Karlovy VaryBack to Prague and the Best of the Czech Republic »
Long a popular spa town, Karlovy Vary is now as famous for megastars as it is for mineral water. Each summer Hollywood royalty flocks here for the film festival; the rest of the year, it's a popular spot for Russians who enjoy the healing springs. The city is perfect for exploring on foot: just follow the Tepla River through the valley for a relaxing afternoon of fresh air (and if you time it right, you could spot Leonardo DiCaprio).
Learn more about Karlovy Vary »
- Take the waters or try a spa treatment. For centuries Europeans sought the mineral springs here for their healing qualities. Traditionalists sip the water from porcelain mugs with straws, which make classic souvenirs.
- Overlooking the town, the Stag's Leap is worth the uphill hike for its panoramic view. There's even a small pub on top, where you can reward yourself with a fortifying beer or snack.
- Becherovka, an herbal liqueur, is manufactured in Karlovy Vary. Many Czechs believe it's medicinal, thanks to the blend of regional herbs and the use of the water that they say aids digestion.
- The Karlovy Vary Film Festival, in the first week of July, is the biggest in Central Europe and attracts many film stars.
- The Whitewater Kayaking Festival is usually in mid-June.
- Visit Plzen (50 mi/81 km south of Karlovy Vary) to see where Pilsner Urquell, the Czech Republic's most famous beer, is made. The town is the birthplace of Pilsner-style brews.
- Marianské Lazne (30 mi/48 km south of Karlovy Vary) is an old-fashioned spa town that rivals its neighbor for charm and spa treatments, if not for tourists.