Top spas in the Czech Republic

Around 700,000 people from all over the world visited spas in the country in 2011

The Czech Republic has seen an increase in health tourism over the past few years, which can partly be attributed to the number of spa towns it has. Around 700,000 people from all over the world visited spas in the country in 2011, with cheap and easily available flights to the Czech Republic making them more accessible than ever. Outside of the major cities many beautiful places can be found with a rich history of springs and spas, with Karlovy Vary and Bohemia being the most popular destinations. All across the country there are plenty of spas though, that are perfect for both summer and winter visitors, and often have transport links to the big towns and cities.

Winner of the Czech Republic’s Leading Spa Resort at the World Travel Awards for three years in a row, Spa Resort Sanssouci in Karlovy Vary is one of the top spas in the country. It only opened as the huge complex it now is in 2009, after combining two hotels and the Villa Mercedes behind it. Its history goes back further however, starting as just a house in the 19th century before being used as a military hospital during World War Two. Now it offers outstanding accommodation, sporting activities (including a bouldering wall), spa treatments and wellness programs, beauty services and the Karlovy Vary thermal springs, among a range of other services in the picturesque location.

Reclaiming the crown for the Czech Republic’s Leading Spa Resort from Sanssouci this year was Hotel Imperial, also in Karlovy Vary. It’s no surprise that it won the award four times previously and has been nominated for the European version too, as the modern facilities offer everything anyone seeking relaxation and a healthy atmosphere could desire. The place features tennis and ricochet (like squash) courts, various wellness programs that take at least one week (including nine different treatments) the grand spa and much more. The gigantic building sits in front of green and hilly terrain, adding to the overall sense of vitality.

Situated just inside the Czech Republic in Western Bohemia, Hotel Grand Spa Marienbad is clearly popularr with German tourists as their website automatically appears in German. In an art nouveau style the hotel is special as it features its very own Alexandra spring, used for digestive system disorders, anaemia and other spa treatments with a relaxing muscle effect. As well as the medical side of things sporting activities are available, with six golf courses nearby, great quality food on offer and plenty of sightseeing opportunities in the tranquil town of Mariánské Lázně.

Another spa in Mariánské Lázně is the magnificent Hotel Esplande Spa & Golf Resort, located in a calm forest park with a fantastic view of the town. Its luxurious accommodation means it’s not really for those on a budget but for anyone wanting that added comfort and quality who is happy to splash out it’s ideal. All the desired spa and wellness treatments are available, including native Thai therapists performing Thai massages. For those uninterested in the spa side of things there is a golf course and wedding services are available too, with the gorgeous setting making it perfect.

Just outside of Prague in Lázně Toušeň is the alternative Toušeň Spa, whose main attraction is the mud bathing people take part in. For over a hundred years people have been visiting to bathe in sulphur-ferrous peat from the spa’s own deposits at Labiště. The place specialises in treating illnesses of the spine, joints and soft parts of the motor apparatus with other methods like massages, electrotherapy and gas injections available. It is easily accessible by train or bus from Prague and the flat landscape means it’s good for those less active.

North-East of the capital is Chateau Mcely, the country’s only eco-chic five-star chateau hotel that holds the highest European Union certificate for green hotels. The spa has private therapeutic suites that can be adapted for couples and the English Park features an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna building and natural swimming lake. This may not be as appealing in the winter but there are massages, original rituals such as strengthening Yarrow therapy and therapeutic suites that all take place inside. One day and multi-day packages are available.

For anyone visiting Prague on a short break or with little time to travel outside the city, there is Mandarin Oriental, overlooked by the castle in Malá Strana, Prague 1. The hotel, built on the old site of a 14th century monastery, has a luxury spa, the only one in the world found in a former chapel. The glass floor of the lobby and modern design coupled with elements of the old church, adds to the soothing effect. Various treatments, programs that can be tapered to your needs and fitness suites should all increase rejuvenation at the end.

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