Arkadenbau Bad Kissingen

Bad Kissingen

Bad Kissingen, one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe – World Heritage Site – is a Bavarian town that bridges nineteenth century neoclassicism and modernity, and is outstanding for the reform era of the early twentieth century. Architect Max Littmann built and rebuilt almost the entire spa in exceptional architecture using innovative forms and materials; the unparalleled Wandelhalle pump room is the largest structure of its kind in the world. Development took place outside the medieval walled town, guided by the cluster of springs, the Saale River, and the oldest formal spa garden outside an urban context, the whole making a seamless transition into parks and wooded hills. Internationalism increased from 1874 with visits by German Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. His living quarters are preserved at the Upper Saline, part of a second spa quarter distinguished by early industrial-scale facilities for the production of brine, an important feature of European spas. Health tourism remains vibrant in Bad Kissingen, which is famed throughout Germany for its waters and lifestyle.

Great Spa Towns of Europe logo

Bad Kissingen Tourist Information

Tourist information Arcade Building Kurgarten 97688 Bad Kissingen

+49 (0) 971 8048-444

Historical Background

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Bavarian kings became aware of the town – of its medicinal springs and its potential as a health resort. Although an expert had described it as a ‘provincial spa’ in 1811, this was soon to change dramatically. First, the recast of the former ‘Sauer-Brunnen’ (sour spring) – today’s ‘Maxbrunnen’ (Max spring) on the corner of the ‘Kurgarten’ (spa garden) – was started. A spa inspector was employed, and the expansion of the tourist infrastructure was speeded up. In particular, the ‘Kurgarten’ had to be enlarged and the spa facilities modernised. To do this, Ludwig I commissioned none other than the Munich star architect Friedrich von Gärtner. Bad Kissingen could then finally develop into a celebrated spa of world renown from 1833 onwards, after the first spa visit by the Bavarian king.

It wasn’t just Otto Fürst von Bismarck and Empress Elisabeth ‘Sisi’ of Austria who appreciated Bad Kissingen – practically everyone who was anyone in the European aristocracy came to the Fränkische Saale river from the 1830s onwards. The social and political dimensions of visiting health resorts could no longer be underestimated. At the same time, Kissingen became a fashionable resort for the European aristocracy and bourgeoisie as well as for artists, writers and musicians. For example, names like Theodor Fontane, George Bernard Shaw and Richard Strauss would appear on the guest lists.

The Wandelhalle has the largest foyer in Europe and is home to the Staatsbad Philharmonie Kissingen who play to spa guests nearly every day.

The waters

As long as 500 years ago, doctors recognised the benefits of Bad Kissingen’s medicinal waters, which are aerated and rich in minerals. They are scientifically proven to have a healing, alleviating and prophylactic effect. The Rakoczy and Pandur springs, ‘Luitpoldsprudel “alt”’ (Luitpold spring water ‘old’), the ‘Maxbrunnen’ (Max spring) as well as ‘Kissinger Bitterwasser’ (Kissingen bitter water) are used for drinking cures. Among other things, they are used to regulate digestion and to treat diseases of the respiratory tracts, in cases of exhaustion or anaemia. The ‘Luitpoldsprudel “neu”’ (Luitpold spring water ‘new’), the ‘Runder Brunnen’ (round spring) and the ‘Schönbornsprudel’ (Schönborn spring), which fill the KissSalis thermal pools, are mainly used for bathing cures. The medicinal springs are also used for inhalation in the ‘Gradierbau’ (graduation tower) or in the Kneippbecken (Kneipp pools).

Regardless of whether you come to Bad Kissingen for prevention, regeneration or rehabilitation: the medical focus is on the themes of mental health and a healthy lifestyle. Our main goal is to strengthen your mental and emotional resilience. Whether you are generally healthy or acutely stressed, we have a wide range of offers to help you relax, recuperate and regain energy. However, even if you are already ill: mental strength always plays a central role particularly in our 19 specialist and rehabilitation clinics. Therefore, you can trust in the proven interaction of classical spa culture and health-promoting activities, alternative therapies and modern medicine.


The many offers and treatments in Bad Kissingen make it easy for you to do something good for your health here. For example, treat yourself to our soothing healing springs – as a drink served daily in the Brunnenhalle, or as a bath in our wonderful KissSalis thermal baths. Discover the power of nature in our gardens and parks or during a day excursion in the surrounding region or the Rhoen biosphere reserve. Sports and games are especially fun in verdant Bad Kissingen. The “Path of Reflection” or the barefoot labyrinth in the Luitpoldpark provide the perfect setting for you to practice mindfulness and train your senses.


