Germany: Tips for Baden-Baden and its all-nude Friedrichsbad thermal spa

A handsome man in his thirties smiled at me cordially as I walked towards him down the long, brightly lit corridor. He was the official greeter at the Friedrichsbad, a famous bath house in the German spa city of Baden-Baden. What followed was a rather mundane exchange of salutations and administrative instruction.

Except that he was fully clothed, whereas I was completely naked.

An interjection: for those of you that would like to skip straight to the step-by-step bathing process, click here.

Ready? Let’s move on…

Baden-Baden (literally “Baths-Baths”) is both swanky and wholesome in a way that only German or Swiss wellness meccas can be, and I’ve written another post on the city of Baden-Baden here. But since most of my short visit was spent in the protracted bathing process of the Friedrichsbad “Roman-Irish Baths,” and since that (in)famous bathing house jumps front and center into the minds of so many at the mention of Bade-Baden, I’ll focus the rest of this post on that topic.


About the Friedrichsbad, optional co-ed bathing, and taking German precision with a grain of salt


This “temple to the art of wellbeing,” as its promotional literature describes, was built in 1877 as an R&R facility for German soldiers. It sits directly next to the ruins of Roman baths and the modern Caracalla Spa thermal baths, popular with the modestly inclined because of its bathing-suit-friendly policy. The Baden-Baden baths are driven by natural thermal streams that surface from 6,500 feet deep and contain minerals like sodium chloride, lithium, cesium, silica, boric acid, manganese, magnesium, and traces of cobalt, zinc and copper.

However, for the most authentic and beautiful spa experience there’s no spa in Baden-Baden – or perhaps Germany – other than this one, which is housed in a monumental, gorgeously decorated Neo Classical  building. And, yes, it’s “traditionally garment-free.”

A temple to the art of wellbeing

At the time of this writing, men and women bathe separately on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Regardless of the day, both sexes share the central whirlpool and bath (Stages 10 and 11). You can skip these stages, but be forewarned that you’ll miss out on the most lavish and decadent part of the day (see photo below). I later described it to friends as “swimming in a pool of Evian.” But since you’re free to go at your own pace and skip or repeat stages as you wish, it’s your choice.

*Tip: Even on a mixed-sex day, the workers and masseurs are divided, usually with men on the “blue” side [turn left as you head up the central staircase] and women on the opposite “red” side. I tend to request male masseurs, but if you’re uncomfortable with the situation described in the opening paragraph of this post, confirm which side is which with the ticket attendant when you purchase your package.

And you are free to go at your pace, despite the precise, multilingual instructions at each station. TripAvisor members Andrew_and_Mary give a hilarious review of them:

The “guidelines” at Friedrichsbad are quite precise, as you would expect from the Germans. As you enter there is a plaque outside each room, explaining what to do, what the effect is and how long to stay. It appears that a German Scientist has invested a large part of his life researching the optimal time one must spend in each of these chambers. How else could they know that it takes 4 minutes to dry off? Not 3 minutes, not 5 minutes, no, you are given exactly 4 minutes! The same Scientist has also discovered that one should not drink more than 175ml of the thermal water freely available within the bath house each day. Not having a measuring cup with us and quite frightened of the consequences, we voted for dehydration rather than drink the water.


For my part, I can attest to no negative consequences from either the blatant disregard of timelines or from the imbibing of mineral water. However, I did follow the order of all steps as prescribed, including the five showers. Hygiene is near and dear to the hearts of our hosts, so the body is repeatedly cleaned throughout and towels or sheets are provided for all seating areas.

According to signage inside the spa, this is the last bath house in the world to offer a wet sauna heated entirely with thermal heat. The 17-stage bathing process gradually heats then cools your body, utilizing dry air, steam, baths, scrubbing and massage. So it goes without saying that this experience is one-of-a-kind, and therefore shouldn’t be missed.

*Tip: Solo female travelers might want to visit on a single-sex day, not so much for safety as for a pleasant, introspective experience. Although silence is requested throughout the spa, like so many other places, if you’re a woman travelling alone it seems there’s often at least one person bent on striking up a companionship.


The naked truth


Before we go any further, let’s talk about the whole naked thing.

I guarantee it’s not as bad as you might think (if you’ve tried it and agree or disagree, let me know what you think by leaving a comment!). Here are six reasons why:

  1. Once everyone in a room is nude, nobody stands out. It’s the act of artfully covering and revealing with clothing or bathing suits that increases the sexual quotient. Really – it’s like comparing one tree to another. You can’t. They’re just organic objects.
  2. People really aren’t that interested in you. They’re minding their own business, and hoping you’ll do the same.
  3.  This is an egalitarian bath house, so you’ll find all ages, shapes and sizes.
  4. A little initial discomfort is natural – congratulations! You’re widening your horizons by pushing your comfort zone. But a couple minutes later, you’re over it. In a letter to a friend, Mark Twain wrote, “Here at the Friedrichsbad you lose track of time within 10 minutes and track of the world within 20….”
  5. German saunas and spas (and even some public parks!) are often garment-free, so most people with you will be behaving like it is “business as usual.” Their unfazed demeanor will rub off on you before you know it.
  6. Centuries of people on most continents have or had cultures of shared bathing. If they can do it, you can, too! Rip off your bras and boxers, take note of the tips below, and get ready for the time of your life…


