From Japanese-inspired saunas, to sunny mountainside swimming pools, southern Germany has long been a hub for wellness retreats that leave visitors positively glowing. Here’s our selection of some of the very best, all bookable with Culture Trip.
A touch too much of the local pilsner? Got your pretzels in a twist? Sounds like you need some time in a splendid Bavarian wellness retreat. The largest and richest German state offers some of the finest spas in the country, but don’t confine yourself to the indoors. Trekking the mountains, lakes and forests here gives you ample excuse for some serious pampering afterwards.
Der Birkenhof - Spa & Genuss Resort
4.5/5 (2 Reviews)
Courtesy of Der Birkenhof - Spa & Genuss Resort / Expedia | Courtesy of Der Birkenhof - Spa & Genuss Resort / Expedia
Just a 15-minutes drive from the nearest town, this place still feels like a German fairy tale. Surrounded by fields, forests and lakes, you’ll have partly unwound before you hit the heated outdoor pools and whirlpools, saunas – with panoramic countryside views – or yoga and pilates classes. Book one of the floating lounger treatments and you really will feel like you’ve experienced zero gravity.
Slap bang in the centre of Munich, the Bayerischer Hof is the grandmaster of spa hotels. Stacked on top of this 1840s-built icon, the Blue Spa is a two-storey sanctuary, designed around the art of relaxation. You’ll find a huge indoor pool, fully-equipped gym and rooftop lounge and terrace, all with steeple-height views over the city. And that’s not all: recessed away in its slate-clad interiors are massage rooms, Finnish saunas and yoga studios.
Many spas and spa treatments claim to be transporting, but in the case of Bachmair Weissach, you really do feel you’ve left the outside world behind and been spirited away somewhere else. The strong Japanese influences in both the philosophy, the minimal design and the names of the facilities (such as Mizu Onsen Spa, inspired by Japanese bath houses) are so subtly effective, you’ll emerge half-expecting to be surrounded by cherry blossoms.
For when the stress levels really get out of hand, this resort in the Bavarian Alps is actually two spa hotels in one. The Hideaway is the grander of the two buildings and as well as boasting four separate spas itself – from family-friendly to a women-only spa – it houses a concert hall, a book store and an airy Japanese-style yoga and taijiquan pavilion. The Retreat is smaller in stature, but has both adult and family-friendly spas, a yoga pavilion and inclusive access to all of The Hideaway’s facilities.
This fortress-like spa hotel invites relaxation with a sunny, south-facing terrace where a glass of green juice makes a wholesome start to the day. Enjoy a soothing hot stone massage or join one of the expert-led hiking tours, Zumba classes or aqua gymnastics in the birch-clad indoor pool – they’ll soon get your blood pumping.
This hundred-year-old grand Bavarian hotel is nestled amongst sweeping mountain ranges, with excellent access to winter sports – it’s particularly lovely at Christmas, but equally becoming in the lush summer months. There are excellent hiking trails and mountain bike routes and in the wellness zone you’ll find a sauna, whirlpool, steam bath and a pool area. Be sure to try the massage and aroma spa.
When it comes to wellness heritage, there are few places that come close to the Klosterhof. What started life as an Augustinian monastery in the 1500s, where the monks practiced making herbal remedies from the courtyard garden, is now a sharply contemporary spa hotel. But the lessons of the past are still felt in the present, especially with treatments such as the aromatic oil massage, which uses the soothing power of natural ingredients like lavender, angelica and mandarin to help you unwind.
This five-star luxury resort promises wellness and family vacation perfection. Not only does the ridiculously beautiful alpine landscape lend itself perfectly to outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking and even horse riding, but the extensive and indulgent wellness complex – designed around a natural mountain lake – offers everything from yoga classes to heated outdoor pools to cosmetic treatments, log cabin saunas and meditation retreats.