New Year’s Eve in Carlsbad
Looking for a place or a city where we can spent some days around New Year’s Eve calmly on the one hand but with a choice of activities on the other hand we came across Carlsbad. This time I did not ask for a place in the sun but was looking for mountains and maybe some snow. Inspecting some online offers we encountered at first Oberwiesenthal. A glance on google maps made obvious that Carlsbad is only stone’s throw away from Erzgebirge. So why not go straight ahead for Carlsbad? Admittedly we were running late. However our fate has already decided for Karlovy Vary. And that’s how we found a very nice hotel at a reasonable price. I really enjoyed the days off and I rarely had such a nice New Year’s start.
Upon preparing our trip I realized how diversified the so called spa triangle of Carlsbad, Marienbad and Franzensbad really is. No matter what the weather is like there’s plenty to see and not only for retired person! However, we were lucky, so that we made use of it extensively.
Panorama trails, gingerbread-pretty villas and dumplings
Our arrival at Carlsbad is already breathtaking. Our first glance onto the glamorous spa quarter with its famous Grandhotel Pupp was magnificent. I did not except such a variety of beautiful buildings. Strolling through the spa area and the new town towards the KV-arena we had our first experiences. In the evening we were watching a hockey on ice game. A really nice experience.
However, there is one thing, we did not expect: The number of restaurants in Carlsbad is rather limited on the one hand. On the other hand many of them close already at 9:00 pm. In the coming days we had some trouble in finding space – many people had made a reservation. Yet we were lucky again so that we did not have to starve. It is almost impossible anyway due to the big portions and low prices in the Czech Republic. Even as a vegetarian I did not have to suffer. I really like to mention the extraordinary friendliness of the staff in restaurants and hotels as well as the delicious food accompanied by “compulsory” dumplings (not to mix up with our “Kartoffelknödel”).
Just on the second day we went all out: We explored the panorama trail around and above Carlsbad. The path is about 16 km long and has some juicy ascents. It is worth the pain and magnificent panoramic views are a reward to the eyes. The trail is well marked and starts in the middle of the “spa-city” centre. There are plenty of hiking-options around Carlsbad which are marked with yellow, green, blue or red signs. Next to the “Dreikreuzberg” the look-out “Goetheblick”, the mountain resort Vitkova hora, the poets stoop, the look-out of Carl IV., the Diana-Turm, the Hirschsprung as well as the cliff with the chamoise on top of it are (motivation-)goals along the way.
High above the river Eger: Castle Loket
After a side-trip to Marienbad and Franzensbad, which both belong to the so-called „spa-triangle“, we walked on New Year’s Eve to Loket. The trails starting in Doubi, a quarter of Carlsbad, passes by the Hans-Heiling-Felsen. The path is about 17 km long (round-trip with no ascents) and runs scenically alongside the river “Eger”. This trail is also well marked, you cannot miss Loket either. The visit of the rocks, in Czeck: Svatošské skály, is highly recommended. Whether you can manage to recognize the fossil wedding party in that rock is up to you. The picturesque landscape and the nice restaurant in the countryside are worth a visit. A real impressive bridge, held by two strong wire ropes and swinging like a boat at high sea disturbance, leads over the Eger to the other side of the river. The path to Loket continues from there.
At the village boundary of loket there is next to the statue of Goethe a nicely designed view of the town; that makes the orientation easy. Loket’s highlight is undoubted the castle on top of a hill. I definitely recommend the visit of the castle with its different exhibits. Puppy lovers watch out: Whoever climbs up the 96 steps to the donjon holding hands with his/her lover and kisses each other three times at the top shall stay together for a life-time, legend has it. Just try it and believe in it.
Laid-back New Year’s Eve
To celebrate New Year’s Eve in Carlsbad is a genius insider tip for all who cannot bear any party- or banger terror – just like us. The Hirschsprung, on top of a hill high above Carlsbad, is a very nice place to celebrate New Year’s Eve, watching the display of fireworks coming from several Hotels. No drunken people, no waste on the streets, no deafening noise. Instead of that colourful skyrockets, relaxing atmosphere and simply good vibrations.
A stroll on New Year’s day with hurdles
After a relaxing New Year’s Eve we took a stroll on the next day. We were heading to Andělská hora, due to the guidebook a popular destination among spa guests. The ruins of the castle were even described as ruggedly picturesque. Well, maybe at Goethe’s times. Unfortunately, the hiking paths runs alongside the busy arterial road and furthermore limited by a golf course which has to be surrounded in a rather cumbersomely way. The village of Andělská hora is, at least in winter time, not worth a visit. No bus was in operation that day and all pubs were closed.
In exchange for that a really nice farewell program was waiting for us that night: A typical Czech dinner was followed by a New Year’s concert in the Carlsbad theatre built in 1884 (very nice building) and ended at Becher’s bar at the Grandhotel Pupp. A successful evening and a worthy farewell after five great days in the Czech Republic.
PS: We stayed at the Hotel Palatin, right in the spa centre of Carlsbad. A place I can highly recommend.