Inside the Friederichsbad




At the ticket office, you’ll be able to choose from one of three steals: a basic bath (allowing you up to 3 hours at 23€), a bath with soap-and-brush scrub (3.5 hours at 33€), or the full package with cream massage (4 hours included at 43€). While the cream massage is quick and therefore discretionary, don’t miss the soap-and-brush scrub. Your selection will be encoded into your wristband.


Changing rooms


Swipe your wristband at the turnstile to enter either the red or blue side of the baths. The changing rooms could be an homage to Lewis Carroll. There are rows of available cubicles (or rabbit holes), but little instruction. You open a door to one, disrobe, then leave through the opposite door into the “private” (nude) area, where you can deposit your clothes in a locker (your wristband will lock it). Hours later when you reverse the process, after making your way through a three-hour maze and its alternate reality, you’ve been transformed.

*Tip: If you want to avoid a long walk down the hallway, choose a changing cubicle that’s as far from the turnstile as possible.


Stages 1 – 3: Hot air


The greeter will give you a sheet and sandals and direct you to the shower to wash off your street grime. The showers could be described as a cross between rain showers and buckets of water falling from above. The natural hot springs are diluted with cold water and you can control the temperature, but the pressure is uniform: imagine opening the tap to a waterfall.

The hot and hotter saunas that follow are heated from below, so don’t forget those sandals. Lay back on a wooden lounge chair, and then let your mind float as you gaze up at high ceilings with whimsically painted tiles.
*Tip: The wooden lounges are hot! Double up your sheet before reclining.


Stages 4 – 6: Soap scrub


Since toxins have already begun to seep from your pores, it’s time to shower again before giving yourself over to the soap and brush massage (your wristband is removed and swiped to ensure you purchased the option). Your privates are kept private here, but other than that it’s a full-body scrub and massage, including those ticklish spots like your tummy and the bottoms of your feet, and it ends with a customary slap on the bum.

In Germany, you almost always begin a massage facing up, rather than down. Give yourself over to being fully coddled, because this truly is one of the day’s highlights.

*Tip: Choose the soft brush for your scrub, unless you have a high pain tolerance.


Stages 7 – 11: The aquatic life


Shower off the soap and head to the steam rooms, now free of your sheet but carrying a square seat pad. Heat rises, so the higher you sit in the two steam rooms, the more punch it will pack. Be sure to shower here before heading to the pools.

The whirlpools and pools offer a successive reduction of heat, and soaking in the mineral salts of the thermal water supposedly offers the greatest health benefits. Again, I was beguiled by high ceilings and decorative tiles, culminating in the domed central pool (the “Evian experience” mentioned earlier). As Igougo member Aardwhite describes:

This feels like how it must have been for the Romans. You half expect a eunuch to be waiting at the side to feed you grapes.

*Tip: In the public areas, it is customary to either avoid eye contact with fellow bathers or offer a brief, customary nod. Germans don’t typically do big smiles or verbal salutations with strangers.

Inside the Friedrichsbad of Baden-Baden, Germany

“Like swimming in a pool of Evian.”


Stages 12 – 15: Winding down


After the big pool, it’s time to head back for an optional cold-water plunge (18° C or 64°F) and – yet another – shower before drying off with a giant bath towel in a foyer-type room. If you’ve chosen a cream massage you’ll be directed upstairs; otherwise, you can choose one of the proprietary lotions to apply yourself in front of a large, semi-private mirror that’s rather unfortunately brightly lit. Liz Surbeck blogged about this moment of the Friedrichsbad experience:

Now it can be really tempting to try and be modest and not spend a lot of time with the cream station by just scantly rubbing yourself with lotion. Be sure that you make an effort to at least look like you mean to get all over your body as a guy next to me got “caught” by an attendant who said he needed to get all over to make it worth it…so she helped him. This is just a caution to lotion yourself or someone will do it for you. You decide what you’d prefer.

*Tip: Herbal tea is also available at this point, though you can wait to have some later in the reading room.


Stages 16 – 17: Relaxation


What reinvigoration process would be complete without a deep sleep?

The next step is the relaxation room, a dark, circular cave ringed with beds. You’ll lay your cleaner-than-ever self upon an equally clean, ironed sheet. Then comes the best part: they lift the underlying blankets up and around you, literally swaddling you in comfort from head to toe. Feeling as secure as a baby, you can slowly drift off to sleep.

