Leukerbad (1/2) – Gemmi Pass & Leukerbad Therme

Since I came to Switzerland two and half years ago, I have visited the Canton of Valais a few times. However, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered a gem in the Alps, Leukerbad. If you can understand a bit of German, you probably know that “Bad” in German means “bath”. Thanks to its rich natural thermal water, Leukerbad is the largest thermal spa and wellness resort in the Alps and has some of the most beautiful spas in the whole of Switzerland.

Last weekend, after I had spotted two consecutive sunny days, I drew up the plan and visited the village. Thanks to Leukerbad Tourism Office, I learnt and experienced a lot about the village itself, its surrounding mountains and most importantly, the thermal baths. I have to say this is really a wonderful place for all kinds of people because whether you are interested in sports, wellness, some quiet time by yourself or some quality time with your family, Leukerbad provides various activities and facilities that will meet your personal needs and expectations. For example, do you wanna go winter hiking, snowshoeing or sleighing on the Gemmi Pass? Do you wanna go skiing in the Torrent area? Do you wanna lie down on a chair on the sun deck surrounded by numerous snowy peaks? Do you wanna indulge yourself in the thermal baths and enjoy various kinds of water massages? Do you wanna take some water slides with your family? Do you wanna experience the ritual Roman-Irish bath or visit the Valais Sauna Village? Leukerbad can give you all of them and even more.

If you plan to visit this beautiful village, I strongly recommend you checking the official website of Leukerbad in advance because it includes basically everything that you need for a smooth and meaningful trip. For example, you can read about live weather condition, weather forecast, the operational status of the facilities, news, upcoming events and so on on the front page. (When I talk about the mountains or spas that I visited during my stay I’ll also give you the links to the pages containing information such as the opening hours, ticket prices and etc.) Now, before embarking on my own journey, I’d like to give you a brief introduction to the village, in particular the thermal springs, and its yearly festivals, events and surroundings.

1. The thermal water

As you can see in the four pictures above, they are the pools that I went to belonging to two public baths, namely Leukerbad Therme and Walliser Alpentherme. Let me start introducing to you this “flowing gold” by quoting an interview with Dr. Louis Largo, bath doctor from 1992 to 2011, co-founder of the thermal springs guild and co-author of the book “Spas in Valais”. (Please note this interview was not conducted by me. I read it from a brochure provided by the tourism office.)

Basically, the two questions are: 1) How the thermal springs in Leukerbad are formed? and 2) What kind of health benefits can one expect from Leukerbad’s thermal springs? Dr. Largo’s response is as follows:

1). East of Leukerbad between Majing and Torrenthorn, rainwater seeps into the mountain ground and penetrates down to 500 meters below sea level. There it is saturated with minerals for over 40 years before it reaches the light of day as natural hot spring thermal water. Leukerbad has around 65 sources that are registered into 8 different spring groups. With a daily flow of 3.9 million liters of up to 51°C (123.8 F) water, Leukerbad is the largest natural thermal spring region in Europe.

 

2). Most notably, the chemical effect of Leukerbad’s thermal water is of balneological interest as that’s what separates it from other thermal springs. The springs in Leukerbad predominantly contain calcium sulfate minerals – like in plaster. Warm plaster baths alleviate rheumatological and neurological afflictions and help heal from the effects of accidents. When the plaster water is consumed, it acts as a diuretic and helps relieve constipation.

Wow, amazing isn’t it? Around 2.7 thousand litres of up to 51°C pure thermal water are estimated to flow out of Leukerbad’s springs every MINUTE to fill the town’s 31 pools! That’s the biggest volume of thermal water per minute per region in the whole of Europe! In fact, as early as during the Roman times, people already knew about the local springs and there’s evidence showing that the thermal water has been used without interruption since then. I guess this is the reason why the Roman-Irish bath in Walliser Alpentherme is the most popular and possibly the most authentic in all Switzerland. Leukerbad currently has eight groups of springs that are used for balneotherapy and for generating electricity. If you take a walk in the city, you can see fountains with thermal water flowing out constantly. Isn’t this the gift of nature and how can you say that this marvelous town is not blessed? Some of the thermal springs emerge directly from the fissures in limestone or in shale while some of them, such as the St. Lorenz Spring, make their way to the surface through a thick layer of unconsolidated rock from the rocky thermal aquifer.

