Top 10 Baths to Visit on that Grand European Adventure

We've looked at some of the most popular, historic and interestingly-undiscovered hammams, badenhaus and baths for your European tour.

Between European adventures, schedule some down time for yourself. Time at European baths is not only good for your skin but good for your full European experience.

As you’re planning your trip, take a look at these stops that we’ve planned along the way through a grand European tour, including bath stops.

Spain

While you’re in Andalucía, book yourself in for a treatment at Hamma Banos Arabes.

There are several of these baths in southern Spain, sort of like a recently built and locally owned hammam-chain business. This particular chain is very popular because of its historic, authentic feel, quality and attention to detail.

Andalucía is well-known for it’s Moorish heritage, so that means the baths there will also, obviously, be fabulous.

This makes Spain a likely first stop in your European tour, a great place to indulge in your first European bath experience. Be sure to book early, though, as the Spanish baths are very popular.

Granada in Andalucía, Spain

France

When you leave Spain, head northeast to the village of Dorres for a visit to the Roman baths there, the Bains de Dorres.

Located on France’s side of the Pyrenees mountain range, Dorres is famed for thermal baths that run under the town. You can stop in for a thorough California massage package, a Korean relaxing treat or other packages offered in the baths.

These historic baths are carved from granite slabs that were cut in the early 1840s. The entry price of 5 euros includes a visit to the stone cutters museum in the summer. 

Switzerland

Go to Switzerland to see the hills while you receive a massage or bath in a historic spa. There are two main spas to visit while you’re in the area.

The first is a historic site, Thermengasse. This is a building that houses the remains of Roman baths, on the outer edge of the Roman Empire, that were discovered in the early 1980s. The site was excavated, partially re-buried and partially preserved.

A visit to this site is a history lesson the now-Swiss land that was part of the Roman Empire.

To complete the experience, book yourself in for a nude bathing “Roman-Irish Night,” evening at Alpentherme Leukerbad in Lukerbad, Switzerland.

This two-hour bathing session includes historical Roman music and buffet, in addition to bathing in the indoor thermal bath, complete with togas handed out by the staff for getting between the buildings.

Germany

If you're in Berlin, relax at Vabali, one of the most authentic Balinese spa experiences avaliable, according to Annabelle Mallia, of WhereTraveler.

"The wellness resort boasts numerous pools and saunas, dining, and an impressive treatment list," Mallia recently wrote for WhereTraveler in Berlin. "Classic massages, from deep tissue to aromatherapy, and more exotic holistic techniques, such as Hawaiian lomi- lomi and algae body packs, guarantee an antidote for the knottiest of shoulders." 

You should also swing into visit Wiesbaden’s famed Kaiser-Freidrich Therme. This thermal bath, built on the foundations of a Roman bath, features elaborate ornamentation and luxurious spa packages. Equipment and special rooms in this spa include a samarium, Russian steam bath, Finnish sauna and more.

United Kingdom

Jump over to the UK at some point in your grand European adventure to Bath, England, to Thermae Bath Spa

Take full advantage of the Watsu treatment, with a profession who gently stretches and guides your body through the hot thermal water in these historic baths. You can also lay for a "Roman Triology," package while an attendant scrubs you with coffee and salt to detox your skin, followed by a soothing vanilla rub and rounded out with a gentle facial massage.  

Roman soldiers frequently ventured into the hot springs located through Bath to relax throughout the history of the Roman Empire. There are hundreds of spa packages and tour deals throughout Bath. 

Budapest

Welcome, friends, to the land of the baths.

Budapest, the beautifully historic capital city of Hungary, one of the world’s bathhouse primer destinations, is only rivaled by Turkey for opulence and availability of bathhouses.

“Take your time to relax,” said Somogyi Nóra, Where Magazine deputy editor in Budapest. “Enjoy the medical benefits of these curative waters… Budapest bathes are perfect for a day of pampering.”

The largest and most popular of the Budapest bathhouses is the Szenchyi Thermal Bath. The arching and spired structure houses a large, mixed-gender outdoor pool and thermal baths where patrons wear swim trunks, and indoor spa services.

Pro Tip: For the authentic Budapest baths experience, play a game of chess with the elder men at the edge of the outdoor pools who set up during the summer months for hours.

Chess players at Szenchyi Thermal Bath

If you’re looking for a Budapest bath more focused on quiet, meditative experience, check out Gellert Baths.

This authentic Hungarian-Turkish bath has a beautifully tiled indoor thermal spa with a whirlpool spa and wave pool. Indoors, Large columns that support two stories of saunas and smaller rooms surround the iconic pool, synonymous with luxury, at Gellert. Outdoors, there are several pools to dip into as well.

Turkey

We’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t tell you to stop at the historic Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami.

Built by one of the most-known admirals of the Ottoman empire, Kilic Ali Pasa, this hammam has stood its ground since the 16th century. The gently domed rooftop, in addition to much of the building’s face has been restored and remodeled throughout history, as needed.

The hammam admits men and women at separate times, with reservations highly encouraged, and nudity prohibited to a certain degree. Children are allowed in the hammam, but guests are encouraged to remember that bathing is a peaceful experience and that quiet is revered in the hammam.

Jamie Jackson
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