Karlovy Vary is a spa town in the west Bohemian region of Czech Republic. Many people visit this little town as a day trip from Prague, while others (like us) decide to actually spend an entire day there. Since our intention was to visit Dresden after this, we thought of spending a night here rather than going back to Prague. This way we wouldn't waste time on a bus!
So one fine morning, we hopped onto a "Student Agency" bus from Prague to Karlovy Vary. That's just the name by the way, the bus is for everyone! We purchased our tickets a month in advance from their website. The good thing about the bus is that - its cheap, there's free wifi, you can choose your seats online and you get free hot beverages on-board. The journey took us about 2 hours.
In Karlovy Vary, we stayed at Apartmany Victoria. A fully furnished apartment, pretty close to the bus stop and city centre. Since Karlovy Vary is full of slopes, we found it a bit tough to pull our bags around. However, once we reached the hotel everything went well. The view from our balcony was simply beautiful.
Before exploring, we headed to a nearby shop to try out the Carlsbad Oblaten ... a crunchy, large, round wafer filled with stuff like caramel, chocolate or anything you desire.
Since Karlovy Vary is a spa town, it is filled with a number of hot springs. The water from the springs are said to have healing properties. People actually spend days here. While we were there, we saw people buy mugs from a nearby kiosk and kept filling and drinking the water from the springs as they walked. There are springs all over the place ... each at a different temperature. Our mug ... well (a shot glass to be precise) looked like this. The water tasted like warm sparking water! But if it heals, you gotta drink 'em!
This was the first hot spring that we entered. It was called Vridelni Kolonada and had very intricate architecture.
Followed by a long building known as Mill Kolonada.
Another hot spring that we visited had warm water spurting upto 12 meters.
Basically, we walked along the river stopping at souvernir shops, admiring colourful buildings and drinking spring water.
We tried out this raspberry cake at one of the cafes. It was called Ovocny Rez. OMG !
We walked all the way to the end until we reached Grandhotel Pupp. This is a luxurious 300 year old hotel situated in the heart of Karlovy Vary and has been a major location for many popular movies such as Casino Royale!
Right next to the tower was the funicular to go upto Diana Tower ... a point, where you can see the whole of Karlovy Vary from the top.
We then took a cab and headed to Vanocni Dum (Christmas House). If you are a lover of all things Christmas, this is the place to be! In here, its Christmas 365 days a year and you'll be dumbstruck seeing all the decorations inside. There's a fee to enter and you can buy any decor you like or sip a hot chocolate in their cafe.
The only place we missed that day was Jan Becher Museum. By the time we got back from Christmas House, it was closed. Becherovka is a popular liquor of Czech Republic and this museum is dedicated to it. We only managed to see it from the outside and buy a couple a bottles from the store nearby.
Later that evening, we visited a Christmas Market near our hotel. This market "hands down" had one of the best honey wine that I had tasted in the whole of Czech Republic. They made an amazing gnocchi too besides other delicious food.
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