A hint of sea air in the Nahe valley


Salt hangs in the air. Take a deep breath and calmly stroll along the brushwood walls. The brine drizzles quietly down from the top, vaporising in the wind to form a fine mist. It is a balm for the skin and the airways and an experience to boot.

These nine-metre tall wooden frames with a constant flow of salty water are known as graduation works. They stand up against the scenery like massive stage sets. If you have not seen one before, you are likely to stand and gaze up in wonder at the wall, which is densely studded with blackthorn branches. Originally, it was used to extract salt but now it is used purely for the health benefits. You can take in the salt air just by walking past and smell the sea a long way from any coast.

Nowhere in Europe are as many graduation works as in the Salinental in the spa resort of Bad Kreuznach. They sit prettily on the banks of the Nahe just a few hundred metres apart. It is the largest open-air inhalatorium in Europe, with nine blackthorn walls adding up to more than one kilometre in length.

What makes the spa resort of Bad Kreuznach special is the fact that it combines the traditions of two healing spas: Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg to the south and Bad Kreuznach to the north. They are separated by the Salinental valley, which makes this spa landscape something rather extraordinary.

Relaxing walk along the graduation works in Salinental, Bad Kreuznach, Nahe

Relaxing walk along the graduation works in Salinental, Bad Kreuznach, Nahe

Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg sits in a picture-perfect setting in a bend in the Nahe, surrounded by vineyards and old castles. The ruins of Rheingrafenstein Castle tower above the resort. From there, you can see the Rotenfels, a mighty cliff of rhyolite stone rising up from the riverbank. The rock formations in the Nahe valley are the result of the combined efforts of volcanic activity and the Nahe river. An island of nature with large conservation areas, wonderful walks and lovely viewpoints.

Imposing Rheingrafenstein castle above the spa garden in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Nahe

Imposing Rheingrafenstein castle above the spa garden in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Nahe

Rotenfels mountain near Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Nahe

Rotenfels mountain near Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Nahe

The Kurmittelhaus in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, which is a real feast for the eyes, combines art nouveau with a hint of baroque. Naturally, there is salt in the air here too. An impressive graduation works adds freshness to the atmosphere. But the aerosols are not just there to be breathed. The historic pump room allows you to try the healing properties of the thermal water as a drink. An insider tip for many!

Soothing mineral springs in the Kurmittelhaus in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Nahe

Soothing mineral springs in the Kurmittelhaus in Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Nahe

If you visit the Salinental health park, you will discover an extensive open-air museum all about salt extraction, which is as informative as it is refreshing. There are large old water wheels that are fed by propulsion trenches. Brine towers, spring houses and pumps are spread across the landscape. They add up to a unique collection steeped in history and interesting tales. You can explore them at your own pace or accompanied by a guide as part of a tour of the Salinental or Segway tour.

Saxon lawyer and mining engineer Joachim Friedrich von Beust invented the process of trickle graduation around 300 years ago. The salt content in water was increased by a process of repeated evaporation. It was an ‘upgrade’ in the true sense of the word, increasing the content from just two grams per litre to an impressive 20. White gold, a real treasure!

Graduation works in the Salinental health park in Bad Kreuznach, Nahe

Graduation works in the Salinental health park in Bad Kreuznach, Nahe

The healing powers of the graduation works were discovered by accident later. So they retained their usefulness even after salt extraction ceased to be lucrative. Salt production in Bad Kreuznach continued until 1999, making it the last place still using graduation works to extract salt.

But inhalation remained. Together with a brine atomizer that sprays out salt mist, the two most northerly graduation works form an open air inhalatorium right next to the crucenia thermen. Time for a bathe in warm, healing spring waters, both to improve your well-being and to ease ailments of the skin and the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

You can then stroll off into the sunset in the 150-year-old spa gardens and enjoy a wonderful evening meal. The perfect end to a lovely day, which is just the ticket for foodies.

More leisure tips in and near Bad Kreuznach:


Bad Kreuznach - Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg

With its eight powerful graduation works, the state-accredited spa resort of Bad Kreuznach is the largest open-air inhalatorium in Europe.

3x3 Saline Valley - Introtour Rotenfels

easy

3,1 km

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Half-day tour around the Ebernburg, along the romantic river Nahe, through forest and vineyards with…

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