Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarlovɪ ˈvarɪ]; German: Karlsbad; Yiddish: קרלסבאד‎ Karlsbad) is a spa town situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (81 mi) west of Prague (Praha). It is named after Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, who founded the city in 1370. It is historically famous for its hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River). It is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.

An ancient late Bronze Age fortified settlement was found in Drahovice. A Slavic settlement in on the site of Karlovy Vary is documented by findings in Tašovice and Sedlec. People lived in the close proximity the site as far back as the 13th century and they must have been aware of the curative effects of close thermal springs.

Around 1350, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor organized an expedition into the forests surrounding modern-day Karlovy Vary during a stay in Loket. On the site of a spring, he established a spa called the Horké Lázně u Lokte (Hot Spas at Loket). The location was subsequently named in German “Carlsbad” after him once he had acclaimed the healing power of the hot springs, at least according to legend. Charles IV granted the town privileges on 14 August 1370. Earlier settlements can be also found in the outskirts of today’s town.

An important political event took place in the town in 1819, with the issuing of the Carlsbad Decrees following a conference there. Initiated by the Austrian Minister of State Klemens von Metternich, the decrees were intended to implement anti-liberal censorship within the German Confederation.

Due to publications produced by physicians such as David Becher and Josef von Löschner, the town developed into a famous spa resort in the 19th century and was visited by many members of European aristocracy as well as celebrities from many fields of endeavour. It became more popular after railway lines to Eger(now Cheb) and Prague were completed in 1870.

The number of visitors rose from 134 families in the 1756 season to 26,000 guests annually at the end of the 19th century. By 1911, that figure had reached 71,000, but the outbreak of World War I in 1914 greatly disrupted the tourism on which the town depended.

At the end of World War I in 1918, the large German-speaking population of Bohemia was incorporated into the new state of Czechoslovakia in accordance with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919). As a result, the German-speaking majority of Karlovy Vary protested. A demonstration on 4 March 1919 passed peacefully, but later that month, six demonstrators were killed by Czech troops after a demonstration turned unruly.

In 1938, the majority German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia, known as the Sudetenland, became part of Nazi Germany according to the terms of the Munich Agreement. These areas included Karlovy Vary (Then renamed again to Karlsbad). After World War II, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement, the vast majority of the people of the town were forcibly expelled because of their German ethnicity. In accordance with the Beneš decrees, their property was confiscated without compensation and the town was renamed Karlovy Vary.

Since the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the presence of Russian businesses in Karlovy Vary has steadily increased.

“MUST SEE” things in Karlovy Vary


Vřídlo Spring is the hottest spring in Karlovy Vary (72°C). It can naturally squirt up to 20 meters above the ground.


35 meters high observation tower with 150 stairs. You can enyoy remarkable view to the historical center of Karlovy Vary. If you are scared of heights you can visit a Butterfly Farm. 🙂

Kolonada Karlovy Vary

You can visit 4 Colonades in Karlovy Vary. Inside the largest colonnade in Karlovy Vary, you may find the seeps of five mineral springs

Deer jump

he wooden arbour on a rock bill near Jelení skok (Deer Jump) directly above the spa centre is probably the oldest lookout structure in Karlovy Vary.

Hot Springs

There are 16 hot springs in Karlovy Vary. The legend says, that if you taste all of them, you can make a wish.

Grandhotel Pupp

Them most famous hotel in Karlovy Vary and porbably in whole Czech Republic. There was shooted many movies. For example James Bond: Casino Royale or Last Holiday.

Skiareal Klinovec

The biggest SKI areal in Ore Mountains and 5th biggest areal in Czech Republic. New cable rides and great ski slopes is great fun during winter. During summer you can enjoy downhill bicycle rides.

Bozi Dar

Boží Dar is the highest city in Czech Republic (1,028 m, 3,373 ft).  In translation Boží Dar means A God’s Gift.

Loket Castle

The Loket castle, built of stone, is more than 800 year old settlement. From the Castle is a beautifull view on the river Ohre.

Fun Facts

Karlovy Vary is the city with most hot springs concentration in the world

The Karlovy Vary International film festival is one of the oldest festivals in the world.

Karlovy Vary is the second most visited city in Czech Republic.