original bells date back to 1835 and 1847.
The Singing Fountain
The Singing Fountain is a circular pool that plays music on the odd hour from 0700 through to 2200 hours. On the 30th April each year the Singing Fountain puts on a performance to welcome in the new tourist season. Different music is played at different times from Chopin to Celine Dion and it lasts 4 minutes.
The impressive Colonnade building was constructed in 1889 and is the longest Colonnade in the Czech Republic.
The Colonnade was constructed in the neo-Baroque style. Look up at the ceiling – it is impressive.
Statues of King Edward VII and Emperor Franz Joseph
A few minutes walk from the Nove Lazne is Marianske Lazne’s beautiful green park where you can see the two statues side by side.
Asklepione Clinic of Aesthetic Medicine in the Hotel Grand Pacific
The Asklepione Clinic is the biggest Laser Medical Centre in the Czech Republic. It has 3 centres in Karlovy Vary and has been in the Czech Republic for 20 years and in Marianske Lazne for 15.
The Centre which includes plastic surgery, skin treatments, rejuvenation and anti-aging is popular with many foreign tourists who come each year for treatments.
Enjoy Lunch at Restaurant Franz Joseph
We can recommend having a buffet lunch at the Franz Joseph restaurant located in the Health Spa Resort Imperial.
Where to Stay in Marianske Lazne
The company Lecebne Lazne Marianske Lazne (Marienbad Kur & Spa Hotels) has a portfolio of hotels:
All the hotels are connected by an underground passage.
I stayed at the Nove Lazne in a Superior Deluxe Room, which was luxurious and very comfortable.
Nove Lazne is one of the most beautiful spa hotels in Marianske Lazne and was originally opened in 1828. After extensive renovation, it reopened in 1896.
The hotel has 97 rooms made up of Superior Deluxe, Junior Suite Deluxe, Suites and Apartments.
The Restaurant Royal, Lobby Bar, Wiener Cafe and the summer terrace offers dining alternatives for guests.
Prior to a buffet dinner in the Restaurant Royal I enjoyed a couple of glasses of chilled Czech wine in the Lobby Bar. The local wine is very good, I was impressed with the quality, especially when I think that Australia has the best wines in the World. The Dinner Buffet that night had a selection of local Czech cuisine or international dishes on offer.
An extensive breakfast buffet was available the next morning also in the Restaurant Royal.
The Nove Lazne has the Royal Spa Cabin which was built in 1896 for King Edward VII who visited Marianske Lazne 9 times. The Spa Cabin is built in the Neo-Renaissance style and contains a decorative bath. The chair that is located in the corner was made to measure his weight during his visits, legend states that he did not want to know what his current weight was.
Whilst staying at the Nove Lazne you can use the Roman style baths with 3 pools and the sauna.
Check out our Youtube video of the Nove Lazne Spa Hotel
Spa Town Frantiskovy Lazne
The fourth Spa town in the region and the smallest is Frantiskovy Lazne also known as Franzensbad. It is such a pretty town, the yellow painted buildings adding character to a well-planned town that was called ‘heaven on earth” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (a famous German literary figure).
It was founded on April 27, 1793, in the historic district of Cheb although the mineral waters were known as far back as the late 14th century.
The Mineral Springs in this location have high carbon dioxide levels, some of them are:
Glauber Springs 1 – mildly laxative and rises in the pavilion at Swan Lake.
Glabuer 2 – can also have a mildly laxative effect
Glabuer IV – the most powerful healing waters due to the high content of the sal
Where to Stay in Frantiskovy Lazne
The Hotel Imperial is a 4-star hotel located in Frantiskovy Lazne and dates back to 1876. It has 49 rooms made up of 35 doubles, 9 singles and 4 suites and some have balconies. The Imperial Hotel is located in the central Jitrini Park. The summer terrace looks out over the parklands.
The Imperial Hotel’s Spa uses the local mineral waters as well as natural peat from ancient plants. The water here is used to treat musculoskeletal, heart, veins and oncological issues. Their indoor swimming pool is used for treatments and it is heated at 30 degrees.
