Visit the TOP sites of the Karlovy Vary Region. Do not miss the most beautiful monuments, the most popular activities, or cultural events.

Spa colonnades and mineral springs

Architectural gems in the shape of spa colonnades are the top must-sees for any visitor to the spa towns of the Carlsbad Region. The streets of Carlsbad alone boast five such structures –  the Mlýnská, Tržní, Sadová, Zámecká and Vřídelní colonnades are beautiful buildings, their style ranging from themes inspired by nature to the controversially brutal form of the of the best-known Vřídelní complex.

Marienbad also has much to offer in this area. The neo-Baroque Main Colonnade completely dominates the spa zone and is exquisitely complemented by the neo-Classical colonnade at the Karolina spring.

With its New Colonnade, all Tuscan columns concealing the first gas spa and the so-called ‘Noisy’ Spring, Františkovy Lázně is all about elegant neo-Classical style. Visiting the Franz spring is also a must – its waters have been well-known since medieval times and were was once exported across Europe. To this day it still emerges from the ground within a beautiful neo-Classical rotunda.

Bečov Chateau and the Reliquary of St Maurus

Bečov Chateau is one of the most popular attractions in the Carlsbad Region. Within the 13th-century castle and 18th-century chateau you’ll discover some exquisite chateau interiors as well as the unique reliquary of St Maurus, widely regarded as an object of European significance and one of the most important pieces of jewellery work anywhere. After the crown jewels this is the second most valuable object in the entire Czech Republic.

UNESCO-listed Mines of the Krušné Mountains

The fascinating Krušné Mountains have a history going back to the 12th century when mining began here, an activity that only came to an end in the 20th century. The discovery of many types of ore shaped the landscape and the people who inhabit it. Learn about the miners’ lot at various museums, but to really experience what life was like, take a trip down into one of the mines. In 2019, after almost twenty years of intense efforts, the area was finally added to UNESCO’s list of world cultural heritage sites. This means that the region will receive the attention it undoubtedly deserves.

Ohře Cycle Path to the Svatošské Cliffs

National cycle path No. 6 provides the ideal opportunity to take things at a leisurely pace. The flat route is good for families with children as well as keen cyclists of all ages. The 28km-long trail between Carlsbad and Sokolov leads riders to several places of natural beauty. The most prominent of these are the Svatošské Cliffs, created by centuries of erosion caused by the River Ohře. Today we can admire this set of mammoth rock pillars and other rock formations from the opposite bank of the river, a spectacle that will leave few unimpressed. Many a myth and legend is linked with the spot, but all have a common theme – tragic romance. Further along the trail you arrive at Loket Castle which contains a special exhibit – the Loket meteorite. There’s also an exhibition examining torture, porcelain collections and a tower with great views where Loket’s very own Dragon lurks. At a crossroads near the castle you’ll discover the trunks of old ivy plants. This species is usually a kind of vine, however constant care has transformed it into a unique spectacle.

Loket Castle

‘The key to the Czech kingdom’ is how Charles IV once described Loket Castle. This Gothic pile not only occupies a strategic position upon a promontory high above the River Ohře which surrounds it on three sides, it also has great historical significance and possesses a large dose of mystery. The castle is steeped in myths and legends and houses a fascinating and wide-ranging exhibition on torture. For something a bit jollier, climb the 26m-high tower for amazing views. Staying with attractive spectacles, your visit should also include the castle’s collection of locally-produced porcelain. Nor is Loket lacking culture – in the town below the castle you’ll discover a natural amphitheatre which hosts countless cultural events, the popularity of which grows with every passing season. The atmosphere of events set against the backdrop of the towering castle is an experience that will live long in the memory.

SOOS Nature Reserve

To the north of Františkovv Lázně, the Soos nature reserve is a place like nowhere else in central Europe. The reserve is made up of the remains of a former salt lake which, over the centuries, has morphed into peat bog and mineral-rich salt marsh. There are also signs of ongoing volcanic activity in the form of small mud volcanos, CO2 bubbling to the surface and mineral-rich springs. This is an unusual biotope, home to many protected kinds of fauna, the wetlands a habitat for plants that prefer salty environments.

You can explore the Soos nature reserve on wooden walkways that run for 1.2km and include several information boards. There’s also a geopark, a museum housing scientific and paleontological collections, an exhibition of life-size prehistoric lizards, an exhibition entitled „Birds of the Cheb District“ and a deer enclosure.

