Even the ancient Romans knew of the beneficial effects of mineral spas. Though the Bohemia and Moravian spa tradition does not stretch back to that time, it has nothing to be ashamed of. In the case of Karlovy Vary or Teplice it stretches back centuries. Kings, emperors, composers and poets – essentially the upper crust of the period – all came to draw strength from the local thermal springs. But this is not the only place in the Czech Republic where visitors seeking out relaxation and quality wellness services head. Come with us through the most popular Czech spas and find inspiration as to where to recuperate for the spring and summer. The best we will leave for last.
North BohemiaAside from smaller centres such as the spas Libverda and Kundratice, North Bohemia is also home to the oldest spa town in the Czech Republic and also one of the oldest in Central Europe - Teplice. Even the Celts made use of the thermal waters there, but their story starts 18 000 years ago, when rain falling on the Krušné hory mountain range seeped into the ground and the water absorbed the high temperature and minerals that remain in it to date. Teplice is a romantic town that owes its founding to a limping hog. Due to an injured leg it was often lost from its herd and its shepherd became used to the fact that it often fell behind.
One day he noticed, however, that even though the hog was keeping up with its herd, it was still wandering off and so he set out to follow it. He noticed the pig heading to a spring of some kind and wallowing in the mud there. He hastened to report his find to the local lord, who then founded a town there, which at the start of the 12th century began functioning as a spa town. Near Teplice you can find other small spa villages, such as Bílina and Dubí, where you might be surprised by the local church. It was built in the style of the Venetian Gothic and is considered the northernmost Venetian building in Europe. The romantic chateau in Duchcov also has a connection to Italy, with the famous lover Giacomo Casanova having lived out his last years there. Don't miss even one of these when visiting the spas in North Bohemia. You can also find great wellness services at favourite summer hiking destinations, such as the Jizerské hory or Krkonoše mountains.
South BohemiaThanks to its famed mud wraps and calm atmosphere, the spa town of Třeboň in South Bohemia is well renowned. The quality of the wraps is ensured by the Třeboň peat, which is among the best in Europe. The town can boast a calm atmosphere thanks to the countryside full of ponds. The Třeboň Region is a renowned fishpond area – a biosphere area recorded on the UNESCO list. This landscape full of man-made lakes, fishponds and pools is criss-crossed with bicycle paths, thanks to which you can spice up your visit to Třeboň with bike trips or walks. And Třeboň has other attractions as well! One of them is the beautiful chateau, and thanks to its aforementioned fishponds, the Třeboň Region is also famed as a land of fish specialities. What about tasting carp fries?
In South Bohemia you can also visit the small spa town of Bechyně and enjoy quality wellness stays in Šumava as well.
East BohemiaSpas associated with fresh mountain air are a tried and true cure for all ills. This is the case in Janské lázně at the edge of the Krkonoše National Park. This little town is in a valley at the base of Černá hora, up which a cable car leads, used in both winter and summer. It is used by both skiers and cyclists and hikers. The hot spring in Janské lázně was allegedly discovered by prospectors who were searching for precious metals in the foothills of the highest Czech mountain range. By the local colonnade you can also find the mythical and stern Krakonoš – patron of the Krkonoše mountains, who keeps the peace in its forests and valleys.
Also in East Bohemia is the small spa town of Bělohrad, where problems with the motor system are treated. From the Bělohrad spas it is just a short ways to the mountains or, for example, to taking a safari in Dvůr Králové. A stay at the Bohdaneč spa is an architectural experience, as it is famous in part thanks to its functionalist style.
MoraviaFew places have as picturesque a name as Karlova Studánka (literally Charles' Spring), and few spa villages are as picturesque as this one. It has a little over 200 inhabitants and is the village with the highest altitude in the region. Feel like you've heard the name before? It was probably in connection with skiing – just a short ways from here is the peak of the highest mountain in Moravia, Praděd, which is also gorgeous in the spring and summer. If you're looking for a spa, wellness and relaxation far away from the masses, go to Karlova Studánka, found at the boundary of Moravia and Silesia.
Also in the foothills of the Jeseník mountain range are the Velké Losiny thermal baths, surrounded by a great forest park. Thanks to this Velké Losiny is one of the most famous spas in Moravia. And thanks to the newly constructed thermal aqua park, which is unparalleled in the Czech Republic, it may soon be one of the best known spas in the whole country.
In South Moravia we find the spa town of Hodonín, which benefits from quality iodine-rich waters and treats spa guests with rheumatism or arthritis. The Hodonín spa is a modern resort, and though it is one of the youngest in the Czech Republic, it is also one of the most sought out. Aside from the high quality of services, a compelling argument to go to Hodonín is the close proximity of the Lednice-Valtice Complex and its unique landscape recorded on the UNESCO world cultural heritage list.
When you feel like having a rest during your wanderings around harmonious South Moravia, set out for Luhačovice. The pleasant surroundings and original architecture are visited by thousands of people every year, with these visitors enjoying the peace and quiet, some pleasant relaxation and trips into the beautiful surrounding areas.
West BohemiaFor spas in the Czech Republic, the west is the best. West Bohemia is famous for its spas – and not just in the Czech Republic. These spas are known around the world and the local guests were and are also world famous. For example, Karlovy Vary was founded back in the 14th century by King and Emperor Charles IV, so he can be counted among its famous visitors. It was however only two hundred years later Karlovy Vary started to boom, and it has continued to flourish.
This was greatly helped by the fact that it became a popular site for the rich aristocracy, and even Russian Tsar Peter the Great came here, as did Empress Elisabeth of Austria, nicknamed Sisi. Aside from these, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, Niccolò Paganini and Sigmund Freud also all stayed here. What attracted them to Karlovy Vary? The healing properties of the thermal springs that gush from wells as deep as 88 metres (288 feet) and the temperature of the Vřídla spring is 72°C (161°F). On top of all this is the beautiful outdoors between the Krušné hory mountains and the protected forest Slavkovský les, as well as the romantic architecture in the Baroque and Art Nouveau style, which makes the city centre in the valley along the river Teplá one of the most popular spas in Europe.
It is not for nothing that reference is made to the West Bohemian spa triangle. In this triangle, Karlovy Vary is joined by the no less beautiful Mariánské lázně, which is called the city of parks and forests. The dominant feature is the colonnade with its cast iron structures and the Singing Fountain. Around a hundred mineral springs come forth in the city and its surroundings. Františkovy lázně is somewhat smaller and is a protected urban heritage zone. Visitors are drawn in by the popular water and relaxation world Aquaforum.
Somewhat closer to the Krušné hory mountains is the first radon spa town in the world – Jáchymov. Patients here are treated with radon waters that, unlike other waters, do not have a chemical effect, but an energetic one. The source of this rare natural wealth is in a mine about half a kilometre underground (1640 ft).
They specialise in the treatment of children at the Kynžvart spa town in West Bohemia. People who are having skin troubles, breathing problems or even depression can go take the cure there. Just a short ways from the spa is the Baroque and Classicist summer residence of Austrian Chancellor Klemens von Metternich, which is definitely worth a visit. Whatever else Prince Metternich was, he did not underestimate the strength of education, and along with his son he assembled one of the most significant chateau libraries.