In Leukerbad, all the thermal spring water comes from one single thermal aquifer. Nevertheless, when the water reaches the surface, the springs that it forms range from slightly warm ones to the St. Lorenz Spring, the warmest one in Leukerbad, which is 51°C and has a constant flow of about 900 litres per minute. The water is rich in calcium sulphate and fluoride and has slightly elevated levels of sodium, strontium and iron. It also has high concentrations of dissolved solids and sometimes carries black-brown suspended sediment from the Aalenian shale it passes through. The bright rusty color typical of the mud at many of the springs is caused by the high-level iron content in the water.

At 3:00 on the third day of the third month of the third year of the third millennium (3rd March 2003), the Thermalquellen Zunft (Thermal Springs Guild) was founded (one of the co-founders is Dr. Lago, whose comments I quoted above) aiming at protecting the thermal springs as well as giving the public an insight into the medical, scientific, economic, cultural, ecological and historical significance of them. Because of its advocation for preservation and sustainable use of the springs in Leukerbad, the water has maintained its high quality and we, together with our future generations can have the opportunity to enjoy this luxurious gift given by the earth.

Having learnt about some background information about the thermal springs in Leukerbad and the Thermal Springs Guild, now let’s take a look at some of the festivals and events happening here all the year round.

2. Festivals and events in Leukerbad

Unfortunately, I only stayed in Leukerbad for one weekend and during that time, no event was happening. Actually, I knew that “Aqua Mystica” was gonna happen the next weekend (20th January 2018) after my visit but when I saw the weekend (of my visit) with such beautiful weather, I couldn’t wait anymore and booked the hotel and train tickets. I strongly recommend you checking the front page of the official website of Leukerbad because all the upcoming event are listed there. For example, “Magical Winter – culinaric walk” on 20th January 2018, “8th Nightrace 777 Leukerbad” on 20th January 2018, “Aqua Mystica” on 20th January 2018, 10th February 2018, 24th February 2018 and so on, “Badner Fasnacht” from 8th February 2018 to 13th February 2018 and etc. If you are interested in certain events and want to participate, you can click on them to check some more detailed information such as the time, location, contact, and most importantly, how they are gonna proceed. Now let me briefly introduce to you some events that I find interesting.

Considering Leukerbad is famous for its thermal water, I guess the highlights of its events are the three happening in Leukerbad Therme (AM and CB) and Walliser Alpentherme & Spa (RIN), that is to say, “Aqua Mystica“, “Champagne Breakfast” and “Roman-Irish Night“. “Aqua Mystica” was the one that I wanted to participate in the most and though I wasn’t there at the right time, I experienced the light show, which is held everyday in Leukerbad Therme at 17:30, 18:10, 18:45 and 19:30. At those specific times, the whole pool (with a fountain) is lit up and with the rhythm of the music, the colors of the lights change. Please note that the pictures I show above in this chapter are from the light show instead of from “Aqua Mystica” but I guess the two of them do share some similarities. When the “Champagne Breakfast” takes place in Leukerbad Therme, the food and drinks are served on floating wooden plates while the guests are sitting in the thermal water and at the “Roman-Irish Night” in Walliser Alpentherme & Spa, one can discover the art of ritual bathing and experience Roman bathing culture and Irish bathing tradition. Are you looking forward to trying them out?

Throughout the entire year, there’s also the renowned “International Literature Festival” in which you can read not only classical but also contemporary literature in a thermal pool or at night on the Gemmi Pass; the “Valais Cow Fights in Snow” in March; the “Shepherd’s Festival on the Gemmi” in which Valais and Bernese people are competing in rope pulling; the “Culinary Thermal Spring Walking” featuring not only hiking but also tasting local special food; the “Swiss National Day” with unique lighting of the Gemmi wall and spectacular fireworks; the “Gemmi Sheep Procession” and “Swiss Country Music Weekend” in September; the “Varner Wine Weeks” and “Pfyfoltru Wine Festival”; the “Gemmi Triathlon” in which participants must swim across Lake Gerundensee in Sierre, cycle to Leukerbad and run up the historical Gemmi hiking trail; the “Night-Race 777” in which winter sportsmen have to overcome 777 meters of altitude in the darkness of the night… It seems people living in Lerkerbad never get bored.

