The Topolšica Thermal Spa

I last visited the Topolšica thermal spa some years back, and, though I didn’t stay overnight, I distinctly remember feeling it seemed somewhat dated. On my recent visit I was therefore delighted to discover that significant improvements have been made with the addition of the brand new Ocepkov Gaj Apartment Village and, a few years ago, the Zala Wellness Centre – both of which are shining examples of modern, thoughtful construction and the changing face of Slovenian wellness tourism.

My visit, on a wonderfully hot late-May weekend, coincided with the seasonal opening of the outdoor pool complex – the Zora Water Park..

CIMG1351

There is an additional outdoor pool, which is open all year, connected to the indoor pool and whirlpool complex, within Hotel Vesna.

TOPOLŠICA15notprehod

Within the complex there are also Finnish, Turkish and infrared saunas, and Sauna Land in the Zala Wellness Centre features, among others, classic or extreme Finnish saunas, herbal, salt and steam saunas,   an ice cave experience and a Kneipp terrace. The fitness centre is also very well-equipped with the latest Technogym equipment.

074-wellness-2010-800x430

The new Ocepkov Gaj Apartment Village is the place to stay for a break at Topolšica. The 27 modern well-equipped 4-star holiday houses are set next to the forest in a tranquil location just minutes away from the main hotel and pools. Facilities include free Wi-Fi, plasma televisions, free parking, and a private terrace.

IMG_5879

A good way to get a feel for the area, and for a bird’s eye view, is to take a walk or bike ride on one of the many marked paths that start directly from the doorstop.  I opted for a hike on the Sonča Pot (Sunny Path), which leads up to Lom and onwards to the highest point of Topolšica at 884m.

CIMG1362

The main hotel, the 3-star Hotel Vesna, is nice enough looking from the outside, however, at over 30 years old it is showing its age and in need of modernisation. It’s not all bad, though, the pool facilities, café (with seriously scrumptious cakes!), and public areas are fine. For those watching the pennies and planning to spend most of the time using the pools and/or exploring the area, then the rooms are perfectly acceptable – clean, quiet and surprisingly spacious – but the corridors, room décor, and bedding are, well, a tad dingy.

I tried the 70-minute Zala massage at the Zala Wellness Centre, which combines various massage techniques of classic body massage, shiatsu head massage and reflexology foot massage – sheer bliss!

There are a wide range of treatments on offer – classic and innovative. Among the latter is the Dr. Breuss massage – a speciality back massage named after Dr. Rudolf Breuss from Austria, known for his fasting diets. The gentle, soothing massage is designed to rid the body of physcological and physical blockages for better energy flow. Only a small amount of oil is used and the technique involves light stretching of the spine. It is also one of the few massages which can be carried out on people with acute spinal conditions. This video, though not from the spa, gives an idea of the technique used.

For active types, there’s more than enough to keep you busy here and in the surroundings. I hired a bike from the hotel and cycled through the Šalek Valley (Šaleška dolina) to the 3 Velenje lakesVelenjsko jezero, Šaleško jezero, Družmirsko jezero.

CIMG1375

There’s no escaping the fact that the lakes are right next to the Šostanj thermal power plant, which is a bit of a blot on the landscape, however, if you just avert your gaze away from the plant, the scenery is lovely! The well-arranged paths around the lakes are ideal for strolling, jogging and cycling and in fine weather the Velenje Beach is the place to be. It offers sun loungers, a café/bar, and numerous water sports, such as stand-up paddling and wind-surfing. More about Velenje Beach here – http://www.velenje-tourism.si/en/adventures/the-velenje-beach

CIMG1370

Getting there: Topolšica is easiest reached by car. If, however, you are reliant on public transport you can take a train to Velenje or Šoštanj and then a local bus onwards to Topolšica.

© Spas in Slovenia

Winning Wellness at the Terme Olimia Thermal Spa

The Terme Olimia thermal spa is located in the town of Podčetrtek, near the pretty village of Olimje, in the Kozjansko region in the east of Slovenia.

Terme-Olimia-exterior

The resort comprises a huge array of facilities including 2 hotels, an apartment hotel and  holiday village, the largest Sauna World in Slovenia2 spa and beauty centres, a wellness and pool oasis, a health centre, a fitness centre, several cafes and restaurants and more.

