Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad)
Karlovy Vary © Richard Schubert
Elegant boulevards, elaborate colonnades and brightly coloured buildings line Karlovy Vary's picturesque river valley, testifying to the town's history as a getaway for the aristocracy. It is, indeed, the queen of the Czech Republic's many spa resort towns. Tourists typically visit for health purposes, with the town's 12 hot springs garnering most of the attention. Their mineral content is famously rich in restorative and healing properties, drawing guests as blue-blooded as Tsar Peter the Great over the course of their history. Today, locals gather to fill their quaint little drinking cups, sipping as they strolling to help the water work its magic on their digestive tracts and metabolic disorders. As an alternative, many people appreciate the locally made Becherovka liqueur, which is often hailed as the 13th spring. Although most of the spa pools and sanatoriums are reserved for people undergoing treatment, visitors can still swim in the heated pool above the Thermal Sanatorium. Also, Karlovy Vary has plenty of excellent accommodation, unique souvenirs and myriad relaxing activities.