3. Around Leukerbad

Unlike me, if you are staying in Leukerbad for a week or even more, why not taking this opportunities to explore some other towns close by? For example, Varen, the wine village that produces premium Pfyfoltru wines. After hiking through its vineyards, you can also visit one of the wine cellars; Albinen, located at the eastern slopes of the Dala Valley, its sun-darkened wooden houses will surely catch your attention; Inden, a small village with around 120 inhabitants which was mentioned in 1779 in Goethe’s travel report; Leuk-town, last witness to the Medieval Valais with its mansions, bishop’s castle and town hall; and the Regional Nature Park Pfyn-Finges, one of the largest pine forests in the Alps and home to the unique and varied fauna and flora. If you are interested in one or more particular towns based on my brief introduction, please click here to read more about them. In one word, you will never feel bored no matter how long you choose to stay in Leukerbad. Now, please follow me closely and feel the village that I experienced and loved.

4. The Gemmi

4.1 The Gemmi Pass

After a short visit to the tourism office located in the Rathaus for some information, I headed straight to the Gemmi cable car station because after several minutes’ ride, I can finally see the famous Gemmi Pass mentioned in the “Sherlock Holmes” story “The Final Problem“. In the book, it is written that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson cross the pass on their way to Meiringen, where Sherlock has his famous meeting with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. In reality, Gemmi Pass is a high mountain pass across the Bernese Alps connecting Leukerbad in the canton of Valais with Kandersteg in the canton of Bern. It lies at a height of 2,270 metres above sea level between the Daubenhorn (2942 m) in the west and the Rinderhorn (3448 m) in the east within the canton of Valais, and the main trail reaches 2,322 metres. No matter in the summer or winter, it’s popular for hiking lovers. I read in the brochure about Gemmi Pass that as early as in the Bronze Age, the pass was already known and since then it has been used over many centuries as a natural path to cross the Alps.

From 1740 to 1741, around 60 Tyrolean miners built countless stairs on the rocky terrain connecting Leukerbad village with the main pass area and from then on, this 900m-high, 2km-long steep and winding path has been challenged and conquered by numerous adventurous hikers and mountain runners. Please note this part is only open in the spring, summer and autumn because in the winter, it is totally covered by snow. Does this mean we won’t be able to visit the Gemmi Pass then? Well, as I said at the beginning of this chapter, instead of walking for two hours to get there, we can simply take the “Gemmibahn” (Gemmi cable car) and arrive at the top cable car station at 2,350 meters above sea level (the pass area) in a few minutes.

4.2 The Gemmibahn

Though I’m used to taking cable cars already, I still felt a bit thrilled when vehicle climbed closer and closer to the top station. It seemed that instead of being formed by movement of the tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust in millions and millions of years, this mountain range had just stood up abruptly leaving its head for only the brave and intelligent to reach. In the cabin, on your way from 1,411 meters to 2,350 meters above sea level, the panoramic view is absolutely wonderful as when you look down you see the entire village of Leukerbad and when you look up, you see the highest and most beautiful Swiss mountains such as Mischabel, Weisshorn, Matterhorn and many many more. In fact, the cable car itself has more than 100 years of history, from 1908, when a license application for the construction of a cable car on the Gemmi Pass was filed to the present day. It was not until 1957 that the first cable car was completed and placed into operation. In 1975, with investment from the new owners, the Loretan family, the Gemmibahn was entirely renovated. In 1995, the drive and control systems were modernized and most recently, in 2012, due to increased passenger volume and the need for absolute security, a super modern cable car which costs 9 million CHF came into use.

For more information about the schedule and ticket prices of the “Gemmibahn” in winter please click here.

For more information about the schedule and ticket prices of the “Gemmibahn” in summer please click here.

When you check the prices, you might wonder what LBC+ is. From 1st July 2016, all guests staying overnight in the holiday region of Leukerbad will automatically benefit from a number of promotions. The Leukerbad Card Plus (LBC+) grants holders free access to all the Sportarena facilities, including the Snowpark Sportarena beginner’s ski area in winter, free travel on the local Ring-Jet buses and discounted use of the cable cars and thermal baths. For a full list of the LBC+ hosts and more information about the offers and discounts please click here.

4.3 The observation deck

Once getting off the cable car, I recommend you visiting the observation desk immediately. I’m sure you will be amazed at not only what’s in front of you but also what’s under you. In fact, I already saw where the platform stood when I was in the cable car (as you can see in the second picture in this chapter), but what I didn’t expect was that the bottom of it was made of see-through steel gird, from which you can see the land 300 meters below you without any obstacles (as you can see in the second picture in the gallery above). If you are afraid of height, you’d better be prepared because this viewing platform is only for the brave and it will make you feel you are floating above Leukerbad.

