Living in the Grafenwoehr area, near the border of the Czech Republic, we have the opportunity to visit and explore western Czech on a regular basis. We’ve come up with the perfect weekend in Prague, taken the waters in Karlovy Vary, and just meandered around the farming villages and countryside during the fall, even going to a great folk festival one weekend on the Slovakian border.
One thing we discovered on our “spa” trip to Karlovy Vary was an interesting twist on the traditional spa visit in the form of a beer bath! I’m not much for the trendy idea of sitting around with an avocado paste clearing out my pores while cucumber slices revitalize my eyelids. In fact, I’ve never done much more than a pedicure and that was way outside of my comfort range. But somehow, the idea of sitting in a nice hot beer spa while sipping on a cool mug of suds conjures up images of the western saloons in the American old west complete with a giant wooden beer tub! And who doesn’t want to do that?!
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Luxury Beer Spa Experience in Karlovy Vary
Our first visit to a beer spa was in the hot springs town of Karlovy Vary. The city, so close to where we live, is one of our favorites to go for dinner and a nice walk. We had also heard of a spa that specialized in beer baths. After a quick search online I found that there was indeed a place, Pivni Lazne that offered baths that featured beer mash and water for soothing and restoring the skin and muscles.
The price seemed a bit high but it also included all the beer you could drink during the one hour bath. We reserved online for a Friday visit with the idea that we could drive up after work, take the waters (so to speak), spend the night and just have a nice relaxing weekend.
Even though it’s only a 30 minute drive, it’s mostly on back roads. And on this Friday afternoon unfortunately, it seemed as if every farmer on this side of the German/Czech border had chosen our day to begin harvesting their fields. The road was choked with tractors all chugging along at 30 km per hour! We were getting antsy and irritated, because the time was slipping further and further into our reserved one hour spa time. As we finally reached the town and found a parking spot, all we could think about was a hot bath and some cold beer.
This first beer bath experience was not exactly housed in glamorous environs but we were encouraged by the medieval feel of it all. We were 20 minutes late when we got to the desk and let the attendant know we had arrived. “You are late!” she told us. We explained about the impact of weather and farming and timing but she did not want to let us in late.
Our time block was over in forty minutes and the room was reserved by another couple right after us. We had already paid for the hour through the internet reservation system so I told her we knew we wouldn’t get the whole hour but if the room was still available, which it should have been, we would be happy with that.
Finally she relented and let us in to the bath room. There were two massive wooden tubs with a wooden beer barrel in between and a sprawling hay stack bed on the other side of the room. We slipped out of our clothes and into the baths with great sighs of relief. The beer went down quite well, too!
The idea of the room set up is that you take the bath, then relax for 20 minutes or so on the traditional hay bed. We did lay on the bed, but we didn’t have much of a go since the next couple had arrived. All in all, our first foray into beer spas was a bit of a humorous fail, but the bath part was fun. We couldn’t wait to try it again someplace else.
Experience the Healthy Benefits of a Beer Bath in Pilsen
Later, after talking with friends, we learned that these beer spas can be found all around this part of Czech republic and we enjoyed the first one so much that we decided we would have to try another one somewhere else so we could make some comparisons. We were quite happy to discover a small brewery on the outskirts of Plzen that not only specialized in their own award-winning beer, but also had a hotel, restaurant, and spa that offered beer baths.
On this visit we took our daughter and son-in-law for a tour of the Pilsner Urquell brewery and then dinner and a bath. You know what they say, “the family that bathes together…” OK, I don’t know if anyone ever really says that but the day was fantastic.
Corinne was doing the driving so at the first stop, Pilsner Urquell Brewery, I was able to sample the unfiltered, unpasteurized beer that they were brewing and fermenting special in their basement in oak casks. Delicious! Then we were off to Purkmistr brewery for dinner and the baths.
Dinner and a Beer Bath
The restaurant specializes in traditional Czech cooking and it was all very good. But the real highlight of the day were the baths. Here we found the spa area to be much more modern and stylishly decorated, with a luxurious spa-like ambiance with candles and soothing music.
We checked in at the front counter where we were handed a towel, a sheet, and a key fob. The key opened the door to the men’s or women’s changing rooms and locked the small lockers where we stored our clothing. Wrapped in the sheets we met up again in the connecting corridor and were led to the bath room.
Here we found four large wooden tubs already drawn for our baths. Hot water, mixed with barley, hops, all part of the beer mash! And of course, each tub had it’s own beer tap. At this spa we were allowed twenty minutes in the tub during which time we were encouraged to enjoy two or three mugs of beer, followed with twenty minutes of relaxation.
The water was soothing and aromatic (in a good way) and the beer was cold and tasty. We all soon found our weary muscles and aches as well as our cares and worries of the past week slipping away. Thankfully, we enjoyed our experience here more than at the first spa in Karlovy Vary even though we had less time in the water.
Practical Information for a Trip to a Pilsen Beer Spa
- Purkmistr Brewery, Hotel, Restaurant, and Spa is located on the outskirts of Pilsen (Plzeň) in western Czech Republic.
- Travel by train from Prague central station to Pilsen takes about one and a half hours and will cost less than ten euros.
- A taxi from Pilsen center to Purkmistr will take about 20 minutes and cost about ten euros, or…
- Bus 13 stops just across the street from Pilsner Urquell at Pazdoj, ride 16 stops to Generala Lisky (buy tickets on board, less than one euro).
- You really should make bath reservations and dinner reservations ahead of time.
- A typical bath package includes twenty minutes soaking and twenty minutes relaxing and as much beer as you’d like.
- There are many bath options to choose from, including chocolate, lavender, peat, and of course, beer.
- Individual bathing rooms can be open or private, but leave your bathing suit at home, this is au natural.
- Use of changing rooms, lockers, towels, and a sheet are included in the price.
- Don’t drink and drive! Make this an overnight trip with a stay in one of Hotel Purkmistr‘s comfortable rooms.
Have you ever thought about taking a beer bath? Have you found the best beer bath?