You’ve booked, packed, organised things at home and work – and now you’ve finally made it through the traffic to check-in on time. Phew!
When you’ve exhausted yourself trekking around bazaars and up mountains (or even if you never planned to do the sightseeing) – the time will come for some serious pampering!
In Turkey, you can exchange expensive hotel spas and run-of-the mill treatments for an authentic experience at a Turkish bath. That may sound daunting, but it’s a time-honoured and trouble-free way to indulge in some blissful relaxation.
Here are my top tips for making the most of your me-time at a Turkish bath:
1. Where do I find a Turkish bath?
From Istanbul to the provinces, you’ll find baths all over the country. Locally, they’re called hammam (hamam and hamami are other spelling variations) and they’re often bang in the centre of town. Bodrum’s elegant stone hammam, for instance, is easy to find – opposite the bus station!
2. What’s the dress code?
Men and women go separately at the typical Turkish bath. So most people go nude – but it’s also OK to choose to wear your swimsuit. Once you’re out of your street clothes, you’ll usually be able to secure your things in a locker – but you can ask before entering.
3. What should I expect?
It’s all in the name – the Turkish bath is about getting bathed! To begin with, you’ll be ushered into a warm room (a bit like a sauna) to unwind on platform of warm stone. (The interiors of Turkish baths are often impressive, by the way, so take a good look around). Soon enough, an attendant will come along (female if you’re a woman; male if you’re a man) and ladle warm water over you, soap, massage and scrub you – it will probably be your best exfoliation ever! They’ll also wash your hair and face. And some Turkish baths give great facial treatments, too, such as cleansing clay masks.
4. Can I swim at a Turkish bath?
Following your treatment, you’ll rinse off and return to chill out on the warm stone. Some hammams also offer a plunge pool or hot tub afterwards, but these are for gentle restoration rather than swimming laps!
For an extra-special treat, look out for Turkish baths with a café and Western-style spa treatments (like manicures and pedicures) so you can really make a day of it.
Have you ever had a traditional Turkish pampering? Tell us about it in the comments below!