Please note this observation deck can only be accessed from the mountain hotel’s panoramic restaurant and it sun terrace. Though seeming scary and dangerous, it’s absolutely safe because how can you not trust Swiss quality, right? From the end of it, I saw clearly the entire village of Leukerbad which was more than 900 meters below me and when I looked straight ahead, I saw numerous peaks totally covered in snow including Nadelhorn (4327m), Dom (4545m), Täschhorn (4491m), Nord-End (4609m), Dufourspitze (4633.9m), Bishorn (4153m), Weisshorn (4506m), Grand Gendarme (4331m), Zinalrothorn (4221m), Ober Gabelhorn (4062m), Matterhorn (4477.5m), Dent Blanche (4357m), Bouquetins (3838m), Dent de Perroc (3675m), Sassenaire (3254m), Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870m) and many many more. Can you imagine? 12 mountains higher than 4000 meters including the famous Dom, Weisshorn and Matterhorn are all inclusive once you stand on this magical place. How can you miss such an amazing opportunity to feel the charm and power of the Alps?

What’s more, the platform is also a perfect spot for watching stars and for shooting some nice night photos. It was a pity that I had already booked a hotel in the village before knowing about this fact. Nevertheless, the tourism office told me that Switzerland is more famous for sky full of stars in August and November so I guess in this case, I’ll leave this task to my next visit to Leukerbad.

(Just to mention some of my feelings towards the sky in Switzerland. I came from a rather big city in China and because of all the tall buildings and lights at night, I didn’t really see many stars in the sky when I was young. I remember the first time I experienced an amazing starry night was when I stayed by Namtso or Lake Nam, 4,718 m above sea level in Tibet. As for the sky in Switzerland, I don’t think it disappoints me. Like this time in Leukerbad, I took some paths recommended by the tourism office and I saw a very beautiful sky at night. I can’t say that I saw the Milky Way clearly but I did see the Andromeda galaxy, at a distance of about 2.5 million light years, with naked eyes. My friend, who studied astronomy, told me that it is the nearest galaxy to the Earth apart from smaller companion galaxies such as the Magellanic Clouds. On our way, he also pointed out some famous constellations to me and it was fun learning some astronomical facts.) At the end of my next post, I’ll recommend you some paths for appreciating the nighty sky (as you can see from the pics above) as well as some nice viewpoints in Leukerbad, but now let’s come back to the Gemmi Pass.

4.4 The via ferrata “Gemmi Wall”

When the cable car I took was approaching the terminal station, I saw a spiral ladder and a rope bridge (as you can see in the first picture in this chapter) which made me curious. What are they for? I knew for sure they are not for decorative purpose because no one would spend such effort to decorate a cliff. I guessed that they are possibly part of an adventure park and later on, I learnt that they are part of the “Gemmi Wall” via ferrata. The via ferrata traverses 2,300 meters above sea level on the front cliff of the Gemmi and is hightlighted by the spiral ladder which soars 20 meters into the sky and turns 540 degrees, as well as the rope bridge which is 65 meters long. I personally am not yet ready for this kind of adventure but if you are interested, you can try it out even if you are a beginner. Nevertheless, do remember to take professional safety equipments because when there’s no life, there’s no adventure anymore. Just a piece of cake for you? If you are an experienced mountain climber, why not challenging the Daubenhorn via ferrata and overcoming 800 meters of altitude? By climbing for eight hours on 216 ladder steps and along 2,000 meters of steel cable, you will reach the summit which is 2,941 meters above sea level. If you are not 100% confident in yourself, make sure you have a mountain guide to accompany you.

