German Language Blog

Going to a Spa in Germany Posted by on Jan 23, 2018 in Culture

Winter is the perfect season to have a spa weekend; there is nothing better on a cold day then to be in a sauna or hot tub. This post is so you know what to do if you ever find yourself in a spa in Germany!

Me at a spa last year! Own photo.

The general rules in Germany

I’m not sure what the rules are like in America (if you guys know then comment below!) but in England we always go in the sauna or steam room wearing a swimsuit/bikini/swimming shorts. In Germany it is actually verboten (forbidden) to wear clothes in the sauna and steam room. The reason for this is because of the bacteria in your clothes. Wearing clothes whilst in the sauna will stop you from sweating everything out and the bacteria will stay between your clothes and skin.

In the sauna you must be sitting or lying on a towel, you could always wrap the towel around you if you don’t want to be completely naked as long as you are sitting on it too. You must also be showered and dried before going into the sauna, the Germans are very strict on hygiene and aren’t afraid to tell you off if you aren’t following the rules!

For the steam room you don’t need to have a towel, here there is a Schlauch (hose) that you use to hose down the tiles before and after you sit down (although I did know someone who went in covered in a towel as she didn’t want to be naked, the towel was however completely wet afterwards!).

Some common things to expect at the spa

In almost every spa in Germany you will find a sauna just for women – die Damensauna. This may be a separate sauna (sometimes found in the women’s changing room) or a certain day or time of day that is specifically just for women. This is perfect if you aren’t used to being naked with a big group of people!

Die Biosauna (the organic sauna) is great for beginners as it is a milder sauna. The temperature ranges from 45 to 60 degrees celsius.

Die Finnischesauna (the finnish sauna) is usually around 70 – 90 degrees celsius.

Das Dampfbad is the steam room, the temperature ranging from 45 to 55 degrees celsius. Many people think you sweat more in the steam room than sauna, but that isn’t necessarily true, it just appears that way as the Luftfeuchtigkeit (humidity) is higher.

There are also certain times where the Saunameister (literal translation: sauna master) will do an Aufguss and infuse the sauna by pouring water with essential oils on hot stones and wave a towel around in the air to spread the oils. During the Aufguss you shouldn’t enter or leave the sauna.

For afterwards there will usually be a Tauchbecken (plunge pool) or at least a Dusche (shower) to cool off. These are very cold and sometimes are also special salt or mineral water. The change between hot and cold improves your immune system.
You should stay in the sauna or steam room for 15 minutes, then shower cold and go back in again!

Photo by Kurt Rietzler on Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Important Vocabulary

das Wellnesswochenende                    the spa weekend
Die Sauna                                                      the sauna
Das Dampfbad                                       the steam room
der Whirlpool                                                the hot tub
das Schwimmbad                                  the swimming pool
Der Aufguss                                               the infusion
das Handtuch                                              the towel
die Luftfeuchtigkeit                                 the humidity
der Schlauch                                                the hose
das Tauchbecken                                  the plunge pool
die Dusche                                                   the shower

Do you go to a spa often or have you ever been to one in Germany? Let me know what your experience was!
Thanks for reading,

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About the Author: Larissa

Hello I'm Larissa. I live in Germany and I am half German and half English. I love sharing my passion for Germany with you through my posts! Apart from writing posts I teach fitness classes in Munich.


  1. Thorsten:

    I think most people will not understand the word jacuzzi (I’ve only heard that in the US). The common known word for this in Germany is “Whirlpool”. Unfortunately we do not have have such a nice word as the Norwegians : boblebad

    • Larissa:

      @Thorsten Hi Thorsten,
      Thanks for your comment, I was actually wondering if there was another word for it in German so you’ve cleared that up for me 🙂 I’ll update the post.
      I find boblebad pretty cool!
      Hope you liked the post,

  2. Melodie:

    The Baths at Badenweiler are my favorite! Incredibly beautiful and luxurious. The Baths at Baden Baden are also wonderful.

    • Larissa:

      @Melodie Thanks for your comment Melodie, I’ve heard of the ones at Baden Baden but I’ve never been before! I’ll put it on my list of what to see 🙂

      Thanks for reading,

  3. nicky:

    very nice writing. 🙂

    one small piece of advise: actually, you shouldn’t take a cold shower directly afterwards. first you should go around for some minutes, then take a cold shower, because it’s a lot of stress for your circuit. oh and in any case you should take a shower before you jump in a “tauchbecken”. (because of bacteria and sweat of other people in a small pool…)

    • Larissa:

      @nicky Thanks for your comment Nicky! I hope you enjoyed my post 🙂