Slovenia has its fair share of spa and wellness hotels, however, it’s also fair to say that many of them are geared towards medical services, others towards the family market – swimming pools with water slides etc. i.e. great for kids. The Rimske Terme spa, located in the village of Rimske Toplice, near Laško, is, for me at least, out there on its own when it comes to total relaxation and wellness, and is especially suitable for adults.
On approach you can already see that it’s something special, thanks to the thoughtful design of the buildings which manage to both blend into the surrounding countryside and stand out at the same time.
Rimske Toplice is situated in the picturesque valley of the Savinja river. The village itself comprises mainly residential buildings and a notable church (see below), however, it is the spa and the surrounding countryside which makes this place so special, as well as its proximity to Laško – home of the famous Laško beer. Whilst there I also spent a day exploring Laško and will be writing a more detailed post about that soon since there’s way too much to squeeze into just one blog and to do so would be a shame.
The railway line between Ljubljana and Zidani most runs through the valley, which makes it particularly easily accessible for those reliant on public transport; my tip – if, like me, you are a light sleeper and don’t want the distant rumble of the (infrequent) trains to disturb your slumber, ask for a forest-facing room.
Rimske terme is situated beside a fault that is approximately 1000m under the earth’s surface. Thermal water, with a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius, rises from this depth and research has proved the many healing effects of the water, especially for rheumatic, orthopaedic, neurological, gynaecological and dermatological illnesses. As well as being used in medical treatments, there is a spring right outside the front door of the hotel and guests are encouraged to taste the water and enjoy its pleasant and healing effects.
The Amalija Wellness Centre offers a full range of beauty, pampering and medical wellness services. The hotel’s signature treatments are its Roman bath experiences, which take place in authentic stone bathtubs (it does feel slightly like getting into a coffin at first, but you soon relax and forget that!) filled with pure thermal water. If you are visiting with a loved one, you can also indulge in a romantic bath for two.
A walk around the Energy Path, among the magnificent sequoia trees, was one of the highlights of my visit. Sequoia are not native to Slovenia; these trees were planted in 1879 as a tribute to the visit by Princess Victoria, heiress to the Prussian throne; the saplings were sent by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. There are 14 energy points, each with an information board explaining the effects on various chakras.
As great as the Rimske terma spa is, it would be a crying shame not to get out and explore the surroundings too, so, of course, I did!
The Lurd church (Lurška Mati Božja) was built in 1886 and contains altar stones brought from the famous French Lourdes and is, in fact, the first church outside of France to be consecrated to the Blessed Virgin. Today, it is a popular pilgrimage sight.
The start of the hike to the peak of Kopitnik (910m) begins right on the doorstep of the spa. This was an added bonus for me during my stay as it meant I could indulge my passion for hiking in the morning – and didn’t have to use my car the whole time I was there – then enjoy some well-earned rest, relaxation and pampering during the afternoon. It takes 1-1.5 hours to reach the mountain hut Koča na Kopitniku (865m) – depending on which of the 2 routes you choose. Although it was dry and clear when I set off, unfortunately it was cloudy at the top so I didn’t get a chance to soak up the views. Oh well, I’ll just have to go back again!
The Aškerc Homestead (Aškerčeva domačija) is just a few minutes walk uphill on the road leading to the hamlet of Senožete. The former home of Anton Aškerc (1856-1912) – the poet, priest, journalist, traveller and campaigner for the freedom and education of Slovene people – today the 500-year old house operates as a museum where visitors can see the original black kitchen, the granary and the linden tree planted in Aškerc’s memory in 1856.
The area is also ideal for cycling – beside the Savinja river for easier, flatter rides, or into the surrounding hills for something more challenging. Bikes can be rented at the hotel and during the summer months there are guided bike trips.
Fortunately, for me at least, this is far from being a ‘fat farm’ and good food is plentiful. Breakfast and dinner are buffet style but for an upgraded dining experience there is also an a-la-carte restaurant, and the cakes in the café were also delicious and very difficult to avoid, especially since I had to walk past them every time I went to use the wellness facilities!
In short, there is a wealth to do, inside or out, at the Rimske terme spa and in the surroundings of Rimske Toplice. I liked it so much I visited twice in two weeks and I will surely be going back!
Rimske terme –http://www.rimske-terme.si/en/
Aškerc Homestead – http://www.lasko.info/en/askerceva-domacija-na-senozetih