Soaking in thermal waters is an ancient and time-honoured tradition that is practised all around the world. Known to promote relaxation and detoxification, and even heal various ailments, mineral-rich hot springs offer remarkable health and spiritual benefits. For spa lovers and those seeking destination-holidays, visiting a natural hot spring is a dream-come-true. Here are 12 of the most incredible natural hot springs in the world.
Tabacon Hot Springs and Thermal Resort, Costa Rica
Known as the best luxury natural hot springs in Costa Rica, the waters of these flowing falls and thermal pools is comprised mostly of rainwater heated by volcanic magma which then makes its way to the surface. No drilling or digging was needed to form these naturally-occuring pools of mineral-rich water – gravity and flowing water were the architects of this natural wonder.
Peninsula Hot Springs, Australia
As you work your way up the hill and through the trees, dipping in different thermal pools along the way, you end up at the very top of Peninsula Hot Springs and the most beautiful tub of all - the Hilltop Pool. This tub has 360 degree views overlooking the glorious rolling hills of the Peninsula countryside and makes for an absolutely unforgettable bathing experience.
Pamukkale means ‘cotton palace’ and when you see the incredible cascading white limestone cliff formations and bright blue water within them, it makes sense why it was named this. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the hydrotheraputic benefits of the 17 striking volcanic water basins that are suspended in the cliffs of Western Turkey.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia
Inside Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park lies natural rock pools of tepid and steamy hot spring waters. The Ktunaxa people of the land enjoyed the health benefits of alternating dips in the hot pools followed by the cold river plunges. There are at least six pools of varying temperatures so everyone can find a pool that suits their comfort level. And, it’s all-natural and totally free!
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado, USA
These mountain-set hot springs can be enjoyed in six different locations on this luxuriously rustic resort, including in a restored 19th century bathhouse. The springs range in temperature from 29.5 degrees Celcius to 41.6 degrees Celsius and provide the perfect way to appreciate the stunning scenery of the Colorado Rockies. Taking in the restoring benefits of these natural hot springs while under the stars is the most romantic of all.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
This six million litre geothermal spring has a high mineral, silica and algae content, which radiates an intense blue when combined with sunlight. The water originates from 2000 metres underground and naturally renews itself every 40 hours. With temperatures that remain between 37 and 41 degrees Celsius year-round you can rely on it for rest and relaxation anytime.
Air Panas Hot Springs, Bali
Set in the lush jungle of Northern Bali, these sacred hot springs are situated amongst beautifully landscaped tropical gardens. The healing waters of the Banjar springs are 37 degrees Celsius and gush from the mouths of ornately carved stone dragons.
Therme Vals, Switzerland
For those whose excitement peaks at uber-modern, minimalist and award-winning design, Therme Vals provides peace and relaxation in the most stylish environment. Built with 60,000 slabs of Vals quartzite the Therme is the only hot springs in Graubünden, with mineral-rich waters that rise from a depth of 1000 metres. It’s pure pleasure and architectural-perfection all in one warm, dreamy bath.
Széchenyi Medicinal Bath, Budapest, Hungary
Hungary boasts one of the largest medicinal baths in Europe. The neo-baroque baths were built in 1913, and have become a meeting place for friends and family, as well as tourists, to relax and socialize. The baths are fed by some of the deepest and warmest springs in Europe.
Travertine Hot Springs, Bridgeport, California
Small geothermal pools glimmer amid the remote land of the Eastern Sierra. You’ll have to step across squishy mud flats to reach the thermal water of these natural pools, but your tension will melt away as you bathe while surrounded by the spectacular view of California’s snow-capped Sierra mountains. Perfect in colder weather, this clothing-optional retreat makes these hot springs a journey worth pursuing.
Evason Ma’in Hot Springs, Jordan
Located between Madaba and the Dead Sea lies a series of hot springs and natural waterfalls. Once considered a sacred place, it is now a popular tourist destination. The Evason Ma’in Hot Springs is a luxury resort that provides a tranquil experience for those who want to enjoy this desert oasis without the crowds.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
For decades, Japanese macaques, or 'snow monkeys', have dominated the natural pools at the Jigokudani open-air hot spring bath, or 'onsen'. Particularly popular during the winter months, Jigokudani (Hell's Valley) Monkey Park in the town of Yamanouchi, Nagano prefecture has become famous for the incredible display of bathing primates. Afterall, monkeys get cold too.