4.5 Winter fun on Gemmi

Trust me, the Gimme is not only for winter sportsmen. There are cross-country ski slopes, snowshoeing trails, winter hiking trails, and surprisingly, so many toboggan runs! To be honest, compared with the Torrent region (which I’m gonna talk about in my next post), on the Gemmi, there were much less skiers, almost the same amount of snowshoers and winter hikers, but many many more tobogganers. When you are here please read the signs before stepping on a trail because some of the them are for hikers and snowshoers while some of them are for skiers and tobogganers. Like on the highway, I don’t think the drivers want to see pedestrians wandering around in front of them. If you don’t have such equipments as ski boards or snowshoes, why not simply hiking to the Daubensee or even further to Sunnbüel? I was actually very interested in the Daubensee Lake because without any outlet above ground, it is the highest natural lake in Europe and is exclusively fed by glaciers and snow seeping through the porous shale till October. Unfortunately, it is dry in winter but you can walk on it safely. If you don’t wanna walk there, an alternative would be to take the Daubensee cable car which takes you directly from the terminal station of the Gemmibahn to the edge of the lake. According to my experience, the snow on the hiking trails was fluffy but not too soft so as long as you wear hiking shoes, there should be no problem walking on them. In the worst case, if you can’t ski, don’t have snowshoes and don’t wanna hike, I still recommend you trying tobogganing! There are so many runs and you can rent toboggans from the upper Daubensee cable car station for hours or for a whole day. It is a super fun activity for the whole family. However, while you are enjoying yourself, do slide down a toboggan run because otherwise you will very likely bring some hikers or snowshoers down with you lol.

If you wanna know more about the activities that you can do on Gemmi, please click here to visit the official website and choose summer or winter depending on the season of your visit.

During my hike, I noticed two interesting phenomena. One of them was that instructed by people, many dogs were running in the snow and trying to dig something out. I guessed that this was probably some kind of training and when I had dinner with a friend from Visp, she told me that her brother was actually one of the trainers and they were training dogs to rescue people trapped in snow. What I didn’t expect was that those “somethings” hidden in the snow for the training were real people. I guess only in this way can the rescue team make sure that together with their friends, they can spot and rescue those who are trapped within the smallest time span.

The second interesting phenomenon was that on my way to the Daubensee Lake, I saw a group of people lining up with binoculars and with their fancy cameras like rockets facing the Plattenhorn. On my way back, I joined them to figure out what kind of event they were waiting for. After a small talk with one of the photographers, I came to realize that they were actually watching birds. What kind of birds could attract so many people’s attention and so many fancy cameras? In fact, the birds they were expecting are called bearded vulture which is the largest bird in the Alps with a wing span of over 2.6 metres. One guy on site was trying to spot the bird and when it came closer he directed people to look at the right direction. Because they were speaking Swiss German, I couldn’t really understand what they were talking about but all of a sudden people started being silent and the cameras started “cluck cluck cluck”. I looked at the direction all the cameras were facing and saw a big bird flying back and forth and sometimes just resting on the cliff. I didn’t even try to use my camera because first of all I knew I couldn’t take a picture in which I could see the bird clearly and secondly, in front of so many fancy cameras, it was just too embarrassing to press the button. One of the photographers showed me the moment he captured when the bird was resting on the cliff and with dark black feathers covering its whole body, it was really a beautiful bird. Though I’ve never seen a bearded vulture before, the bird that flew past did just look like an eagle. I was thinking maybe a bearded vulture looks like an eagle? Then a woman told me that was not the bird they were waiting for… How I wished I could speak Swiss German at that moment! I waited for like an hour but wasn’t lucky enough to see the legendary and famous bird. The next day when I went to the Walliser Alpentherme & Spa, the staff at the Roman-Irish bath told me that this bearded vulture family is composed of three members and they moved from Canton Graubünden to Leukerbad in Canton Valais which made the local people very proud. I waited there at noon because the birdwatchers told me that at that time the bearded vultures will normally start hunting for bones for lunch. After an hour’s waiting, I got hungry by myself and decided to go to the panoramic restaurant for a light meal. I guess it’s not too bad to have spotted a wild eagle in the Alps so I’m quite satisfied with my first “bird-watching” experience. By the way, depending on your luck, you might spot a wild fox, chamois, ibex or even a rare ptarmigan.

4.6 The panoramic restaurant of Berghotel Wildstrubel

Whether after skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, tobogganing or bird watching and no matter how tired or hungry you are, the panoramic restaurant and the sun deck is an ideal place to recharge yourself. I had a normal lunch here and I was quite satisfied with the food. To be honest, when I go to a mountain restaurant I don’t expect the food to be as delicious as some nice restaurants in the city. Nevertheless, I can say the food quality was rather high here. If you are not yet ready for a normal meal, a cup of coffee and some cake would also be nice. All in all, regardless of what you order, make sure to lie down on one of the chairs on the sun deck, embrace all the sunshine and take a deep breath of the Alpine air. With a stunning view of the countless snowy peaks, this is the moment when you will truly understand tranquility and the gift of nature. Now let’s take the Gemmibahn down to Leukerbad and visit the largest natural thermal spa in the Alps.

