Forget fancy pricy spas, just go to Serbia! In Apatin, a few kilometers from the Danube and the Croatian boarder, ckecking in at the Banja Junakovic is like stepping back in time, being part of old-fashioned family holidays where you book in for weeks for what we call in French “une cure”.
The complex hasn’t changed much since it was built in the 80s when Tito was still at the head of Yugoslavia. The hotel looks empty when I turn up quite late at night. The receptionist hardly speaks English but tries and so does the barman who is much more comfortable with German: he worked in Germany for years. It’s late but still possible to get some food. Most of the dishes on the menu are missing but the usual grilled meat (pork) with chips and salad is always available. There is almost no one around apart from hords of mosquitoes, delighted by the high presence of water around (and obviously new blood).
Yes, it’s a spa! Its brown thermal water comes out of a 700 m well at a temperature of more than 50 degrees Celsius. Then it’s cooled down to the body temperature for the sake of the bathers! And it’s worth a few baths… The water feels a bit heavy, has a metal smell and taste but you could bath in it for hours to make the most of the virtues of the water.
With its physical-chemical characteristics the Banja Junakovic water belongs to the group of sulphide, alkaline, muriatic iodic hypo-therms, with a high percentage of mineralization. It’s supposed to heal gynaecological, neurological, orthopaedic and rhumatic diseases. I must say you feel very good after dabbling in the miraculous water. A feeling of being in a cocoon.
There are all sorts of treatments you can book: massages, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy etc… The icing on the cake is, to my taste, the architecture and the complex itself: it’s all made for entertainment.
It’s a bit like being in a Yugoslavian version of a Butlin camp: Bowling, tennis courts, restaurant, the very long bar and its lovely barman, outdoor pools and a water park, outdoors activities…
Whatever you want to heal, or if you just want to travel back in time, or just travel, take a plunge, it’s a refreshing and warm cure and destination.
To find out more: http://banja-junakovic.rs/en/