People rarely think of the Czech Republic as a luxurious, relaxation-oriented destination. This is a mistake.
The entire country is full of places to revive and rejuvenate. From small saunas in the middle of the woods to cities brimming with natural mineral water where every other hotel doubles as a wellness retreat.
Read everything you need to know about spa culture in the Czech Republic below:
Firstly, the word “spa” isn’t popular in the Czech Republic. Locals use the term “wellness,” which means anything from cosmetic medical procedures to sitting by a pool with a glass of Prosecco. While some places do serve alcohol, it’s as wonderful as is sounds.
Pro tip: Include the word “wellness” in your Google searches—it may reveal more destinations than the word “spa.”
Make sure the facility has what you’re looking for, too. All wellness centres are not equal!
Usually what’s meant by “wellness” is the sauna — and the Czechs love it.
This is understandable since the winters in the country are cold and dark. Many hotels include wellness centers and it’s very common to spend a Saturday afternoon swimming and sweating with friends.
You don’t have to travel far to find one, either. Sometimes, it means walking to a hotel down the street.
Most hotels offer three-hour tickets to their wellness facilities for $10-15, which includes a towel and sheet for a small deposit. You will also find affordable saunas in many gyms and fitness centers, and don’t have to be a member to enjoy them.
The best part about hotel saunas? The relaxation room. Between sauna sessions and dunking yourself into a pool of freezing water, let your body get back to a normal temperature.
You can do this by sitting in one of many reclining chairs with a cocktail or lemonade from a small cafe window. Wrap up in your towel and read a book — it’s absolutely decadent.
A local favorite is Hotel Olsanska in Prague. Recent renovations include updates to five saunas, a gym, a lap pool, an outdoor jacuzzi, a bar, and massage rooms. For $15, what can be better?
Pro tip: Many wellness centers reduce prices after 6pm, so if you’re on a budget, check if evening deals are offered.
3. Spa Towns
If you’re a wellness junkie, don’t pass up Karlovy Vary and Mariankse Lazne. These two gorgeous towns are right on top of a natural spring that provides health and healing — and has for hundreds of years.
Famous for its annual international film festival, it’s a small city which sets in a valley between rolling hills. It is a favorite for Germans, since it’s close to the border, and for the Russians, due to Tsar Petr’s visits in the eighteenth century.
Aerial view of Karlovy Vary city, Czech Republic
Almost every hotel hosts a wellness center. Although, many are no longer operating since Covid, so it’s advisable to make your spa bookings prior to arriving.
However, relaxation isn’t the only reason to visit Karlovy Vary. The city is beautiful, restaurants are great, and you can even get some free wellness in the city streets.
Small springs are embedded throughout the architecture by the river. Pick up a small porcelain mug from any souvenir stand, and take small sips of the hot spring water throughout the day. It may not taste wonderful, but there are many health benefits to drinking this mineral-rich water.
Marianske Lazne is about an hour away from the Karlovy Vary central station by car. It’s a lesser-known and local-preferred version of the international spa city. For those looking to avoid the larger crowds and tourist prices, this may be the best bet.
The town boasts 40 different natural springs — many of which are cold — and are surrounded by grand colonnades that make you feel like royalty. Some of them can even be found deep in the woods, patiently waiting for you and your adventurous spirit to discover them.
Main Spa Colonnade in Marianske Lazne, Czech republic. Neo-Baroque colonnade was built between 1888 and 1889.
Accommodation isn’t lacking either. The Esplanade Spa and Golf Resort is perhaps the region’s most famous hotel. One night in this 5-star resort will only set you back about $200! If that’s still a bit pricy, you can find apartments, pensions, hostels, and even camps for as low as $40 a night.
Pro tip: Don’t overdo the spring water! Take about 100ml at a time, and no more than 500ml per day. You could make yourself sick if you drink too much.
4. Outdoor Wellness
If there’s anything Czechs love more than feeling good, it’s being in nature.
So naturally, locals combine the two into one ultimate experience. “Glamping” is already a part of the Czech dictionary, and there are literally dozens of places to book all over the countryside for a weekend away from the city air to stretch your lungs and melt your muscles.
Sites are very often decked out with their own private sauna and hot tub. Surrounded by the lush Czech forests, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in the middle of a fairy tale. (Or maybe at the end of it, after you’ve slain the dragon, etc.)
You will pay for it though, as sites like these run roughly $200 per night. Massages and other services cost extra.
Pro tip: These places book up fast, so make a reservation very, very well in advance. You might even find good deals on Slevomat, which is basically Czech Groupon. Go crazy!
5. Beer Spas
Yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You in your birthday suit sitting in a barrel of beer. Why? Because why not.
Actually, people continue to carry on the centuries old tradition for various health benefits. Hops are thought to open pores, while yeast and vitamin B make skin and hair smooth. The inevitable giggles you’ll share with your friends are sure to sooth your spirit as well.
The city of Prague hosts at least 15 different beer spas in both hotels and private facilities. These may not exist in the smaller towns and villages since it’s more of a tourist activity, but other popular destinations are sure to have them.
Original Beer Spa in Prague offers some gorgeous rooms with fireplaces, beer bread, and even straw beds for you to relax on while your skin absorbs all the yeasty goodness. Prices are quite high, so expect to pay between $100-$150 for two people for a basic one-hour session with other services costing extra.
Pro tip: A lot of beer spas allow you to drink unlimited beer during your stay, so look for those!
Whatever your wellness needs are, there is sure to be a great Czech spa that has you covered. Go forth and relax!
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