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’.
After the quaintly contrived elegance of the West Bohemian spa towns, the rugged blue-collar energy of Plzeň comes as a welcome relief. The capital of West Bohemia has authentic industrial credibility as the home of the Skoda Engineering Works and as the original source of Pilsner beer. Workers the world over are especially pleased with that last fact.
As the birthplace of one of Europe’s finest brews, in České Budějovice they take their beer very, very seriously. The town’s original brewery supplied the Holy Roman Emperor back in the 13th century, and now the town’s namesake Budvar lager (the original and authentic Budweiser) goes head to frothy head with Pilsner Urquell, from Plzeň to the west.