We Are in Mariánské Lázně! — Uh, Where Are You?

Digital Red Crabs 🦀
6 min readAug 3, 2022

That’s the classic response from our friends and family when asked where we are these days. Just a stone’s throw away from the German border, you will find the beautiful Czech town of Mariánské Lázně. Join us on our journey and let yourself be enchanted by its relaxing vibe.

The Maxim Gorki

A Journey into the 19th Century

Turquoise and yellow. Yellow in all variations, occasional red dots. Charmingly, the buildings’ pastel colours lure the visitor back in time. Mariánské Lázně is really pretty. Pretty might be the wrong word. Beautiful, glamorous. Money keeps pouring in, just as spring water keeps pouring out (of the many springs of Mariánské Lázně). The late baroque and classicist façades have been meticulously restored, so that visitors immediately feel transported back to the 19th century. The clatter of hooves reaches us. Suddenly, classical music starts. What is it this time? Bocelli, Beethoven or film music? We can see the water moving up and down to the beat of the music. Every odd hour, a crowd of people gathers around the singing fountain to watch the spectacle. The only thing missing is the long dress with puffy sleeves and the bowler hat. But even that we have spotted. On Sundays, locals and tourists get dolled up. Here, you can finally wear out your finest dress and -to top it all- be chauffeured around town by one of the horse-drawn carriages.

One of the Most Famous Spa Towns in Europe

Although Mariánské Lázně is not big, we have been staying here for a fortnight. Our rented flat is right in the centre and is located in one of the beautiful ornate houses that you just can’t take your eyes off. The apartment is huge, and rents are still affordable in Czechia.

Everything in this town is aimed at your relaxation. In the centre of Mariánské Lázně a park with water courses and fountains stretches out, and within three minutes you can go for walks and hikes in the surrounding forests. Hardly ever does a car drive through the historic centre. Everything here is within walking distance. Only the big supermarket chains like Lidl, Tesco, Kaufland or DM are on the outskirts.

The Forest Spring

The centre is intended for taking strolls, contemplation, and your well-being. Thus, Mariánské Lázně proudly joins the list of the most famous European spa towns, ranking amongst the Unesco World Heritage sites since 2021. Even Goethe and Mark Twain knew about the healing power of the place. In its heyday, at the beginning of the 20th century, the healing springs were popular with the British King Edward VII and the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, who deemed this place worthy enough for a chinwag.

That’s why our daily morning battle cry is: Did you bring the cup along?

Don’t Forget your Cup

The fact is that when you first walk through the centre, you immediately notice the many people who, armed with a cup, purposefully make their way to one of the many medical springs. In Mariánské Lázně you are spoilt for choice: should you taste the Rudolf Spring, the Karolina Spring or the Mary Spring? Sometimes one sip is enough to know that more harm than good could be done here and it is just not your cup of water, so to speak. But we have tasted our way through the pungent minerals and sulphurs and today each of us has their favourite spring (Ambrose Springs and the Cross Spring). For newcomers, we recommend making the pilgrimage to the main colonnade, the Maxim Gorki, for here, several springs bubble up at once on both sides of the beautiful pump room. Large signs explain which water is most suitable for which ailments. Does it really help? We can only say this much: so far, we definitely have not had any digestive issues during our stay.

If you actually want to swim in one of the springs, it is best to check out the Nové Lázně Hotel. This hotel has the most beautiful and well-known thermal springs. But you can also book specific treatments in all the other hotels.

The Kolonáda

Since we are here in midsummer, we prefer the nearby swimming lake. With or without swimwear, just 3 kilometres south of Mariánské Lázně you can find the open-air swimming pool — the Lido. The Lido is a lake in the middle of a forest, including a campsite. For a small fee, you can spend a summer’s day here.

But Isn’t a Spa-Town Like This Only for Elderly People?

Admittedly, you see many older people, but also many families.

If you love architecture or just want to get away from it all, this is the place for you. Most tourists will probably stay only for a short time in one of the many luxurious hotels.

There are also some activities for children, such as the “Bohemian Park”, a miniature park featuring the Czech Republic’s most famous buildings alongside goats and Shetland ponies. Right next to it is a large enclosure where you can watch deer. If you want to take a short walk through the forest, you can continue to the Hamelika Tower and be rewarded with a great view over Mariánské Lázně.

The Hamelika tower

The main street cafés open their doors to everybody for ice cream, coffee, and all kinds of cakes, as well as Czech specialities. We tried delicious, hearty Czech cuisine at Česká Hospůdka.

If you want to save money, go to the countryside. Here you can get generous portions for a small budget.

Sights in the Vicinity of Mariánské Lázně

At the weekends, we are drawn to the surrounding countryside. We want to see something of the Czech Republic — and end up in the next spa town: Františkovy Lázně. Well, we are in the West Bohemian spa triangle. Františkovy Lázně is smaller than Mariánské Lázně but almost prettier. Somehow cuter. It’s definitely worth a day trip.

Františkovy Lázně

Next to Františkovy Lázně lies the small town of Cheb. There is a beautiful market square here; behind it the Church of St. Michael invites you to climb the tower. Also, you should not miss a snapshot of the black tower of Cheb’s castle.

The historical market square of Cheb

Cheb and Františkovy Lázně are in the Czech Lake District. Especially in summer, a trip to America (no joke!) or to Lake Jesenice is worthwhile.

We also went hiking in the taiga and visited Metternich’s chateau.

The Kynžvart state chateau (Metternich’s manor house)

Fun Fact

In Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně (and other Czech towns) there are also beer spas. Here, all treatments are applied using beer. While you sit in the beer tub, you can sweat out the litre you just got for drinking. For one of us, this somehow sounded like too much beer, so we gave it a miss. But beer fans will definitely get their money’s worth here.

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Digital Red Crabs 🦀

Digital nomadic couple 🗺, minimalists 🍃 | Sharing meaningful experiences from our travels | Support our writing: https://redcrabsdigital.medium.com/membership