What do you need to know about SPAs in Austria? – part 1
Combining a ski holiday with a SPA in Austria is a hit in the top ten. Skiers can indulge in hot saunas after exhausting skiing and cold gathering to expel toxins from the body, relax and warm the muscles, and relieve fatigue.
Non-skiers are no longer just service personnel who take the household to ski instructor, haul or transport winter sports equipment and boots by car, but are normal people, on vacation like everyone else, indulged in relaxation and time for themselves.
But before planning your first SPA experience in Austria, it is good to familiarize yourself with the rules and etiquette of Austrian SPAs.
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SPA comes from Latin and is an abbreviation of Salus Per Aquam, in translation – “health through “water”. The word therme comes from Greek and means “heat”.
But these definitions do not end your theoretical preparation for a SPA experience in Austrian thermal baths.
The first and most important thing you need to know is that …
1. In the sauna area, visitors are not allowed in swimwear or underwear.
Yes exactly. Phones and cameras are forbidden too.
This is a specific code of behaviour that has many reasons for being so established.
Swimwear is mandatory in the family area, with the pools where children are allowed, but is prohibited in the hot areas and the latter have a separate entrance and a fee.
The reason is that the material of the swimsuit is artificial, it can undergo thermal or chemical changes from the high temperatures, be damaged and, more importantly, harm both your skin and the air in the sauna, as well as the other visitors.
The other thing is that the fabric may have trapped bacteria, which in the heat can spread very quickly and turn the sauna into an incubator for unwanted odour- or disease-causing microorganisms.
And everyone else is naked, you can’t be the only one in a swimsuit – a hundred pairs of eyes will be fixed on you, they will make a remark and ask you either to take it off or to get out.
So, before you spend between EUR 20 and EUR 60 for a ticket (prices vary depending on whether you’re for 3 hours or a full day and what facilities you plan to use) you should be fully aware of these requirements.
Accordingly, you already understand why phones are prohibited – these days all of them have cameras and it is not allowed to take amateur nude photos under cover, where people want to relax in their nudity.
If you haven’t already given up on the idea of visiting the Austrian thermal baths, continue reading on what else to consider and why it’s worth putting up with nudism.
2. Sauna is very healthy and relaxing.
It is worth overcoming nudist inhibitions and enjoying the experience of SPA in an Austrian thermal bath.
If you are wondering what you can do there for 3 hours (this is the duration of the cheapest ticket) or even a whole day, believe me, you totally lose track of time.
The alternation of warm and cold is very energizing, also at these high temperatures you expel many toxins through sweating and purify the body.
The experience of taking a dip in a warm pool outside with a view of the ski slopes and the beautiful peaks of the Alps is unique. The water temperature is 35-40 oC, and the air temperature is 2oC -3oC or even minus.
You can also reserve an appointment for a massage or some therapy, which is paid separately. The massage therapists are very good, and even there you have the option to be in your underpants if you want, but they do not provide disposable underwear. If you’re still only in a birthday suit, don’t worry, these massage therapists have seen a lot of naked people and don’t care what your tattoos say or the shape of your birthmarks. They’ll give you a towel to cover yourself with and won’t stare with interest at what you’re hiding under it, they’ll just mind the body part they’re massaging.
Also, thermal baths usually have a bar and/or restaurant, so if you get hungry, thirsty, you can always buy something.
I do not recommend the use of alcohol, because then you may feel sick in warm rooms.
3. Bring or rent a towel.
Don’t forget flip-flops, because not all thermal baths provide them. A bathrobe is usually offered, which is approx. EUR 8 and a towel – approx. EUR 4. While the bathrobe is an option for convenience because it has a pocket where you can roll up your underwear for the massage, the towel is a must.
The towel has many functions. Well, not as much as in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because you can’t suck the end of it if you’re hungry or fly through intergalactic space.
With the towel you can wrap yourself to cover your private parts and enter the hot saunas like this until you get used to the idea of having to expose your completely naked body to strangers. Trust me, it’s easier. It’s harder to show it if you’re with friends, and even weirder if you’re with business partners or colleagues. So, if you have German-speaking colleagues and they have invited you to the SPA, consider declining the invitation under a good pretext.
4. Nudism for relaxation and with a norm, not for showing off.
Austrians have no problem going to the sauna together. They talk to each other, joke, laugh, they don’t mind being naked. Observing this ease, and noticing that no one really cares about your body, at some point you relax and start not caring. I also recommend that you don’t look too much at other people’s bodies, otherwise they will start staring at you, and with disapproval.
The idea of nudism in the thermal baths is not to show off, but to relax completely in order to relax as much as possible.
If you have already decided to remove the towel, when you move between the different saunas, put it on again and take it off only in the hot areas. You can’t swing your hose back and forth and look around to see if others have appreciated your masculinity, tattoos or muscles with a smug smile or show off your new silicone breasts because they cost a fortune. Yes, people around you may glance at you, but without particular interest and you won’t be the center of attention, so don’t look for it as an effect, because you may cause outrage.
I will add right away, only children over 16 y.o. are allowed in the sauna area. On the one hand, so that adults can fully relax without children’s fuss, on the other hand, you may not want your toddler to stare wide-eyed at naked uncles and aunties, and the high heat is not for their small and fragile bodies, because they quickly dehydrate.
5. Flip flops are left outside and so are glasses.
Before entering a sauna, pool or jacuzzi, leave your flip-flops in front of the facility. There’s no danger of someone taking them from you, the people there don’t exactly need your footgear and their microflora sown by your lovely feet. Also, be careful not to put on someone else’s flip-flops anyway, so you don’t expose yourself to the foreigners and they think you’re a thief.
For the convenience of people with glasses, there are also holders for them in front of all heat rooms and the showers, to prevent them from fogging up and getting dirty. Also, for some glass coatings the steam is harmful, so I recommend leaving them in front. Be careful in your haste not to grab others that look like yours, put them on right away and see if the dioptres fit your eyes.
I had such a case, mine and some other glasses had the same colour and shape of the frames. Good thing I know how to tell them apart.
I will describe the remaining 6 tips in the next, second part of this post.
How to book your stay for a ski vacation?
You can book your stay right here. For your convenience, I have added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you and I will get a modest commission. Just enter the dates of your trip, the place, then hit the Search button and voila.
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