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Judenburg and Therme Fohnsdorf – a family outing of the cosy kind

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Last spring, we wanted to shorten the waiting time for our big trip to the USA and relax for a few days somewhere cosy. There should be a thermal spa nearby, because it was still too cold for the outdoor pool in April, and there should be a few excursion possibilities - the children should also have something to do. We would have preferred a place where we had never been before, which could be reached from Vienna within two hours by car. After a short search on the internet, we found what we were looking for: We wanted to have a look at the Therme Fohnsdorf.

According to Styria Tourism, the Aqualux Therme in the middle of the Styrian Murtal invites you to lots of water fun and wellness! There was talk of "pure thermal baths". In the Aqualux thermal baths, several indoor and one outdoor pool, a water slide, pampering sauna infusions and "wonderful" cuisine in the two thermal bath restaurants await you on three levels with a total of 900 m² of water surface.

Since the spa is not very centrally located, we decided to book three nights in nearby Judenburg. As a 16-year-old, I spent a night there in the course of a bicycle tour. I cycled with a friend from Vienna to Velden and back. It was a great experience. Only in Judenburg did we have a negative experience when we were attacked by three skinheads. The baldies were definitely out for trouble and we just wanted to have a holiday. No matter, you can't buy intelligence. That was also an unforgettable adventure.

On the Website of Aqualux Therme Fohnsdorf a good overview is provided (Screenshot

I thought to myself: why not give Judenburg a second chance. With this in mind, we booked three nights in a family room at the JUFA Klosterhotel. The name actually sounds rather off-putting, but since we had already had very good experiences with hotels of the JUFA chain (in Hamburg and at Lake Stubenberg), we booked a family room in the former monastery near the centre of Judenburg.

As soon as we arrived, we realised that this was a hotel with a very special atmosphere. The old walls have been converted inside into a very appealing hotel, yet the old charm has been preserved. When we arrived, we were the only guests in the hotel for one night. My wife and I visited the wellness room with sauna and infrared cabin, which we had all to ourselves. After the sauna, we took advantage of the opportunity to brew a free tea and relaxed on the comfortable loungers. By the way, the tea selection from Sonnentor was top-notch (I recommend the blood orange tea).

The JUFA Klosterhotel in Judenburg has beautifully renovated several old parts.

On the very first evening we visited Judenburg. A walk through the old town is nice, but also quickly done. Judenburg is very manageable. In the sleepy nest, however, there is a landmark with history. The almost 76-metre-high town tower offers a wonderful panoramic view over the Aichfeld. The tower dates back to the 15th century and was originally built as a bell tower for the neighbouring parish church of St. Nicholas, which does not have its own church tower. At the same time, however, it also served as a watchtower for better fire detection. The "star tower" was given its present appearance after the last major fire in 1840. Today, the Judenburg Planetarium, 50 metres above the ground, is one of the most modern planetariums in Europe and offers interesting tours. Finally, we had a very good dinner at the Gruber Hubmann Inn on the main square, even without stars.

After a great breakfast buffet the next morning - we were particularly taken with the waffle machine - we drove to the Aqualux Therme. The roughly six kilometres are easily doable in under 15 minutes. A parking space was easy to find, but the first impression was rather modest. From the outside, the spa doesn't look much, especially if you are used to the spas in the thermal and volcanic country around Fürstenfeld. For 57 euros we bought a one-day family ticket for two adults and two children (up to 12).

Inside, the Aqualux thermal baths looked very appealing, it is clean and well laid out. Unfortunately, the concept of the spa is not clearly recognisable. It is unclear which target group is to be addressed. There are some offers for children (small wave pool, slide, children's area), but it is also advertised as a special wellness experience for adults. Given the small size of the Aqualux, I think this is difficult to reconcile. We found the outdoor pool in particular very confining. On the other hand, the sports pool, which is separate from the main area, is a plus. Here I could swim a few lengths undisturbed. Another plus is the prices, which are certainly below the Austrian spa average.

For a day trip, it still pays to pay a visit to Therme Fohnsdorf, not least because the children really enjoyed it. Pleasantly tired (typical after a spa day), we had dinner in our room and went to bed early.

The next day we drove to St. Georgen ob Judenburg and visited the Family Leisure Park "Familien und Erlebnispark" and Fairytale Forest Styria. Actually, we would have preferred to go hiking, but the weather was more bad than good and put a big spoke in our wheel. So our expectations were not very high and we were surprised. On site, there is a small but very lovely adventure park with a few smaller rides and a fairytale path through the forest. If we are already here, why not!

The Familien- und Erlebnispark in St. Georgen is a fine destination for the whole family.

We got tickets for the 3D mini-golf. The entrance fee is a little higher than for normal mini-golf, but it's worth it. We played the winding course and were amazed again and again by the 3D paintings and effects. Not only the children, but also we had a lot of fun. After the visit to the adventure park - and a fun foam ball shooting session in the small Wild West fort, we went straight to eat in the very rustic restaurant belonging to it. We must have spent 5 hours there. A good alternative to hiking.

In the evening we took another walk through Judenburg, which seemed to be empty, before we spent our last night in Murtal after another sauna intermezzo. In retrospect, we had to conclude that the Murtal area did not appeal to us in particular. Already on the outward journey, the fact that some places exude a somewhat grey, industrialised charm was depressing. We liked the area around the Carinthian lakes Wörthersee and Ossiacher, where we were last year, much better. But maybe the bad weather had something to do with it.

On the way back, however, we were allowed to experience another highlight. We made a small diversions and drove past the St. Corona adventure arena (no, it has nothing to do with the virus). Up there at the Wechsel, not only mountain bikers get their money's worth, but also the motor park, the ball track, the ant trail and above all the mega-cool summer toboggan run provide variety. We went down the partly breathtaking track three or four times and had a great last day of our holiday. It definitely paid off. The kids were particularly enthusiastic and will remember it for a long time.

We look forward to your feedback and are open to a lively exchange. You also want to travel, like to travel often and have a question, just write us and comment.

Kind regards,

Steffi, Max and the kids

(Author of this blog: Max)

Accommodation in Judenburg


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