Western Bohemian Spas
A region that will do your body good – that’s the calling card of the so-called “West Bohemia Spa Triangle”. Long-subsided volcanic activity on the periphery of the Slavkov Forest was accompanied by the genesis of the mineral springs that have made the region of West Bohemia famous around the world. While Carlsbad Springs (Karlovy Vary) , which was founded by the celebrated Czech ruler Charles IV, is the most prominent, there are several other, no less outstanding spa towns in the region that are extremely popular with both patients and tourists. It is possible to diversify a stay in the area with trips to many unique natural and manmade marvels that can be found within this “magic” triangle.
The protected landscape area of the Slavkov Forest has the character of a highland plateau, gently sloping down to the north. You can find spas and spa towns throughout practically the entire district. The largest and most significant centre of the region is the town of Carlsbad Springs (Karlovy Vary), which Charles IV founded in the second half of the 14th century. Although the beneficial effects of the local springs had supposedly become known in as early as the 10th century, spas did not actually blossom until much later, in the 19th century. At the same time, Františkovy lázně was founded at the very end of the 18th century, followed a couple of decades later by the establishment of Mariánské lázně, thus completing the Spa Triangle.
The westernmost tourist region is adjacent with neighbouring Germany. This bore certain particularities, including the bilingual names of landmarks and streets. The westernmost towns of the Czech Republic are Aš and Hranice, which, similar to the outskirt town of Cheb, are both lively border towns.
The Slavkov Forest has innumerable well-marked hiking trails. The 1.5 km long nature trail that runs from the nature reserve of the Kladská Peat Bogs (rašeliny) to Prameny is especially attractive. Goethe’s Rock, above the highway that runs from Hazlov to Aš, is another popular destination. The bizarre quartzitic rocks were named after the famous German poet, who visited this site quite often. Chamber Hill (Komorní hůrka) is the name of Central Europe’s youngest volcano. It is situated in close proximity of Cheb, and can be reached by means of a hiking trail. Because of the high quantity of interesting sights and hiking trails throughout the region, it is a good idea to get a well-detailed map, which can be purchased in all of the region’s larger towns.
The region of West Bohemia is full of well-marked bike paths, especially in the areas surrounding Mariánské lázně, Kladská, Prameny and Lázně Kynžvart. For instance, one of them will take you from Františkovy lázně to the SOOS nature reserve, another runs from the town of Hranice to Skalka u Chebu. Most bike paths are intended for cyclists who are somewhat fitter than average as it is often necessary to ascend demanding inclines.
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Districts connected to the region
- Plzeň (Pilsen) (Jewish community sphere)
- Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) (Jewish community sphere)