Karlovy Vary is one of the most famous spa towns in Europe. Its healing springs and drinking cures have been attracting people from all over the world for centuries.
The effect of the Karlovy Vary thermal springs was already known in the 14th century. In the small town of Vary (Warmbad) people used them for bathing. In 1370, the Bohemian king and Roman-German emperor Karl IV elevated the place to the status of a royal town. With the addition of his name, the place was now called Karlovy Vary / Karlsbad.
The thermal springs in Karlovy Vary rise at a depth of about 2000 meters. The water has a high mineral content (about 6g of dissolved salt per 1 liter of water). At first, the water was used only for bathing, but from the 16th century it began to be used in the Karlovy Vary drinking cures. There are 12 springs in Karlovy Vary, which are available to the public. Each of the springs is unique due to its mineral composition, carbon dioxide content and temperature. And so each spring has a different effect.
Drinking the mineral spring is almost celebrated in Karlsberg. If you stroll through the pedestrian zone before the typical meal times, you will meet spa guests everywhere with their porcelain sippy cups. We also bought a cup (a very small cup) to sip some water. I would like to point out that we only tested the water and drank very little from the springs over the 7 days. Since we did not know which spring would have which effect on the body, we were very careful. For a proper Karlovy Vary drinking cure, cooperation with a doctor is absolutely necessary.
What is a Karlovy Vary drinking cure?
Those who come to Karlovy Vary for a cure will certainly find a drinking cure in their treatment plan. A doctor determines from which source to drink and at what time. Normally, the water is drunk before meals. The water should be drunk from a 200 gram Karlovy Vary drinking cup within 3-10 minutes if possible. If the physician has determined different sources, one should make a break of 5-10 minutes between the individual sources.
10 commandments of a Karlovy Vary drinking cure
- The water should be consumed only in consultation with a knowledgeable spa doctor.
- The water should be drunk as close as possible to the place of discharge so that the healing effect can develop fully.
- It is recommended to use only the Karlovy Vary porcelain sippy cups for drinking.
- Alcohol and tobacco should not be combined with the water.
- The Karlovy Vary drinking cure should be combined with exercise. Therefore, drink in small sips and walk while doing so!
- Any drinking cure works only if you have a positive mental attitude. Drinking in a calm and relaxed atmosphere promotes good health!
- The drinking cure is especially effective if it is repeated at certain intervals with a doctor’s agreement.
- Please do not disturb other spa guests while drinking.
- It is forbidden to water the plants with the spring water. It is also forbidden to pour the water on the ground.
- For hygienic reasons, please do not touch the spring outlets.
Healing effects of the springs
The water of the springs in Karlovy Vary is said to cure the following diseases:
- Liver diseases
- Gall bladder diseases
- Stomach diseases
- Pancreatic diseases
- stomach and duodenal ulcers
- Intestinal blockage
- Inflammation of the colon
- urethral diseases
- diseases of the locomotive and supporting apparatus, such as degenerative disorders of the spine and joints
- gum diseases
- various allergies
Drinking cure springs
In the Karlovy Vary Colonnades all the fountains are fed with spring water from the thermal springs. We had a little look around.
Snake spring in the garden or park colonnade
One of the most beautiful colonnades is located in Antonin Dvorák Park. Built in 1881 by two Viennese architects, the cast-iron colonnade stands directly on a pedestrian zone. The so-called Snake Spring, one of the youngest Karlovy Vary springs, has been located here since 2001. The Snake Spring or Pramen Hadí was unfortunately shut off during our visit due to construction work. It contains less minerals than the other springs, but the carbon dioxide content is greater.
Park spring (Pramen Sadový) was discovered in the middle of the 19th century, when the foundation for the military spa was built. Today it is located in the courtyard of the spa house and you can get the water for drinking cure here daily from 6-18.30.
In the pedestrian zone there is a beautiful wooden pavilion. Here, the Freedom Spring (Pramen Svoboda) has been gushing into a small fountain since 1865. The benches in the pavilion are always well occupied and the guests of the city drink here the 60 degrees warm water from the typical beak drinking cups. I also filled up some water here and sipped it carefully from our cup. It tastes really healthy.
Mill fountain colonnade
The largest of the Karlovy Vary colonnades is over 130 meters long and 13 meters wide. The building in neo-Renaissance style was built from 1871-1881. When we were in Karlovy Vary, renovation works on the ceiling and 124 columns were taking place. So, unfortunately, it was not possible to walk through the colonnades. The 5 thermal springs that bubble there were nevertheless accessible.
Rock spring (Pramen Skalní)
In 1845 this spring was caught artificially for the first time. Before that, the 45 degree warm water gushed directly into the Teplá River. At the end of the 19th century, the fountain was placed in the Mill Fountain Colonnade.
Libussa Spring (Pramen Libušin)
Four smaller springs flow together to form the Libussa Spring. The water has been collected only since the end of the 19th century when the colonnades were built. The carbon dioxide content of the 60 degree warm water is very low.
Prince Wenceslas Springs (Pramen Kníže Václav I and II)
This spring was discovered under a rock in 1784. Today it is diverted into two fountains. One of them is located in the Mill Fountain Colonnades, the second one is in front of the colonnades. The water from this spring is used not only for drinking cures in Karlovy Vary, but also for the production of Karlovy Vary healing salt.
Rusalka Spring (Pramen Rusalka)
Until 1945 the spring was called Novy Pramen (New Spring), although it has been gushing since the 16th century. For a long time you could get the water in the New Well Colonnade, which no longer exists.
The mill well (Pramen Mlýnský) has been known since the 16th century and was used for spa baths. In the past, the water from this well was even available in pharmacies in the Czech Republic.
Above the market colonnade is the castle colonnade. It was built in 1911-1913. Only a part of the water from a spring arrives here, the second part is diverted to the Market Colonnade. The water that arrives in the Castle Colonnade is intended exclusively for the spa guests of the Castle Bath.
Very impressive I find the beautiful building of the market colonnades. The white wooden building was built in 1883 and houses 3 spring pools. Here I just had to try all 3 springs, hoping to discover differences in taste.
Market Spring (Pramen Tržní)
This spring was discovered in 1838. A few times it suddenly disappeared, reappeared and today it bubbles continuously thanks to a borehole. The water is about 62 degrees when it flows from the pipe into the basin.
Spring of Karl IV. (Pramen Karla IV.)
It is said that it was this very spring that made Karl IV give his name to the spa. The water is 64 degrees warm and is said to have helped cure his aching limbs.
Lower castle spring
The lower castle spring is fed by a part of the water from the castle spring.
After I had drunk the, in my opinion, very metallic and slightly musty tasting water of the three springs, I must state – it does not taste good to me. I also did not taste any difference out. What was very noticeable, however, was that I very quickly had a completely slimy throat and felt the need to constantly clear my throat. I will not be a fan of the Karlovy Vary drinking cure, but who knows, in the right combination it will certainly help.
The concrete building of the fontain colonnades has not only the fontain (Sprudel), one of the main attractions of the city in front of the door, in the building there are also drinking fountains. Here the water of the fontain is offered in 3 different temperature levels.
We not only tasted the water here, but also took part in a very interesting guided tour.
The water of the fontain is also used for various spas in the city.