With a long history going back to the Romans, who built baths around thermal and mineral springs, Germany and Austria are home to some of the world’s best spa and wellness resorts. Spas known not only for their health facilities, many are also destinations for food lovers from around the world.
Europeans seem to understand the benefits of taking a spa holiday and know that good food is as much a part of the whole travel experience as is relaxation, clean air, mountains and rivers…all contribute to a sense of well being. They visit the spas to benefit both their body and mind.
Whether called a spa, wellness center, therme or bad, these modern spas have a variety of steam rooms, dry saunas, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor pools, cold plunges and relaxation areas as well as quiet rooms for spa treatments. Spa goers can totally unwind from the stress of their busy lives.
While on their holiday, they make every effort to enjoy the fresh air in the resort’s outdoor surroundings. They go horseback riding, play golf, hike, bike, and perhaps swim in the cold waters of a pristine lake.
.Just imagine a day where you receive a massage with hot stones then get wrapped in a thick terry robe and relax in a lounge that has floor to ceiling windows with views of a beautiful lake or mountain scenery. After a day of pampering, you dress for dinner at one of the resort’s gourmet restaurants and enjoy fine regional cuisine of the area.
If fine dining is as important to you as a relaxing massage or facial, then you will want to follow along over the coming weeks as my husband and I travel once more to Europe and visit “spas for food lovers”. This year, we will be staying at eight outstanding spa resorts, four in Germany and four in Austria.
While we enjoy traveling to many other parts of Europe, the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Germany and the states of Tirol and Salzburg in Austria are more appealing to us than some of Europe’s more famous but overcrowded destinations. With their good roads, postcard vistas, pristine villages and friendly residents, these regions keep drawing us back for another visit.
Each of the fantastic resorts have something special about them…one is a restored 18th century German hunting lodge, one sits high up on a 4600 ft. plateau surrounded by the Austrian Alps, another has the largest private Lipizzaner stud farm in Europe with 40 white stallions, and another is a stylish lakeside retreat just 45 minutes from Munich. One thing they all have in common is beautiful spa facilities that focus on wellness. Each hotel has excellent restaurants, some accumulating many fine dining awards. Two of the spa resorts have well known restaurants that have been awarded three stars by Michelin.
“Beauty, relaxation, vitality, joy and pleasure…they are a vital part of life”, is the philosophy promoted at Wellness-Residenz Schalber, one of the top rated spa hotels in Austria. That seems to sum up why spa holidays are enjoyed by so many Europeans.