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Introducing Karlovy Vary

If you’ve been hiding a designer dog or an ostentatious pair of sunglasses in your luggage, then Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad in German) is your chance to give them both an airing. This fashionable town is the closest the Czech Republic has to a glam resort, but Karlovy Vary is still glam with a small ‘g’. Well-heeled hypochondriacs from Germany, Austria, Russia and, increasingly, Arab nations make the pilgrimage to try to enjoy courses of ‘lymphatic drainage’ and ‘hydrocolonotherapy’ – all activities that should be outlawed under several international agreements.

If you’re really keen to discover the dubious pleasures of a steam inhalation session or a sulphur bath, you’ll need to make a prior appointment. If not, there’s good hiking in the surrounding hills, and a busy arts and entertainment programme. Sample the tepid mineral-rich water on offer, or just have a drink at the riverside cafés. In our opinion, a beer or a coffee is a better option than the sulphurous gunk everyone else is sipping on.