Since it would be jarring to head out to the real world immediately upon waking, there is yet a final stage: the reading room, filled with tall windows emitting natural light, where you can lounge (in a towel) and enjoy a gradual return to focused thought. Those thoughts will likely fall somewhere between “This is so energizing! I could take on the world!” to “I’m so blissed out I could just float down the street right now,” depending upon how well you slept in the relaxation room and how big a leap it was for you to shed your inhibitions and get into your birthday suit. By the time you’ve returned to the changing rooms to slip into the (hopefully clean) garments you brought with you, depositing your wristband into the turnstile so it will allow you passage as you leave, chances are you’ll be wearing a big silly grin … and you might even be feeling a tad bit awkward in those scratchy clothes.


If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out our posts on some other wellness areas Adelboden: A Swiss Alps Dream and Germany’s Rhine River: Cruise Your Way to Relaxation or testing your comfort zone Surviving Holi, the Festival of Colors.

Where is Baden-Baden?

Baden-Baden is located in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg at the start of the Black Forest, a short drive from the French city of Strasbourg (home of the European Parliament) and the German city of Karlsruhe (whose airport is served by RyanAir).

Learn more

Visit the official site of the Friedrichsbad

Mark Twain describes the Friedrichsbad

Rick Steves describes Baden-Baden

Test your comfort zone even further: blogger Christine Ka’aloa talks about unusual treatments at Seoul’s Dragon Hill Spa

More photos in our photo gallery

Related tweets

  • Posts can wait. I’m off to (in)famous all-nude Friedrichsbad baths for their 2.5hr, 16-step cleansing. Modesty be gone!
  • Tonight I tried unpasteurized horseradish cheese (it’s green!). Yum!
  • Best to remove a star when considering European hotels. 4* = Holiday Inn, 5* = Hyatt
  • Near the border of France in Germany’s Black Forest, the landscape here is so lush. Perfect for a town based on wellness and pampering
  • We’re in Baden-Baden, where Belle Epoque luxury surrounds “healing” thermal waters enjoyed by Mark Twain and most of 19c. high society


Connect with the author on Google+



  1. Wow. I’ve done the somewhat similar bathing experience at Hot Springs National Park, but this sounds 100x more amazing. I can’t wait to try this someday – this is being added to my “don’t miss it” file!

  2. It’s a must-do, definitely. Would love to hear your thoughts once you get the chance to experience it!

  3. OMG- Wow Jenna, you’re a brave soul! Naked co-ed bathing would intimidate me a bit and I’d feel torn about the Evian water experience. Mostly cause uh… how do they make sure no guy is doing ‘funny stuff’ in the waters? Sorry it’s a gross thought, but that would be on my solo girl mind. haha… Thanks for the mention! But lady, you top my GRRR! 😉

  4. Ok, now that one I don’t have an answer for! Lol – I guess it’s the same as with any community hot tub, but since there are always people around, any perv would have to be pretty ballsy. Luckily, most of the pools are still water, i.e. crystal clear!

    Thanks for the GRRR tag!

  5. I would totally do something like this, Europeans have a much better view on things like this than North Americans.

  6. It’s amazing what’s perfectly normal for one culture and not for another, when our bodies are all the same!

  7. Kristen says

    Hmmm, never thought I’d be tempted to bathe nude in a public place. But your experience has me intrigued. I’d consider going if you were my tour guide. With your wit and sense of humor it would be memorable. Do you do tours? Is that a prerequisite for enjoying the beautiful city? Should I add that to my bucket list?

  8. No tours to date, but hmmm, nude tours of German spas sounds like a cash-cow business idea 🙂 But I’m not sure Ben would appreciate the turn my professional life was taking.

    The city is amazing with or without the thermal baths (but why?). Take a look at this post for more: The German Spa Town of Baden-Baden

  9. Had a wonderfull time in the nude bathing area , all very happy people, and did not feel out of place for our first nude bathing experience,

  10. Thanks for taking the time to comment on it. I’m sure many people will feel more at ease after reading that you too had a nice experience there!

  11. Thanks for a very informative and intriguing post! I am sure you got everybody’s imaginations racing there.

    I have never done anything like that before, but the experience you describe really is tempting. If there is one place I would do it, then maybe the Firedrichsbad spa would have to be it!

  12. Thanks for posting this! I want to do the Friederichsbad in September and I’m more anxious about ‘getting it right’ than I am about being stark raving nude. You mention sandals. Do you bring your own (like flip-flops or water shoes) or do they provide something? And if you do fall asleep in the sleep room at the end, does someone wake you up? I can’t wait to try it!

