There’s more to the Czech Republic than Prague. Mark Smith travels around the traditional spa towns to take in the waters, bathe in beer and enjoy wellness techniques hundreds of years old
The Czech Republic has been attracting wellness travellers for centuries and its spa traditions are among the oldest in Europe. The country is renowned for its spa towns which offer a unique take on the spa experience, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the therapeutic powers of the natural mineral water, mud, peat, natural gases and fresh country air. A complete contrast to the spa culture in the UK, the historical buildings and rich history make this a must-visit for anyone who loves to spa.
Steeped in tradition, the spas have been treating conditions like digestive, skin and respiratory problems through to cardiovascular and oncological issues since the 18th century. The spas combine a health and medical approach as standard, and spa facilities can be found in more than 30 locations throughout the country. There are strict standards governing the spas ensuring the very best of wellness therapies to heal, treat, nurture and pamper. It’s a total escape where you can combine the benefits of the natural world with great food, outdoor adventures and a range of sport and fitness activities like hiking and cycling.
Traditional spa towns
The spa towns dotted across the countryside are picture-perfect and the most impressive is the fairy tale-like town of Karlovy Vary. Surrounded by forest and positioned overlooking the River Teplá it’s an ideal place to take the waters. There are 15 warm mineral springs that can treat anything from digestive conditions to metabolic disorders, diabetes and gout. Check in to the Hotel Imperial located on a hill above the town where the thermal waters flow directly into this five-star hotel. You are guaranteed a healthy holiday as it has over 50 medical employees, including 24-hour nurses, therapists and masseurs.
If you are looking for something a little less medical then head to the Beer Spa in the centre of Karlovy Vary, where you can bathe in wooden tubs, in a mixture of brewer’s yeast, hops, malt and peat extract. All the while helping yourself to unlimited locally brewed beer. It finishes up with time to chill on a bed of straw.
Next on your destination list should be Teplice Spa, said to be the oldest spa in central Europe, dating back to the 12th century. Situated between the Ore Mountains and the Central Bohemian Uplands it specialises in treating musculoskeletal ailments.
The town of Mariánské Lázně has over 100 mineral springs with cool water that boasts a high content of iron and mineral salt. Ingesting, bathing and inhaling are all essential rituals here with cycleways and walking paths allowing some outdoor adventures among beautiful architecture. Finally, the small town of Luhačovice, set in a peaceful valley features 13 potent, mineral-rich springs which are beneficial for respiratory problems and musculoskeletal issues. So, on your next visit, bypass Prague and head straight to the peaceful surroundings of the Czech countryside.
You won’t be disappointed.
Beer Spa: pivnilazne-kv.cz
Czech Tourism: czechtourism.com