- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Frantiskovy Lázne, or Franzensbad, is the smallest of the three main Bohemian spas. It isn't really in the same league as Karlovy Vary. The main spa area is only a few blocks, and aside from a dozen or so cafés in which to enjoy an apple strudel or ice cream, there isn't much to see or do. That said, the charm of its uniform, Kaiser-yellow Empire architecture grows on you. Gardens surrounding the main spa area—both the manicured "French" gardens and the wilder "English"-style parks—grow on you, too. They're as perfect for strolling now as they were 200 years ago. Summer is particularly pleasant, when a small orchestra occupies the gazebo in the Mestkské sady (city park) and locals and visitors sit in lawn chairs and listen.
The healing properties of the waters here were recognized as early as the 15th century, but Frantiskovy Lázne came into its own only at the start of the 19th century. Like Bohemia's other spas, Frantiskovy Lázne drew from the top drawer of European society, including one Ludwig Van Beethoven, who came here in 1812. But it remained in Cheb's shadow, and the spa stayed relatively small. In the years following World War II the spa declined. Most of the buildings were given over to factories and organizations to use as convalescent centers. Frantiskovy Lázne also developed a reputation for helping women with fertility problems, and Milan Kundera used it as the humorous, small-town backdrop for his novel The Farewell Party. Since 1989 the town has worked hard to restore the yellow façades to their former glory.
The best way to approach Frantiskovy Lázne is simply to find Národní ulice, the main street, and walk.
Frantiskovy Lázne at a Glance
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Garni Kucera on Sale: Book 3 Nts in May Fr $73+/Nt Expedia
- Save in Karlovy Vary: Book 3 Nts in May Fr $162+/Nt Expedia