  13. Hi Teresa – Germans tend to be pretty big on protocol and completely unfazed by nudity, so it sounds like you’re totally in the zone 😉 Shower shoes will be provided (your greeter will give them to you before you get to the shower room), and if you fall asleep in the sleep room . . . nobody wakes you up! It’s bliss. The people coming and going from the room act as a natural alarm clock, and you can decide whether or not to (metaphorically) press snooze. If you get a chance, please stop back by afterwards and tell us how it went…

  14. Well. It was WONDERFUL, and I highly recommend the baths to anyone. My BF and I went to the Friedrichsbad spa on a segregated bathing day, which was probably a good way to be introduced to the whole concept. I got a little confused in the dressing room initially, but the German attendant cheerfully helped me out. The process is, indeed, foolproof, though there are a couple of times where to get to the next room you actually have to go back through a room you were already in. Still, the baths are well signed.
    When I got to the pool that is next to the mixed-bathing area, I saw my BF go in, so I took a deep breath and also went in. Oddly, being there with a bunch of naked guys wasn’t as weird as I expected. Actually, by that time I was so relaxed that the Queen and the Pope could have walked in and I wouldn’t have cared.
    The soap and brush scrub was fantastic too. Anyway, if you’re thinking about doing Friedrichsbad but aren’t quite sure, just do it. 🙂

  15. Bravo, Teresa! I’m so glad you took the plunge (haha) and especially glad that you returned here to let others know you survived. Hopefully it inspires even more people to step out of their comfort zone and indulge in this underappreciated, centuries-old ritual!

  16. Hi, I am going to Baden Baden and I am arriving on a Saturday. So, I am anxious to reserve a spa treatment in case it is crowded. Do you know how to do that on the internet? I am unable to find the Friedrichsbad official website. Thanks

  17. Hi Jan, for the services mentioned here, you won’t need a reservation. If you’d like something else or just want to make sure, the site is here (I’ll add it into the post for others, too – thanks). The Friedrichsbad and Caracalla are owned by the same company and share that website, so don’t get confused!

    Enjoy it!

  18. Frank Edwin Stone says

    I enjoyed the article.
    A small correction: the only reason that Strassburg is officially part of France is because of American intervention against Germany in two World Wars. Strassburg with Elsass-Lothringen was always German and it remains so to this day, in spite of official persecution and suppression of the native German language.

    The same is the situation in the South Tyrol.

  19. Hey Jen, Bravo!! Not many westerners would do comfortably get into their B’day suit in public. I went with my German gf and went in the mixed day. I was surprised at how many young couples there were. I think everyone steals the occasional glance out of curiosity but there was no gawking. Floating in the main baths completely nude amongst strangers is so lIberating! Def keen to do it again!!

  20. Hi Rob, thanks so much for letting everyone know about it. I think many people that arrive at this post are still in the undecided phase, so I love when other people confirm their positive experience.

  21. Yea, v positive. After the naughty/uncomfortable feelings wash away it all becomes v natural. Aside from the two main baths, are there any smaller saunas to visit? Thinking of heading back.

  22. @Rob – Almost all hotels have their own saunas, but I still haven’t been able to straddle that comfort zone leap, I’m afraid. It’s one thing to be in a large space where people are going about their business and moving from one room to the next, and quite another to squeeze into a small room where everybody sits in a U-pattern around the walls, therefore looking directly at each other. As for small public saunas, I’m really not sure. When I was there, my attention was focused solely on this one, the grand dame of saunas 🙂

  23. Thank you so much for this post! I am going to Germany in March and have been debating going to Baden Baden but now I will definitely be going! This information is priceless!

  24. It will most likely still be cold in March, so yes! Steam and hot baths will be perfect.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to say something so nice. If I have a day where I doubt whether it’s all worth it, I’ll just reread your note. Problem solved! It means the world to me that you found value here. I hope you have a truly fantastic time when you go.

  25. Kate McIlvaine says

    Headed to Baden-Baden this Sunday for our first try at the Friedrichsbad. Thank you for the step-by-step tips – very helpful!

  26. Enjoy! Stop back by and tell us how it went if you get a chance.

  27. Hi Jenna,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience at the spa and I appreciate the thoughtful detail that you provided.
    I am looking forward to going next month with my husband and have one question. (I had many more but thanks to you they have been answered) The question is: does the dressing room have a hairdryer and mirror so that I can get presentable to attend dinner afterwards? I am hoping that I do not need to go back to the hotel.
    Thank you again! Judy

  28. Hi Judy, thanks for the nice words. They mean a lot.

    Good question. The answer is yes … and no. Yes, there are hairdryers and mirrors, but they’re not in the dressing room (at least not on the men’s side of the house, where I was, which doesn’t matter that much on a coed day). You’ll find them in the final “lotion” stage.

    If drying your hair while standing naked in front of a large mirror as other people possibly mill about waiting to use one of the few lotion stations does NOT sound like a relaxing end to your spa experience, then plan on returning to your hotel. That’s probably what I would do 🙂

    If you get a chance, stop back by and let us know how it goes! The more tips the better for everyone.

