As a solo traveller, I like to do girlie stuff when I travel. I like to see as much as possible, but also splurge on a bit of indulgent luxury. One of those luxuries is going to the hammam or a spa. But what is it like in another country? On my road trip through the most southern province of Spain I visited the hammam in Granada and the hammam in Cordoba. I’m here with some answers to those awkward questions you’re afraid to ask about the hammams in Andalusia.
I was invited by Hammam Al Andalus in Cordoba and Granada, so my experiences and answers are based on the hammams in Andalusia of Hammams Al Andalus. All opinions are my own as usual.
#1. What to wear in the hammams in Andalusia?
In the Netherlands, it is perfectly normal to go to a Spa or Sauna and be naked. Butt naked like a baby. Some saunas and spa centres have bathing suit days, but this is explicitly mentioned when booking.
There is no harm in turning up to a spa or hammam and leave the bathing suit in the bag or not go in if you don’t feel like it. But you can put yourself in an awkward situation if you turn up without a bathing suit and you have to wear one. Oepsie…
In the hammams in Andalusia you have to wear a bathing suit. Girls can wear a bikini or a swimsuit; guys can wear long or short swimming gear. If you’re visiting the Andalusian hammams on a spur of the moment, you can always rent a bathing suit for €1,50. They are not very fashionable but they allow you to enjoy the hammam in Granada or Malaga without packing your swimsuit.
#2. Are the hammams in Andalusia mixed?
In Turkey and Morocco, you have female hammams that are separate for ladies. No men allowed here. In the hammams in Andalusia, like Cordoba or Granada, the baths are mixed.
This way, you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon with your loved one or with friends. The dressing room and showers are separate per gender. So make sure to pack your stuff in separate bags as you cannot share them in the dressing room.
#3. Do you have to book a massage with your visit to the Andalusian hammam?
You can search on the website of Hammam Al Andalus for different types of massages, but it is not mandatory to book a massage with your visit to the Hammam.
You can easily enjoy the pools and steam sauna without getting a massage. Lying in the warm and hot pool is a great way to relax and you can always leave early if you don’t feel like floating around any longer.
I can, however recommend the massages because they are really good and after all the walking around cities like Cordoba and Granada; it feels luxurious to have somebody massage your legs!
I had the regular massage with lavender oil and I enjoyed a traditions Kessa Scrub massage. I’ll talk about this some more soon! Join the mailing list to be one of the first to be notified when the post is live.
If you like this, you might want to read
about my other adventures on my Andalusian Road Trip;
like the Food Tour in Malaga I took
#4. Can I bring my own food and drinks to the hammam in Granada?
It is not allowed to bring your own food or (alcoholic) drinks to the hammam in Granada or the other hammams of Andalusia. Please leave your picnic basket as home.
There is mint tea available in the waiting area with some dried fruits. You can have some tea in the areas around the baths too so you won’t go thirsty. If you spent a lot of time in the warm water and sauna of the hammams in Andalusia it is always a good idea to drink to stay hydrated.
#5. What is it like to visit a hammam in Andalusia ?
To be honest, I felt a bit nervous for my first visit to the hammam in Cordoba. Would I make a huge mistake because I might not understand the etiquette or the explanation? Would people be staring at me for showing my body in a swimsuit?
Luckily, it turned out I had nothing to worry about. In the plane to Spain, I suddenly realized I forgot to pack my bikini! Major panic! It is not easy to find a fitting bikini in the Netherlands or online, so how was I ever to find a (cheap) fitting bikini in Spain? With all the nice slim ladies walking around at the Andalusian beaches, they might have enough swimwear, but would it fit me too?
Nervous about my body image
In Ronda, I found a plain bathing suit for only €10. I figured as I didn’t like anything I would be buying, it might as well be super cheap as I probably was never going to wear it again.
But as it turned out: nobody cares anything about the way you look when you visit the hammams in Andalusia. Totally in mysterious Arab style, the hammam in Cordoba was dimly lit, nothing but candles flickering around the pool. I didn’t wear my glasses, so I couldn’t even see it when people would look at me in my ugly bathing suit!
The pools are so nice and warm, you want to stay in them the whole time and when walking between the baths, a hammam towel is provided. So if you’d like to, you can cover up your body a bit.
But nobody really cares though. People are either getting a massage so they are face down on the massage table, or they are minding their own business and don’t even notice you.
I really liked all the services provided like shampoos and moisturisers. They provide a hammam cloth and a towel after your massage. You really don’t have to bring anything to the hammam besides your bikini or swimsuit as everything is provided.
Have you ever been to any of the hammams in Andalusia? What are your experiences with visiting an hammam abroad? Leave any awkward question in the comment section below, and I’ll do my best to answer them!