Summer and winter in the Krušné Mountains

The Czech-German border is formed in the north by the Krušné Mountains, rugged frontier country with an intriguing history. The peaks were formed by intensive volcanic activity which left a mountain range rich in metal ores and countless mineral springs.

The entire region is crisscrossed with cycling, hiking and cross-country skiing trails. Disciples of all three sports are drawn to the 242km-long main route through the range. The Krušné Mountains also have a lot to offer skiers in the shape of popular resorts. Choose from Klínovec, Boží Dar, Plešivec and other well-known locations.

Carlsbad International Film Festival

The most prominent cultural event in Carlsbad, and indeed the entire Carlsbad Region, is without doubt the Carlsbad International Film Festival, held here since 1946. Over the last 20 years it has become a prestigious international film event attended by filmmakers, journalists, well-known personalities and film fans from Europe and across the globe. Several cinemas across the city show over 200 world and European premieres each year.

The film festival regularly hosts world-famous celebrities – in recent years Judi Dench, Jude Law, Antonio Banderas, Susan Sarandon, Robert De Niro, Danny Devito and Andy Garcia have all stopped by.

The Slavkovský Forest and Kladská Nature Reserve

Between the points of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle lies the Slavkovský Forest protected area. This is a truly idyllic place where many rare species of fauna and flora have found refuge. Somewhat unfairly, this region is often overlooked, but those who make the effort to reach it are often amazed by its romance and mystery.

The Czech Republic is well-known for its network of well-marked hiking trails and this holds true for the Slavkovský Forest, too. The Kladská nature trail leads walkers through one area with lots of information on various aspects of its natural history provided along the way. Mineral springs have created a peat bog at Kladská which you can visit by following a raised timber walkway that bridges the boggy ground.

Marienbad’s Singing Fountain

The Singing Fountain is Marienbad’s single most popular attraction. This circular stone fountain, containing over 250 water jets and adorned with a central flower sculpture, can be found near the colonnade in the very heart of the spa zone. It’s one of the town’s must-see attractions, an extraordinary blend of watery choreography and popular pieces of music both of recent and classical vintages.

Cheb – Well-Preserved Attics and a Štauf Castle

Cheb Castle is a place whose walls could tell many a tale and which have witnessed several important milestones in the history of this country. It is the only Štauf imperial castle in the Czech Republic and Europe’s easternmost. In the early 12th century the powerful Štauf family commissioned a grand palace here, the ruins of which we can still admire to this day. The westernmost tip of the Czech lands has seen some turbulent times, a popular destination among invading armies looking to take this strategic area. The town of Cheb itself is packed with historical places of interest, and if you really want an unusual insight into its past, take a tour of the original period timber attics, built when Charles IV was still a boy, and to this day still supporting the city’s steep roofs.

Teplá Monastery

This extensive monastery complex is situated near Marienbad, just outside the small town of Teplá. Founded by the blessed Hroznata in the year 1193, the monastery is one of the most important in the country. Part of the complex is baroque and the church boasts a Gothic presbytery and a Romanesque chapel. With 100,000 volumes the monastery library is the second-largest period book repository in the Czech lands and there’s also a park, cemetery and museum. The most important structure here is the Church of The Annunciation, built between 1193 and 1232. The monastery also has its own brewery, barn and granaries.

Ostrov

We bet you didn’t know that the trolleybuses in this country, Slovakia and San Francisco were built in the pretty town of Ostrov. It’s a town of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance buildings which stand in stark contrast to the Socialist Realism bequeathed by more recent, troubled times. Ostrov’s Renaissance chateau is a complex of buildings with many beautiful halls where you will find porcelain collections and exhibitions tracing the history of the local Šlik family.

The holy circuit is the name by which the local monastery goes. The previous regime used it as a barracks, almost completely destroying the complex in the process. A huge renovation project has seen the place returned to its former glory, and today you can visit the wonderful Chapel of the Saints and other religious buildings.

The town’s Socialist Realist architecture dates from the times when uranium was mined in the area. No one can deny that these Socialist-era structures possess a certain grandeur. There are six walking routes to choose from, each dealing with various aspects of this intriguing town.

Ten Golf Courses of the Carlsbad Region

Scotland is generally regarded as the birthplace of golf. The cradle of Czech golf is without doubt the spa towns of West Bohemia. The very first golf course appeared here in 1904 just outside Carlsbad, another one soon following in Marienbad.

Today the Carlsbad Region boasts ten golf courses, seven of which are 18-hole affairs. The Carlsbad Region’s courses are some of the most celebrated in Europe and regularly host both amateur and professional tournaments. There are also several indoor golf facilities to enjoy.