The peoples of the ancient world already knew that bubbling mineral waters and gurgling mud pools are good for the body and the sprit. Yeah, there is nothing more relaxing than immersing your body in the hot, thermal waters that soothe away your worries and pains. Thanks to our generous nature there are hot springs all over the world, and some of the countries are truly blessed with hundreds of amazing natural spas.
Here they are:
1. New Zealand
If you are an eager bather, head for New Zealand, home to absolutely amazing nature and natural wonders. The country can boast hundreds of thermal hot pools, from bubbling mineral hot springs to mud pools. Known as waiariki in Māori, the hot springs have been used for therapeutic purposes for ages in New Zealand. Among the most popular geothermal areas is Whakarewarewa near Rotorua, which has around 500 pools.
New Zealand has such enormous thermal activity that in many places the hot waters are located just beneath the ground and all you need to do is to dig your own pool and relax.
The ultimate destination for geothermal bath lovers is, of course, Iceland. This isolated land of geysers, glaciers and volcanoes (what a mix!), is home to about 250 thermal areas forming around 800 hot springs.
The famed Blue Lagoon, a huge natural spa, is one of the most visited attractions in the country. Rich in minerals, the waters of the Lagoon are reputed to have a number of therapeutic uses.
Besides, the geothermal waters heat about 85% of the households in Iceland – apparently, a supply of hot water is cheaper than a supply of cold water in the country.
3. The Czech Republic
Have you ever heard of the Czech Republic being one of the most popular balneological destinations (by the way, balneology is the science of the therapeutic use of thermal baths) in the world? This little landlocked country in the Central Europe is home to more than 30 health retreat resorts where you can find an array of spa centers, thermal baths and mineral pools. The West Bohemian region has the highest concentration of spa treatment resorts in the Czech Republic where five most important spa centers are: Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne, Frantiskovy Lazne, Lazne Jachymov and Lazne Kynzvart.
Turkey is a heaven for natural spa addicts. With around 1,300 thermal springs throughout the country, Turkey is one of the richest states in the world in terms of geothermal activity. This is thanks to the country’s strategic location above a geothermal belt and seismic fault. The country, dotted with marvelously located hot springs and spa resorts, will not disappoint even the most demanding bathers. While ‘spaing’ in Turkey, do not forget to visit one of the traditional Turkish steam baths called hamam that can be found in every town of the country.
5. Costa Rica
A part of the Pacific Ring Fire Circle, Costa Rica is home to around 200 volcanic formations. Thanks to the volcanic activity, the country has become one of the world’s most rewarding hot spring destinations. Be it mud baths, mineral pools or thermal hot springs, spa facilities can be found throughout the country. Among the most popular destinations for thermal retreat are Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja and the Miravalles Volcano.
Bathing culture, brought to Hungary by the Romans and then developed by the Turks in the 16th and 17th century, has become an essential part of the Hungarian tradition. Today, Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is often called the Spa Capital of the World. It is the only city on the globe with natural hot springs within the city’s limits.
Among the absolutely stunning and amazing spa areas is also Lake Hévíz, which is the largest thermal lake in Europe. Hévíz, the famous town of spas that emerged on the shores of the lake and surrounded by picturesque hills, has been a spa destination throughout the ages. The healing power of the lake’s water was known even to the ancient Romans.
A trip to Japan would not be complete without visiting an onsen – a Japanese term for a hot spring. As a volcanically active country, Japan has literally thousands of hot springs scattered along its islands. The thermal baths can be found in many types and shapes, including outdoor and indoor baths. Every town and region has its share of hot pools, often accompanied by ryokan, traditional Japanese style inns where one can experience traditional lifestyle of Japan.