Hot Springs in the Friedrichsbad and Caracalla-Therme, Black Forest
The historic Friedrichsbad and the Caracalla-Therme are the top luxury day spas with pools, saunas, treatments, and massages in Baden-Baden in the German Black Forest.
Baden-Baden is famous for its luxurious hotels, spas, casino, and classy shopping. It is the hot springs in this lovely Black Forest town that put “Bad” in Baden-Baden and many visitors travel here especially to visit the famous day spas. Many hotels have their own spas but the historic Roman-Irish Friedrichsbad and the modern Caracalla Therme are day spas open to all visitors. The Friedrichsbad is the more up-market and formal spa while families will also enjoy the larger Caracalla Therme.
- Bad in German literally means bath but when added to a town name it indicates a spa. Baden-Baden justifiably got Bad double. The town has no less than 23 hot springs, which boil water from around 2,000 m (6,600 ft) below the ground to the surface at temperatures of up to 68°C (154°F). Daily, around 800,000 liters (208,000 gallons) of mineral-rich waters feed the fountains and spas of Baden-Baden.
Luxury Day Spas in Baden-Baden, Germany
The Celts already enjoyed the hot waters of Baden-Baden and the Romans, not surprisingly took to the waters enthusiastically too after they chased the Celts off around AD70. Throughout history Baden-Baden was a popular destination with visitors traveling from afar to search for medical cures or simply relax.
Especially during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the European elite gathered in Baden-Baden. Gambling was very popular but after the Prussians closed all casinos in Germany during the 1870s, taking to the waters again became the main excuse for visiting Baden-Baden in the Black Forest.
Most luxury hotels in Baden-Baden have their own spa facilities for relaxation, massages, and beauty treatments. Baden-Baden also has numerous clinics where mineral-rich waters are used for medical treatments. Although day-visitors may sometimes use the facilities in luxury hotels too, most casual day-trippers head for classy Friedrichsbad and the modern Caracalla-Therme, where prior reservations are not required.
The Roman-Irish Friedrichsbad Adult Day Spa in Baden-Baden
The late nineteenth-century Friedrichsbad is the classiest and most famous day spa in Baden-Baden. The Friedrichsbad combines the Roman bathing culture with Irish steam and hot air bath traditions. The basic spa package at the Friedrichsbad is a course of 16 steps of different baths, steam and dry rooms, and sprays that last around three hours. Further beauty treatments and massages can be arranged.
- As the Friedrichbad and Baden-Baden tourism information office are keen to point out, Mark Twain wrote in A Tramp Abroad, “At Friedrichsbad you lose track of time within 10 minutes and track of the world within 20…” Less kindly he also observed that he lost his rheumatism in Baden-Baden and that the town was welcome to it.
The Friedrichsbad is a textile-free spa – that means nude, not clothing optional. On Monday and Thursday, men and women use most facilities separately but still mix feely at the main pools. On other days, more facilities are shared, but both sexes can use all steps together only on Sundays.
- The Friedrichsbad is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Basic admission for three hours is €21 (including towels, slippers, and soaps). The minimum age for using the Friedrichsbad is 14 years – childcare facilities are available on site.
Family-Friendly Caracalla-Therme Spa in Baden-Baden
In contrast to the more staid Friedrichsbad, the nearby Caracalla-Therme is an enormous modern, family-friendly day spa. The Caracalla-Therme has excellent facilities with a combination of indoor and outdoor pools at different temperatures. The sauna section has eight different types of saunas. Optional massages and additional treatments are available too and best reserved in advance.
The Caracalla-Therme is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Basic entry is €13 for two hours (€17 for four hours) and includes admission to both pools and sauna sections. In contrast to the Friedrichsbad, swimming costumes are compulsory in the pool area of the Caracalla-Therme, but saunas are generally nude.
The minimum age for using the spa is seven years (14 for saunas). Childcare facilities are available for children older than 18 months.
Baden-Baden is one of the richest and most expensive towns in Germany. It has fabulous luxury hotels – travelers on a budget should best book hotels in other Black Forest towns and visit the spas and casino of Baden-Baden on a day trip. The nearest airport to Baden-Baden is the Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport (FKB) around 14 km / 9 miles from the spa town. It is mostly used by low-cost airlines with cheap flights, which can go some way to stretching the travel budget when visiting the Black Forest.