Rakoczy Spring, Pandur Spring, Max Brunnen, Runder Brunnen, Schönborn.

Earliest known use


Hottest Spring


Chemical Elements

Sodium chloride

Taking the Waters in Bad Kissingen

Taking the Waters in Bad Kissingen

Max Littmann-Saal

Max Littmann-Saal

The Rose Garden in Bad Kissingen

The Rose Garden in Bad Kissingen

Gradierbau Bad Kissingen

Gradierbau Bad Kissingen

Green Hall Bad Kissingen

Green Hall Bad Kissingen

Untere Saline

Untere Saline

Poços de Caldas

Poços de Caldas

Poços de Caldas Tourist Information

Tourist information/Town Hall Avenida Francisco Salles, 343, Poços de Caldas - 37701-013

+55 (35) 3697-5000

Historical Background

Situated high above sea level, in an extinct volcanic caldera, Poços de Caldas is the city of possibilities, from romanticism to well-being and modernity. The discovery of springs and wells of sulfurous and thermal waters let to its discovery  and today it is a historical city that enchants with its architecture, its features, and its landscape, blending the urban with the surrounding natural landscape where the São Domingos mountain range embraces the entire city. Poços de Caldas, is certainly a beautiful place to live!

The positive impact on the treatment of people with leprosy was one of the first signs of the beneficial qualities of thermal waters for health. The disease haunted a portion of the Brazilian population in the late 18th century, when sulfur waters stood out in these treatments.

The first spa in Poços de Caldas opened in 1886, the Balneário Pedro Botelho. Ten years later, another one was established in Praça Dom Pedro II and as Thermas, in 1919. It was at that time that the city noticed a differential in tourism, after all the sulfurous waters are a specific attraction of Poços de Caldas, and as a result began to increase its visitor infrastructure.

The waters

The waters of Poços de Caldas have sulphur as the predominant ore (greater than 1mg/liter) of hypothermic nature (42°C at the source and 37°C for the baths) and discretely radioactive, with decongestant, anti-inflammatory antiseptic, detoxifying, healing and anti-allergic properties. This water table is approximately 1,300 meters deep.

Its resorts offer more than 30 services and attractions to the population and tourists, such as thermal baths, showers, saunas, massages, facial treatments, manicure, pedicure, hair removal, holistic therapies, oriental medicine, yoga, aqua aerobics, and swimming. 

The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel

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Varaždinske Toplice

Varaždinske Toplice Tourist Information

Tourist information Ivana Padovca 3, Varaždin 42 000, Croatia

+385 42 210-987

Roman Baths

Roman Baths

Varaždinske Toplice has ancient roots dating back to Roman times

Varaždinske Toplice has ancient roots dating back to Roman times

View from Nad Zidom Street

View from Nad Zidom Street

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Lipik_Marble baths


Lipik Tourist Information

Tourist Office Trg kralja Tomislava 3, 34551, Lipik, Croatia

+385 034 421 600

Lipizzaner Ponies

Lipizzaner Ponies

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Marble Bath Interior

Marble Bath Interior

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The Kurhotel in Lipik

The Kurhotel in Lipik

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The Marble Hall in Lipik

The Marble Hall in Lipik

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The European Route of Historic Thermal Towns welcomes new members

The European Route of Historic Thermal Towns (EHTTA), a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe since 2010 has welcomed 3 new members and an International Partner at its first Council meeting of 2022.

There are three new member towns, which are:

  • Lipik, Croatia
  • Telese Terme, Italy
  • Varaždinske Toplice, Croatia

EHTTA also welcomed an International Partner, Poços de Caldas, in Brazil.

EHTTA, which is responsible for managing the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, is delighted to add two new members in the south-east of Europe, and is hopeful that in the future, more members will join from this part of Europe which is rich in thermal resources and historic thermal towns.

Daruvar has been the only Croatian member of the Route for many years, and two new members, Lipik and  Varaždinske Toplice joining the Croatian part of the Cultural Route will be a great benefit to all three towns.  The Croatian Ministry of Culture is particularly supportive of the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe, and all 14 routes that cross its territory. In addition, health tourism is strategically important as it represents an important and growing segment of Croatia’s tourism industry.

The addition of Telese Terme as a member town gives the Cultural Route in Italy a boost, and adds to a greater geographical spread, from EHTTA founder members, Acqui Terme and Salsomaggiore Terme, joined by Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole and Montegrotto Terme in the North, to Fiuggi, not far from Rome.

