Imagine relaxing in a tub of warm bubbling beer while, within arms’ reach, you have unbridled access to two taps of delicious cold brews. Sound like a beer lovers’ dream come true? Well, when visiting Prague, you can totally make this your reality- by going to a beer spa!
So, if you want to know what’s on tap (pun obviously intended) when visiting a Prague beer spa, here’s everything you need to know, from the cost, to what to expect and whether it lives up to the hype.
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Table of Contents
- What is a Prague beer spa?
- Why should you visit a Prague beer spa?
- Which Prague beer spa should you go to?
- How much does a Prague beer spa cost?
- What to expect from a Prague beer spa
- Tips for your Prague beer spa experience
- Is going to a Prague beer spa worth it?
- Where to stay in Prague
When I visited Prague in the Czech Republic, I only had a short window of time in the city and wanted to pack in as many awesome things I could see and do as possible. And what could be more interesting than soaking in a toasty vat of beer?
Despite the uniqueness of this experience, I was a bit on the fence- I’m usually a fairly strict budget traveler and visiting a Prague beer spa can be a bit on the pricier side.
So was it worth it? Keep on reading to find out!
What is a Prague beer spa?
Beer bathing is actually an ancient tradition in parts of Eastern Europe- particularly the Czech Republic. For hundreds and hundreds of years, folks have been soaking in tubs of beer, in the hopes that this treatment will rejuvenate the skin, cleanse the body of toxins (seems… ironic?), and relieve stress.
And perhaps it should be no surprise- Prague is famously the beer capital of the world. In fact, Czechs drink more beer than anyone else on the planet- the average Czech consumes a whopping 143 liters of beer per year (and yes, that includes babies and grandmas), which is over 30 liters more than the runners-up, the Germans. Na zdraví to that!
Today, beer spas may be a little different than the beer baths of yesterday, but the core concept is largely the same- you (and whoever you’re with) will be assigned your own cozy suite, with a fireplace and a big oak tub, filled to the brim with beer.
Okay, okay, I’m being slightly hyperbolic so far- most beer spas in Prague don’t literally have you soak in a vat of beer. While each spa offers different treatments, most of the beer baths themselves are simply hot tubs of water with the key ingredients of beer added in: crushed hops, powdered brewer’s yeast, and powdered malt.
One major difference between your great grandma’s beer bath and what you’ll experience at a Prague beer spa? Each of the tubs come equipped with two beer taps, which dispense an unlimited supply of one light and one dark Czech-style beer.
And after you’re done with your good ol’ beer soak, you get to chill on a bed of fresh hay next to the fireplace, while you chow down on some (what else?) beer bread.
While the beer spa trend started in Prague, you can now find them scattered around Eastern Europe, including in other popular destinations like Budapest and Krakow, and across the globe. The offerings at these locations differ- some offer food pairings for you to enjoy while you soak while others provide more traditional spa treatments, like massages- but the beer bath experience will be largely the same.
Why should you go to a Prague beer spa?
Beer baths have long been lauded for their health benefits- while I don’t think there’s been any peer-reviewed medical studies on the physiological effects of laying on a bed of hay next to a fireplace and consuming carbs, there actually have been some studies regarding the benefits of the application of beer ingredients to the body. In particular, hops has been shown to have various anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Beer spas’ claims about their health perks go far beyond that, promising benefits including the treatment of dermatological conditions, like psoriasis, acne, and cellulite; increased metabolism and cardiovascular activity; and boosted Vitamin B.
While all of that could be true, I strongly suspect that most visitors to beer spas today aren’t signing up mainly with hopes of increasing their metabolism or cardiovascular health or sneaking a peek into authentic Czech history and culture (spoiler alert: I don’t think modern beer spas in Prague, which are festooned with neon signs and photos of buxom women, are particularly historically accurate).
Instead, if they’re anything like me, they’ll be visiting for something else entirely- the debauched experience of it all, of course!
While my skin was decidedly softer after my soak and I felt inarguably blissed out (or was that maybe a buzz?), what I enjoyed the most was the quirkiness of the whole thing, from drinking straight from the tap from my own personal oak hot tub to taking a nap on a literal bed of hay. It certainly has been one of the more unusual things I’ve done in my travels- so when in Prague, why not?!
Which Prague beer spa should you go to?
Prague and the surrounding cities have a number of options you can choose from, like the aptly named Beer Spa Beerland or Barrel Beer Spa. If you poke around the various spas’ websites, though, you may notice that some of the options look a bit on the unseemly side- not what you want for a place where you’re going to be soaking in a tub that has used by a different person every single hour that day (yikes!).
After doing a ton of research (and after personally experiencing it), I can recommend checking out the Original Beer Spa. They have excellent reviews on TripAdvisor (a 5-star rating with almost 2,500 reviews!) and the spa was impeccably maintained and clean. Plus, it’s super conveniently located about a 15 minute walk from the Old Town, close to many of Prague’s top attractions.
And, extra bonus- they serve up two beers by Krušovice (a Czech brewery established all the way back in 1581), which is, in my opinion, better quality than beers served in other spas.
