This area is nicknamed “the Czech Iceland” for a good reason. The plateau in the centre of the spa triangle is interwoven with deep forests, in which rays of sunlight perform amazing shadow plays. Over one thousand mineral springs source here, and lakes coloured by minerals or endless peat bogs are found along the trails.
Medicine from the depths of the Earth
Stress, disorders, and foul moods dissipate in the spa triangle. Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně, and Mariánské Lázně are ideal stops during your trip to the Slavkovský Forest. In these towns, you will recharge your batteries, and after conquering one of the hiking trails, spoil yourself a bit and regain your fitness. Aside from the famous springs of the Karlovy Vary Region, you will also find countless undiscovered ones. For example, there’s St Siard Spring, to which an educational trail leads.
If, however, the spa triangle is too mainstream for your taste, we have a tip for you. Lázně Kynžvart is one of the four areas in the Czech Republic whose climatic conditions are declared a natural healing resource. The town is obviously more peaceful than the aforementioned spa towns, but there are still enough procedures, cafés, or sports grounds here for every tired pilgrim.
Bečov dedicated to botany
Aside from the castle and the chateau with the mysterious Reliquary of St Maurus, you will also find the botanical gardens in Bečov nad Teplou with a collection of flora from various continents and many gazebos or boats on the pond for a relaxing day in enchanting nature. Those who like to climb will appreciate the bioferrata with several routes of various difficulties leading directly through the premises of the botanical gardens. You can rent the necessary equipment on site.
Mother Nature’s wonders
Four significant nature formations and locations are found on a rather small area, so they can be visited by car all in one day. The first is the monumental Basalt Organ near Hlinky in the vicinity of Bečov. They point to the lava flow from tertiary volcanoes millions of years ago.
The second is the significant technological monument dating from 1536 known as Dlouhá stoka – the Long Ditch, which served to collect water for powering pumping equipment, as well as grinding stamping mills and ore mills during tin mining.
The third location is found several kilometres to the south and is known as the Globeflower Meadow under the Crosses, where the rare and endangered globeflower, as well as other rare plant species, bloom in their full glory each spring. A pavement with vistas leads through the area.
And the fourth site is located practically a stone’s throw away. The Kladská Peat Bogs is an extensive complex of mountain highland peat bogs and is considered the most valuable area of the Slavkovský Forest. The educational trail is nine kilometres long and leads through the primeval forest growth around countless lakes. Along the way, you might encounter or hear a black stork, cranes, or woodpeckers, and if you are lucky, even a bobcat.
Somewhat further north – between Loket and Karlovy Vary – is the rock formation known as Svatoš Rocks. It is made up of massive granite columns, and legend has it that it is a petrified wedding party. You can reach it along the cycle path or on a boat, and it is appreciated by mountain climbers and children alike, who can look forward to the Svatošky Fun Park.
Cabinet of Curiosities and a lookout tower from Iraq
When visiting the Slavkovský Forest, you should not miss seeing at least two buildings. The first is the significant residence of the Metternichs with the adjacent English park – Kynžvart Chateau. Prince Metternich was a known globetrotter, and he collected many curiosities on his journeys, which are today to be seen at the chateau. For instance, there is the mummy collection, or the amazing items in the Cabinet of Curiosities. However, the rarest exhibit is the Kynžvart daguerreotype (the predecessor of photographs), which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
And if you should wish to see the whole region from the bird’s-eye-view, go to the Krásno Lookout Tower. It reaches far above the surrounding forests, and regularly wins contests for the prettiest Czech lookout tower. Its constructors were inspired by the minaret in the Iraqi city of Samarra.