Clear water, aromatic oils, hot saunas occasional spa breaks and treatments are the very best way to compensate for the stresses and strains of everyday life. There are more thermal, mineral and saline baths in Baden-Württemberg than anywhere else in Germany. In fact, 16 of the country's 34 thermal springs are located in the Black Forest.
The Romans themselves utilised the healing power of the thermal water when they settled in the Rhine plain and on the slopes of the Black Forest. In Badenweiler they built one of the largest thermal complexes north of the Alps. These days there is a whole host of elegant thermal baths and spas available, with saunas, solaria, health and beauty treatments, massages and other treatments from across the world. The names are the only lasting reminder of the Roman era: Caracalla Spa in Baden-Baden, Vita Classica in Bad Krozingen, Cassiopeia Spa in Badenweiler.
The number one wellness destination in Germany
Besides the unspoilt landscape, it was the thermal baths and spa hotels that made the Black Forest one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the 19th century. Over one hundred years ago, Baden-Baden was the 'summer capital of Europe'. Thanks to its spa house architecture and exclusive hotels and thermal springs, Baden-Baden remains one of the top destinations for wellness in Germany to this day.
The densely wooded north-eastern part of the Black Forest is home to the therapeutic baths of Bad Wildbad, Bad Teinach-Zavelstein and Bad Liebenzell, as well as the health resort Bad Herrenalb with its therapeutic climate. Its five thermal springs can be easily accessed from one location. As such, they have come together to form the 'Black Forest Thermal Quartet'. Together they offer a range of fixed rate prices with the 'Premium Thermal Spring Card'. This card gives you free entry to all five springs in the quartet throughout your stay. Meanwhile, the Sieben-Täler-Therme in Bad Herrenalb or the Palais Thermal in Bad Wildbad are amongst the most beautiful wellness temples in the Black Forest.
On the south-western edge of the largest sub-mountainous region in Germany, Badenweiler, Bad Bellingen and Bad Krozingen, not to mention Freiburg, are renowned for their diverse thermal springs. Bad Dürrheim to the east and Bad Säckingen on the Swiss border are also popular wellness destinations due to their thermal springs.
Wellness Stars offer assurance
In order to ensure that your holiday brings the desired level of relaxation, the spa region of Baden-Württemberg has 'Wellness Stars'. This rating ensures the quality of the services provided in hotels, in spas and in medical institutions. Nine thermal springs have qualified for at least one 'Wellness Star' in the Black Forest. The threshold is high: Around 400 criteria are evaluated by the TÜV Rheinland in a round of 'mystery checks'.
In the spa region of Baden-Württemberg, 45 hotels passed the strict criteria for the classification- 34 of the establishments awarded the rating are situated in the Black Forest. Most have four stars- however six establishments belong to the five-star category. At least three DEHOGA (German Hotels and Restaurants Association) Stars are required to receive just one Wellness Star. Thermal springs must work together with a nearby DEHOGA-certified three-star hotel to receive a Wellness Star.
Institutions providing medical care can be awarded with 'Wellness Stars medical'. They must offer a wellness programme that is supervised by doctors and that has been proven to aid in the therapy of allergies, chronic illnesses or rheumatism. Classical medical treatments are combined with lymphatic drainage, massages, fango or thalassotherapy.
Wellness concept from the region: Schwarzwald Balance
Besides the 'Wellness Stars', the holiday region in southwest Germany, which spans 11,100 square kilometres, also features the regional label 'Schwarzwald Balance'. Basic nutrition with regional products, essences from local spruce needles and elderflower all form part of this wellness concept. Each certified business must employ at least one Balance Coach as a wellness trainer. Chefs are also trained in 'Schwarzwald Balance'.
For more information, please visit Schwarzwald Tourismus GmbH, Heinrich-von-Stephan-Str. 8b, 79100 Freiburg, Tel. 0761.8964693, www.schwarzwald-tourismus.info