While on tour, Nick & I were traveling from Bacharach to Hamburg, and had a free day in between concerts. We had seen many towns in that part of Germany, and decided to take a chance on Bad Salzuflen, a town about which almost no tourist book or article (in English) has been written.
Please don't be scared by the town's name: the word "bad" means "bath" in German, and the name Bad Salzuflen translates to "salt baths in the woods".
What we found was a lovely quiet small town/thermal spa resort full of (mainly) retirees who come here from all over Germany. We didn't see even one foreign tourist (really loved that bit!). So we felt like we discovered this place all on our own!
A FEW FACTS ABOUT BAD SALZUFLEN:
Pronounced "bahd sahl - tsoo - flehn". Hope it helps :)
Population 53,000. Located in North Rhine-Westphalia part of Germany.
The town first first mentioned in 11th century, but I couldn't find the official founding year. One of the oldest surviving buildings in town is Der Katzenturm - the beautiful tower from 1500s which we could see from our hotel living room and bathroom. It was cool to say the least.
OUR HOTEL: HOTEL ARMINIUS
When researching this town I think we found one of the nicest hotels. Centrally located, it is beautiful, spacious and has a spectacular free breakfast! The staff was extremely friendly and we loved our stay.
They upgraded us to a 2 story penthouse suite (wow!) with a large living room and 2 bathrooms.
While the furniture colors felt a bit outdated, everything else was top notch!
This is our King-size bed. It is very typical in Europe to have separate blankets and often separate mattresses on the same bed frame:
And of course there was a bidet (seems like almost every hotel in Europe has one):
Look at the amazing view from the living room (and from our bathroom, too). It is one of the oldest buildings in town (from 1500s) called Katzenturm, which translates to "cat tower" (not sure why). I couldn't get enough.
As always, we walked and explored.
This town is known for Gradierwerkes which the official city website translates as Graduation Houses. While having nothing to do with school, these three large wooden structures are located near the city center.
Brine water trickles down the sides onto the blackthorn brushwood branches, and while evaporating, it "cleans the brine, causing mineral deposits such as chalk and iron oxide to be deposited on the brushwood as so-called "thorn stones". Breathe in as much fresh air as you wish here: strolling along the Bad Salzuflen graduation houses is as healthy as a walk by the sea."
I copied the last two sentences from the aforementioned city site, but I didn't fully understand these structures until after we left town - we didn't have the time to google it. But we did know that it was very healthy for us to inhale the air around Gradierwerke, so we did!
The restaurant Varus next door to the hotel was absolutely amazing. So beautiful, very old, and the food & service were fab!
As always, we asked for the most traditional German food, as well as local beer and German wine:
The chef gave us a complimentary appetizer, it was delicious:
Nick & I split the main course, which consisted of 3 different types of meat, it was soooo good!
After dinner, we took another walk. It was so quiet and peaceful, we were pretty much the only people in the streets!
In the morning we had an incredible (and free) breakfast at our hotel in the room they call the Winter Garden (notice Nick sleepily posing):
Before leaving town, Nick & I had to get some CDRs (to make a handful of my Russian Bootleg albums) so we found a local version of Best Buy and speed-walked there (why not exercise and sight-see with a purpose?).
We saw a different part of town, and it was beautiful too:
I wish we had more time in Bad Salzuflen because I would have loved to visit and enjoy the thermal bath. It's called Salinenklinik Bad Salzuflen
Overall, we loved our stay. It was quiet and peaceful, very few people spoke English, and it was nice that it wasn't at all catered to foreign tourists. Some of the most beautiful towns around the world get absolutely ruined by hordes of visitors, which ends up changing the very essence of these towns. But for now, Bad Salzuflen has escaped that fate, and I consider myself lucky to have spent time here. Here's to coming back!
Have you been to Bad Salzuflen? Do you know of any other beautiful small towns in Germany that aren't spoiled by hordes of tourists?
I'd love to hear!
Thank you for reading!
A FEW NOTES:
1) I carefully research restaurants, places to stay, activities, historical sites, etc, taking into account reviews on several platforms as well as friend suggestions. But, I often just stumble onto places randomly. It is the beauty of traveling!
2) While I see/do a lot more than I post, I choose to post only about my favorite experiences, unless something is so awful it deserves to be called out (which is rarely the case).
3) One of my favorite and most useful tools while traveling is GoogleMaps. I follow many travel blogs and each time I see something I'd love to visit/experience, I mark it on GoogleMaps as "want to go". It's in green color and it's very helpful when planning a trip.
4) Speaking of GoogleMaps. As always while I'm traveling, if I see something I like - I just walk over and check it out. If I ever get lost, then the good ol' GoogleMaps is my best friend! Asking the locals is part of the fun: being in a tourist/childlike-state of ignorance. Just be nice and cute and the locals will guide you. It is awesome.
5) As much as I rely on Google reviews, their customer ratings don't always reflect the true nature of a business/hotel/restaurant. Many people who take the time to review are upset and they're letting the world know. One of the many reasons I started leaving reviews was the fact that some of my favorite places had (and only a handful of) negative reviews. I'd go to their Google or Yelp or TripAdvisor page and leave a 5 star review because I thought they deserved to have better ratings. So I take ratings & reviews with a grain of salt but do count on them as well. A little of both :)
Things to do in North Rhine-Westphalia, beautiful German towns, boutique hotels, travel tips