Europe’s largest thermal baths

Leukerbad is a small mountain village in Switzerland, with just 1.500 inhabitants. At first sight, it looks like a sleepy, motionless and unexciting little town, but as soon as you notice the many white steam clouds rising up against the blue sky, you realize that there’s more going on here: Leukerbad houses Europe’s largest thermal baths, offering as many wellness treatments as there are days in a year. If you can’t relax here, you can’t relax anywhere!

All good things start with a W in Switzerland: winter, warmth, wealth, water baths … and Wallis. Leukerbad lies in the Rhône valley in the Swiss canton of Wallis (or Valais), in the southwestern part of the country, at 1.400 m altitude.  A nice place to go skiing, snowboarding or hiking, but the greatest draw is right there in the valley itself. Every day, about 62 hot springs fill up over 30 public and private pools, spas and bath houses with 3,9 million liters of naturally heated and mineral rich water. All of that  makes the town the largest thermal spa resort in the Alps. Especially when visiting the outdoor pools, you’re in for a real treat: the views of the surrounding Valais Alps are absolutely stunning.

Leukerbad from up high, by ‚Gemmibahn’, at a height of 2.350 meters. All around you can see different mountains like the Matterhorn (the famous one), the Weisshorn (the prettiest) and the Dom (the highest – 4.545 meters).
Down in the valley
Steam clouds! A normal sight in Leukerbad
A map showing the nearby hot springs in Leukerbad (Loèche-les-Bains in French)
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses! There’s an average of 300 days of sunshine per year in Wallis, that’s more than any other Swiss skiing destination!
  • Leukerbad’s spa history goes back to Roman times, which makes this a tourist attraction of over 2.000 years old. Knowing that definitely adds something extra to the experience.
  • The water of the hot springs isn’t just used to heat the thermal pools, it also heats entire hotels and provides the town of electricity.
  • If you were to try out one wellness treatment every day here in Leukerbad, you’d need a whole year to finish them all!

Showers, caves, bubbles and baths

The Alpentherme and Burgerbad: remember these names, because of all 30 spas in Leukerbad, these are the two biggest. They’re so big that there’s a whole system of underground passages underneath the town centre, allowing you to go straight from your hotel room to the thermal baths without even crossing the street. In your hotel slippers and dressing gown! facilities, especially at the Alpentherme, are amazing. Saunas at different temperatures and in different styles, different steam rooms, hot caves, pools and showers, dozens of different massages, treatments and wraps, different styles baths with bubbles and jets … You can go from Turkey to Finland or Ireland in thirty minutes.

The outdoor pool of Burgerbad



The outdoor pool of the Alpentherme



The indoor Alpentherme pool
Outdoor Alpentherme pool

Fresh orange slices and a sauna

One of the most renowned spa options is the Roman-Irish treatment, only by appointment. You’re guided to a separate spa area where you undergo a course of 2 hours of different saunas, steam rooms, massages and baths, all strictly timed and placed in a certain order so that your body benefits the most from it.  But what I found the most impressive is the sauna village of the Alpentherme. It’s a whopping 300 m² and when entering the room it’s like you’re walking around in an actual Swiss village, with small timber houses, a fountain, cow bells and lanterns providing a warm and cosy light. I tried as many saunas as I could, like the herbal sauna in a lovely converted barn, a Finnish sauna (90°c) in a cute Swiss Chalet, the steam bath in a rustic Valaisian farmhouse and the stone sauna with a mill wheel. At one point I was even served slices of orange inside one of the saunas. Only when you taste the fresh fruit, you realize how badly you wanted it. But when the attendants started fanning the air with a towel afterwards (and basically throwing the hot air straight in your face), I had to get out. Too darn hot!

The Roman-Irish spa treatment

A few days of wellness in Leukerbad isn’t cheap. The famous ‘Promenade’ near the village square, where most of the pools are situated, is dotted with three-to five-star hotels at your service, all up to impeccable Swiss standards. But the nice thing about staying in one of these hotels is that you not only have access to all public pools, but also to the private ones of your hotel. Fewer people, more you-time…  There’s only one thing prohibited here in Leukerbad, our guide tells us, and that’s stress!

The five star Lindner Hotel
Fliessen, strömen, treiben : all synonyms for ‚flowing’. The water flowing from this piece of art comes straight from a hot spring.
The Promenade

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  • Stijn

    weer een artikel + foto’s die doen dromen!

  • What a place!!!

    Beautiful shots.

  • Mooie reminder voor mij over de pracht van Zwitserland, dank! Mooie beelden.

  • this place looks fantastic!!

  • It all looks fabulous! Just woke up to more snow coming down here in the Eastern US and I’m so tired of the winter. Wish I were sitting in one of those lovely bubble pools in Switzerland. Instead I’ll be shoveling snow once again..

    Mooie foto’s!

    • Dankjewel 🙂 In Belgium we’re having an extremely soft winter… I wouldn’t mind a bit of snow!

  • Oh my goodness! YES PLEASE!!! That looks heavenly!!!

  • Wow, if heaven is a place on earth then that would have to be it! Looks like a great break a a long weekend!