Plan a tranquil weekend getaway in a hidden-gem Czech spa destination

Lázně Poděbrady has a lot to offer, from overnight stays to longer tailormade spa packages.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 15.06.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 15.06.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Thanks to its quintessential small-town vibe along with a number of striking vestiges that hint at a once-deep medieval influence, Poděbrady has long been considered a great primer for the Czech spa town circuit. At just 40 km (and a direct train connection) from Prague, this lovely hamlet, whose healing mineral water taps are open – free of charge – to the public, is a popular day-trip location.  

However, if you are looking for a more extensive spa experience, Lázně Poděbrady has a lot on offer, from overnight stays to longer tailormade spa packages, including medical consultations for seniors and women’s weekend specials

The spa specializes in treating and rehabilitating cardiovascular diseases as well as championing heart-healthy lifestyle choices and everyday wellness needs. Poděbrady’s numerous cycle paths along the Elbe, stretching between Prague and Dresden, are well-traveled by tourists and spa guests alike, acting as tangible reminders of the town’s motto – “Poděbrady. For your heart.”

While many Czech spa towns are located in the country’s mountainous border regions, Poděbrady’s proximity to the capital has been one of its biggest selling points for the past 100 years as its mineral waters and well-targeted treatment regimen have continued to build a fiercely loyal following.  

The resort is composed of several opulent overnight properties: Hotel Libensky, the spa’s main hub, as well as the equally chic Hotel Bellevue Tlapák and Hotel Zimni lazne. But it is the newest arrival – Hotel & Spa Chariclea – that is getting the most buzz this year. Chariclea is equipped with a 20-meter swimming pool, a sauna world and wellness center and a luxurious steak restaurant that can be enjoyed by both hotel guests and the general public.   

Ondřej Odcházel, Lázně Poděbrady’s business director, says client numbers are quickly returning to their pre-pandemic levels. Now with the summer season kicking off, he anticipates the town will be filling with a steady stream of visitors, popping by for an afternoon massage at the resort or to take in one of the many cultural events planned for the coming months.             

“There is always something happening in Poděbrady – concerts, gastro festivals, museum events. It’s a great base for trips,” says Odcházel. “Poděbrady has everything, including a vibrant gastronomy scene.” 

While the town itself dates back to the Middle Ages, the springs weren’t discovered until the early 1900s. The mineral water, known as “Poděbradka,” is high in iron and carbon dioxide content, making it ideal for therapeutic and medicinal bathing – and drinking. The distinctly metallic-tasting water can be freely acquired in its pure form at one of the 12 taps that dot the town’s central park as well as on the shelves of nearly all the main supermarket chains in the Czech Republic.

Saddled along the Elbe River, one of the town’s most prominent features is the stately Poděbrady Castle, the purported birthplace of George of Poděbrady, which can be admired as you drive into town along the D11 motorway. The fortress was reconstructed several times over the centuries as it was passed from one aristocratic family to another. Today, it is one of the town’s most visited museums. The picturesque main square, a protected heritage site, is lined with stunning Renaissance and Baroque houses; the former town hall, dating to the 16th century, is now used as a library.  

Another key landmark of this charming Central Bohemia town is the spa park, adorned with a flower clock that ticks off the hour with the aid of a miniature garden dwarf and home to the modern Libenský Colonnade. Built in 1936, the glass colonnade was constructed over a mineral spring – whose carbonated waters you can sample on the spot – and named in honor of Václav Libenský. The celebrated Czech physician established an institute dedicated to treating cardiovascular diseases in Poděbrady, laying the foundation for what would be the resort’s lasting renown. 

Odcházel, deputy chairman of Lázně Poděbrady’s board of directors, says one big trend the spa has noticed with its short-term stay clients is that they come not just for treatment, but also for the resort’s wellness and cuisine offering – a mix that has brought in a sharp uptick in B2B clientele.   

“Large companies like Škoda Auto are sending thousands of employees each year for regeneration,” Odcházel says. “Our congress tourism is also going well, aided by our new Hotel Chariclea. 

“We are happy to be setting trends that spa treatments or rehabilitation is not only for old people or people with disease,” Odcházel adds. “Visiting a spa resort should be part of a yearly regeneration of health and mind, regardless of age or health status.” 

This article was written in cooperation with Lázně Poděbrady, a.s. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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