Relax away the Winter Blues
Thermal Baths and Spas - The holiday season is over and a few more chilly weeks and dark nights lie ahead before we get to see the spring blossoms. What better way to blow away those winter blues than a bit of pampering with a spa treatment or relaxing in a thermal bath? Luckily Switzerland has plenty of both. There are many places available for spa treatments in Zürich itself and natural thermal baths are only a train ride away.
As a mountainous country, Switzerland is famous for its natural thermal springs that have been offering therapeutic relaxation since Roman Times. This article provides a small peek at what Zurich and the rest of Switzerland has to offer with links to finding out more. There are so many options that it is impossible to mention them all in this short space. First, let’s distinguish between spa treatments and thermal baths. Originally the term spa referred to a location with mineral-rich spring waters, many of them hot springs that were developed into resorts offering health treatments. Nowadays the term spa has tended to be co-opted by businesses offering a wide range of beauty treatments, massage, saunas and so on in cities and elsewhere without any access to natural thermal or mineral springs.
Thermal baths usually offer the opportunity to bathe in warm water sourced via mineral-rich springs, but it is best to check first whether what is on offer is natural thermal spring or simply warm waters. Most thermal bath resorts also offer many of the treatments found in the city spas and market themselves as wellness centres.
Look out for special offers for a wellness weekend with partners and/or friends. And most places offer gift certificates. The remainder of this article explores some of the options in and around Zurich.
If a Thermal Bath in a unique setting without travelling far appeals, then you need go no further than the Enge district in Zurich. Mineral waters are drawn from ancient springs beneath the city to create the Zurich Thermal Baths and Spa. This has been developed in the old Hürlimann brewery, with bathing in the grotto under vaulted stone walls as well as swimming in an outdoor rooftop thermal pool. Take in a view of the whole city from the rooftop pool. Here you can also enjoy many Spa treatments and note that Tuesdays are ladies only days. See their website for details: http://www.thermalbad-zuerich.ch/.
Prepared to travel just a little further? A short train ride from Zurich you will find several options. Baden, unsurprisingly given its name, claims to have some of the oldest and the most mineral-rich thermal waters in Switzerland. The city website also states that “with 18 productive thermal springs and an important place in Baden's cultural history, the baths district, which came into being as a Roman settlement (Aquae Helveticae) around 2,000 years ago, has always had a spa culture steeped in tradition. Thanks to the enormous volume of thermal water that flows out of the springs every day (around 900,000 litres), many public and private baths emerged in the Middle Ages and helped to establish spa tourism in Switzerland”. Hotels such as Atrium Hotel Blume https://blume-baden.ch/en/roman-bath and the Limmathof Baden Hotel and Spa http://www.limmathof.ch/wellness/novum-spa/ offer access to these thermal waters as well as various Spa treatments.
However, if you just want to revitalise your feet at no charge next time you are in Baden, then look no further than the unique Thermalbank. https://www.baden.ch/en/thermal-bench.html/862. This is an eight-metre-long foot bath filled with thermal water, and allows everyone to experience the richest thermal mineral water in Switzerland for free. The Heisser Stein thermal spring, one of 18 thermal springs in the Baden area, supplies warm spring water to the foot bath via an old underground wooden pipeline that flows freely with no need of a pump. It is open 24 hours all the year round and is free.
If you fancy something that is more rural and not attached to a hotel, with indoor and outdoor swimming baths all the year round, then look no further than either Thermalbad Zurzach, 5330 Bad Zurzach (open 365 days a year from 7.00-22.00) See website, https://www.thermalbad.ch/ or Aquarena Bad Schinznach, 5116 Schinznach-Bad (open from 8.00-22.00 every day except Christmas and New Year, see website for details: https://bad-schinznach.ch/ Some of these locations offer swimming and water fun for children, however, most of the warm thermal waters, saunas and spa treatments are not available for children, so check for details before you go.
If you are prepared to travel a bit further then there a numerous options such as Tamina-Therme at Bad Ragaz, or Therme Leukerbad. The latter claims to be the largest Alpine Thermal Bath in Kanton Wallis and is set in a 5 star hotel and offers multiple spaces and treatments. Therme Vals in Graubunden is another famous high end hotel resort experience and offers reduced rates for the overnight guests. For a more comprehensive list of Thermal Bath resorts see this useful website: http://www.badi-info.ch/schwimmbaeder_thermal.html.
For more local and city based spa treatments, Zurich has many locations with a variety of offers and ambiences. Also, memberships at some of the fitness centres and gyms include access to such treatments. The focus here is on stand-alone Spas but hotels also have Spa centres for guests as well as day visitors. There is no shortage of choices to suit all tastes and pampering preferences. A typical ‘Spa for a day’ visit will offer a range of massage treatments, facials, skin treatments, hair removals, body wraps, clay and mud treatments, sauna, hot and cold pools as well as manicures, pedicures, make-up, and more. Many of these places offer packages, special occasion treatments, treatments for men as well as women and the option to buy the products used during your treatments.
A good place to find the right treatments and location for you are websites such as Girlfriend Guide: http://mygirlfriendguide.com/health-beauty/spa-services/. Here you will find a comprehensive list of Zurich day Spas, with descriptions and links. For Saunas look no further than the list here: http://www.badi-info.ch/sauna/index.html. The tourism website, http://www.myswitzerland.com/en also has extensive information on Thermal resorts all over Switzerland.
Whatever you choose and where ever you go, you should come away feeling renewed and relaxed with all thoughts of winter blues chased quite away. What a great way to spend some time with a ZIWA friend in the coming weeks when opportunities for outdoor fun are a little more limited. If you find a good place to go then be sure to let us all know!
The information contained was up to date when published. Elaine Vautier 22-05-2020