Health, rest and culture. People have been coming to the spa triangle for this and many other pastimes since time immemorial. Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně, along with eight other towns from seven European countries, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Great Spa Towns of Europe initiative. These towns have been instrumental in shaping the spa phenomenon that has shaped the image and history of Europe and has been used by the general public, powerful rulers, renowned artists and scientists. The echoes of those glorious times are still evident today in the form of charming architecture and time-honoured spa methods.

Karlovy Vary

The famous spa town was born in the 14th century, but the Belle Époque period at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries had the most significant impact on it. This unique atmosphere is reflected in the five magnificent colonnades and spa buildings built by world-class architects in the spirit of the Renaissance and Antiquity, but also in the Empire and later also in functionalism and brutalism represented by the Thermal Hotel. The Mill Colonnade designed by Josef Zítek with allegorical sculptures, the Hot Spring Colonnade with the popular Hot Spring Pavilion and the Market Colonnade with a painting about the founding of the town by Charles IV.

The town in the valley of the rivers Teplá and Ohře is surrounded by a wooded landscape full of trails inviting you to stroll in the fresh, healing microclimate. Karlovy Vary’s healing springs are sought after by people from all continents and in their time attracted greats such as Franz Josef I, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Nicolo Paganini, Sigmund Freud and many others. Centuries of perfected spa care, based on unique natural resources in the form of thermal springs, natural gas and peloids, has reached the highest level today. The spring water, formed 2500 metres underground, is used for drinking cures, baths, inhalations and rinses. It cures diseases of the digestive system, metabolism, musculoskeletal system, respiratory and circulatory system, as well as mental discomfort or overstressed nerves and dozens of other ailments.

Even today, the city has no shortage of famous visitors, which is also thanks to the culture, led by the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where film stars flock every year. Visits to the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, which has been performing since 1835, the town theatre with its rich programme and interior decoration by famous painters Gustav and Ernst Klimt, the town museum focusing on history, spa and traditional crafts, and the Art Gallery with its exhibitions of Czech and Slovak modern art are also great experiences.

More active fun awaits you at the golf course or horse racing track, or on the many trips to the surrounding area – for example to the Svatošské skály, Bečov nad Teplou or Loket Castle. A visit to Karlovy Vary is not complete without a visit to the Diana Lookout Tower, the famous Moser Glassworks, the Thun Porcelain Factory and the Jan Becher Museum with a taste of Karlovy Vary’s famous thirteenth spring, Becherovka.

Mariánské Lázně

The town on the edge of the Slavkovský les (Slavkov Forest) enchants visitors with its historical atmosphere in the shadow of the Main Colonnade, the empire building of the Cross Spring Pavilion and other classical houses, pavilions and colonnades, as well as unique natural resources for the treatment of a wide range of ailments from musculoskeletal to kidney or respiratory diseases to metabolic problems. The spa tradition dates back to the very beginning of the 19th century, the golden age of the town was at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, which can be seen in the architecture of the spa buildings, but also in the churches or parks and romantic viewpoints. The atmosphere is completed by the Singing Fountain, which plays songs by world classics, as well as hits from pop music or film soundtracks.

Some of the local treatments based on the use of natural carbon dioxide are unique in the world. For example, the healing gas from Maria’s Spring is famous, but also the peat and bog or the air itself, which you can breathe in to your heart’s content on a trip to the Slavkov Forest. The town and its surroundings are also home to cold hypotonic acids, which are used for drinking cures, inhalations and for the preparation of carbonic and mineral baths. The local healing was once enjoyed by personalities such as the British King Edward VII, the composer Fryderyk Chopin and the poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang Goethe. The town has retained its international clientele to this day.

What about culture? Like Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně also has a regular concert orchestra, founded as early as 1821. The town theatre offers exhibitions or concerts in addition to plays in its traditionally busy programme, while the town museum with the Goethe Gallery attracts visitors with permanent exhibitions on spa life or famous visitors, as well as thematic exhibitions. The Royal Golf Club was founded by King Edward VII in 1905 and a long golfing tradition was crowned with a royal title.

Franzensbad

A visit to the classical-style Franzensbad, surrounded by extensive English-style parks and woodlands, will feel like a journey to another time. The picturesque town of Františkovy Lázně was visited by Emperors Franz I, Charles I and Franz Joseph II. Božena Němcová wrote part of her works here and Johann Wolfgang Goethe explored the volcano called Komorní hůrka just outside the town, which as a whole lies in an important volcanic area.

Františkovy Lázně is famous for its fertility treatment, symbolised by the statue of Francis. But the traditional Františkovy Lázně treatment can also relieve joint pain and help with heart, vascular or skin problems. Musculoskeletal, oncological, nervous and other diseases are also treated here. Cold mineral springs, dry spring gas and sulphur-iron peat are the basis.

While strolling through the town, you can admire the classicist pavilions with healing

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