Where to Eat in Frantiskovy Lazne
The Goethe Ingo Casino Cafe is a unique place to eat in Frantiskovy Lazne. Now I have never heard of a ‘bottom aquarium’ but the cafe had the largest in Europe. As you walk into the Cafe you are walking over a glass floor that houses may koi-carps.
Visit Loket Castle
Check out the Youtube video on Loket Castle and the town:
The first thing that you notice as you walk across the bridge towards Loket Castle is the hillside filled with cute Cameroon Goats. They come from Africa’s west coast and can survive on steep terrains and with scarce vegetation. They roam through the castle and through the town’s square.
Loket Castle is located in the town of the same name about 12km from Karlovy Vary and surrounded on 3 of its sides by the River Ohre. It is one of the oldest, valuable and historic castles in the Czech Republic. Loket means ‘elbow’ and the town and castle takes its name from its location on the bend of the Ohre River.
The fortress dates back to the early 12th century. There is a small exhibition at the left-hand side of the castle as you enter where you will find a meteor that fell in the area and which was discovered during the 2nd half of the 14th century. It weighs between 106-107 kilos. The original size of the meteor is 50xm x 30cm x 20cm.
For great views, I recommend climbing the 99 steps to the top of the Romanesque Style Tower. You will see the open-air theatre below where operas are performed regularly and views over the medieval town of Loket.
There have been numerous fires throughout the castle’s history. King Charles IV when he was a small child of 3 was imprisoned here for 2 months in a small cell with a tiny window.
There is a lot to see in the castle so make sure you allow a couple of hours:
- Margraves House – an exhibition of porcelain
- Romanesque Rotunda the smallest in the Czech Republic
- Prisons Cells
- Chamber of Torture
- Wedding and Ceremonial Hall
- Historical Arms and Archaeological Hall
- Romanesque Tower
- 15th-century Burgrave’s House
- Captains House
- 16th Century Palace
If you have seen the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale, one of the film locations which represents a town in the Balkan Country of Montenegro, was filmed here at the castle and the town centre.
Hotel Cisal Ferdinand – Loket
The Hotel Cisal Ferdinand is located in a former malt house of the Loket Brewery. Recently it has been reconstructed based on an original plan that dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century by Anton Thun. The hotel is now known as the Florian Hotel and has great views over to the castle and the amphitheatre. They now make their own beer. It is only a small hotel with 23 bedrooms
Facts About The Czech Republic
- Their famous Czech Republic Beer sees Czech’s consume the most beer in the world per capita – I can understand why – I really enjoyed one of their brands – Pilsner Urquell!
- In 2016 the Czech Republic was the 6th safest place to live on earth
- Only 19% claim to believe in God
- The Czech Republic has 12 UNESCO monuments
- Prague Castle is the largest in Europe
- There are over 2000 castles and ruins throughout the country
- The Czech Republic’s Food Industry is becoming well known throughout the world. Their restaurants are world-class (check out our Travel Bloggers list of Best Restaurants in the Czech Republic)
- The famous Bohemia Crystle comes from the Czech Republic
- The culture of the Czech Republic – the Czech people make you feel very warm and welcome when you are visiting their country. They have a distinct culture with influences from countries that lie on their borders. They are proud hard-working people who have strong traditions. Many international companies are located here as well as their own companies e.g Bata, Skoda, Budweiser Budvar and Pilsner Urquell.
Flights to the Czech Republic
Over the last few years, the Czech Republic has seen a range of new airlines offering flights to destinations within the country. For the latest fares click here.
Bus Travel To The Spa Region
Regiojet has daily bus services to Karlovy Vary. The buses are comfortable, they have wifi and on-board movies with free hot beverages. You can purchase other snacks and cold drinks. Click here for more information.
We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.
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I would like to thank Czech Tourism, our guide Jitka from Karlovy Vary, Lenka and Kristina from Zivykraj (Karlovy Vary region) and all the hotels I stayed in, restaurants I ate in and sights that I visited as part of the tour. My opinions as always are my own.
Other Spa Resorts in the Czech Republic
Other Regions To Visit in the Czech Republic
You may also enjoy travelling to the North Bohemia and South Bohemia Region. Read our articles on where to stay and what to do in both of these regions.
Do You Need A Visa
Some countries require a visa to visit the Czech Republic. Check below to see if you do?
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