Europeans have been known to be partial to a spot of relaxation and beauty treatments, but this pastime actually dates back hundreds of years, and a number of thermal spring baths have been set up across Europe as a result.
From the historic and traditional to the modern and fashionable, this guide acts as your spa travel advisor, taking you through the best places to bathe in Europe aside from the deluxe facilities onboard contemporary river cruise ships.
As the largest thermal bath complex in Germany and, in fact, Europe, Therme Erding comes with an established reputation. Visited by around 4,000 people every day, it is not one for those who wish to avoid the crowds, but, despite this fact, the 145,000 square metres that make up the facility means that there is plenty of room to accommodate such numbers.
Construction for the impressive site began in the late 1990s, following oil company Texaco’s accidental finding of sulphurous water instead of oil just outside of Erding. The baths went from strength to strength following their founding and now consist of four clear sections: “Galaxy” the baths’ waterslide area, the "Thermenparadies", the "VitalOase" and the "Saunaparadies".
This new and contemporary–feeling spa is, in contrast, situated in the historic town of Bad Gastein in Austria and is one that any travel advisor in Europe would recommend. Felsen Therme spas here are kept open to the public until 10pm, meaning there is plenty of time to indulge in the healing waters and to enjoy a romantic evening in one of the many pools.
There’s a separate area for children that hosts a water slide and for the adults there is a relaxing hot spring pool that stays at a tempting 32¡C, as well as open air hot springs to make the most of the stunning surrounding landscape of the Hohe Tauern Mountains.
Les Thermes de Spa
Why not take a bath in the country where it all began in Spa, Belgium? Les Thermes de Spa offers a unique piece of history with all the creature comforts of a contemporary spa resort. This 19th century spa was renovated in 2003 to bring it up to a stylish and indulgent modern standard.
The water here is still drunk all over Europe as it is regarded for its health and cleansing properties, and at the spa, guests are able to swim in gallons of the prized water. There are plenty of beauty treatments on offer and multiple relaxation areas to bathe in as you admire the views of the historic town below.
Few cities are as famed for their thermal baths as Budapest which is one of the reasons that it is a popular city to include in the itineraries of the best river cruises in Europe. The Gellért Baths are regarded for their stylish yet traditional appearance as it sits in the hub of the famous Hotel Gellért in Buda.
Built in the early 1900s, the baths are well visited for the stunning Art Nouveau style, which is still evident in parts of the baths as a result of its bombing in the Second World War, after which it had to be rebuilt in a more puritanical style.
Finally, one of the most famed public baths in Europe, and one recommended by travel advisors all over the world, is that of the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest. These beautiful medicinal baths are supplied by two separate thermal springs producing temperatures of 74¡C and 77¡C.
It sits within the City Park, standing as one of the most popular attractions in the city alongside its reputation as the most popular of the many Budapest baths. Receiving a Certificate of Excellence 2013 from TripAdvisor, it would appear that the Szechenyi Baths are as popular now as a place to bathe as they were when they were first opened in the Hungarian capital in 1913.
Image Credit: Elin B (flickr.com)
This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.