Beer Spa Bernard is also worth considering- they also have a five-star average review on TripAdvisor (out of over 550 reviews) and use Bernard Beer, a traditional Czech brewery. Bernard does not pasteurize their beer, which preserves the taste and aroma of it, leading to a better drinking (and in this case, bathing!) experience). You also get a bottle of Bernard Beer to take home as a sweet reminder of the most unique bathing experience of your life!
If you’re particular about the kind of beer you’ll be having with your soak, it may be worth calling around to the other spas- each use different brews, so find a spa serving up your beer of choice!
How much does a Prague beer spa cost?
The price of visiting a beer spa will differ depending on which one you go to, how long of a treatment you select, and whether you get additional add-ons, like massages. Pricing for most of the spas are in the same ballpark, though, and follow a similar pricing model.
Each party gets its own room, but rather than paying for the number of tubs in that room (like, for example, the room my husband, Justin, and I had two tubs), you’ll pay a price, instead, based on the number of tubs you actually use. So if you’re looking to save a buck or two, it’s better to share your beer bath with a friend (and I’d argue- more fun!).
It’s important to note that, while Prague is known for being an incredibly cheap destination for backpackers (and its beer usually being literally cheaper than water there), visiting a beer spa is not the most budget-friendly activity. For example, for an hour in the Original Beer Spa’s room sans sauna, you’ll pay anywhere from about $55 USD per person (for four people sharing two tubs) to about $88 USD for a solo soaker.
For an hour in the room with the fancy hops sauna upgrade, you’ll pay anywhere from about $70 USD per person for six people in three tubs up to $133 for a solo traveler. So it’s certainly cheaper than any hour long spa treatment that I’ve seen in the United States (and those definitely don’t involve unlimited beer!), but not as affordable as, say, the average pint of Czech beer (usually around $1.50). For extra time, you can book additional hours at a 15% discount of the standard hourly rate.
Besides buddying up with a beer bath friend, want another important tip to save some cash? Be sure to pay for your visit in the local currency of Czech Koruna (CZK), as opposed to Euros. Justin and I would have paid almost $20 USD more if we would have paid in Euros, based on the conversion rate. Who’s got money to waste on the conversion of the Euro when there’s unlimited cool things to see, eat, and explore in Prague?!
Final note on this topic: I am a budget traveler, through and through- I stay in lowkey accommodations (in fact, my Airbnb in Prague was directly above a brothel, but that’s perhaps a story for another time…), try to score deals on airfare, and prefer free activities, like walking tours and hiking. This experience was definitely more on the “splurge-y” side for me- and you know what? It was totally worth it! It’s a unique and fun experience and given all that’s included, it’s totally a good value, in my opinion.
So, what do you get from this experience exactly? I’m so glad you asked…
What to expect from a Prague beer spa
So here’s the thing: after my extensive and hard-hitting research on which beer spa was the best in town, I only tried out the Original Beer Spa- so I can’t tell you what every beer spa experience is like. However, in the course of my research, it seemed like most of the ones in Prague have the same kind of schtick, so regardless of where you go, your experience will likely be akin to mine (although, no promises if you go to one of the dodger-looking options).
With that context in mind, what was it like visiting a Prague beer spa?
Well, when you arrive for your appointment, you’ll check in with the receptionist like any ol’ other spa. You’ll be taken to your private room by an attendant, who will put some beer bread on the bed of hay for you to enjoy, start filling your tubs with water, and explain the therapeutic properties of each of the ingredients as they’re added to the tub.
The attendant will then tell you that you’ll get the room for exactly an hour (or however long you booked for), will set a literal egg timer for you to keep track of the time (nothing makes me relax quite like an egg timer…), and leave you to it.
For the first 25 minutes of your appointment, the beer bath will be bubbling and warm, where you can relax in the tub and drink all of the light and dark Czech beers that your heart can handle. After that period of time, the jets on the bath will turn off and the water will start feeling decidedly cooler, so, instead, you can relax in the sauna (if you booked a room with one) or just take a nice catnap on the bed of hay next to that warm fireplace.
If you, like me, are worried about the hay being stabby to lay on, no worries- they give you soft sheets to lay on top of and it’s actually surprisingly comfy! If you’re not feeling particularly sleepy (although a long soak in a warm oak tub and a hearty amount of beer will generally do that to you), you can just chill out, eat some yummy bread, and get your fill of beer. Cold tub or not, the beer taps keep operating throughout your appointment!
The timer will go off ten minutes before your appointment is up, letting you know it’s time to start showering off and getting dressed.
You will have powdered hop goo in unmentionable places from your beer bath so you’re going to want to shower off before you head out to explore Prague some more- but, if you want to retain any of the “benefits” of the beer treatment, I’d recommend carefully just rinsing the green gobs off and not using any soap. Allegedly, the longer you leave the hops on your skin, the better- while I’ll certainly give the side eye to a lot of the beer spa’s health claims, I swear my skin felt like butter after our appointment!