  29. Dan Freeman says

    My wife and I went to the Friedrichsbad spa last Sunday, March 10. It was an amazingly relaxing and freeing experience. We went on a mixed day and felt so “normal” within minutes. Jenna’s step-by-step was terrific because we were better prepared for what to expect. Some observations/enhancements to Jenna’s list:
    > We arrived by train from Frankfurt (for the day) and went to the Spa in the heart of Baden Baden, arriving at Noon. The Spa entrance is elegant and inviting. After you go through the turnstile, we immediately looked for a changing stall (wrong move!) … each stall’s back door leads to a locker … and because that late in the day (noon), all of the lockers opposite the entry changing stalls were already taken, we ended up hunting for an attendant (completely nude by this time and not even in the baths yet), causing unnecessary stress so early in our first experience! Instead, if the lockers are all closed, make an upside down U walk around the stalls you see first, and there is a whole set of EMPTY stalls AND lockers on the other side!
    > From your first shower, g o s l o w ly. Don’t rush. Follow the first shower with two hot and hotter sauna’s s l o w ly. Enjoy, take it in. And especially stay as long as you want in the Relaxation step. Despite all of the precision of numbered steps, this experience is a glorious 3-4 hours (we took four) of the most wonderful life experience. My wife — who was very reluctant for this first ever totally-nude-in-front-of-lots-of-others, said “I was so relaxed and it felt so good, so normal and so amazing.”

    Be brave, this is a great experience.

  30. Hi Dan, thank you so much for taking a moment to advise and encourage. I’m certain that your recommendation will go a long way towards motivating people that are on the fence – which is all for the best, because we wouldn’t want them to miss out on the wonderfully freeing relaxation that you write about!

    On a personal note, I too found your comment motivating. And gratifying! Sometimes it’s difficult to sense whether one’s words have any impact in a venue as anonymous as the internet, but when I hear back from real people it proves the effort is worthwhile. If a post leads even one person to experience something new, positive and memorable then I’m happy with my contribution.

    Wishing you many more amazing travel experiences!

  31. This sounds like an very relaxing experience. We are considering a trip to Germany in the near future. On question and I don’t want to be inappropriate in anyway but what do men do if they become aroused? Could be very embarassing if that happened amidst all the changing temperatures etc.

  32. Chuck – Being female I’m afraid that’s outside my area of expertise. What I can tell you is that this is not an erotic environment. Believe me when I say there’s a world of difference between the sexiness of small bikinis and shorts like you’d see on any beach, and real-world naked human bodies.

  33. What Jenna says is mostly true (<: When you are walking around and/or in the sauna or one of the pools, what you see are nude women who are pretty no matter how different in sizes, shapes and ages from each other — but you are seeing them as a dispassionate observer. When everyone is naked and there are no sexual overtones, what you see becomes "normal". Admittedly, I was in one pool looking out, valiantly not staring in any one place, and I started feeling aroused but I just stayed longer in the pool and started thinking of something else before moving on.

  34. Dan, thanks for coming to the rescue!

  35. Thanks Dan. I really wouldn’t be going for an erotic experience, but just a little nervous of what to do if it happens. I’m less nervous if it’s just an understood thing that male arousal can happen but isn’t a big deal as long as no one makes a big deal about it and goes on about their business. Handling it in a pool is manageable, I’m more afraid of what to do if I’m walking station to station.

  36. It can happen … but it’s ignored. In the four hour we were there, I saw one guy — probably 19 years old — going from a hot pool to a colder, semi-erect. No one gave it a second thought. Best is to think of something else before you start walking around (<:

  37. Joe and Gayle says

    My wife and I went to Friedrichsbad a couple of years ago. After eleven days of walking all over Bavaria, the scrub massage and soaking was heaven to our legs. We had a wonderful experience, the facilities were gorgeous,and the nudity was not an issue after the first five minutes. When in Germany, do as the Germans do. It was such a great experience, we changed our plans and spent an extra night in Baden Baden so we could go back to the baths the next morning. I wish they could move it here to the States. We would go regularly.

  38. It is unfortunate to humilate our man kind and expose our private parts to each other. Our creater has prevented us from doing such unethical and unpleasant thing yet, we are disopaying him. I could not tolaterate a moment when I went to a spa in California and saw naked men walking around. I do not know why we have to be naked to enjoy bathing, why not to cover the private parts and do everything we want to do.

  39. Hi Joe and Gayle, I’m sure it will mean a lot to people to read your testimony! Thanks

  40. Hi Majed! It might seem strange, but the Germans believe it is unsanitary to wear clothes into such places. There is so much heat and water that germs can flourish, especially if they are trapped close to the body. In order to keep the bathing zone hygienic, only nude bodies are allowed (after people have scrubbed themselves clean in the shower, of course).

  41. Hey Jenna,
    Posted a while back and since have been to a sauna in Stuttgart. The ppl there are so open it’s great. I went after a beer fest and was needing to clense. There were so many naked bodies i didn’t know were to look. As a relatively young guy i got very aroused and my female friend had to stay with me in the pool for longer than should!! but in true german fashion she laughed at my semi hard penis in the sauna so it was all good!
    And it was the best way to get over the beer!

  42. Hi Dan, welcome back! And thanks for again sharing the male perspective. There were a couple of sauna situations that felt awkward for me because of the small room size, which mostly happened in hotels. To sit just a few feet across from people, with strangers next to me on both sides, always felt weird. I much prefer the baths with larger saunas attached! But I agree – no matter the venue, it’s a great detox.

