Nothing says 'relaxation' quite like a steamy soak in hot water. While an hour spent enjoying our tub at home is a nice way to unwind after a long day, sometimes our bodies and minds need some extra TLC. If that’s the case, perhaps taking a cue from the Romans is necessary. For centuries, thermal baths have been revered for their therapeutic powers and medicinal properties. The Romans, along with the Celts and Moors were famous for bathhouses. In the days when many people didn’t have their own private bathing facilities, public bathhouses were where good hygiene and socialising came together. Even in ancient times, bathhouses featured saunas, massages and other relaxation therapies, much like the moderns spas of today. What’s more, their mineral rich natural springs were believed to be the “cure-all” for a long list of ailments. While this theory no longer holds water, enjoying a thermal bath is great for bathers experiencing psoriasis, arthritis, sore muscles and rheumatism. So grab a bathing suit and a few friends and enjoy a dip in one of these beautiful natural springs.


1. Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, England

thermae-spa-bath-englandIn hot water: Soak up a piece of British history as you bathe in the United Kingdom’s most famous natural thermal springs. The spring's waters reach a scorching 45°C at the surface, but cool down to a comfortable 33°C at the spa’s multiple luxurious baths. Why go? Your worries will melt away as your indulge in the steamy goodness of the new open-air rooftop Royal Bath. While enjoying the pool’s calming waters you can gaze out at Bath’s storybook skyline and leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. Best time to visit: To make the most out of your Bath experience, we recommend going between January-May or October-December to avoid the region’s heavy rainfall and warm summer temperatures.


2. Szechenyi Baths,Budapest, Hungary

szechenyi-baths

In hot water: The Szechenyi Baths are some of the largest in Europe, with 15 indoor baths and 3 massive outdoor pools where men and women can soak, swim and enjoy the thermal water year round. The waters are heated to between 18°C and 40°C depending on which pool you are in. The hot spring’s water composition is loaded with calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, and also contain sodium and sulphate, with a significant content in fluoride and metaboric acid. It’s this mineral rich combination that lures many people suffering from arthritis, joint disorders and orthopedic issues to enjoy these therapeutic waters. Why go? Since they were built in 1913, the Szechenyi Baths have been a beloved attraction in Budapest for locals and visitors alike. The iconic yellow facade of the elegant bathhouse is a great backdrop for your travel photos and the world-class amenities will ensure you enjoy a relaxing experience. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and ease those muscles after a few days of exploring the dazzling city sights. Best time to visit: The baths are open to the public all year round with peak-season occurring during the summer months. To enjoy the toasty waters without the massive crowds of tourists, visit during September-November or February-April.

For airport transfers to Budapest, click our page.


3. Puritama Hot Springs, Atacama Desert, Chile

Photo Credit: Andrew Harper Photo Credit: Andrew Harper In hot water: Although not scathing, the secluded pools maintain a gentle 32°C and make a gorgeous place to unwind among the rugged and remote Chilean desert scenery. Why go? Located over 11,000 feet above sea-level in the heart of the Atacama Desert the spring is one of the most remote spots on our list. However, the beautiful vivid blue-green hues which illuminate the spring water make the Puritama Hot Springs a welcomed retreat from the dusky copper-coloured landscape. Best time to visit: Visitors are encouraged to visit these spring-fed pools anytime of the year. The luxury adventure resort Explora Atacama oversees the eight pools, so they are always well maintained. And despite being open to the public, they are rarely ever crowded.


4. The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

blue-lagoon-iceland-1In hot water: No list of hot springs would be complete without mentioning Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. The milky waters of the Blue Lagoon are chockfull of silica and sulphur, which are attributed to help people suffering from skin ailments like psoriasis. The water temperature is on average, between 37–39 °C, perfect for enjoying in the cold Iceland climate. Why go? The geothermal spa is one of Iceland’s most visited attractions, and for good reason. With its swim up cocktail bar, sauna, steamroom and comprehensive list of luxury spa offerings, guests are pampered in one of the world’s most beautiful and unusual settings. Best time to visit: To reap the spa’s benefits without the throngs of tourists, we recommend visiting between November through March.

For airport transfers to Iceland, click our page.


5. Banff Upper Hot Springs, Alberta Canada

Photo Credit: Land Lopers Photo Credit: Land Lopers In hot water: Located on the aptly named Sulphur Mountain, the spring stays between 36°C-40°C all year round and these medicinal waters are brimming with calcium, magnesium, sodium, and bicarbonate. Why go? For fantastic panorama views of the surrounding Banff National Park, retro-vibes at the adjacent 1930’s bathhouse and a relaxing rustic retreat in the heart of Canada’s wilderness. Best time to visit: To make the most of the spring's steamy waters without the crowds, visit Banff in October or November and you’ll be treated to the area’s brilliant foliage.


6. Saturnia Thermal Baths, Saturnia, Italy

734581554-terme-di-saturnia-sulfur-bath-hot-springs-thermae-warmthIn hot water: Monte Amiata is a dormant volcano that still pumps water to the springs and keeps the springs at a soothing 37.5°C. The thermal waters include a mineral mix of sulfur, bicarbonate, alkaline as well as plankton, known for its ability to calm and strengthen skin. This medicinal combination has proven benefits for muscle, joint, cardiovascular and respiratory issues. Why go? Legend has it that the spring’s location is the exact spot where the Roman God Jupiter threw his thunderbolt during a battle with Saturn. Now the hot springs are a Tuscan treasure and where bathers can enjoy healing waters with a romantic ambiance. Best time to visit: The pools get exceptionally busy during the summer high-season, so visiting the pools between February-May or September-December is recommended.


7. Yambajan, Tibet

2007111127016208240In hot water: Located in a geothermal field the springs offer visitors several types of thermal pools that range from warm to boiling. To enjoy a nice hot soak, we recommend sticking with the main bathing pool that has been cooled enough so it’s safe for bathers. The high sulphur and mineral content is said to be therapeutic, so it’s perfect for sore muscles after a Tibetan hiking trek. Why go? Located at the base of the Nyainqentanglha Mountains, the Yambajan Springs are definitely the most hard-to-reach pools on our list, but their natural splendour make them worth the trouble it takes to get there. Surrounded by picturesque forests, snow-capped mountains and glaciers, visitors will be treated to out-of-this-world views and a peaceful atmosphere. Best time to visit: Tibet is closed to tourists in March during the Tibetan New Year, so the best time to visit is during the spring months (April-May). Temperatures are still cool enough to enjoy the hot pools, but most of the snow will have melted making the roads outside of Lhasa more accessible. Also you’ll miss the summer crowds! Go early in the morning to have the pools all to yourself for a unforgettable experience.

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