We're doing the GAS tour this summer, and are looking at the options for "doing the baths" on our free afternoon in Baden Baden. Traveling with DH and DD (college aged). Looking at Tripadvisor, it seems like the nude baths actually get better reviews (more spa-like, less crowded, and not a waterpark atmosphere), but I'm admittedly a bit skeptical. Would really love thoughts from those who have done one, or both. For what it's worth, DD and I love spa-ing (DH, not so much), but from my perspective it's one thing to be nude on the massage table with just the masseuse for company or wrapped in nothing but a towel in a sauna, and quite another to be naked in front of a bunch of strangers!
I did the “clothed bath” on a warm summer day several summers ago AFTER I had had a massage at the hotel spa. The Bath was quite nice. The tour guide told us ahead of time the procedure (clothes in locker, key on wrist band).
I spent most of my time outdoors in the sun. Indoors was just too humid that day. I recommend the clothed bath.
Pam from Bath
I did the Freidrichsbad (nude bath) on two different trips, but it has been more than 20 years since I last did this. I just read a report about the baths and it sounds like they haven’t changed much since I visited. I did go on days where baths were single-sex. It was a great experience and I felt incredibly relaxed after finishing all the stages. I get the self-consciousness we Americans have with nudity, but I kind of forget about it once I got through the massage room.
The first time I went with three girls (two Americans and a Canadian) that I’d met at the youth hostel. We’d been briefed on what to expect by another traveler. I think we all were all a bit self-conscious in the beginning, but we got over it quickly.
DH and I went to the Freidrichsbad (sp?) several years ago. We both got over the self-consciousness quickly. The thing is, nobody really cares what you look like, and since everybody is naked, nobody really stands out. It was a great experience, and when we were finished we were so relaxed we could hardly walk. We managed to walk a few blocks to an outdoor cafe where we enjoyed several hours of mussels, wine and people watching. All in all it was one of the best days of that trip.
We did both last year. One with swimming suits was more like a water park, in modern building, a lot of people. I am not surprised that the nude baths get better reviews, they are indeed more spa-like, much less crowded in the old, classical Roman like building and it is more natural feeling being in water without clothes. You don't wear swimming suit into bath tub, do you? We Americans are more progressive than let's say Saudi Arabians. We go to water dressed only in swimming suit unlike them dressed from head to toe. And Germans are more progressive than we are because since early childhood swimming in nude is completely natural to them maybe because they have no Puritan ancestors. There are 17 different points to experience - pools with different temperature of water, saunas, spas, etc. There is nothing sensational being there in nude and we were there in coed day, all naked, all equal. After all these procedure almost everybody will find out that is much better feeling not to have clothes on your body while being in water. If you can go only for one then by all means it should be nude one. Or do both.
after 10 minutes you won't even notice it. Nobody cares. The whole experience is relaxing and very pleasant and completely non-sexual.
Nobody does spas like the Germans. If you want to experience it then go ahead.
My guess is after the first time you will want a second. Go to one of the many Thermen all around the country, from plain to fancy. It is always part of my German trips.
I think the answer is easy. You, and I am assuming your Daughter (not sure what DD is) go to the Spa style bath, let your Husband go have a few beers or to the Casino. If you have time, then maybe do both and drag your husband to the "clothed one"; I would hesitate to call it a water park, it is mostly adults and spacious enough that it does not seem crowded. Do be aware though that even in the "Clothed one" if you plan on doing Saunas and Steam, that is still all nude on the upper deck (well a towel to sit on in the Sauna).
As for being self-conscious, It may be awkward with Family members to be nude, but this was my first exposure to widespread nudity, and it was a non-issue after a few minutes, everyone else is as below average as you: very, very, few, if any, supermodels prancing around. After my first time there, we seek out opportunities and have been to 3-4 other German baths and a half dozen nude beaches over the years.
On our GAS tour, about 1/3 of the folks went to the bath, another third went shopping (BB has a lot of shops) and the rest went walking. BB is actually very pretty and has some nice parks and walking areas. Everyone who went to the baths seemed to enjoy the experience. You don't have to go into the co-ed area - you can leave before that.
Thanks to everyone who has responded so far - I can always count on these boards to give me great information!! I checked and we'll be there on a single-sex day, so at this point I'm leaning toward doing the nude baths with DD (yes, my daughter, to whomever asked) and perhaps sending hubby to the casino! But please, keep commenting - I love the insight from those who have visited!
We try to include B-B in our travel plans whenever we're anywhere near that part of Europe because the baths are so damned RELAXING - especially after a transatlantic flight! I was reluctant to do the naked thing at first but then I figured what the hell? I'll never see these Germans again! And as one poster noted, there are very few, if any, supermodels prancing around. No one there sees it as a big deal.
I can't see anything without my glasses so I was more worried about finding my way around than anything else but I was okay. The Caracalla Baths are also great and have very strong water jets, especially a waterfall that pounds all the tension out of your shoulders. I'm betting DH would have a terrific time there too! He can stay out of the naked areas easily.