Another long-term member of the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, Montecatini Terme, has recently joined a select group of European spa towns as one of the eleven towns in the Great Spa Towns of Europe, inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2021, shining a spotlight on spa culture in Italy. Italy is very active in the Cultural Routes Programme, and has held workshops recently for the 30 Routes that cross the territory.

The addition of Poços de Caldas, as an International Partner takes EHTTA global, and cements the connections forged by Portuguese and Spanish members of the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, notably the cross-border Eurocity, Chaves-Verin.  The Brazilian thermal town has many of the characteristics of a European Historic Thermal Town, with sulphurous waters that are dispensed in many thermal fountains throughout the town.

EHTTA President, Manuel Baltar said: “This partnership with a South American town is particularly welcome in the run-up to the International Thermal Tourism Congress from 27th – 29th September, currently being organised by EHTTA and my own Province of Ourense as part of the UNWTO’s 2022 Affiliate Members Work Programme. I am excited that the Congress will be held shortly before the fair TERMATALIA, in Ourense, Galicia, which has strong connections to thermal towns in South America”.

For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:           


EHTTA Success at the UNWTO Conference in Madrid

Mr Baltar meets Ion Vilcu in Madrid

EHTTA President Mr Baltar meets UNWTO Director of Affiliate Membership Mr Ion Vilcu in Madrid

EHTTA to join the UNWTO Work Programme in 2022 with an International Thermal Tourism Congress

30th November 2021


Image: EHTTA President Mr Baltar meets UNWTO Director of Affiliate Membership Mr Ion Vilcu in Madrid

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) has been chosen to take part in the UNWTO’s Affiliate Members Programme of Work 2022, with an International Congress on Thermal Tourism to be held at the end of September 2022.  The Thermal Congress, which will focus on how thermal tourism can contribute to achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals, will be hosted by the Province of Ourense, Galicia, Spain, where the EHTTA President, Mr. José Manuel Baltar Blanco is also the provincial President.

EHTTA, an Affiliate Member of UNTWO since 2019, participated in a global call for proposals for next year’s Programme of Work, and the successful applicants were announced at the UNWTO Conference in Madrid, today, 30th November.  EHTTA’s International Congress on Thermal Tourism is one of a number of initiatives to be co-organised by UNWTO, with the objective of “strengthen(ing) cooperation with the Affiliate Members while helping them enhance their visibility internationally through UNWTO’s global network”.

EHTTA president, José Manuel Baltar Blanco said

“At EHTTA, we are delighted to be given this incredible opportunity to work with global tourism experts at the UNWTO in the creation of this exciting congress in Ourense, next year.  I would like to thank the Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members, Mr. Ion Vilcu, and Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili for this great honour.

As a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, and the only Cultural Route to be an Associate Member of the UNWTO, we were delighted to hear recently of the Memorandum of Co-Operation that has been signed between the UNWTO and the European Institute of Cultural Routes.  I am extremely proud that EHTTA’s International Congress on Thermal Tourism will be the first major event to be held in the context of this new co-operation agreement.”

Thermal Tourism is closely connected to the natural and cultural environment, and represents one of the most valuable forms of sustainable tourism. Thermal tourism offers visitors the possibility to use all the attributes of the town for health, well-being, learning, entertainment, socialising and mindfulness (and/or spiritual wellbeing). As a result, thermal tourism is a powerful tool to contribute to safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage as well as to provide socio-economic benefits, including the revitalisation of rural areas and the creation of stable employment and income-earning opportunities.

The timing of the joint UNWTO Congress on Thermal Tourism is perfect for EHTTA:

  1. Europe’s Historic Thermal Towns are perfectly placed to offer exactly what is needed after the pandemic
  2. Just in time for the new year in 2022 the AVE high speed train will connect Ourense with Madrid, building on a tradition started in the 1840s of arriving in thermal towns by train.
  3. The Jacobean Holy Year 2021 was extended into 2022 – Ourense is the perfect place to study new sustainable thermal tourism products and there will be an opportunity to walk the Way of St James as part of the Congress.
  4. In 2022 it will be 200 years since the founding of the Ourense Province, which is now governed by the Deputación de Ourense (Ourense Provincial Council). The Province maintains a strong commitment to thermalism as a tool for sustainable development.

This International Congress on Thermal Tourism builds on earlier initiatives held in Galicia:

  1. the International Congress on Thermal Tourism held in Mondariz (Spain) in 1999 and organised by the World Tourism Organization, Tourspain and the Xunta de Galicia (Associate Member of EHTTA).
  2. the International Congress on Thermal Tourism held in Ourense (Spain) in 2011 organised by the same partners and with the collaboration of the Municipality of Ourense (one of the founding members of EHTTA) and the Government of the Ourense Province (EHTTA Associate member).


