In Baden-Baden Part 1, I told you about our Family Spa Day in this beautiful spa town in South West Germany: taking in the waters of modern Caracalla Spa and enjoying cultural and nature attractions with our kids. We are lucky that in our family travels these days we get to have Part 2: Date Night. You see, our son is 16 and he kindly agrees to babysit our younger daughter. As much as I love traveling and making memories as a family, I greatly appreciate this “best of both worlds” opportunity to spend time with my husband on a date in Europe with our kids nearby. In Baden-Baden, pretty much everything is within a 10-minute walk, so you will not waste your precious date time getting to your date night activity (the parents will understand).
So, where did we head on our date night in a spa town: of course, TO A SPA! This time, it was a historical Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish Spa in a center of town (it’s 14+ spa, but if you don’t have built-in babysitters in your travel team, like we do, you could leave your kids at a very affordable daycare center housed on the 3rd floor of the Caracalla Spa; €5 per child while parents are in either Caracalla or next door Friedrichsbad spas).
Both baths are owned by the same company (Carasana), but Friedrichsbad has a very different ambience: it is elegant spa relaxation at its best (think sculptured archways, marble tiles, and exotic frescoes on the ceiling). When it first opened in 1877, it was the most modern bathing establishment in Europe, frequented by Mark Twain (who claimed that after 20 minutes in Friedrichsbad, you “forget the world”).
There is a recommended Roman-Irish bathing ritual: a 17-step sequence (detailed here) of warm and hot air baths, steam rooms, warm and hot water baths, a cold bath, massages and showers during which your body temperature is first slowly increased and then gently brought back down with ever cooling temperatures of the pools. The ritual is diagrammed on the walls in the spa and in the brochures, but it is merely a suggestion. Your timed entry ticket (€25 for a 3-hour basic package;€37 for a 3.5 hour soap and brush massage package) allows you an opportunity to freely move between the stations at your leisure.
What is not negotiated is your attire: in Friedrichsbad, you have to be naked to use the facilities (as in many sauna complexes in Germany for a combination of hygienic and historical reasons). On Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays (check before you go) men and women bath separately, but meet at stations 10 and 11 where the most beautiful pools are located. On other days and public holidays, it’s a mixed bathing affair at all stations.
We entered the Bath after 6 pm, on a mixed day, and there were only several other bathers sharing the entire bath house with us. (The Bath is open 9am-10pm daily).
Like Caracalla, Friedrichsbad is fed by 12 artesian (underground) springs under town, and it is believed that the bathing process stimulates the blood circulation and strengthens the immune system.
Step 16 is a “quiet” room where you are literally wrapped into warm blankets by the attendant for the final step of a complete relaxing stillness. (Step 17 takes you to a reading room where you browse the magazines while sipping hot tea and getting ready to return to the real world. Here, you are wrapped in your bathing sheet).
I will do a more detailed review of the Friedrichsbad spa in a separate post, but I can tell you now that it will be the most beautiful bath you will ever take and a most relaxing date night ever (even if you feel initially apprehensive about the nudity).
Our Hotel Magnetberg was only steps away (unfortunately, it was an UP walk from the spas, greatly protested against by our relaxed bodies. I recommend a taxi).
The following day, still hungry for more “date time” in Baden-Baden, we went to a Faberge Museum on Sophienstrasse, 30, also in a center of town and a short walk from our hotel (and the spas).
Faberge Museum in Baden-Baden is world’s only museum dedicated to the 19-century Russian jewelry maker Carl Faberge and his Faberge jewelry house, most famous for its Faberge Easter eggs. Museum collection is housed in several tightly packed rooms, and while children under 12 visit free, it may be difficult for young kids to move and get interested in (mostly) tiny objects, even if they belonged to the Russian czars (regular admission is €18 euros; teens 12-18 are € 8). Several knowledgeable multilingual guides are conveniently on hand to explain the history of the objects and Faberge family.
Now, as we were feeling both relaxed and cultured, it would have been a perfect time to dress up and head to one of the world’s most glamorous Casino Baden-Baden.
(classical games from 2pm; you have to be 21+ to enter; jacket and tie are mandatory for men).
Whether you are a player or not, it would be difficult to imagine a more elegant date night atmosphere among imperial paintings, classical sculptures and Louis XIII style furniture.
We have taken these pictures of the Casino during our guided family tour in the morning, when pictures are allowed. I have to confess that at night, we did not find any energy left (after our family spa and nature day) to come back for our date night in the Casino. This will remain our reason to come back to this very special town (along with repeat visits to BOTH spas).
The Kurhaus complex (built in 1824) where Casino is located, has several other cultural venues, and I recommend checking the schedule for world-class musical and theater events while you are in town on a date night.
Do you get to go on dates while traveling with your family?
We would like to thank Baden-Baden Tourism Office for helping to arrange complimentary access to the activities mentioned in the story. All opinions are our own.
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