Amongst Slovenia’s 14 thermal spas Wellness Centre Orhidelia has won the title of ‘Best Wellness Centre in Slovenia’ for the last 5 years in a row. The name and the purple and black colour scheme of the wellness centre was chosen due to the rare black orchid which grows in the vicinity.

Wellness-Orhidelia-Terme-Olimia (5)

It’s not just Slovenes that know about, and visit, Terme Olimia – word has spread – over 70% of guests come from abroad and I was mighty impressed by the ability of the staff to effortlessly switch between at least 6 foreign languages.

If your budget allows I recommend staying in the four-star superior Wellness Hotel Sotelia, which is the most modern hotel. In fact it is only 10 years old and already a partial refurbishment of rooms is in progress as “in a hotel of this standard, guests expect the best and we must maintain our standards’.

Wellness-hotel-Sotelia-Terme-Olimia (11)

Those wishing to take advantage of the resort’s extensive medical facilities, which particularly specialises in treating back pain, should stay in the four-star Hotel Breza that allows direct access and designated facilities. For families, and/or those who prefer to self-cater, the Vas Lipa holiday village or the Aparthotel Rosa are ideal.

The wellness centre and Hotel Sotelia have grass-covered roofs in keeping with the pristine, green environment and environmentally-friendly ethos. This was the view from my room!

CIMG1194

The Armonia Spa offers a very comprehensive range of pampering treatments. I tried one of its speciality massages, the Olimia massage, which combines the expertise of masseurs and physiotherapists and begins with stretching followed by a relaxing massage. There are also Tibetan, Thai, Khanya (African) and Ayurveda massages and treatments, as well as a full range of other beauty treatments.

CIMG1261

As part of the Selfness Programme there is a twice- daily ‘House Ritual’, which promotes relaxation and calmness. Both guests and staff are encouraged to take part in the ritual at 10.30am and 4.30pm and everyone literally downs tools for 3 minutes to join in. These 2 staff, below, happened to passing reception at the time of the ritual and I was amazed to see they literally stopped in their tracks to join in! It’s very admirable that this is also afforded to staff!

 

CIMG1222

you can see more of the House Ritual in this video below.

Other activities include Qi Gong, Tai Chi, barefoot walking, guided cycling trips, Nordic walking, and various workshops.

The spa’s thermal water springs from a depth of 520m in the area of the Aqualuna Thermal Park and Camp Natura. The water contains magnesium, calcium and hydrogen-carbonates. It is suitable for drinking and guests are provided with a bottle of spring water daily in their rooms and the water is used in all the pools throughout the resort.

The Aqualuna Thermal Park and Natura Camp, also part of Terme Olimia, are situated just 5 minutes from the main resort.

Aqualuna-Terme_Olimia_(4)

There is a wealth of things to see in do in the immediate vicinity of the spa, including a well-marked network of walking and cycling paths.

One such path leads up to Podčetrtek Castle, which sits imposingly above the town. The pleasant path leads up through the forest, taking about 30 minutes to reach the castle. However, whilst it looks mighty from the outside, it was disappointing to see the dilapidated state of the remainder of the castle, and venturing further inside isn’t advisable as it could be hazardous. This is an investment project ripe for anyone who has a spare few million euros!

CIMG1199

The spotlessly clean compact town centre is within easy reach and has a small selection of shops, a bakery, and numerous restaurants and cafes.

CIMG1212

This odd couple can be found outside the school!

CIMG1219

Those without their own transport can reach Podčetrtek on the special ‘spa trains’, operated by Slovenian Railways, which run from Ljubljana. Visitors arriving by train are also entitled to special discounts and benefits. More information here – http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/passenger-transport/around-slovenia/the-spa-train

You can find information about all the above,  and more, here – http://www.terme-olimia.com/gb

If time allows, I thoroughly recommend a visit to the village of Olimje. Since there’s way too much to write about that here, keep an eye out on ‘Adele in Slovenia’ for much more information about what to see and do. Coming soon! – https://adeleinslovenia.com/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016