If you overstay your appointment, a friendly, but stern attendant will knock on and open the door (regardless of your stage of undress) to start cleaning the room for the next guests, so I’d recommend mastering the art of getting dressed quickly.
After you leave your private suite, if you still feel like you haven’t gotten your money’s worth, head back to the reception area- while there’s some interesting skin and beauty products made from beer on sale for you to peruse, the real draw is that most of the staff encourages you to have another beer or two here before you hit the road!
Tips for your Prague beer spa experience
Make a reservation- and early!
Any given beer spa will only have a couple of rooms and since each group that visits gets their own private suite (regardless of how large their party is), there’s really only a couple dozen appointments available each day- which, for as bustling of a tourist destination as Prague is, is not a lot.
For example, I was so unsure about pulling the trigger on making an appointment, given that you have to pay upfront, that I waited until about four days before our trip. By the time I booked, there was only one appointment available during our time in the city, first thing in the morning! So if you’ve got your heart set on visiting a beer spa while you’re in Prague and don’t want to awkwardly have a belly full of beer at 10 AM, book earlier than you think.
Sticking with this theme- if I have one complaint about my experience at the Original Beer Spa, it’s that our time felt rushed.
Since we had the first appointment of the day, we were immediately ushered into our room as soon as the doors opened and then hopped from the beer bath to the hay bed and the shower, and suddenly were on our way again. And if you happen to be running late for your reservation time, bad news- you’re only allotted exactly the slot you signed up for (and not a minute more!). So if you’re 15 minutes behind? It just means you’ll have 15 minutes less to enjoy the beer bath.
Plus, if you’re really trying to get the most bang for your buck, you can snag a free beer from the reception area if you show up early for your reservation!
What to bring:
The Original Beer Spa provides most of the things you’ll need, like clean towels, for your visit. That being said, there’s a couple things you may want to bring along:
- If you’re visiting the beer spa with friends you don’t particularly want to be naked around or just want a layer of protection against the oak tub floor which has hosted amany bare butts, bring along a swimsuit (like this one for women or this one for men) to wear at the spa- or better yet, wear it under your clothes so you don’t have to waste time at the beginning of your session both getting undressed and then putting your swimsuit on.
On this note, it’s worth pointing out that if you accidentally go over your time limit in the spa, the attendant will likely come in to start cleaning whether or not you’re dressed (nudity in Europe isn’t such a big deal as it is in the pearl clutching U.S. of A)- so if you’re uncomfortable with that idea, watch that timer closely or bring your swimsuit!
- If you wear a swimsuit in the tub, you’ll have to tote around a sopping wet swimsuit that reeks of hops and barley around for the rest of your day in Prague. So bring a plastic baggie (or even just a regular ol’ plastic bag will work!) so you can throw it in your purse or backpack and go about having your Praha adventures and avoid having strangers wonder why you smell so strongly of watered-down beer.
- When wet from all the bath water, the tile floor in each suite gets mega slippery- in fact, it’s kinda just begging for you to slip, fall, and try out that free health care system in Europe I keep hearing about. If you, like me, are clumsy and prone to self-injury, it may be a good idea to bring along some sandals that are easy to slip-on and off as you walk around your suite, to provide a bit of traction against the slick floor.
And bonus points if they’re actually something you can wear while you’re out exploring Prague’s cobblestone streets- for example, nothing says “I’m a cool, yet practical travel lover” quite like a pair of hiking sandals, like Tevas (women’s here and men’s here) or Chacos (women’s here and men’s here).
Is going to a Prague Beer Spa worth it?
So with all that being said, would I recommend stopping by a beer spa while you’re in Prague? It probably comes as no surprise if you’ve been dutifully reading this article, but absolutely! The experience was both incredibly unique, super goofy, and frankly, just super fun!
If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can certainly still enjoy Prague without stopping at a beer spa. But if it’s in the cards, I promise a visit to one will be a kooky travel story you get to tell your grandkids someday.
Where to Stay in Prague
If you’re looking for accommodations for your visit, I’d recommend basing yourself in or near Old Town, due to its fairytale architectures and proximity to the city’s most famous attractions (yup, including its beer spas!)- it definitely comes in handy, whether you want to take a midday break from walking on the city’s cobblestone streets or need to take a nap after being totally blissed out at the beer spa!
Consider staying at:
- Hostel One Old Town: If you’re looking for a reasonably priced place to meet other travelers, check out this hostel, with free nightly dinners and seemingly endless planned activities that guests can join in on.
- Hotel Kings Court: Beyond being housed in a gorgeous historic building, this hotel is obsessed with service- so much so that you get a frickin’ pillow menu, in case your pillow isn’t exactly to your liking. Who can say no to that?!
- Grand Mark Prague: Located in a 17th century building, with opulent décor and bougie furnishings, the Grand Mark Prague is one of the best boutique hotels in Prague. Whether you’re zenning out in the courtyard garden or drinking a Czech pilsner on the patio, every inch of this hotel makes me want to sing that Fergie “Glamorous” song.
I hope you have the best time while you’re visiting the beer spa- and Prague for that matter! Have any questions for me about what the experience was like or what to expect? Let me know in the comments below!