Hot springs are geothermal features that occur in areas featuring active or inactive volcanos. These beautiful hot water pools are caused by geothermal heat from the Earth’s interior. In volcanic regions, hot rock heated by magma can infiltrate the water, causing it to warm. In non-volcanic areas, water that filters deeply enough into the Earth’s crust may come into contact with hot rocks and circulate to the surface, forming hot springs.
Whatever the origin, natural hot springs provide an unmatched sense of peace and tranquility. In addition to offering the perfect place to relax and unwind, these soaking pools are also known to provide health benefits, such as relieving skin conditions, improving vascular function and even burning calories. Studies have shown that hot springs can also detoxify the skin, increase circulation and alleviate physical pain.
With such unbelievable beauty and astounding advantages, what could be better than immersing yourself in the warm, steamy waters of a natural hot spring? Easy — enjoying the serene and spectacular hot springs of Europe! When you travel to some of Europe’s most magnificent thermal pools, you’ll experience the warmth and beauty of the hot springs while surrounded by the brilliance of the European landscape.
In This Article
- 13 European Hot Springs Worth Visiting
- How Do I Visit Europe’s Hot Springs?
- Visit the Best Hot Springs in Europe at Windstar Cruises Today
13 European Hot Springs Worth Visiting
If you’re craving an extravagant sojourn filled with breathtaking soaking pools where you can melt your worries away, Europe is your ideal destination. You can find hundreds of warm baths scattered across Europe, each one in its own unique travel spot. Whether you’re looking for a glamorous Italian escape, an Icelandic adventure, a majestic German getaway or anything in between, you’ll love taking a dip in these incredible hot springs.
Consider traveling to some of the best hot springs in Europe for your next trip.
1. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
When you visit the Blue Lagoon hot springs in Iceland, you’ll immediately understand where they got their name. This luxury outdoor spa features geothermal seawater pools brimming with vibrant turquoise waters juxtaposing the mystifying black lava fields surrounding them. When you visit Blue Lagoon, you can enjoy the steaming pools and gorgeous Icelandic scenery while soothing your skin with a natural face mask made from the white geothermal mud provided to you.
Located only 30 minutes outside of Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík, Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to relax after exploring this historic location. Though Blue Lagoon’s hot springs are man-made, they feature mineral-rich water recycled from The Svartsengi Power Station, a nearby geothermal plant.
2. Palia Kameni, Greece
Palia Kameni, also known as Palea Kameni, is a volcanic island located within the Santorini Caldera. Created from volcanic rocks formed from historical volcanic eruptions, this fascinating location is home to incredible hot springs that are hundreds of years old. These thermal pools feature electric blue and green waters surrounded by copper-hued rock. They are plentiful with warm, sulphuric mud formed from oxidized iron deposits, providing natural therapeutic mud baths for visitors to enjoy.
One of the biggest perks of these warm European hot springs is their remote location. Because boats are not permitted to dock directly on the shores of Palia Kameni, travelers must access it by swimming from the vessel to the island. Due to these unique stipulations, the Greecian hot springs are less frequented by tourists than other thermal springs, making for a less hectic and more authentic soaking experience.
3. Bains de Dorres, France
There is no hot spring spot more enchanting than Bains de Dorres. While France is known for its many medicinal bathhouses, this small thermal spring offers a more intimate and natural experience. These gorgeous steaming baths provide visitors with an awe-inspiring view across the mountainside overlooking the lush green valleys of the Puigmal massif, Serra del Cadi and Canigou.
In addition to the breathtaking sights of Bains de Dorres, these mineral ponds also feature sulfuric waters packed with natural healing properties and steaming at a comfortable 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The pools have been around since Roman times, making them an amazing historic location for anyone to visit.
4. Therme Vals, Switzerland
Now known as the 7132 Thermal Baths, this hotel and spa complex located in Vals, Switzerland, was constructed over the only thermal springs in the Graubünden canton. Though traveling to this trendy and alluring spa requires over 124 miles of travel from Zürich, these European hot springs are well worth the journey.
This architectural masterpiece was constructed using over 60,000 slabs of Vals quartzite, earning the baths’ protected heritage status. The visually stunning thermal pools at 7132 Hotel are also flowing with mineral-rich water from the St. Peter spring at 86 degrees Fahrenheit to generate the most soothing experience for guests.
5. Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme, Germany
Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme in Wiesbaden, Germany, is a cherished historic monument established over a hundred years ago as an orthopedic healing institute. These soaking ponds boast a unique design ornamented with majestic frescos and ceramics reminiscent of the Jugendstil artistic movement.
Visiting Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme means relaxing in beautifully constructed baths while experiencing an amalgam of different geographic destinations. Though this complex is located in Germany, it’s characterized by a blend of European bathing traditions, such as Russian steam baths, Irish-Roman baths and a Finnish sauna.
6. Laugarvatn Fontana, Iceland
When people think of Iceland, they often associate it with some of the best hot springs in the world, and the Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths are certainly keeping with this belief.
Located in the middle of The Golden Circle, Iceland’s most popular tourist route, these natural pools sit atop a bubbling spring, offering a lavish experience embellished with relaxation and healing. Many travelers choose this location as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.
