KARLOVY VARY – a delightful and magical little town in close proximity to PRAGUE that blew me away! Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad 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 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.
Besides hosting Europe’s second most celebrated annual film festival (second only to Cannes), the town has been the ‘Spa of Choice’ for the European gentry and aristocracy for centuries, given its therapeutic hot springs, the verdant surroundings in the lap of Mother Nature, and the romantic ambiance which rejuvenates the mind, heart, spirit and soul!
CESKY KRUMLOV is a town in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic, approximately a 2~3 hour drive from PRAGUE. Its historic centre, centred around the Český Krumlov Castle, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, and was given this status along with the historic Prague castle district.
Český Krumlov is famous for its Old Town, with 300 protected medieval buildings, and its castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic. Surrounded by rolling hills and the Vltava River, Český Krumlov’s cobblestone streets wind past centuries old town homes, inns, shops, and cafes. Located in the southwest part of the Czech Republic, this picturesque city is home to about 14,000 residents.
A town that appears to magically reach the skies above a bend on the River Vltava, Český Krumlov is a pearl of Renaissance architecture and a place where the sumptuousness of the local castle, maze-like alleyways, richly decorated coats of arms of burghers houses, and wonderful floral gardens are harmoniously interwoven; at the same time, it boasts medieval pubs, ale-houses, galleries and graphite mines.
While is indeed de-rigueur to be seen and ‘selfied’/ photographed in PRAGUE (“The Paris of the East”) by most tourists visiting the Czech Republic for the very first time, both KARLOVY VARY and the magical, medieval town of CESKY KRUMLOV was indeed the high point of my sojourn across this enchanting land, that I would love to re-live and experience, all over again!