West Ham United's players have a spring in their steps after spending a week training in Austria's thermal spa capital of Bad Waltersdorf.

The picturesque village 75 miles south of Vienna has become synonymous with its piping hot natural spring water, which attracts visitors from all over the world to experience its healing properties.

The Hammers were able to enjoy the benefits of the spa during their free time, but the vast majority of the week was given over to training in warm sunshine at the Thermenstadion (Thermal Stadium) home of local club UC Bad Waltersdorf and the local swimming pool.

With outdoor sporting activities also high on the agenda, the facilities used by assistant manager Neil McDonald and his squad were outstanding and fit the pre-season bill perfectly - as they have done for the likes of Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Anzhi Makhachkala, Hertha Berlin and the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Israel national teams in recent years.

Bad Waltersdorf

Bad Waltersdorf tourism association chairman Gernot Deutsch told West Ham TV how the region had literally struck gold while drilling for oil in the early 1970s.

"It is beautiful here and it is one of only two spa regions in Austria. We have the Heiltherme public healing spa mainly used by elderly people and the H2O spa which is a health spa aimed at kids and families.

"Between these two spas we have created a lot of hotels and a lot of sports facilities. The biggest advantage is that everything is within walking distance, so you can reach every part of the town easily."


With a population of around 2,000 people, Bad Waltersdorf is situated in the south east of the Styria region, just a few miles from the borders with Hungary and Slovenia.

However, unlike most European tourist destinations, the high season for holidaymakers is during the cooler months of the year, when people warm up with a visit to the spa.

Gernot Deutsch

"Bad Waltersdorf has around 2,000 inhabitants and we also have around 2,000 beds for our guests. It's a small village and it's all about thermal water.

"Before, it was a very poor area - the poorest in Austria. People were waiting for some new industry to come but it was just agriculture.

"About 30 years ago, a big Austrian company tried to drill for oil but all they found was hot water and the region just blew up. It is great what happened.

"Out of being a poor region we are now one of the best tourism regions in Austria. We are very proud to host people from all over the world - especially West Ham United.

"The summer time is the low season for us, so a few years ago we made a deal with the local government to create the football stadium and now we have the great possibility to host football clubs and it is a big advantage for us at this time of the year."

Bad Waltersdorf may be small in terms of size, but the village certainly has big-time sports facilities for the visiting clubs.

Aside from the stadium and two other training pitches, there are indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a swimming pool and 18-hole golf course.

"It is fantastic. We have co-operation with International Football Camps Styria and they are doing a great job. Across Styria they have created football camps and we have hosted some of the best and biggest clubs in the world, as well as smaller clubs from Austria.

"We have perfect conditions for holding training camps and this makes us very proud."

Now West Ham have visited Bad Waltersdorf, Deutsch issued a personal invite to the Club's supporters to enjoy the same benefits by taking a holiday in the area.

"It would be great for the fans to visit. Bad Waltersdorf is famous throughout the world for welcoming the famous football clubs, but it also should be known for being a health region and a great place to spend a vacation.

"It would be great if the fans come to see the spa and the facilities and use the hot water because if they have better health, they can support their team much better!"

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