5. Leukerbad Therme

Leukerbad Therme is the largest natural thermal spa not only in the Alps but also in Europe. In fact, I got lost when I first entered it because there were in total 4 floors and TEN pools that you can try out. Besides the ten pools, there were also quiet rooms, where you can take a good rest; the Sauna-Landscape (with a surcharge of 10 CHF), where you can enjoy steam bath, Solebad, herbs sauna, Finnish sauna and an amazing relaxation room; as well as various treatments both for your body and your soul. Some of the pools that I really enjoyed are the “Adventure Pool”, the spa “Vitality”, the “Leisure Pool”, the “Steam Bath” and the “Water Slides”. Don’t know what they are for? Don’t worry, later I’ll guide you floor by floor to go through all the pools so when you arrive you will know what to expect and where to go. By the way, compared with another big public bath, Walliser Alpentherme & Spa, I personally think that Leukerbad Therme is better and more interesting for families with children. Among the ten pools are the pool for children and toddlers, children’s paradise and the water slides. I’m sure people of all ages can have safe fun here.

Please note the thermal baths in Leukerbad Therme are open everyday from 8:00 to 20:00 and the sauna facilities are open from October to April: 10:00 – 19:30 and from May to September: 10:00 – 18:30.

If you wanna know about the prices for using the facilities in this resort please click here. Basically, the standard entrance price for one adult for three hours is 25 CHF and for a whole day is 30 CHF. For the prices of other kinds of tickets such as the family ticket, tickets with LBC+, Snow and Spa Pass, Mountain and Spa Pass and so on, please click here.

Before starting our tour, let me give you some tips based on my own experience.

  • If possible, I suggest you take your own towel so you don’t need to rent it.
  • You can either wear water-proof slippers to the resort or just go barefoot.
  • Unlike in China, men and women here go to the same changing rooms but each person can use a private changing booth while getting undressed and dressed.
  • You need to insert a card to use the lockers in the changing room. You entrance ticket would do.
  • Visitors can visit the four floors using either the stairs or the lift.
  • You can take your phone to the pools but you need to understand the risk that you might break it or drop it in the water (like I did to my new phone ) 🙁
  • During the day when the sun is shining, it’s not cold to walk outside on the ground in swimming suit. Nevertheless, when it gets dark, you’d better access the outdoor pools from the indoor pools connected to them because in this way, you can keep yourself warm under the water.
  • At least in winter time, the light shows start at 17:30, 18:10, 18:45 and 19:30. I think it’s worth participating in and you should try to enter the “Adventure Pool” before it starts.

Above are the tips that I can think of now and if there are some more points, I’ll remind you while showing you around each floor.

5.1 The ground floor

On the ground floor you will find the cash and information desk. What’s more, the changing rooms, shower rooms and a barber shop are also located here.

5.2 Basement 1 (-1 floor)

On this floor, you will find the most pools such as the spa “Vitality” (36°C), the “Leisure Pool” (37°C), the “Waterfall” (36°C), the “Kneipp Pool” (41°C and cold water) and the “Stone grotto” (44°C). The spa “Vitality” (as shown in the first pic in this chapter) is featured with cascade showers to massage and strengthen the muscles of the neck and back. By sitting on the benches either in the middle of the pool or on the opposite side of the cascade showers, you can enjoy underwater massages. Don’t worry, you can enter this pool from the inside so you won’t experience any coldness even if you go in the evening. The “Leisure Pool” (as shown in the fourth pic in this chapter) is equipped with a long underwater bench and many backrests. You can either sit or lie down to enjoy a water jet massage. Behind this pool is the “Stone grotto”, or the “Steam Bath”. Do take off your glasses before you enter because it’s super steamy inside and you basically can’t see anything. For me it felt like a sauna in the pool. When you exit, there is a cold pool in front of you for you to fresh up. In the “Waterfall” (as show in the second pic in this chapter), the thermal water cascades down on your head, neck and back and helps you to get rid of your stress. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this pool that much because on a winter day, it was too shallow and I felt quite cold standing in it. I guess this will be a better option for a warm summer day. The last pool on this floor, the “Kneipp Pool” (as shown in the third pic in this chapter) was similar to a facility that I tried in a wellness hotel in Vicenza. It comprises a warm and a cold treading pool and all you need to do is to walk around in them (one round walking in the cold pool and then one round in the hot pool and then cold and then hot and so on). Don’t ignore the two small pools in front of the treading pools because they are for your hands and forearms. All in all, if you do what I said above, this spa improves your blood circulation and stimulates the heart. Please note on this floor there’s also a quiet room where you can take a nice rest and relax your body and your soul.