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For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                          


World Water Day and Valuing Water

World Water Day and Valuing Water in our Thermal Towns

22nd March 2021

EHTTA’s President, Mr Baltar today sent a video message to mark World Water Day – one of the days when EHTTA Members celebrate the sources of water at the heart of each of their towns.

As Mr Baltar explained, “The theme for this year’s United Nations World Water Day  is “Valuing Water”, and for us this is perfect!  All the members of our Association, our Cultural Route, are built around water sources.   Our towns all exist because people in the past valued the water enough to build beautiful structures around thermal springs, and find ways to share the healing water with people near and far.  We have always found ways for people to “take the waters” so that they can improve their wellbeing and benefit from this unique source of health.  Our thermal waters,  are a “stream of history from the past to the future”, and we value that connection.”

EHTTA is  celebrating World Water Day this year, and taking up the question posted by the UN in their #Water2Me campaign by finding out what people think and feel about thermal water in the places where they live, or like to visit.   We want to know  what thermal towns were like in the past, what they are like now and how people would like them to be in the future.

Mr Baltar said “For me, the thermal waters of my town and region represent hope for the future.  Hope that we can help to heal the troubles of the last year with our thermal waters, that people can find the space in our towns to relax, recover, recharge their batteries and reconnect with springs that have been a source of wellbeing for so long.”

 To take part in the What’spa Survey in your language please find click  here.

For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:           

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support


EHTTA is a Premium Partner at ITB NOW next week!

EHTTA is a Premium Partner at ITB NOW from March 9th – 12th

Find us in the Medical Tourism Pavilion!


The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), certified as Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, is delighted to be back at ITB NOW in its new digital format for 2021.

This year, EHTTA and the Great Spas of Europe are collaborating once again to promote the fascinating destinations that are the historic thermal towns of Europe – the Association, the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe and the transnational serial nomination to UNESCO.

In 2019 at the last physical ITB to be held, EHTTA had a very positive experience as an exhibitor in the Medical Tourism Pavilion.  This was the first time the spa towns as a network had been at the Medical Pavilion, in partnership with the Great Spas of Europe.

“In 2021, despite the difficulties of the last 12 months for tourism, our Association has such a lot to talk about with visitors to ITB NOW, especially members of the travel media and tour operators”, says Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA’s Executive Director.
The network will present its new 2021 brochure which includes the very latest member, Bad Ems (also one of the Great Spas of Europe) along with three new leaflets, giving tour operators new itinerary suggestions based on special themes that connect the various historic thermal towns, for example “Spas in Antiquity”, “Therapeutic Landscape” and “Gastronomy”.
“We are also very excited to be working towards our annual celebration of Europe’s water sources on March 22nd, and to be talking about the historic connection between railways and historic spa towns during the European Year of Rail.  We are looking forward to exhibiting at ITB NOW with our partners, the Great Spas of Europe and to making some great connections at this fantastic event.”


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For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:           

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support


EHTTA Supports World Wellness Weekend!

European Historic Thermal Towns Support World Welless Weekend!

For hundreds of years, people have travelled to spa towns across Europe for centuries to use their mineral-rich, healing thermal waters to improve their health. While many spa towns still have medical facilities based around thermal waters to this day, they are also used for wellness in its widest sense. They are places of well-being, and relaxation, partly because over the years, they have become very good at looking after and entertaining visitors. In most spa towns in our network, visitors will find not only thermal baths and drinking fountains but high quality hotels, cultural and artistic venues, parks and gardens, and a generally more relaxed pace!

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) supports World Wellness Weekend on 19th/20th September 2020 together with its members from 18 European countries. EHTTA represents historic thermal towns from Portugal to Estonia via the Peloponnese and beyond, all united in a network which was founded in 2009 and which was certified as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 2010.

