After 4.5 years in Germany, we continue to enjoy our favorite thermal pools and try new ones from time to time. When we lived in Rhineland-Pfalz (near Landstuhl/Ramstein), our go-to place was the Saarland Therme. We haven’t been there since moving to Stuttgart but have new experiences and recommendations.
No photos of the thermal baths to share with you, due to privacy and courtesy inside. German “thermalbads” are usually built over natural hot springs, the oldest of which are located in towns starting with the word “Bad” = bath. Before moving to Stuttgart, we had already been to Baden-Baden, where we went to the thermal pool WITH BATHING SUITS. The famous Friedrichsbad is “textile free” so we did not go there. The Caracalla pools in Baden-Baden are not as large compared with other locations, but they make for a nice break if you want to keep your bathing suit on. There were a lot of kids when I popped in for the 1.5 hour ticket to warm up during a day trip from Stuttgart for the Christmas markets. It was sooooo cold that day, and it was glorious to warm up in the water, watching the steam rise from the outdoor pool, which you can get to from the indoor pool by swimming through a short passageway with plastic flaps over the exit.
Our favorite close-to-Stuttgart place is in Beuren, about 45 minutes down the A-8 towards Munich. The Panorama Therme has LOTS of pools for bathing suit clad people, and also a sauna area for textile-free. There are 3 indoor pools, one of which has massage stations around the sides where you stand for a minute or so and jets are aimed at your legs, back, etc. There are 3 outdoor pools, one of which is COLD, but that makes some people happy. With your bathing suit on, you have a choice of 3 steam rooms, 2 with a fragrance in the air, 1 salt steam. 2 saunas and 2 relaxation rooms complete the choices (with bathing suits). I don’t use the heat lamp room and the whirlpool is too hot for me except on the coldest winter day, but they are there for you. The restaurant is being renovated, but the snack bar has a few hot lunch/dinner choices and many Germans bring a picnic to be consumed in the picnic room. There are loungers out on the lawn, with umbrellas or without. There is a nice restaurant on the other side of the parking lot with the best home-made ice cream in Germany, according to Jeff.
We also recommend the Franken Therme, a sold 2 hour drive north-east from Stuttgart, near Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You can do it in a day, but it would be a nice weekend, too, either at a hotel next to the baths, or in Rothenburg or Nuremberg, another 30 minutes or so further. The Franken Therme features salt water pools, several of which offer a foam flotation device to put around your neck so you can float freely and gaze at the sky. What an amazing experience! Two of the indoor pools are lightly salted and slightly floaty, one of which has massage stations. One outdoor pool is very salty and under a clear, rounded canopy, with plastic flaps to the outdoor salt pool. There is another slightly salty outdoor pool, a restaurant, and a textile free sauna area. We got the 4.5 hour pass for 15 Euros, and when you purchase at least 9 Euros of food while inside the pool area, you get an extra 30 minutes in the pools for free. There are plenty of chairs outside, a good number inside, and a pleasant relaxation room that is supposed to be quiet (excepting those relaxed souls who are snoring!). Lots of folks brought picnics and ate bakery items right on the indoor lounge chairs.