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If you’ve experienced the hammam culture in Düsseldorf and indulged in your fair share of indoor swimming and are still looking for more ways to survive the cold and grey winter periods in Germany, how about getting into the sauna culture around Düsseldorf? Germany has a well- developed sauna culture and this article will tell you all about the best ones in and around Dusseldorf.
The Sauna Culture: What to Expect
Most saunas provide various types of dry and steam saunas as well as wellness offers such as massage and beauty treatments.
If the facility is large enough, it will also offer thermal baths which are either indoor or outdoor pools. Saunas range in temperature from 55°C to 90°C (160°F to 195°F). Loungers indoors and outdoors are almost always provided in a chill-out room with plenty of blankets to wrap yourself up in. Gastronomy is also usually available with various healthy meals and drinks on offer. Don’t be surprised to see guests wearing their housecoats in the restaurant, this is all part of the sauna experience.
How Much Does the Sauna Cost?
Saunas often offer a two-hour pass, four-hour pass or day card for their patrons. Costs range according to which day you go to the sauna, with weekends and holidays being the most expensive days. Day cards seem to be the best value for your money depending on how long you intend on spending at the sauna.
Money Saving Tip: If you like saving a few Euros, check Groupon before you head to the sauna. There are often great deals (up to 60% off).
What Should I Bring to the Sauna?
- You should bring three or four large towels, for drying off and sitting on
- A housecoat is often mandatory to lounge around in
- Flip flops are not only hygienic for the shower area but easy to kick off in the chill out rooms
What is the Sauna Process Like?
After you have paid your entrance you can change in the (often unisex) dressing rooms, which also often provide lockers. Take a shower and then decide which sauna you would like to try first.
If it is your first time, I suggest a mildly hot sauna at 55°C degrees. Place your housecoat and towels on the hooks provided, flip flops should be left outside the door of the sauna. Enter the sauna naked, use your towel to sit on, and to place your feet on. Sometimes, saunas have wooden elevated seating, the higher you sit the hotter it will be. Afterward, you can dose your body with a cold shower, although difficult to tolerate, it is worthwhile for the full sauna experience.
What is ‘Aufguss’ and why it’s the Only German Word You’ll Need to Know?
The best translation for Aufguss is infusion treatment.
Saunas often announce that the Aufguss is scheduled at a certain time (or they provide a board of information and times). An attendant/sauna master comes in equipped with a bucket that has been mixed with essential oils or infusion concentrates, which are meant to have a calming or stimulating effect on the body.
The infusion ceremony begins with the attendant waving a wet towel to distribute the steam in the sauna. This creates a heat sensation as the water vapor condenses on the cooler skin. It lasts up to 6 to 8 minutes with a repetition of three waves. It is so intense that at the half-time you are permitted to leave, but often not before that. The last aufguss I endured, the attendant used branches from a special tree and whipped them in the air like a lasso.
Afterward, we were given ice cubes to rub on our bodies. It was an experience, to say the least, and my best friend still talks about it to this day.
What are the Rules Regarding the German Sauna Culture?
- Almost all saunas in Germany are textile-free. This means that they will not allow you in the sauna if you are wearing a swimsuit. If they see you in the sauna with a swimsuit on, it’s goodbye for you. Be warned the workers and guests can be quite abrasive about enforcing this rule.
- No naked skin should touch the wood in the sauna. Place towels under your body and behind your head at all times. For those who are apprehensive about showing skin, sauna skirts/wraps are a good way to get around the naked rule.
- Quietness and silence in the sauna and chill-out areas are a tacit rule of thumb.
As an avid sauna fan myself, here are my top Sauna choices in NRW
Valbali Spa | Düsseldorf – Unterbach
Vabali Spa is the newest addition to the spa saunas in NRW having recently opened in 2017. It is located in the South of Düsseldorf, near Hilden on the Elbsee lake and takes about 20 minutes by car or 1-hour by public transportation. It offers a picturesque day of relaxing and sauna indulging. Hosting 13 saunas and steam baths, a bio sauna, and a women-only sauna. Various treatments such as massages are on offer, plus an indoor and an outdoor pool are available for skinny dipping.
Suomi Sauna | Düsseldorf – Holthausen
This is one of my best insider tips! Suomi Sauna is located at the Niederheid public swimming pool. On the outside, it doesn’t look like much but once you gain access to the Suomi Sauna, you will be surprised how lovely it is decorated in a Japanese theme. Mondays are for women only, from 2:00 PM until 11:00 PM. In comparison to other saunas, the prices are amazing. A day ticket is just 20 Euros (always subject to change), with further reductions if you are a student or senior. Massage treatments are 30 minutes for 27 Euros (always subject to change), again another amazing price not easily found in NRW.
Strand Sauna | Düsseldorf – Flingern
Freizeitbad Düsselstrand offers a newly renovated sauna facility at a very reasonable cost of 18 Euros/day (always subject to change). The sauna offers full days dedicated to spa themes such as beauty treatment day, or baby spa day. Although small with only four saunas and one steam bath, it is worth your while. Outdoor lounges are lovely to chill on especially in the sunny weather. The location is so easy to access as the tram stops immediately in front of the Freizeitbad Düsselstrand.
Mediterana | Bergisch Gladbach
Mediterana is a famous sauna spa located in Bergisch Gladbach, the building itself is a sight to see. They host many offers such as beauty and massage treatments, kids club, and individual sports training. There are eleven different saunas and thermal facilities that await you in this gorgeous venue.
Claudius Therme | Cologne
Claudius Therme is located in Cologne with a view of the famous Cologne Cathedral (Dom).
As a part of the Vabali wellness group it offers the usual facilities at a sauna, but with a few extras, such as a non-nude sauna, women-only sauna, float tank with music, and three restaurants to choose from. This sauna I can truly vouch for, the float tank is an amazing experience as well as the outdoor jacuzzi. Four hours at this sauna will relieve any stress in your body and leave you floating. Claudius Therme can be easily accessed by train from the main station in Düsseldorf.
Looking for more?
If you’re still looking for more options, here are a few more saunas in/close to Düsseldorf that have received great ratings in the past. I have not been to these ones yet, so I cannot vouch for them just yet. If you’ve been and loved (or didn’t love) one of the below saunas, let us know why in the comments section below!
Munster Therme | Düsseldorf-Pempelfort
Rive Spa (Hyatt Hotel – Media Hafen) | Düsseldorf-Unterbilk
Sky Spa (Hotel Nikko) | Düsseldorf-Oberbilk
& Spa Club | Düsseldorf-Altstadt
Wellneuss | Neuss
Asia Therme | Korschenbroich
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