  43. JeremiahONCE says

    I went there in 2009 and loved the experience. I wanted to make sure I remember the name of the spa and it is why I am here. I went to a “nordic” spa experience here in Canada, and while it was great and mostly outdoor on a lovely sunny day, it doesn’t have the strength of character of Friedrichsbad.

  44. @JeremiahONCE – Good point about the Friedrichsbad “character.” Thanks for weighing in.

  45. As a German living in the US, I have found that Americans are very prudish when it comes to many things, especially nudity. The German baths are all about relaxation and not erotic experiences. I hate to put my clothes back on when it’s all over.

    It seems to natural in Europe, but uncomfortable in America. There are many resorts/beachs in Europe that are clothing optional.

    My advice is to try it – you will find that there’s only a short while until you notice nothing and it is a liberating feeling. Baden-Baden baths are wonderful way to unwind and there’s a sense or renewal.

    If you’re not comfortable going with both sexes, then choose a single sex day. Soon you will find that it’s not erotic at all.

  46. Mike – glad to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

  47. We are headed here in 3 weeks, but confused about the pricing we saw on the website. What was the cost in USD for your experience?

  48. Hi B, Google says that today’s exchange rate would put the USD cost at $30 – $56, depending on the add-ons you buy. As I mentioned in the “welcome” section, I highly recommend the soap-and-brush scrub. That will put you at just over $40 for a 3.5 hour spa experience.

  49. Hi ,

    My question is what if i don’t like to be nude ? can i still use the spa ?

  50. Hi Majid, unfortunately, no, but you can use parts of the Caracalla spa instead, which is practically next door. Traditionally, Germans believe it is unhygienic to wear clothes or bathing suits in saunas and mineral water baths.

  51. Great post – I would love to try a nude spa sometime! So far my mixed nudity experience has been limited to beaches. Have you been to a nude or topless beach? If so, how does it compare to being nude in a spa?

  52. Hi Megan, it’s a bit more intense since you’re enclosed, but similar in that nobody seems to care much about those around them (especially in Germany!). Hope this helps. Enjoy!

  53. Hi Jenna

    Great post. I just discovered it late tonight, having visited Friedrich’s bad this evening. Sooo good! I was really quite self conscious to begin with. My wife and I went together, though she was unable to go into the saunas or steam room. After a very short time, it seemed completely natural to be naked. Unbelievable! The soap scrub was a bit challenging, starting with lying on my back. But, I just said to myself “just go with it” and from then on I was fine. My wife was also very relaxed after a short period of time and we both felt strange at having to put our clothes back on and a little disappointed that the whole experience was over so quickly…. 3.5 hours later!! Time may fly when your having fun, but it really flies, when your naked with a bunch of other naked people taking saunas and spas. I can’t emphasise enough as to how liberating an experience this has been. We’re from Australia, and this totally wouldn’t work there. The culture about nudity is totally different here. It is not at all an erotic experience. There were people of all ages and shapes and sizes, and no one could care less about it. There is no way I would have stuck around in there with my wife if I didn’t feel completely comfortable that it was a safe place for her.
    I can’t recommend it highly enough. We have just cancelled our trip to Venice so we can stay longer in Baden-Baden…. enough said?

    All the best!


  54. Thanks, Matt! I’m sure your comments will be so reassuring for so many people. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  55. Hi Jenna

    Thank you.

    I thought I might mention also, we’re in our mid 30’s and there were plenty of people our age and younger, as well as the expected oldies.

    We also really enjoyed the pub/restaurant called Amadeus. And basically just fell in love with this town. It is just beautiful.

    The staff also said that the busier times were weekends and public holidays.



  56. We visited Baden Baden in 2006. We knew what to expect from watching the Rick Steves
    travel programs. My wife is notoriously modest. She has large breasts, but won’t wear any
    low cut clothes. When we arrived, I encouraged her to go to the Caracalla Spa where
    people wear swim suits.

    She doesn’t like me to experience things that she doesn’t, so she screwed up her courage
    and took the plunge. She LOVED it. Left limp as wet rags. We came home and she told family and friends about it.

    I was less concerned about becoming “aroused” than I was about “shrinkage” after
    the cold plunge.

    Loved it and hope to go back some day.


  57. Hi Mike, good to know that even the most modest among us can take the plunge and come back with positive reviews! Thanks.

  58. johny_walker says

    Hi Jenna,

    Quick question, are there same number of males and females? Do they only allow couples or can single men or women also come in?


  59. Hi Johny, I went alone. That day it was pretty evenly divided in terms of men and women. Enjoy!

  60. What do you suggest being a single is it fine to go there? as mostly in these areas you will only find couples.

  61. May have missed it, but… glasses. Are they an issue? I mean, I’m blind without them to the point wher I couldn’t find the signs, much less read them, but wandering around naked except for them seems awkward.

