Tucked away in a lovely valley and formerly known by its German name of Karlsbad, this venerable spa town has a 650-year-old history of balneology. Fourteen springs, notably the Sprudel, a hot geyser in the center of town, are known for bubbly, mineral-rich waters said to treat digestive disorders, diabetes, joint problems, and other ailments. (Along with royalty, Beethoven, Chopin, Goethe, Tolstoy, and Marx were among the more notable visitors who arrived to ‘take the waters’). The resort’s original nine-holer was established in 1904 on the city’s southern outskirts. The current 18-hole course, built in 1932, was later refined by shareholders in the stately Grandhotel Pupp (founded in 1701 and one of Europe’s oldest surviving grand-luxe hotels); and the extravagant Hotel Imperial. The layout, with distant mountains backdropping its rolling fairways, is one of the prettiest in central Europe. Several other top-rated courses, including the Gary Player-designed Astoria Golf Resort Cihelny, are located on the outskirts of Karlovy Vary.