dog-friendly karlovy vary

Traveling to Karlovy Vary with a dog

Karlovy Vary is one of the Czech Republic’s most renowned spa towns. Known for its thermal springs and hosting the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, it’s an excellent place to visit to decompress for a couple of days whether you happen to be in Prague or across the border in Germany. And what better way to decompress than to spend some time in nature with your dog? If you’re traveling to Karlovy Vary with a dog, you’ll have no trouble enjoying most of what the city has to offer. But here is a rundown of the things you can and can’t do with a dog in Karlovy Vary.

Is Karlovy Vary dog-friendly?

karlovy vary with a dog

In a word, yes. Karlovy Vary’s main attractions are outdoors, so you and your dog can enjoy leisurely strolls down the riverside colonnades or take an invigorating hike in the nearby hills. In addition, most restaurants in town are happy to welcome you and your pooch without any trouble, particularly since you’ll find many of them offer ample terraced seating so you can enjoy the sun and fresh air. As a result, you’ll see many dogs around town, local and visiting.

On the other hand, you’re probably also visiting Karlovy Vary for its famed spas and treatments, which are obviously not dog-friendly. Dogs are not even allowed to enter any of the open-air hot spring colonnades, even though people are just filling up containers of hot mineral water. Nonetheless, there are ways to manage, and knowing what you can and can’t do with your dog in Karlovy Vary can help you plan your visit.

What to do with your dog in Karlovy Vary

One of the nicest things about Karlovy Vary is how close to nature it is. The city is nestled on the outskirts of Slavkov Forest along the Tepla River, so it’s surrounded by forested hills, which provide seemingly endless hiking trails for every fitness level.

dog-friendly karlovy vary

One of the city’s most popular viewpoints is Diana Tower, which is accessible by funicular or on foot. There are several hiking routes that lead to the tower, most of which pass other viewpoints and lookouts over the trees. The funicular to the tower is dog friendly, but they’ll need to pay for a ticket. Since there may be long lines to get on and it will be crowded, you and your dog may prefer to just do the forest hike, which takes about 45 minutes from the funicular station at the bottom.

dog-friendly karlovy vary
Along the way, you’ll enjoy many nice views.

Diana Tower is free to enter, and you can reach the top by climbing 150 stairs or by taking the elevator. In the surrounding area, along with the tower, you’ll find a dog-friendly restaurant, further hiking trails, and even a mini zoo.  Dogs can even enter the Butterfly House, but only if they’re enclosed in a bag or being held by their owners.

On the east side of the Tepla River, you can also enjoy some stunning views of Karlovy Vary from the Camera Obscura lookout, Three Crosses Lookout, and Otto’s Viewpoint. If you’re looking for longer hike or you have a bigger dog that needs more exercise, you can take the trail up to Goethe’s Lookout Tower, which tends to be less crowded. The path is also family-friendly and has 20 wooden cartoon ghosts for kids to see and learn about along the way.

karlovy vary with a dog

The Colonnades with a dog

One of the top reasons to visit Karlovy Vary is to be able to enjoy the health benefits of the natural spring waters that spout out of several beautiful colonnades along the river. You can buy a souvenir ceramic jug for the task, but many people full up bottles of water to carry with them. Many of these springs are out in the open and accessible all day long. The one exception is the Hot Spring Colonnade, which is enclosed in a concrete and glass pavilion and houses the Vřídlo geyser, gushing up to 12 meters. The good thing is that your dog can see the geyser through the glass even if they can’t enter. The bad thing is that you’ll have to leave your dog outside if you want to go in and drink water, buy souvenirs, and see the geyser up close. But this is something that can take as little as 3 minutes.

karlovy vary with a dog

The other spring colonnades in Karlovy Vary like the Market Colonnade and the Mill Colonnade, are out in the open and they’re beautiful to see, although dogs are not allowed to enter under the covered walkways. Again, this is hardly an impediment as you’ll be just a few feet away for a couple of minutes at most.

Staying and traveling with your dog in Karlovy Vary

Though Karlovy Vary is small enough to get around on foot, you may be wondering if you can travel with your pet on public transport. Local buses do allow dogs, either enclosed in a carrier or on a leash, provided they are not a nuisance to other passengers. So for instance, if you wanted to shorten the walk from the train station to your accommodation with your dog, you can hop on a bus with them.

dog-friendly karlovy vary

As for where you can stay with a dog, you’ll be happy to know that up to 75% of hotels and accommodations in Karlovy Vary accept dogs, usually for a fee. Even high-end stays like the Grandhotel Pupp are welcoming and even accommodating of pets. Our pup was even allowed in Becher’s Bar, despite the hotel website saying that dogs were explicitly forbidden, and I don’t suspect it was an exception because they had dog bowls.

karlovy vary with a dog

Where to eat with your dog in Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary is undoubtedly a tourist town. Almost all the restaurants, especially along the spring colonnades, have the kinds of menus with pictures of the food, translated into 5 different languages. So you can expect high prices and okayish food. On the plus side, you can also expect that most of them will welcome your dog. Here is a short list to give you some ideas:

Bagel Lounge

Špunt & Knoflík Company

Gruzínská restaurace “Cha-cha”

Jack Grill & Bar

Bali Coffee Bar

Staroslovanská kuchyně

Café Elefant

Café Pupp

Pizzeria La Famiglia

Goethe’s Beer House

Pivovar Karel IV.

Grand Café Septime

Plzeňka Carlsbad

Restaurant Romance

U Křížovníků

Restaurace Le Marché

Plzeňská Restaurace Palacký

With so many great activity and dining options to choose from, you and your dog are guaranteed to have a pretty lavish and relaxing time in Karlovy Vary, so don’t hesitate to visit.

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