As we head out of winter, here’s a fun activity to help you thaw out! Check out one of the thermal baths in Switzerland. There are lots of choices but one that we particularly enjoyed is Les Bains de Lavey, located about 20 miles from Montreux. Regardless of their claim to have the warmest thermal water in Switzerland (156 degrees Fahrenheit), it is a beautiful location with thermal pools that run from indoors to outdoors and can be enjoyed regardless of your swimming ability. Open year-round but it makes more of an impression when you’re relaxing with steam rising from the hot water and snow falling around you.
Why to go: Do you really need a reason to go to a spa? It’s oh so relaxing (even if you bring the little ones, 4 years old minimum) and a great body detoxifier.
When to go: The complex is open year-round. Even the outdoor facilities can be enjoyed throughout the winter months.
What to do: This oasis offers much more than those indoor/outdoor thermal baths (3 pools, to be exact). There are jacuzzis, massage pools, swan-neck jets, mushroom fountains, waterfalls, a rapids course and bubbling water beds. At night the large outdoor thermal pool is illuminated in rotating colors. Admission also includes access to the following areas:
- “Nordic Pavilion” – saunas
- “Oriental Space” – two mixed hammam, one men’s and one women’s hammam
- “Rest Pavilion” – relaxation area with fireplace and foot bath, a room with wood burning fireplace and a color therapy room.
Additional optional treatments offered in the Wellness Area include massages and programs offered over a weekend or several days. And, if you decide you need a few days to experience the spa, the Grand Hotel is located on-site for your convenience.
What to eat: You can purchase fresh juice and snacks at the café within the complex – “L’Arc-en-Ciel”. However, our typical visit to the spas included a dinner stop at Le Chalet des Bains Restaurant. It’s located down the street from the thermal bath complex and offers tasty traditional dishes including fondue.
For more information and other spa options, you can check the website: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/besthotels/wellness/wellness-tips/thermal-baths.html
Where to make a detour: With a little extra time, why not take a side visit to the Bex Salt Mines which are only about 10 minutes from Les Bains de Lavey. A visit includes a ride on a little train that takes you deep into the salt mines along the old tunnels. From the center of the mine, there’s a pedestrian tour where you can see the salt walls up close.