Friday, February 14, 2014

Some tips for visiting the German spa

I wrote about visiting the German spa when I was fewer than six months into living in Germany. I feel that I'm really starting to settle into German life and things that were really new or a big deal to me last year are just becoming normal now. One such thing is visiting the German spa; it had been a rather big deal for me as it's quite different from many spa experiences in the US. I visited again in 2014 and I feel like I'm starting to get into the groove of how German spas work. Here is a link to what I wrote last year, and below I'll give some tips on visiting the German spa.

  • "Textil-frei" means that bathing suits are not allowed in the spa. Often, the spa part is textil-frei and the swimming pool areas require a swimsuit. Sometimes the areas that require a swimsuit become textil-frei (for example, late on weekend evenings). When in doubt, check the website of the spa (use Google Translate is necessary) and/or ask staff.
  • Usually the sauna/spa part is for adults (18 and up) and the pool area is for families and is filled with screaming children.
  • There may be times set aside for ladies only. The whole facility might be reserved for ladies, or just certain parts might be that way.
  • It's recommended to bring: at least two towels, definitely a pair of flip flops, and possibly a bathrobe. One towel is used to dry off after rinsing off after using various spa facilities, and the other towel should be used to sit on in the saunas.
  • I have seen people wearing bathrobes in between visiting the saunas, etc., but one must remove the bathrobe before entering the sauna if it's textil-frei. Also remember to remove flip flops (leave them neatly beside the door).
  • When sitting in the sauna, avoid having any of your skin make direct contact with the wood seating as its moisture/oils can damage the wood. I have even seen people put the towel under their feet.
  • Germans tend to greet people as they enter the sauna. Other than that, they don't tend to talk to people they don't know.
  • Enter and leave the sauna quickly to avoid letting out the heat.
  • After using each sauna, hose off in the shower to remove sweat from your skin. Dry off.
  • Often the showers are separate for men and women but don't be surprised if the changing areas are for both men and women. There may or may not be changing booths.
  • Enjoy your experience and leave all prudishness at the door :)

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