Press Trip with Boho Travels | Relaxing in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Czech Republic
It seems that the dust has finally started to settle a bit for me here in Berlin, at least for now. November was another crazy month with no sign of deceleration as it morphed into December.
The thought of going through another month without taking a break wore on me. So when I was invited to go on a press trip to Czech Republic with a wellness/travel agency called Boho Travels, I jumped at the opportunity.
Boho Travels was founded by Jitka Hrebikova, who facilitates trips to spas and wellness centers all around Czech Republic. Collaborating with luxury spas, a team of scientists, and medical specialists, Boho Travels enables people to combine wellness and travel. Jitka is incredibly passionate about bridging the gap between travel and wellness while also injecting her love and pride of Czech culture and heritage into the tours and packages offered.
The last time I visited Czech Republic, I was attending TBEX, the travel blogging conference, held in the eastern city of Ostrava. This time, I was heading west of Prague to Carlsbad, or as it’s known in Czech, Karlovy Vary.
Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) | A Spa Town in Western Bohemia
The city of Karlovy Vary is picturesque and includes notably Baroque and Rococo-style architecture, characterized by colorful frescoes and ornate scrollwork, respectively. The façades are similar to what you’d see in the capital city of Prague. Like Prague, it also has a similar romantic look and feel, especially with the tiny bridges and cobblestone streets. Walking through it reminds me of being in a pastel-painted Disney World.
In the 1400s, the hot springs of Karlovy Vary were believed to have healing powers, and that belief has been carried forward to today. The city of just under 50,000 inhabitants is now an up-and-coming destination for those seeking spa-related holidays in Europe. It’s also become a popular spot for shooting large-production films such as Casino Royale and La Vie En Rose (filmed at Hotel Pupp).
Traveling to Karlovy Vary / Carlsbad from Prague
Karlovy Cary is the most-visited spa town in the Czech Republic and is nestled in between the Ohře and Teplá Rivers. It’s very accessible from Prague, and takes about two hours to arrive by train from Prague Florenc ÚAN central train station, costing ~13 euros (USD $14). Alternatively, you could also get there by bus, which might take slightly longer and will cost ~ 6 euros (USD $6.80).
In Europe, I always use the site, GoEuro.com to compare different modes of transportation: train, bus, flight. A lot of times, flying is often cheaper than ground transportation.
Luckily for us, Boho Travels provided transportation to our group from just outside Prague Florenc ÚAN station all the way to Karlovy Vary. Easy!
Accommodation in Karlovy Vary / Carlsbad | Hotel Prezident
With Boho Travels, we stayed at Hotel Prezident: a luxury spa and medical wellness center. The hotel had a lot of spa-related amenities, including a pool, massage treatments, mud wraps, saunas, ice baths, a sensory deprivation tank, gym, and more.
Exploring Karlovy Vary / Carlsbad’s Hot Springs & Hiking Trails
Karlovy Vary is a really tiny city! You can pretty much see everything in a couple of hours. On the first day, we went on a walking tour and learned about the history of the hot springs. It was raining a lot and was kind of cold while we explored, but still pretty to see at night. At each of the hot springs sprinkled around the city, we were invited to drink water from each of the hot springs. Each one had its own supposed health benefits* and we were told that drinking the water had “detoxifying” properties.
Our tour guide told us that it was best to drink the water slowly, and after taking one sip I don’t think there would have been any other way to consume it. If you’ve ever mixed warm water and salt to gargle for a sore throat, it was kind of like that. But instead of spitting it out, we were supposed to drink it down.
I think I drank down one cup total during the whole tour, each time thinking that I would get used to the taste (I didn’t). It’s not for everyone, I guess!
(*To be clear, I don’t subscribe to any detox-related products or procedures because I think that it causes people to have an unhealthy mindset towards their own bodies and leads them to think that they need to be cleansed or fixed in some way. But part of the tour was to drink the “magic” water. When in Carlsbad, right?)
Reportedly, people have been flocking to the spas in Carlsbard since before the 1800s and have reaped some health benefits of drinking this mineral-heavy hot springs water. They even mentioned some celebrities that had visited and had been healed from drinking the water and relaxing at the spas.
Aside from the tour of the city, Karlovy Vary also has a lot of nature walks and hiking trails. There are a variety of well-marked paths, for example, just behind the famous Hotel Pupp. I went to get some fresh air after the first day and it was very satisfying to view the city from above away from the touristy bits.
Boho Travels | Traveling x Wellness
After the tour, we went back to our hotel and were given a presentation on the mission of Boho Travels. Jitka provided an overview of the types of tours that were led and the types of packages that could be purchased/organized. For example, they offer an Anti-Aging Package, a Wellness Spa Package, and a Medical Spa Package. Each one is slightly different and can be tailored to your personal needs and time constraints.
As part of the trip, we were offered two treatments each—one was a mud wrap, and one was an hour of oxygen therapy. I think it was just to give us a teaser of the types of treatments we could have received on a full-blown package, but other than these two things, most of the trip was just about relaxing and exploring the city during our free time.
That said, I was happy to get out of Berlin for a few days and meet some new friends. In that regard, it was exactly what I got. The idea of integrating wellness and travel together is a unique approach to tourism, and I think this is a trend that will continue to grow in the industry within the next few years.
Final Take on Karlovy Vary / Carlsbad
Karlovy Vary is a great place to visit if want to branch out and experience another city in Czech Republic other than Prague. If you go as a tourist and have no interest in going to one of the spas, I would recommend staying only for a day or going as short a weekend trip. But if you want to stay and relax for a week or so, then get in touch with Jitka of Boho Travels. She’d be able to help tailor a spa package for you!
Thanks for reading and thank you again to Boho Travels and Jitka for organizing this trip!
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