Steirisches Thermenland, Austria:
Styria′s Premium Spa Region
Austria is blessed with a range of hot springs, feeding thermal spas and so-called "wellness tourism" all over the country. For a detailed overview, see my article on the "Spas of Austria". The most famous and most popular region of Thermen spas can be found in Styria, along a line of ancient volcanoes. The "Thermenland" ("Thermal Spa Land") in Styria is a region that was initially founded as a tourism advertising platform of three communities that was extended since the 1990ies boom in spa tourism and the development of new "Thermen" (spas). Today, it is widely recognised as a designation for an area in the Eastern part of the so-called Oststeirisches Hügelland (Eastern Styrian Hill Region).
The Steirisches Thermenland contains a number of hot springs, feeding a total of six extensive and modern thermal spas with pools and all sorts of leisure facilities: Bad Radkersburg, Bad Gleichenberg, Loipersdorf, Bad Blumau, Bad Waltersdorf and Sebersdorf. These Thermenland spas use naturally mineralised water that comes out of its springs at a temperature of up to 110 degrees, found at a depth of 3000 metres.
Spa practice has some tradition in the Thermenland of Styria: Ever since Roman times, the hot springs of the region are used for thermal spas - for example at Bad Gleichenberg. This is the most traditional of the Styrian spa towns; on contrast to areas like Bad Gastein, Bad Ischl or Baden bei Wien, most Styrian springs were developed only since approximately the 1970ies. This is different with Bad Gleichenberg, which enjoyed a steady inflow of Viennese aristocrats taking the cures since the 1840ies. This is noticeable through the many villas in the historicist style of the 19th century.
Spa Holiday Bargains & Sightseeing in the Thermenland
After enormous investments had been made in the 1990ies, the years following 2000 saw growing discomfort among the communities that are part of the Steirisches Thermenland: Many of them had gone into serious depth to develop some of Europe′s finest spa facilities, only to realise that the supply was now abundant. Even though spa holidays are a popular thing in Austria (both among domestic and international visitors of Styria), the large number of spas with dozens of associated hotels and growing competition in other parts of Austria as well as Hungary gave rise to a severe over-supply problem.
For the consumer (potentially you), this is a rather good thing: To fill their hotels, many spa towns offer exceptionally good rates and package deals especially during the lower seasons in spring and autumn. Today, the Steirisches Thermenland comprises of 72 municipalities which benefit (or try to benefit) from the six thermal spas named above. As of 2005, more than two million over-night arrangements were sold, helping the economically battered region to sustain at least a bit of a boom in tourism.
In terms of attractions beyond thermal spas, note that the area is generally pleasing: Picturesque hills, cosy villages and friendly people. Styria is among my favourite provinces of Austria and this corner of is particularly appealing to me. For sightseeing (you might want to engage on day-tripping, as spa things are generally relaxing, but not exciting), note the "Road of Castles" theme road, the Naturpark Pöllau, the communities of Feldbach, Kornberg and Riegersburg, Fürstenfeld, Hartberg, the monastery of Vorau, Ehrenhausen, Leibnitz, Bad Radkersburg and Weiz.
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