The ultimate girls’ getaway that won’t break the bank

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

How much fun is it taking a trip with your best girlfriends? Literally, the greatest! Leisurely strolls through amazing towns, all the coffee and sweets stops, plus some serious spa time. Need I say more? When living in Europe, the proximity of so many amazing countries makes it increasingly difficult to choose where to spend your precious time together. While the city of Prague is often thought of as a travel destination in the Czech Republic, when was the last time you looked into any other locations besides the capital city? Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad in German, has been a popular spa resort town since the 19th century. The general inexpensiveness of the Czech Republic makes this town an incredible place to go for a luxury spa vacation with your best gal pals without breaking the bank.

Pro tip: leave behind the girl who’s obsessed with her new boyfriend. She’ll just bring the energy level down!

Karlovy Vary is located in western Bohemia about 81 miles west of Prague on the Teplá River. It was founded in the late 1300s and has the highest concentration of natural springs in the world, making it an ideal destination for a spa vacation. The healing waters here are full of minerals and hot spring locations are ideal for taking your relaxation to the next level. This elegant town is full of colonnades, beautiful buildings, rushing rivers and people trying to live their best life.


Karlovy Vary city center

When you wander around the town, you’ll immediately notice the impressive colonnades. The Mill Colonnade was built in 1881 and has a whopping 124 Corinthian columns. Underneath it holds five hot springs and several sculptures. The Hot Spring Colonnade was built in the 1960s and houses a geyser that sprays mineral water into the air. Take an underground tour to learn more about how this force of nature is harnessed! Other beautiful colonnades include Market and Castle. The healing powers of these springs are not to be missed and the opportunity for the perfect Instagram pic is just waiting for you to find the perfect column to post up against! Don’t forget to buy a porcelain cup to keep as a souvenir and use to drink the mineral water.

Of course you can’t skip going into the local churches for a look around. The Church of St. Mary Magdalene is a Baroque structure that was built in 1737. It is in the heart of the city and boasts two rounded spires. Here you’ll find religious artifacts, paintings of biblical scenes and a crypt. The Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul shines with golden domes and a rich blue roof. It is modeled after a Byzantine church in Moscow.

For a view of the whole town on a nice day, make the 30-minute trek from the town center to the Diana Lookout Tower. It was built in 1914 and is 115 feet tall with 150 steps to the top. Become one with nature while walking in the thick forests that surround the town. Once you’re done spending time outside and exploring, get ready to spend some serious time at your hotel.


Czech goulash

 

Hotel Imperial Spa & Health Club is a fantastic place to spend your down time. It was built in 1912 with a focus on artistic details and complete comfort for guests. Getting back and forth from the town to the hotel is easy, as the Imperial funicular (the oldest in Europe) is just down the street from the hotel to take you to the center of town. The hotel boasts some high profile international clientele in the past, including world-famous piano maker William Steinway, singer Seal, and Grand Vezir Hussein Hilmi Pasha. It’s no surprise that this five-star establishment goes above and beyond to satisfy its guests. Recently renovated, it’s a great place to indulge in multiple spa experiences. From aromatherapy massages to herbal baths, enjoy all the services. Think lounging around in fluffy white robes while cucumbers rest over your eyes and a facemask makes you look 5 years younger!

After you’ve cleared your mind at the spa, don’t even worry about leaving for dinner. The hotel has two restaurants, Restaurant Prague and Paris, plus a coffee and pastry shop called Cafe Vienna. Finish your evening with a drink at Club Imperial where you can enjoy live music and a dance floor. Honestly, don’t worry about leaving the hotel at all if you don’t want to! There’s a pool, sauna, spa, fitness room and tennis courts on site.

If you aren’t convinced by this point to grab your girlfriends and head towards the Czech Republic, I don’t even know what else to say. Beautiful nature, fantastic food, gorgeous colonnades, magical mineral waters and a spa that will knock your socks off are surely good enough reasons to visit Karlovy Vary as quickly as possible. Bring a bottle of wine (or five) and have the girls’ trip of your dreams!

 

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