Thermen: Spas in Salzburg
Surely skiing is the main reason for tourists to come to the mountains of southern Salzburg for their winter vacation. However, there is more to the Alps than slopes, winterwonderlands and apres-ski parties. In the 1990ies, Austria discovered the potential of marketing its hot springs by building spas and "Erlebnisthermen" - adventure spa landscapes.
These days, spas in Salzburg and surroundings don′t have much in common with the classic "Kurbäder", spas with medical treatments and a generally rather elderly clientele. These still exist, but today so-called "wellness tourism" has hit the mountains. Modern "Thermen" or "Thermalbäder" (spas) normally come with state-of-the-art saunas, solarium, massage specialists, beauty farms and - of course - a whole range of pools at different temperatures, filled with water straight from the rock.
Spaß (fun) in Spas
Essentially all spas allow visitors to swim outside, a special excitement if done below freezing - you will see water steaming off your body, your wet hair might freeze, but you will keep nicely warm. Many hot springs are rich in natural minerals and the water has medical properties. The money, however, comes with the fun and so most spas today advertise themselves as trendy places fit for young people and families.
Austria′s best-known area for Thermalbad spas is Styria, south of the Alps. Few international visitors are aware that there are three spas in Salzburg, with another two nearby in Upper Austria and more in Bavaria. Styria might offer even more diversity, but by any means, Salzburg′s spas and saunas are certainly ready to meet whatever expectations you might have.
The three spas of Salzburg are all more or less in the mountainous region of the province. The "Felsentherme Bad Gastein" is famous for its beautiful setting and the "classic" touch of the Gasteinertal valley. The spa itself is located at an altitude of 1,000 metres above sea level. The "Alpentherme Gastein" in Bad Hofgastein is nearby and set in a similarly scenic area. It prides itself to be one of the most modern spas in Europe and consists of six different "Health- and Adventureworlds" - sounds almost like Disneyland.
Spas in Salzburg, Upper Austria & Bavaria
Further north, in Bad Vigaun, you can find the "St. Barbara Therme". This used to be a very classic spa oriented towards medical treatments and physiotherapy. Today, it is still more popular with elderly people. However, they also provide a beauty farm and the usual other spa-ish treats.
If, for some reason, you prefer to stay even further North, you can also head to Upper Austria with Bad Schallerbach or Geinberg (suitable for families and young people), or to Bavaria with the Watzmanntherme or Bad Füssing (especially the latter one is targeting an elderly clientele).
Felsentherme Bad Gastein
Alpentherme Bad Hofgastein
St. Barbara Therme Bad Vigaun
A review with travel information on all Thermen or Spas of Austria