Warmbad Villach and Maibachl
Villach-Warmbad: Bathing fun and more
Not far from Villach, situated at the foot of the Dobratsch mountain, is Warmbad. This is a spa resort with a long tradition whose most recent addition is Kärnten Therme, only opened in 2012. The curative effect of Warmbad's water sources might have been appreciated by Celts and there are also archeological findings from the Roman period. Furthermore, Warmbad has a small spa garden (with a fine patisserie), plus huge mixed forest areas which invite you to stroll, walk, jog - and for a short time even to take a bathe.
After heavy rain and during the thawing period the creek Maibachl flows. Then warm water - 28 degrees Celsius - breaks to the surface at the periodical Hungerbach source and fills up two natural pools situated below with water. Those looking for relaxation lie in the water in the morning; in the afternoon children fill the pools with life; romantics prefer the pools by candlelight. Therefore, don't be surprised if you see people walking into the woods with their bathing stuff near the Villach Private Hospital . . .
For the non-locals the natural changing room - the wood - probably takes some getting used to. The ground is earthy and gravelly so your towel should be as big as possible, clothes are placed on branches or laid on the ground and you have to do without a mirror or electric hair dryer. You'll recognize the pros: they bring a little floor mat and a camping chair. However, it is important to me to inform you, that the Maibachl is no paradise for nudists - bathing clothes are a must! And then go for the 1m deep water pools with the pebble stones and the clear water.
If you're not made for this, all the comfort you could wish for is offered at the thermal swimming pool of Warmbad's Therapy Centre (Kurzentrum). Here the almost 30 degree warm water bubbles directly from the source into the pool with its pebble stones floor - you can see and feel the fine bubbles appear. The architecture of the thermal swimming pool is a piece of 50s jewelry with a marble mosaic of the surrealistic painter Franz Rogler at the south wall. While this spa is an oasis of tranquility, with children you are better heading for the new KärntenTherme.
But let me come back to Warmbad's forests: the Hungerbach-source of the creek Maibachl is flowing right now. If you walk from Warmbad into the direction of Oberfederaun, you'll notice from some point on an increasing roar of water, deriving from an about 20 m high waterfall, which is supplied by the Studenca-source, situated a little bit above. Again, this is a periodic source where seeping water from the Dobratsch moutain breaks through to surface.
The walk into the direction of Oberfederaun offers two archeological highlights as well. First, there are a number of Celtic burial mounds which one passes close to the Napoleonswiese meadow. Second, the path follows the trail of an old Roman road, whose channels, carved into the rocks, are still easily visible - how often can you experience that?
Information regarding thermal spa facilities is available here
Kärnten Therme opening hours and prices can be found here (details in German, English and Italian)