With experts agreeing that a well-earned break can help to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit, spa weekends provide a healthy diversion from our busy everyday lives, offering both soothing relaxation and sheer indulgence to minimise stress levels. Hotel sanatoriums can be found almost everywhere now, but for those seeking great alternative spa breaks in Europe, we shine a light on some of the continent’s most blissful temples of calm. With thermal infinity pools, holistic treatments and soothing massages, these tranquil retreats will leave you feeling fresh, light and ready to face the world.
While it may be best known as one of France’s most famous wine regions, Bordeaux is also the perfect place to drink in a decadent array of spas. One of the most unusual selection of treatments can be found in Les Sources de Caudalie, where each remedy includes an element of the region’s most popular alcoholic beverage. Choose from a crushed Cabernet scrub, a bath enriched with red vine extract, or a soothing wine and honey wrap for a truly luxurious way to wind down. After your pampering session, head to a nearby chateau for some wine tasting, or enjoy a leisurely cycle alongside the never-ending vineyards.
Often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Ardennes’, the small Belgian town of Spa is situated in a picturesque valley with the nearby mountain range on the horizon. The spring waters of this idyllic retreat are believed to have healing properties, and gained such a reputation that health resorts worldwide took on its name. One of the most famous places for a dip is in the warm waters of Les Thermes de Spa, a 19th century health centre with a hilltop view of the town. It’s important to spend a long time soaking and relaxing at a Belgian bath to allow stress to simply wash away, and after this site’s recent refurbishment, there are few better places to do just that. With the installation of brand new Jacuzzis, Turkish baths and saunas, as well as plenty of space dedicated to indoor and outdoor thermal pools, it’s a great place to forget your troubles.
Black Forest, Germany
Germany’s prized Black Forest Spa Route has sights to see at every turn. You’ll cut through magical forests, hike past hidden castles and, of course, find some of the most rejuvenating thermal water in the country. Once considered one of the most glamorous places in Europe, the town of Baden-Baden boasts a 2,000 year heritage as a spa site and is today a wonderful place to relax. Find your inner Zen while bathing in the Roman-Irish temple of Friedrichsbad, with its trademark 17 stages of wellbeing. You’ll enjoy showers, baths, massages, steam treatments and rest, emerging out the other side feeling like a new person. This invigorating ritual gives you time to unwind in the pleasantly calming waters that emerge from springs over 2000 metres deep.
If this has left you feeling like embarking on your own escape, check out our adventure page for more inspiration.