5.3 Basement 2 (-2 floor)

This floor is mainly composed of three pools, that is to say, the “Adventure Pool” (35°C), the “Indoor Pool” (35°C) and the pool for children and toddlers (35°C). Personally, I think the “Adventure Pool” is the most interesting among all the pools not only because it’s equipped with underwater benches, backrests, a cascade shower and a water fountain for massaging and entertaining purposes but also because of the music and light effects during the light show. This pool can either be accessed from the -1 floor from outside or from the “Indoor Pool”. I preferred the latter entrance especially when it got dark because I could just hide under the warm water and avoid the cold air. In fact, I noticed that when it got dark, access to the outside ground on both the -1 floor and -2 floor was limited probably due to safety and health reasons. Now let’s come back to the light show. With different styles of music and different colors of lighting in the pool, one truly feels that this is a world with magic and fantasy. Sometimes fire just jumped out and the surrounding torches were lit. What surprised me most was the fire dancing together with water on top of the fountain. Trust me, it’s different to simply watch it and to experience it. Later in the evening, I passed Leukerbad Therme again on my way to watch the night city and stars and I think that was when the last light show was happening. Do you know what song was being played at that time? “Time to say goodbye” lol. I guess the light show team did make some efforts while choosing the music. The “Kids’ Pool” is featured with slides and a playhouse and the toddlers’ corner is filled with a lot of toys. That’s why I said before that Leukerbad Therme is a resort for people of all ages to enjoy. By the way, there are a lot of deck chairs around the “Indoor Pool” so if you ever feel tired after a swim, just lay down your towel on one of them and get comfortable.

5.4 The second floor

This floor features “Children’s Paradise”, the “Sports Pool” (28°C), the water slides (28°C) and the “Volleyball Beach” (closed during winter). What I liked the most on this floor were the water slides. There are two slides in total and one of them is called “Burgerblitz” while the other one called “Badnerblitz”. To be honest, I’m not a fan of water slides because I can’t swim and I don’t like sudden drops or fast 360° turns which make me dizzy. However, after my own test, I can assure you “Burgerblitz” (the green one) is not scary but thrilling. It is 106 metres in length and doesn’t have sharp turns but banked ones. Don’t forget to use a single or double waterpark tube to slide down. As for “Badnerblitz” (the orange one), it is in total 126 meters long and features two 360° twists. I felt it was much more scary than the green one, but this is just my personal opinion. Please remember that I’m not a fan of water slides and I saw many many children taking it and enjoying it who are only about 10 years old. Anyway, I believe a “normal” person would enjoy both of them. The “Children’s Paradise” is a newly built pool suitable for children under four. Its slide as well as the water spouts, including a dolphin, a clown and a fish, will certainly keep the little ones entertained. Last but not least, if you are an athletic guest and want to do some real sports, you can go swimming, aqua jogging or even diving in the “Sports Pool”.

If you wanna know more about the pools, please click here and click the pools that you’re curious about.

No wonder it is the largest natural thermal spa not only in the Alps but also in Europe, right? In fact, this is the first time that I have been to such a big thermal bath resort featuring so many pools and facilities. This is also the first time that I have indulged myself in thermal water while surrounded by the snowy mountains. As I said above, reading about and seeing the pools feels different from experiencing them. Why not simply coming here and giving a treat to your body and soul? I stayed overnight in Leukerbad and in the next post, I’m gonna introduce to you the “ski paradise”, the Torrent region, and another amazing public bath resort featuring two pools, a sauna village and a Roman-Irish bath. What’s more, I’ll also recommend you some nice viewpoints for appreciating this lovely village in the daytime and at night.

Leukerbad (1/2) – Gemmi Pass & Leukerbad Therme was last modified: January 21st, 2018 by Dong

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