  62. Hi NEman, can’t say I saw anybody with glasses, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be allowed in your case. Two potential annoyances to consider: because you’re moving into rooms of varying temperatures, you’d need to be prepared for your glasses to fog up, and when you were showering you would have to find someplace safe to put them (the shower room is large and open, rather than made of individual stalls). Let us know!

  63. Hi Hassan, many individuals go alone to enjoy the baths in solitude. Enjoy!

  64. Thanks for the post!! My husband and I went this past weekend and your tips really helped to give me a little bit of a better idea what to expect (especially the whole being nude part). You were right in that it’s not as weird as us prudish Americans think it will be. I even wrote about our own experiences on our blog. Feel free to check it out!

  65. Meghan, glad you took the plunge! Pun intended! Great post, thanks 🙂

  66. I went to Friedrichsbad with trepidation. I’m pretty conservative and unashamed of that. My husband had suggested this as a once-in-a-lifetime European experience. Part of me was excited, part scared to death. We intentionally went on a mixed day, so we could do it together. I almost ran for my life on entering the changing area, but once nude and in the showers, I decided just to go with it and enjoy. It was great fun. Very relaxing and stimulating to the skin. Felt great afterwards.

    On the “everybody’s naked, nobody cares, nobody looks” or “it’s non sexual in Europe.” Don’t believe that. I’m not putting it down. Just being honest. It’s not overtly sexual or leering by any means, but people are people. There’s not a switch that turns of curiosity and stimulation from nude bodies. Sure, a few are oblivious to the rest of the world as in any setting. Most are looking, yet are discreet. I must admit, that was me. I snuck a few peaks around, and noticed others doing the same. One guy really looked me over. That’s ok. It was flattering. Reading posts on Tripadvisor makes clear that on some weekend evenings, it can be much more sexual, so be aware.

  67. Thanks, Jan, for this perspective. Good point that the timing of the visit might affect the mood.

  68. I know I’m a bit late but I do have a very positive experience to share with the people who talk about feeling intimidated about being nude in a co-ed environment.

    I’m from the rather prudish UK and I was taken here by a female friend who is German. I had never been in a situation like this before and obviously I had many of the same anxieties as others have already talked about – I worried about a lot of people (my friend inparticular) seeing me nude, about the size of my penis and obviously about getting aroused.

    I was pretty terrified as soon as I got nude and I was using my hands to cover myself up. But after about 20 or 30 minutes I had completely forgotten the fact that I was naked and I felt totally natural. I did get a few erections at various points throughout, which received almost sympathetic nods from a couple of older ladies as if to say “don’t worry about it”. And my friend explained it happened frequently.

    After this experience I felt completely liberated, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I have no idea how I could have felt so nervous before.

    So go for it everybody, you won’t regret it.

  69. Thanks you Jenna for a wonderful story. Baden Baden is on our bucket list now.

    6 months ago we visited Schwabenquellen in Stuttgart. We were naked for 8 hours in this AMAZING facility. There are about 20 different saunas there or all different themes and sizes.

    After the first 10 mins neither my wife or myself were worried about being naked. It is amazing how quickly you get used to it.

    Being naked in this environment is certainly something that we want to explore again soon. We absolutely loved the freedom that it provided.

    Thanks for a great post. Next stop Baden Baden

  70. My wife and I went to this spa over the weekend. Being from the UK we are not used to nude bathing but we soon got into it and both loved it. It was so liberating and felt free. My wife loved being cocooned up in sheet and blanket at the end. We loved it so much we went twice, both on mixed days.

  71. I find people’s desire to be around others while naked so strange. Jan’s post, above, about being checked out and people’s curiosity is why I would NEVER be able to do this (aside from the fact that I just don’t enjoy seeing others naked bits)! And did I read that someone smacks you on the bum after your scrub? Was that a joke? I would NOT be ok with that at all 🙁

  72. I went to a spa in Keil Germany 2 years ago. i didnt know anything about it. i went to work out in the gym then into the showers then to the spa. i was told it is coed and no clothes are allowed for hygienic reasons. i was a little nervous at first, but a great liberating experience. i have my own hot tub and encourage others to follow suit by removing it prior to entering the tub. i did love the experience,

  73. Hello Jenna,
    Found your blog as I was researching spas. My wife and I will be in Bavaria in a couple weeks and are looking at spending at least one day at a spa. Regarding the 17 stages at Friedrichsbad spa, on a mixed day, are stages 10 and 11 the only stages when I will see my wife? I’m a little unclear as to where I will be going when I am herded to the blue side for males, and when I’ll meet back up with her.
    Thank you

  74. Hi Randy, On mixed days you can be with your wife the entire time. You can both choose to enter through the men’s side OR the women’s side. The only difference between the two is that the men’s side has all male masseurs, and the women’s side has all female. Enjoy!

  75. Hi, I’m from India. I’d like to taste this totally different experience. I’m afraid of any issues for being dark skinned. I’m a freelancer and the ultimate goal is to write the experience, and so going alone. Furthermore, my wife is not willing to join me. Planning to visit during late this month.

