Les Bains de Lavey is a thermal spa in a Swiss village called Lavey-Les-Bains in the canton of Vaud. It is a 25-minute drive from Montreux, a well-known lakefront town. It takes around 80 – 90 minutes to drive from Geneva around Lac Leman to Les Bains de Lavey.
I visited Lavey Les Bains in winter 2024 during a ski trip to the French Alps. The snow was starting to turn icy over New Year, and our bodies were aching from the days of skiing we had already done. Therefore, we decided to visit a thermal spa in Switzerland.
This article aims to provide more information to visitors who want to visit the Lavey thermal baths and speak English.
Much of the information available about Les Bains de Lavey is only available in French or shares standard information without personal experience. I struggled to find the information I needed to plan my visit to Lavey Les Bains.
This article includes information on booking your thermal baths visit, what to bring, and what to expect when you are there.
Tips for Booking Lavey Les Bains Thermal Spa
If you want to visit Lavey les Bains during peak times, such as around Christmas and New Year, or during the French winter holidays, I strongly recommend booking online. In addition, do not leave it too last minute to book because time slots will sell out.
When I looked online at Lavey Les Bains’ reservations a few days before my desired visit, it seemed like there was a lot of availability. However, when I went to book on the same day, a lot of time slots had sold out. So, try to book ahead when visiting in popular winter periods.
Many people try to come to Lavey Thermal Baths last minute, which means the line to enter without a ticket is much longer than the one with a reservation. Additionally, booking tickets online is non-refundable. Nonetheless, I recommend selecting a date, booking online in advance, and committing to that time slot.
When we arrived at Lavey Les Bains at 1:30 PM on a weekday over the New Year, it looked like the wait for the spa would be around 1 hour long for people without bookings. But when we left around 4:00 PM, it looked even longer, potentially up to a 2-hour wait.
I did not attempt to arrive at an earlier or later time to my booking, but I imagine they would be firm given that they are strict with your departure time and charge a fee if you leave the changing rooms later than your 3-hour time slot allows.
What to Bring to Les Bains de Lavey?
You must bring your own towel because they do not provide them for you or rent any there. There was a shop selling swimwear at the thermal spa, but I did not see if they sold towels.
You will use your towel around the spa since you need to bring it to the saunas, so the towel will be damp by the end. If you can bring an additional towel and leave one dry in the locker, you will be happy.
Bring shampoo, conditioner, heat protector spray, or any other products for washing your hair. There are decent hair dryers to use for free. Also, bring some face moisturiser because I came out with my skin feeling extremely dry. There is soap in the shared showers.
There is also a bathing suit dryer, so you do not have to take home a soaking-wet swimming costume. Although, it may be a good idea to bring a bag to carry your damp costume and wet towel home.
Bring a drink to have after your visit because you will need to rehydrate.
I was also hungry after my visit, so I went to the cafe upstairs and they sold fresh waffles, which were incredible, although expensive. The waffles were CHF 8, but worth it. I could have easily eaten a second.
Types of Tickets for Lavey Les Bains Spa
Various tickets are available for purchase when visiting the Lavey Les Bains website.
The main ticket is the 3-hour access, which is available throughout the day. Another option is the 2-hour access, which is only available for the last 2 hours of the day.
If you buy your tickets online, you will receive an email with QR codes to show upon arrival. There are two lines for entry to the spa, one for those with a reservation and one for those without one. The line for those with reservations is much quicker than those without.
The clock starts as soon as you scan your wristband and change into your swimwear, and it ends once you are showered and changed at the end of your visit.
If you run even a few minutes over your allocated 3 hours, you will be charged. The gates will not open, and it will require payment for a fee.
There are few places to sit and wait for people who did not book a ticket to the baths. The cafe upstairs has some tables, but it is a small area and extremely warm because it connects to the wellness section. So, if people are non-swimmers, or waiting with young children, I suggest they arrange another activity unless it is an off-peak time. Then, there may be space to wait in the cafe.
Children over the age of 4 years are allowed to visit.
Best Times to Visit les Bains de Lavey
The afternoon and evening time slots are typically busier, and this is especially so in the winter school holidays and ski season.
When I visited with a 1:30 PM entry time, it seemed busy in the main pools, but there were still free spaces in the saunas. It appeared to get busier as the day went on.
A morning time slot would be the least busy because people arrive in 30-minute increments, so it would not reach maximum capacity until a few hours in.
However, if you visit in the evening, the spa has a lovely ambience because the baths are lit up, and it is possible to stargaze.
What to do with your Belongings at Les Bains de Lavey?
There are lockers to put your belongings in at Les Bains de Lavey, and they will fit large backpacks, coats, and shoes. You can close your locker with your entry wristband, and it is free to open and close several times.
There are also small lockers you can use near the pools that would fit a phone in. Although, you likely do not need it unless you want to send messages to people throughout your visit.
It may also be helpful to bring small toiletries to this locker, so you can use them for your shower after the baths. If you leave your wallet in a mini locker, you could buy drinks or snacks from the cafe within the paid customer area.
You cannot take photos while at the baths, although I sneakily took one and then put it back in the larger locker. There is nowhere to keep your phone on the side of the pools because it is an indoor-outdoor pool, and all the pools are connected. (Except for the hot tubs and sauna areas that are separated).
You can take pictures from outside the baths, which is what I did. You can also see the naturally heated thermal waters in a stream outside. A sign explains that the cascade cools the water from the thermal baths before it enters the Rhone River.
Parking at Les Bains de Lavey
There is free parking at Les Bains de Lavey, but it fills up quickly. So, I suggest arriving early because you need time to wait for a spot.
Plus, in peak times, there may be long lines to get your wristband for entry.
What to Expect During Your Visit at Les Bains de Lavey?
The main outdoor thermal pools are warm but not hot. The hot tubs are hot, and you can feel the temperature is much higher. Les Bains de Lavey claims to have the warmest water of all thermal baths in Switzerland with a temperature of 65 Celsius.
There are several saunas to choose from – the majority require you to wear swimwear and you must bring your towel to sit on.
There is a “perfumed” sauna, with a subtle and pleasant smell that allows both genders. It was 70 Celsius, so not unbearably hot. There is a warmer sauna with a temperature of 85 Celcius, and it was challenging to stay there for long. It was also a bathing suit-required sauna for a mixed audience.
There were a few cold plunge options in the sauna area. There is a bucket that fills with cold water, and you can pull a lever to dunk it over you, which is refreshing after being in the sauna. Or there is a small plunge pool that would fit 1 or 2 people in.
Finally, there were nudist saunas and a naturist cold plunge in a private area.
One of my favourite areas at the thermal baths was the whirlpool. In one corner of the main outdoor pool, jets pushed the water in a circular motion, and it pushed you in that direction.
The whirlpool was fun, and I laughed so hard because it was easy to dunk under the water and difficult to get out of the circle motion. Therefore, only strong swimmers were allowed in that part of the pool. There are lifeguards, but they are watching a large area, so they are not focusing necessarily on the whirlpool.
There are several places to sit and read a book, so if you are not looking to spend your whole time in the water, you can go to one of the relaxation rooms.
The indoor pool was hot and every hour for the first 15 minutes, they played music underwater. This is a unique concept, but the pool got busy and was too loud to hear the music well. They give out floats to lie back and listen under the water.
Where to Stay near Les Bains de Lavey?
There is a hotel next to the thermal baths called the Grand Hotel des Bains. You will gain unlimited thermal bath access if you book a stay at the hotel.
The hotel grounds have several restaurants, so you can make a relaxing and indulgent overnight trip to the spa.