I had planned to start small for my first nude spa experience, wearing my bikini around the pools and then switching to a only a towel.
If I had known then that the small wristband they handed me would be the only thing I would be wearing for the next few hours, I may have reconsidered.
I arrived at that German spa, swimsuit in hand and cloaked only in a rented robe and bearing the words “Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim.”
It was my first time at a spa in Germany, where a “it’s no big deal” attitude towards plays out through “textil-frei” (i.e., no swimsuits) swimming pools, saunas, and bars.
I felt instantly overdressed as I walked through the doors and into that Bio Dome sized world of palm trees, Jacuzzis, and hundreds of stark naked Germans strutting proudly around the loungers and swimming to and from the bar in the center of the lagoon-style pool.
I had moved to Germany earlier that year, and, as a newbie in the country, I had planned to start small for my first nude spa experience, wearing my bikini around the pools and then switching to a only a towel as I made my way through the sauna circuit. Instead, I let the rush of adrenaline take over as I let my robe fall to the floor, and I dipped carefree into the warm waters with nothing more than a wristband touching my skin.
Germany’s love for saunas and wellness spas is second only to its love of beer; which is exactly how these boozy spas were born.
German spas may sound like havens for hedonism, and at times they are, but for the most part they simply act as a place for friends or couples to soak in the thermal waters, heat up in the sauna, and relax with a liberating libation in their bare hands.
These spas also make for an awesome night out, with many offering DJs and events that last well until 2:00 a.m. From steamy outdoor pools to indulgent indoor waterparks, here are six places to drink naked in Germany.
Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim in Sinsheim. Palm trees, weekend DJs, and two swim-up bars keep this sauna and spa paradise packed out all day and night.
Therme Erding in Munich. This spa is the largest leisure pool complex in Europe. It’s also the most notorious, as they had to enact a three-drink limit due to repeated naked bar fights.
Liquidrom in Berlin. Hit the sauna circuit, book a massage, and get at least one drink in before ending up in the back room of this amazing night spa, where the moonlit salt water pool offers underwater jazz and electronic music that’s only audible underwater.
Europabad in Karlsruhe. The spa takes on a more family friendly tone during the day, with water slides and an “Aquacross” challenge course indoors and a beach bar outdoors, but by night the rooftop lounge attracts a different crowd with DJs and private events.
Sudpfalz Therme in Bad Bergzabern. This no-frills sauna and pool operates as clothing optional during most hours, but on the first Saturday of the month from October through April, it’s textile-free bathing and drinking from 7:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.
Festland Baederland in Hamburg. The original bathing hall dates back to 1895, but today it’s better known as the Polar Light pool where vibrant fluorescent lights illuminate the hall each night. The other areas of this complex consist of themed saunas and pools, like the Iceland pool, the Candlelight spa, and the Island pool, complete with giant dinosaurs.