A relaxing day trip from Prague to Karlovy Vary is a fantastic addition to your trip to the Czech Republic. Just two hours away (130 KM) from the bustling city of Prague, the laid-back spa town of Karlovy Vary is an ideal getaway especially if you are spending a few days in the country. From hiking in the woods, sipping the hot spring water, visiting museums and churches to relaxing at the spas, there is a lot to do in Karlovy Vary!
Here's our carefully crafted Day Trip Guide that entails all that you should know before going from Prague to Karlovy Vary. Read on to know more!
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
From Beethoven to Daniel Craig, the pleasures of the town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic have been enjoyed by celebrities and common folk for centuries. This spa town in Western Bohemia was established in the 14th century and known far beyond its borders for its medicinal hot springs including the famous ‘Vřídlo’. The spectacular natural beauty surrounding the town is only enhanced by its picturesque and colorful buildings. Home to world-class spas, luxury hotels and the factories of Moser Glass and Berchekova Liqueur, Karlovy Vary is one of the best leisure destinations in the Czech Republic.
Prague To Karlovy Vary Day Trip
Your day begins at 9:00 AM where you will meet your guide and the your small group company for the day. Sit back and enjoy the road journey that takes you through incredible landscapes of Bohemia. After crossing dense forests and farmland you will reach the picturesque town of Karlovy Vary in 2 hours. Your tour begins at the Moser Factory where you will admire the glassmaking process and the beautiful glass artworks.
You will then head to see the iconic Vřídlo hot geyser that springs 12m in the air and is housed in a modern steel and glass building. Take a sip of the healing spring water and work up an appetite for lunch in the town. You will now have a few hours to yourself to explore the town’s colonnades and other attractions including the Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul. After you've had your heart's fill, you will bid goodbye to Karlovy Vary and be back in Prague to enjoy the sunset.
Full Day Tour of Karlovy Vary
- Round trip from Prague to Karlovy Vary with complimentary hotel pick up and access to Moser Glassworks factory
- Explore Karlovy Vary at your own pace and bask in the multicolored and multifaceted element of the town
- Choose from a Czech, Spanish, Russian, Italian or English guided tour for the day.
Things To Do In Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is a small town covering an area of just 60 sq.km and most of the town’s attractions are within a short distance of each other. You can cover all of them on your Prague to Karlovy Vary day trip and a guided tour is the best way to explore the town within a short time.
The Mill Colonnade ranks among the top things to do in Karlovy Vary. It is a long colonnade that houses hot springs and stretches up to 132m in length and is supported by 124 Corinthian columns. The structure was built between 19871-81 and has five hot springs – Mill Spring, Rock Spring, Libuse Spring, Nymph Spring, and Prince Vaclav I Spring – that have medicinal properties.
Moser Glass Museum
The Moser Glass Company has become synonymous with Karlovy Vary where it has a factory and museum housing over 2,000 exquisite glass works and art pieces. Touted as ‘King of Glass, Glass of Kings’ Moser glassworks grace several palaces and important buildings across the world. The 150-year old company is also the pioneer of eco-friendly lead-free glass.
Diana Lookout Tower
The best place to view the colorful town of Karlovy Vary nestled in the verdant swathes of the forest is the Diana Observation Tower. The 40m tower, built in 1914, offers spectacular views of the town and its neighboring areas. It can be accessed by a hike through the forest or by the funicular from the Grandhotel Pupp.
It’s almost a bizarre sight to see a millennia-old hot geyser spout within a modern steel and glass structure that is the Vridelni Kolonada or the Hot Spring Colonnade. The structure built in 1975 is the symbol of the spa town and the geyser ‘Vřídlo’ is famous for its medicinal properties.
Becherovka is a unique herb liqueur that has been manufactured in the town of Karlovy Vary for almost 150 years. The iconic green glass bottle is identified among liqueur connoisseurs worldwide and is known for its soothing and medicinal properties. The Becherovka Museum at the factory location narrates the history and the production of the liqueur and has exhibits of the liqueur making process.
The 228-room luxury hotel, Grandhotel Pupp, is a magnificent neo-Baroque building and was built in 1701. It hosts the annual Karlovy International Film Festival and is perfect for celebrity spotting in July each year. The hotel inspired the Oscar-winning movie ‘Grand Budapest Hotel,’ and several movies were shot here including Casino Royale, Last Holiday and Shanghai Knights.
Know Before You Travel From Prague To Karlovy Vary
Guided or Self-Guided Tour?
A guided tour is ideal if you are planning to go from Prague to Karlovy Vary as the entire day’s itinerary will be organized to optimize the sightseeing. You get great insights and commentary from your professional tour guide and your travel from Prague to Karlovy Vary and back is taken care of. You don’t have to spend time researching public transport and ensuring all the spots are ticked off.
