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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Fontane Therme

The 9 best spas in Berlin for rest and relaxation

Epic hangover? The best spas in Berlin will help take the edge off it with ambient music and feet-nibbling fish

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver
&
Alexandra Pereira
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When one thinks of Berlin, total rejuvenation and relaxation might not immediately spring to mind. The German capital is always surprising, and there is a wide range of wellness and spa treatments centres here to help take the edge off that hangover. Berlin is famous for its nightlife, but it is fast becoming beloved for its spas too.

Innovation abounds as frequently as tradition, meaning you can find everything from old fashioned massages to musical Aufguss aromatherapy. The best saunas and spas in Berlin are all sorts of relaxing, but that innate Berliner desire to perform is often apparent in this most unlikely of spheres. What a tremendous city this truly is.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Berlin

Best spas in Berlin

Tucked down a cobbled street in the middle of foodie district Prenzlauer Berg, the beautiful old town baths have now reopened as an elegant hotel with an even more extraordinary swimming pool and a modest underground spa. Designed in 1898, the main room’s high ceilings and beautiful tiles exude old-world elegance. To get a sense of the building’s history, take one of the city bath tours on Tuesdays (no registration required). Either way, make sure to check out the ice fountain.

This sprawling hammam is for women only. Opened in 1988 as the first Turkish bath in Germany, Hamam Berlin is unpretentious and super-affordable, with prices starting at €22 for a three-hour visit that includes slippers, towels and a robe. Its typical Kreuzberg exterior is unassuming, but the spa inside is beautiful. 

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Don’t be fooled by the Cronenberg-esque sci-fi name. Liquidrom, near the historic Potsdamer Platz, is heaven. This serene and design-chic domed spa, complete with skylight and futuristic dimmed lighting, has seen its popularity soar since it began inviting DJs to play ambient classical/electronic music that reverberates throughout the saltwater. The salt caverns and four nude saunas all come at a decent price. We say book yourself an aufguss session right away. 

What would a Berlin spa list be without the inclusion of some freaky foot action? Less fetishistic than it sounds, the Lakana Thai Massage and Fish Spa caters to the adventurous and unticklish spa-goer with an exfoliation technique originating from Jordan. Rest assured, the aquariums are ‘constantly being cleaned’ so you can sit back and let the Garra Rufa fish nibble away at your dead skin without (that much) hesitation.

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Smack bang next to the sprawling Charlottenburg park, Tiergarten, you’ll find a more private oasis – and another huge one at that. Vabali is designed to welcome guests for the whole day, with countless saunas, steam rooms, terraces and pool areas to explore. Modelled on a small Balinese village, the place just oozes tranquillity and gentleness. Sauna infusions begin with green tea in the mornings and end on a slumber-inducing bedtime concoction at 11 pm. Bonus points: the fantastic Asian and Mediterranean-inspired food.

Close to Mitte and the tourist jamboree that is Alexanderplatz, find celebrity favourite Cowshed (inside Soho House). The glamorous underground lair is built in the old, industrial Third Reich Youth HQ. Gentle music seeps through red velvet curtains as you wait on a plush chaise longue for your deep tissue massage. Head to Cecconi’s upstairs for a post-relaxation meal.

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Berlin insiders know all about lake culture and the Freikörperkultur (FKK) movement, which translates roughly as ‘free body culture’ and endorses naturism at lakes and marked bathing areas. Just an hour outside Berlin in the wider Brandenburg region, you’ll find exquisite spa retreat Fontane Theme in Neuruppin, which welcomes nudists and comes complete with thermal baths, a wild swimming lake and a top-notch restaurant.

If Thai massage and Asian infusions are your thing, Yi-Spa might be for you. After a morning spent gazing at some of the best international art collections in nearby Museum Island, check into this well-decked-out spa for a quirky and unnervingly delicious-sounding treatment. Mango and rice peel? Banana and sesame mask? They’re so fragrant (and foodie) you may even want to skip dinner. Book well ahead. 

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If old-time opulence is what you’re after, then go west. We highly recommend spending an afternoon surrounded by chandeliers and twinkling candles and lavishing yourself with expensive French products at Guerlain. Go for the Das Waldorf half-day transformative experience or the Cocooning Imperiale full-day body extravaganza (any treatment booked for over 90 minutes includes spa-basking time and a gown).

Up for some food therapy?

The 15 best restaurants in Berlin
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés

This city’s 28 collective Michelin stars speak volumes: from venerated institutions like Mitte’s Grill Royal to the burgeoning foodie scene in once-gritty Neukölln, there are some downright life-changing meals to be had here.

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