“While spa towns are of course associated with the use of water for medicine and health, there are several other elements of the spa town package that fit well with the World Wellness Weekend ‘5 pillars of wellness'” says EHTTA president José Manuel Baltar Blanco. “Some of our members have supported the WWW before and this year we know about planned activities in Georgia, Hungary, Germany and France for example.”
Incorporating one or more of them into your lifestyle is said to “immediately improve your life”, and these are some very simple ways that everyone can enjoy one of Europe‘s spa towns for wellness:
• Sleep and Restoration:
Visit one of our spa hotels for complete rest and relaxation – and don’t be tempted to skip the relaxation session after a day at the spa either – it’s an essential part of the healing process
• Nutrition and Nourishment:
Spa towns often have great locally sourced food and drink – as well as a few alcoholic treats and specialty products which are designed to be part of the cure – such as wafers, Vichy Mints and the „13th spring“ in Karlovy Vary the herbal Becherovka tonic!
Drinking our waters can often be good for health, and can supplement a healthy diet
• Vitality and Movement
Use of parks and gardens within the towns as well as the woods, hills, rivers and likes in the landscape that surround them for fresh air and exercise – walking, cycling, swimming, yoga and other pursuits
• Serenity and Mindfulness
Contemplate life in one of our parks, taking a walk around the historic buildings of the town, or when you’re relaxing in the thermal water
• Purpose and Solidarity
There are often volunteering opportunities in our spa towns – whether as a tour guide or town ambassador, or as a participant in artistic and sporting festivals that take place throughout the year in all our towns.

During the World Wellness Weekend, EHTTA’s social media channels will share the members’ activities in different countries including Georgia, Hungary, Germany, Turkey and France.


Thermal Architecture Takes Centre Stage in Baden-Baden

Thermal Architecture takes centre stage at European Thermal Heritage Day in Baden-Baden

“Thermal Architecture” will be the subject of the third European Thermal Heritage Day organised by the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), on 16th October 2020.  It will be a virtual conference hosted in Baden-Baden, and will be streamed through the Association’s social media channels (see below).

EHTTA’s President, José Manuel Baltar Blanco said “European Thermal Heritage Day is one of the main highlights of the EHTTA calendar, and although we are unable to meet in person in Baden-Baden, we are delighted that the event is still being hosted in this wonderful city, and that EHTTA members will still be able to take a virtual tour of the Thermal Architecture in Baden-Baden.”

“Baden-Baden embodies a centuries-old spa tradition, which has its roots in Roman times”, says Margret Mergen, Lord Mayor of the host town, Baden-Baden.  “It is the meeting point of a long history and timeless lifestyle connected to the spa town’s thermal heritage. We are looking forward to hosting the first digital European Thermal Heritage Day and to a joint celebration our shared European heritage, as well as to exchanging best practises which raise awareness of the significance of Thermal Architecture.”

Paul Simons, President of EHTTA’s Scientific Committee, which organises European Thermal Heritage Day, and Secretary General of the Great Spas of Europe will be presenting the concept of Thermal Architecture in Europe with the Committee’s Vice President, Mario Crecente.  He said “Thermal Architecture is a fascinating subject – it is the collection of buildings that hold and distribute the healing thermal waters that are at the heart of our historic thermal spa towns. It also encompasses the buildings that housed and entertained those who came to ‘take the waters’.  Together these buildings make up a very special and distinctive heritage, which is part of a shared European culture, and worthy of more recognition and protection.”

EHTTA is very pleased to welcome several distinguished guests to introduce this special day:

  • Margret Mergen, Lord Mayor of Baden-Baden
  • Dr. Claus Wolf, Head of State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg
  • Birgitta Ringbeck, Member of Board of Directors, European Institute of Cultural Routes and Chair of the Governing Board, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (Council of Europe)
  • Stefano Dominioni, President, European Institute of Cultural Routes (Council of Europe)

It is also our pleasure to have Dr. Andreas Förderer, World Heritage and Tourism expert, from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Karlsruhe, as an eminent panellist presenting the evolution and significance of thermal architecture in Baden-Baden.

The roundtable discussion, moderated by Prof. Dr. Jörg Haspel (President, ICOMOS Germany) will focus on “Managing Thermal Architecture and Generating Community Support”, and will include panellists with experience of initiating and managing  a wide range of thermal architecture projects, including Site Managers of some of the component parts of UNESCO transnational serial World Heritage nomination “Great Spas of Europe (GSE)”.

The panellists are:

  • Anke Matthys, GSE WHS Site Manager, Vichy (France)
  • Lucie Sochorková, GSE WHS Site Manager, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic)
  • Lisa Poetschki, Head of Department of World Heritage Nomination and Urban Design, Baden-Baden (Germany)
  • Hans-Peter Mengele, Chairperson, Friends of the Lichtentaler Allee – Initiative World Cultural Heritage – e.V., Baden-Baden (Germany)
  • Anna Baker, Project Director, Cleveland Pools, Bath (UK)

Full details of how to attend European Thermal Heritage Day online are can be found here.   It will also be streamed on the Association’s  Facebook page, Thermal Travels, and on LinkedIn.