Bohemia has long been associated with the making of fine crystal and glassware, and one of its finest exponents is Moser Glassworks (Sklárne Moser), founded in 1893 and based in the famous, picturesque spa town of Karlovy Vary, 130 km (81.25 miles) west of Prague. Traditionally made according to a secret formula, Moser glass is renowned for its intense, jewel-like colors and is created by hand in the factory – which is open for tours – using eco-friendly lead-free crystal. Glassblowers hand their skills on from generation to generation and in all it takes up to ten years to become expert in hand shaping and blowing the glass while working alongside furnaces heated to 1,200°C. Elegant Moser glassware graces Royal tables and Is used in the making of the awards for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, held each year in July. Fine examples of the craft, from sapphire-blue flower vases to delicately gilded wine goblets, are beautifully displayed in the new Moser Museum, which offers multimedia accounts of the company’s long history while celebrating more than 120 years of glass-blowing talent. A sales gallery allows visitors to purchase Moser glassware and the café terrace is a pleasant summer spot for coffee and cake amid sparkling crystal sculptures and splashing fountains.
Kpt. Jarose 46/19, Karlovy Vary. Opening hours: museum daily 9am–5pm; glassworks daily 9am–2.30pm. Admission museum: adults CZK 80, students CZK 50, family CZK 180; glassworks adults CZK 120, students CZK 70, family CZK 260; combined ticket adults CZK 180, students CZK 100, family CZK 390. Karlovy Vary is west of Prague and best accessed by car in under two hours along the E48.