At all costs, avoid the train from Prague, which takes more than 4 hours on a circuitous route. If you're arriving from another direction, Karlovy Vary's main train station is connected to the town center by bus no. 12 or 13.
Taking a bus to Karlovy Vary is much more convenient. Frequent express buses travel from Prague's Florenc bus station in 2 1/4 hours at a cost of about 140Kc. One of the best bus lines offering the trip is Student Agency (tel. 800-100-300; www.studentagency.cz), which runs hourly buses to Karlovy Vary from Florenc bus station, and even shows a film during the trip. For information on train and bus timetables, go to www.jizdnirady.cz.
From Karlovy Vary's Dolní nádrazí (bus station) take a 10-minute walk or the local bus no. 4 into Karlovy Vary's spa center. Note that you must have a ticket to board local transport. You can buy tickets for 16Kc at the bus station stop, or from the bus driver, which will then cost you 20Kc.
The nearly 2-hour drive from Prague to Karlovy Vary can be very busy and dangerous due to undisciplined Czech drivers. If you're going by car, take Hwy. E48 from the western end of Prague and follow it straight through to Karlovy Vary. This two-lane highway widens in a few spots to let cars pass slow-moving vehicles on hills. The spa area is closed to private vehicles, so you'll have to leave the car in one of several parking lots surrounding the area and walk from there.
Infocentrum mesta Karlovy Vary is located near the main Mlýnská Kolonáda, at Mlýnské nabrezí 5 (tel. 355-321-176). It's open Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. It has a window at the terminal of the Dolní (lower) nádrazí bus and train station, Západní ulice (tel. 353-232-838). These are the official town's information centers, which will answer your questions and help you with accommodations, getting tickets for entertainment in the city, and so on. Be sure to pick up Promenáda magazine, a comprehensive collection of events with a small map of the town center. Alternatively, you'll find information on www.karlovyvary.cz.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the place to see and be seen. Each summer (in early July), the country's film stars, celebrities, and wealthy folks, supported by a cast of international stars like Sharon Stone, Robert Redford, and Morgan Freeman, can be spotted taking part in one of Europe's biggest film festivals. Nine venues screen more than 300 films during the 10-day festival. If you think you might want to attend, book accommodations well in advance, and note that the prices for rooms and meals are correspondingly higher during the festival. Go to www.iffkv.cz for more information.
Karlovy Vary plays host to several other events, including a jazz festival and beer Olympiad in May, a Dvorák singing contest in June, a Summer Music Festival in August, and a Dvorák Autumn Music Festival in September and October.
For details on the festivals, contact the information center listed above.
Karlovy Vary is shaped like a T, with the Teplá River running along the stem of the resort and the Ohre River at the top of the T. Most of the major streets are pedestrian promenades lining both sides of the Teplá.
A Driving Warning -- Be warned that drivers on Hwy. E48 between Prague and Karlovy Vary are often reckless. Please take extra care when driving.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.