As you descend the stairs, the lights dim, and the spicy smell of burning incense fills your lungs. Candles flicker, glinting off the underground walls, and shimmering in the pools. We are greeted at the bottom of the stairs by a helpful attendant who explains how to use the baths at the Aire de Barcelona. A hammam public bath, fully restored in it’s original Roman form, and as you glide through the warm waters you can appreciate the ancient vaulted ceilings and exposed walls.
I had been meaning to visit these public baths in like forever and when my bestest buds from San Francisco came to Barcelona, we took the opportunity to steam ourselves silly. The salt baths, and bubbling water jets did much to relieve our danced-out feet after a few days and nights spent cavorting at the Sonar Music Festival. But I can assure you that you need little excuse to visit.
The Aire also offers massages and facials, but we just opted for the 2 hour bath and made the most of it, enjoying each of the different pools before we got too wrinkly and decided to call it a night. The baths are open until late and we booked the last 2 hours of the day. It seemed like quite a popular time to go, but we did not find it too crowded and it was easy to relax.
When you visit, you only need bring your bathing suit. Bikinis are fine too. You are provided with towels and little slippers which you wear into the pools. I could recommend it as a nice date with a significant other, ( the baths are unisex) before you head out for a late dinner in the old neighbourhood of El Born. There are plenty of great restaurants nearby. And after soaking for an hour or two it’s a lovely way to end an evening.
I’m looking forward to my next trip.