Marianske Lazne is one of the premier spa destinations in the Czech Republic. Known for its vast green parks and surroundings, the town is a quieter version of its neighbor to the north, Karlovy Vary. Marianske Lazne attracts visitors from all over the country and neighboring Germany for laid back wellness vacations. Though the town is not heavy on tourist attractions, doing a ton of things around town is not really the point.
Day trip from Prague?
Marianske Lazne is a 2.5-hour train ride from Prague, which might make it an attractive option as a day trip. But schlepping it that long just to go to spend a couple of hours at a spa and come back is less relaxing than it is inconvenient – Prague has plenty of spas. Marianske Lazne is perhaps better suited for 2-3 days of doing nothing surrounded by lush and hikable hills.
Things to do in Marianske Lazne
Most people will tell you that the best way to spend your visit in Marianske Lazne is at the spa, specifically the Roman Baths. The famous baths have been around since the 1800s and its ornate marbled interior and pools have been visited by philosophers, composers, writers, and even royalty. What few people mention is that the Roman Baths are located at the Nove Lazne Spa Hotel. So if you want to unwind in the jacuzzis or sweat in the sauna, your best bet will be to stay at the hotel or one of the affiliated properties so you can have free access. Otherwise, you might be giving up time in your own hotel wellness center to visit that one.
Spa promenades and colonnades
Of course, Marianske Lazne’s reputation as a wellness destination is not due to a well-placed historical bath, but rather due to its waters. The town is full of natural springs, providing rich mineral waters that are said to be good at curing certain ailments in the body including inflammation, kidney problems, and high blood pressure. At the Cross Spring Pavilion on one end of Maxim Gorky Colonnade, you can learn more about the suggested regimens according to your health needs and you get to sample the waters for free. It should be noted that just taking a small sip doesn’t usually have much of an effect. Treatments using these mineral waters typically involve a minimum of 1.5-2 liters per day. But it’s always fun to drink a little bit of everything like you’re sampling Coca Cola flavors at Epcot.
The Maxim Gorky Colonnade features a couple of shops and cafes, where you might want to pass the time when your hands are getting too pruney in the bath. Across the street from the colonnade, you’ll find the Oplatky Kolonada shop, where you can buy the traditional spa wafers that are probably the city’s most popular creation. The thin wafers come in a variety of different flavors including chocolate and hazelnut.
On the other end of the Maxim Gorky Colonnade, opposite the Cross Spring Pavilion, is the Singing Fountain. The Singing Fountain plays a musical number every two hours from April 9 to October 31. Of course, if you’re visiting off-season, all you’ll find is an empty fountain.
The town is an ideal spot to take relaxing walks. The center of the city is largely covered by Lazensky Park, where you can stroll around or sit at one of the ponds or fountains. If you’re looking for something more challenging, there’s a seemingly endless number of a trails up on the surrounding hills where you can go on easy to moderate hikes around the town. One easy target that you can actually reach with Google Maps directions is Hamelika Lookout, a stone tower on Hamelika Hill where you can see the city from above the tree line.
Behind the line of hotels that surround the spa colonnades, you’ll find yourself in Geological Park, the largest in the country, where you can follow Goethe’s Trail which passes through various memorials and scenic lookouts. That’s just one of the many notable hiking and biking routes in the lush surroundings of town. Mescéry lookout, located along the Royal Trail, is another popular peak nearby.
The trick to enjoying Marianske Lazne is not to be too concerned with seeing all the things to see, because there are very few of those. Instead take some time to recharge your batteries at the pool and enjoy the nature around you.