  76. Hi Ashok, On the day that I visited there were people of several ethnicities. (Not a majority, but a handful.) I hope you have a good time.

    Maybe your wife would be more comfortable next door at the (clothed) Caracalla baths. You, however, should not miss the special Freidrichsbad experience!

  77. Thanks Jenna!
    I think I should go to the traditional nude one for the a totally different experience. Other one is not worth for writing a nice story out of it 🙂 My wife is not uncomfortable with nudity because we do not normally wear dress at home in summer. The reason she doesn’t want to join is she easily get heartache after spending some time in sauna. So the clothed one next door will not serve as an alternative for us.
    I hope I can return at any point in event of an issue, in particular, the changing temperature may lead to unintentional errection.
    Ashok G.
    P.S. if anybody here willing to give me a company to visit there, I’m in on any weekend. I live in Karlsruhe, 16 miles away from Baden Baden.

  78. Corr.: Headache, not heartache

  79. HI Ashok
    Is you are in Karlsruhe you are not far from Stuttgart. Here you will find Schwabenquellen where you and your wife can go nude and there are plenty of places to rest and not be in a sauna.. I would recommend check the place out. It is the type of place that you can go for 6 or 7 hours without any effort.

  80. Hi Robert, Thanks for the information but we are not so keen to any nude recreational activities. I want to visit Friedrichabad only for the sake of trying such a traditional infamous bath complex. This was in my to do list ever since I’ve heard of it but a bit reluctant due to my ethnicity and scared to go alone.

  81. Hello Ashok! I can accompany you if you can bear with my entry fee :J . You must choose co-ed days otherwise we cannot go together. No perverts welcome please.

  82. Hi Jenna, Interesting visit. My Wife had a good point why Co-ed Spa’s in the German speaking world find acceptance from people from non-European ethnicities (including my wife who is scared to wear a Bikini in an American Beach) is mainly it is a closed and a controlled environment where you know what to do and how everyone will behave (including Men) and most importantly about even gender ratios.(wife refused to go to the sauna if she was the only woman in the facility!!) I am guessing Friedrichsbad also conforms to the above conditions. Guess will be worth a visit.

  83. Hello Ben & Jen. Read your post a few months back. Very informative about your experience. This past July, I finally had opportunity to experience (unfortunately without my wife but hope next time) a German sauna and Roman bath in Baden-Baden. I was still nervous and anxious to be naked with strangers but what did I have to lose other than all my clothes? I first started at Caracalla Therme. It’s a wonderful place with many different saunas and jacuzzi. So, I have my towel for some coverage. After a few minutes, I was all in with just using my towel to protect wood benches. Back and forth to all the saunas, full exposure. It was invigorating for this prudish American, a changed prudish American. I enjoyed my 2 hours. Then, I went next door to Friedrichsbad, the complete nude Roman bath. Even though I was just enjoying the saunas, I still had some anxiety. But, this experience was on my bucket list since obtaining milestone age. Let’s go so I paid for 4 hours. After removing clothes in locker room, I go to the first of 17 stations as they label them. So, here I am buck naked and greeted by 3 women attendants. Anxiety yes but I proceed forward as I have paid. After the hot dry air saunas, I proceed to the soap scrub. Guess gender attendant? Female! She motions me to table and states “face up”. There I am, naked and manhood in full exposure with female attendant. But, she was very professional and I just relaxed. I was hoping to stay longer but only 10 minutes. After that, I then enjoyed the various pools and moist saunas. Back and forth, very relaxing. Then, off to creme massage. Guess attendant? Another female but I was already primed to start “face up” with manhood in full exposure. Again, she was professional and massage was relaxing. Now, it was time to relax in warm blankets wrapped as a burrito. But, it was great. Then, I had some tea in final room. As i enjoyed my tea, I wondered to balcony. While enjoying the outside on balcony, I said to myself – “hello world. I am naked and enjoying myself with no more anxiety”. 4 hours and worth it. I hope you enjoyed my story and others will enjoy also. Hopefully, I will be able to return in mid-Oct and also visit Palais Therme in Bad Wildbad.

  84. My wife and I are going to the spa but can only attend on a non mixed day. How can we met up in the main pool? are the clocks that we can refer too?

  85. Hi Almy, I believe there are clocks, but if not there are attendants that could tell you what time it is. Enjoy!

  86. I love this story, Todd! Thank you SO much for sharing it!

    It’s possible that you entered the female side of the spa, which is totally possible on mixed days. I did the same thing, going through the make side. But as you said, the attendants are very professional and make you feel at ease.

    It’s amazing how just a few hours can change your outlook, right? Congratulations on pushing past your inhibitions and experiencing this.

  87. Randy Reed says

    An update from my previous comment. My wife and I went through the Friedrichsbad Spa a couple of years ago. The spa itself was wonderful. We went on a mixed gender day and had all the treatments.

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