Prague to Karlovy Vary Tour Timings
Tours from Prague to Karlovy Vary often start at 9:00 AM and it takes about two hours to cover the distance of 127 KM. It is preferable to report at the pickup point 15 minutes before departure. The guided tour of the city and Moser Factory takes about two hours after which you are free to spend time on your own exploring the town.
Best Time To Visit Karlovy Vary
The best time to visit Karlovy Vary is during the fall from September through November. The weather is moderately chilly ranging between 35°F - 70°F during the day.It is the best time to see the fall colors of the forest and the right time to soak in the hot spring spas of the town. Fall sees a relatively low tourist season too, making it all the more perfect. The other best time to visit Karlovy Vary is during spring from March through May, but if you love the warm weather and buzz of the Film Festival then go in the summer from June to August.
Ways to Travel from Prague to Karlovy Vary
Prague to Karlovy Vary - Train
A train journey is one of the best ways to reach Karlovy Vary. The distance of 236 KM is covered in 3 hours 17 minutes, and trains start from the Prague Main Railway Station. There are seven trains which cover this track and the earliest one leaves at 5:21 AM followed by a consequent train every two hours. Check the train timings and schedule from Prague to Karlovy Vary here.
Prague to Karlovy Vary - Bus
Buses are a convenient mode of transport when traveling from Prague to Karlovy Vary. Buses take a shorter route and cover a distance of 145 KM in 2 hours 15 minutes. Buses start from UAN Florenc at the Prague Main Bus Station. The first bus leaves at 6:30 AM followed by a bus every hour until the last one at 3:30 PM. Check the bus timings and schedule from Prague to Karlovy Vary here.
Prague to Karlovy Vary Guided Tour
The Prague to Karlovy Vary full day tour offers a great deal and is the most convenient way to undertake a day trip. You will save the trouble of figuring out public transportation and have the services of a guide who will plan your entire day so you can cover the best spots in Karlovy Vary. This way you can make the best of your short time in the town and return feeling satisfied with your trip.
The most convenient way to travel from Prague to Karlovy Vary is by road via bus. The travel is short, takes only about two hours and also costs cheaper than the train. On a guided tour you get the benefit of road travel plus your transport costs are included in the tour costs which has amazing inclusions like professional guide and entry tickets.
Insider Tips for your Prague to Karlovy Vary Day Trip
- The spas in Karlovy Vary are quite busy through the year and its best to take prior appointments to enjoy a session. It’s not possible to just walk-in for a spa session.
- The churches in Karlovy Vary are popular with tourists. The Orthodox Church of St. Peter & Paul is a mix of Russian and Byzantine architecture and reminds of the great churches in Moscow. The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene is worth a visit, especially to its underground crypt.
- The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival that started back in 1946 is one of the oldest film festivals in the world. It is generally conducted in the first week of July every year.
- Buy the ceramic sippers to taste the hot spring water; you can take them back as souvenirs.
- Don’t forget to taste the famous Karlovy Vary wafers that are large disc wafers and come in multiple flavours like chocolate, coconut and vanilla.
Other Day Trips from Prague
Prague to Kutna Hora
A day trip to Kutna Hora from Prague will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions, from wonderful to weird. It is home to St. Barbara’s Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that shows off the wealth of the former silver mining town, with its exquisite Baroque architecture. A short distance away, the Sedlec Ossuary with its 50,000 human skeletons and macabre art will leave you stunned. Just 75KM away, a half day trip to Kutna Hora is perfect to explore the town and its attractions.
• Half Day Tour of Kutna Hora
Prague to Cesky Krumlov
Just 175 KM away from Prague, the town of Český Krumlov is known for the second largest castle in the country, the Český Krumlov Castle. The historic old town is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage and is well-preserved. The confluence of architecture styles of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance and its cobblestone streets take you back centuries. Visit the Terezin Concentration Camp and sample Czech delicacies on this wholesome day trip to Český Krumlov.
• Full Day Guided Visit to Cesky Krumlov
Prague to Karlštejn Castle
The stunning grey-topped Karlštejn Castle rising above the leafy forests of Bohemia is one of the most visited castles in the Czech Republic. A short distance of 30KM away from Prague, it is an ideal destination to explore the history of the country and experience the countryside. Built in the 14th century, Karlštejn Castle has Gothic architecture and a wealth of art and relics within its walls. The half-day trip to Karlštejn Castle with an authentic Czech lunch is bound to make for great memories!
• Guided tour of Karlštejn Castle with Lunch
Prague To Terezin Concentration Camp
The Terezin Concentration Camp Tour takes you back to the most unimaginable eras of sufferings; the agony of over 150,000 prisoners during World War 2. Hundreds of thousands of Jews lost their lives most painfully in the ghetto of the Terezin Concentration Camp. Transport to the Terezin Concentration Camp from Prague is taken care of in this tour. A ride to the Terezin Concentration Camp , located about 60 kilometres from Prague will take about an hour and the day trip spans for about 9 hours.
• Historic tour of Terezin Concentration Camp