Like its neighbor Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně is a popular spa town well known for its many mineral springs, used for centuries for curative drinks and baths. While Mariánské Lázně is close enough to Prague (about two hours) to qualify as a day trip, you really need a weekend to discover everything the town has to offer. Aside from spas, Mariánské Lázně also offers plenty of parks, breathtaking architecture and some unusual attractions to explore.
Although Mariánské Lázně was founded in 1273, most of the buildings you see today date from the second half of the 19th century. This explains the exuberant décor and colors and probably gives you a good idea of why you should spend the first couple of hours after your arrival just walking around and taking it all in.
During your walk, stop by the “singing fountain,” located right outside the largest and most famous colonnade in town. This massive golden structure, built of cast iron, serves as the backdrop for concerts and outdoor events during the summer.
After your walk, head to Boheminium Miniature Park. This often ignored attraction depicts miniature replicas of major palaces, landmarks and castles from around the country. See a tiny version of 14th century Karlštejn Castle, the Czech Krumlov chateau and the windmill Ruprechtov. The park is actually quite large, so count on being here at least a couple of hours.
Back in town, end your first day by hoping on an old fashioned bus or tram. This is the perfect lazy way to get a great view of the town while giving your feet a rest. Grab a seat near a window and ride any of the trams from start to finish and then back again.
Your second day in town should be all about treating yourself. After all, Mariánské Lázně is best known for its spas, so it makes sense that you give the whole experience a try. If you don’t have a specific spa picked and reservations made in advance, your best bet is the Roman Baths, a Neo-Renaissance marble marvel where you can rejuvenate and relax in one of the spring whirlpools and shallow pools or jump into the sauna and steam room. If your hotel doesn’t offer a free pass (many do), you can get one at the door.
End your day with another walk around town, exploring the many colonnades. Stop and have a coffee at one or simply snap a few pictures of the many different architectural styles.