I was there about 3 years ago on the GAS tour with my niece and her husband - - it was a separate-sex day at the Baths and we, as well as some others on the tour, went. Great experience, unlike anything we'd ever done, and something that you won't get anywhere else. I probably wouldn't do such a thing in the US but in Germany it is just normal; and after all part of the reason to travel is for new experiences. As others have said, after a few minutes you really don't notice that people are nude. And it is very relaxing, to the point that my niece fell sound asleep at the end, and her hubby and I were waiting outside afterward for so long that eventually we had to go back and ask the attendants to wake her up and get her out of there!
A friend of mine just returned from there and she loved the bath experience. She just went for it!
I might also suggest a look at the tour scrapbooks on this website to.
I went on the GAS tour about three years ago and went to the Baths. It was single sex day and I went to all the rooms except for the last room which was co-ed. It was wonderful. Each room you soak in pools of water or take showers or sit and relax. It really is an nice experience and not something you may get to do again. I was very hesitant at first but it really was fine. I would do it again if I went back to Baden Baden. Everyone is in the same boat and the women are not looking at each other. It is just something different to do and enjoyable. No one who went on the GAS tour said they were sorry or embrassed or uncomfortable after they went. It is a quiet time to enjoy the pools of water and relax.
Go you wil enjoy it. I loved the GAS tour!
I did the nude baths on this tour 3 years ago. In fact, all but 2 or 3 people in our tour ended up doing it!
I had reservations, but eventually I figured I was in Europe, their views on nudity are different than ours, and I didn't want to miss a cultural experience. Good thing I did it, because it turned out to be once of the best memories of the trip... and oh so relaxing! I just prepped myself ahead of time.
Like everyone else said:
-Europeans view nudity different. There's no ogling or staring. Don't think you have to be a supermodel or well-chiseled athlete. All body sizes and types are in there, and no one's looking.
-If you have the option, you can choose to do it on a single-sex day. We did. Though you do mingle in that center pool, but this is optional.
-Opt for the massage. Its a few euros extra but worth it. I'd also recommend at least 3-4 hours so you don't have to feel like you're rushed.
There were about 3-4 couples on our GAS tour who went to the baths. All who went enjoyed it. I am so near sighted that I didn't want to go that long without my glasses. My husband and I took the funicular up Merkur mountain. It was beautiful up there. We enjoyed watching the para-gliders take off and fly over the mountain and city. We also enjoyed the bus ride over and back. It gave us the chance to see the town and the homes of the locals.
I wear glasses and I never take them off in the spas in Germany. That way I can see which of the water toys are switched on, and I can find the slow river. Except in Saunas, where if I left them on I would fry my nose.
I went to Friedrichsbad two years ago while on the GAS tour and it was amazing! Like others have commented, the nudity thing is just different over in Europe. No one is really looking or cares. And yes, all shapes and sizes -- it feels liberating to embrace being in your birthday suit :-) The experience of proceeding through the "stations" within the spa was sublime! There are attendants to guide you along if you have any questions. My friends and I opted to pay extra for the scrub and moisturizing package. The scrub happened along the way within the spa (we were there on a segregated sex day - women on one side, men on the other. The only thing to be aware of...when we went to get moisturized (the last step in the process), the attendants that did it were men...and we laid on the table nude. I just tried to focus on the fact that they did this allllll day long and it wasn't that big of a deal :-) By that point we were complete noodles anyways! I would absolutely go to the spa again. It was beautiful, relaxing and felt like you were part of an old tradition that felt really special. Enjoy! Baden-Baden was a favorite on the tour!!!
Yep, did it on my own. It was co-ed. The first 30 seconds were a shock, after that it just seemed like everyone was wearing the same outfit (some just fit better than others - lol). I loved it. Would do it again if I go back. If you are comfortable letting your daughter see you naked, then go for it!
OK, so this was the second stop on our Germany, Switzerland, Austria tour. Our tour guide had told us our options and 90% of the group was silent. Initially a show of hands revealed about 5 people interested in the Spa experience. After a great lunch and the time came. Nine of us went to the "all nude" spa. A very upscale experience, we all did the 17 stations which consumed just over two hours. The facility was amazing and the assistants were very professional, I was totally relaxed and unembarrassed, as I believe were everybody else. After the experience we all became the best of friends for the remainder of the trip and I'm thinking that others on the tour wished that they'd had partaken as well. I'd had comments from several of my new friends that they wanted to return, and I admit I had the same feelings. So glad that we took the plunge. Happy Camper.
I was in GAS tour 2016. The Baden baden spa experience was amazing. I did all the stations and spent almost 3 hours in the spa. I was ackward in the beginning but nobody is paying attention to me ( the shy introvert me) or anybody else so I soon forgot about nakedness and just allowed myself to be fully in the experience. I had a good srubbing and it was wonderful. I told myself I'm travelling to have new experiences and that was the perfect oppotunity. I did all the activities available to me so I won't miss out. Remembering it makes me smile.