Laugarvatn Fontana features tranquil outdoor mineral pools you can bask in day or night while admiring the aurora borealis painting the night sky overhead. The thermal pools vary in temperature, depth and size and feature whimsical stone artwork by Icelandic artist Erla Thorarinsdottir.
7. Pantelleria, Italy
This Italian island and commune located in the Strait of Sicily is tucked away in the Mediterranean Sea. Known as Italy’s best-kept secret, this small volcanic island is home to a string of bright and charming thermal baths. These hot springs are located on the sides of the harbor and are encased in concrete, creating natural pools along the island. Their sparkling blue waters are said to have restorative properties that help alleviate rheumatism and arthritis symptoms.
Whether you’re looking to bask in the beauty of a secluded island paradise or soothe your body in warm, gentle waters, Pantelleria provides the perfect getaway. And because Pantelleria’s pools are non-commercial, you don’t have to pay to use them.
8. Hévíz Lake, Hungary
If you have a taste for things larger than life, you’ll love Hévíz Lake in Hungary. With a surface area of 47,500 square meters, Hévíz Lake is known as the largest thermal lake in the world.
The hot waters of this record-breaking spring are constantly moving with a flow so strong that it is completely replenished every 72 hours. This mineral-rich water comprising sulfur, calcium, hydrogen carbonate and magnesium is said to be effective in treating numerous ailments, such as degenerative and chronic joint diseases, rheumatic musculoskeletal disorders, osteoporosis, chronic back pain and skin disorders, to name a few.
If you decide to travel to Hévíz Lake for relaxation and healing, you can do so during any season. That’s because the thermal pool maintains comfortable, warm water temperatures year-round, bottoming at a comfortable 73 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and reaching up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
9. Aqua Dome, Austria
The Aqua Dome is a top-of-the-line Alpine spa located in Längenfeld, Austria. This thermal hot spring is as majestic as it is peaceful, surrounded by the serene mountains and lush greenery of the beautiful Ötztal valley. It also emulates a futuristic feel with its three elevated basin pools that appear to levitate in thin air.
Each of these three thermal basins has its own special perks — the sole basin features a 5% salt content with lighting effects and underwater music, while the massage basin offers a “moonlight bathing” experience. Lastly, the river basin has a gentle current leading into white water rapids and a trip through the spa’s regal glass pyramid, which is illuminated with color and the sparkle of stars at night.
Once you’re finished sampling the three thermal pools, you can enjoy a refreshing steam in the sauna or a therapeutic massage treatment at the thermal spa.
10. Pamukkale, Turkey
The hot springs in Pamukkale, Turkey, look nothing short of heavenly. The scenery is stunning, with velvety white rocks cascading down the mountainside and flowing with gentle blue pools of healing mineral water. Translating to “cotton castle” in Turkish, Pamukkale was formed by the millennia-long buildup of carbonite minerals derived from the calcite-rich springs, creating the shimmering white limestone you see there today.
The natural hot springs closer to the top of the mountain are the hottest, while those nearer the bottom contain lukewarm water. When you visit this astonishing site, you can choose the pool with temperatures most comfortable for you. After you’re finished, you can explore the ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient Greek city within walking distance of Pamukkale.
11. Terme di Saturnia, Italy
Terme di Saturnia is a group of 3,000-year-old thermal springs in Tuscany, Italy, just outside the village of Saturnia. Their volcanic waters flow at 800 liters per second with temperatures of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit and are replenished every four hours. The mineral water contains a chemical mixture of sulfur, sulfate, carbon and bicarbonate-alkaline earth, which are said to give the pools healing properties, such as skin smoothing, anti-aging, lung ventilation and blood pressure reduction.
The lore behind Terme di Saturnia is that Saturn, the mythological god of peace and abundance, lost his temper in response to the constant warfare among men and sent a lightning bolt into the earth. This lightning bolt created a rift in the ground, causing hot sulfurous water to flow through the land and generate a sense of calm in the people below.
Though these hot baths are part of a resort, they are open to the public, along with relaxing thermal mud treatments.
12. Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, England
The Thermal Bath Spa offers a mesmerizing fusion of historical and contemporary spa architecture. These incredible hot springs, appropriately located in Bath, England, feature a beautiful open-air rooftop pool where guests can gaze across the city while admiring rolling hills in the distance. The rooftop springs are also accompanied by air sets and bubble jets to maximize your comfort and relaxation.
The main spa is known as the Minerva Bath, named after the Roman goddess of health and wisdom. The largest of the establishment’s thermal baths, this gorgeous pool is ornamented with grand columns, glass walls, stone surfaces and blue, naturally heated mineral-rich waters. It also has numerous exciting features for guests to enjoy, such as massage jets, a whirlpool and a lazy river. You can book an indulgent spa session while at the Minerva Bath, complete with a cozy robe, towel and flip-flops.
13. Hveravellir, Iceland
Hveravellir, or “hot spring plains,” is a volcano, geothermal field and nature reserve located in the central highland of Iceland. This destination ranks among the top geothermal areas in the world, offering magnificent views, sky-blue thermal pools and steaming fumaroles that mystify travelers from around the world. Hveravellir lies between two glaciers and teeters on the edge of a massive lava field, acting as an unbelievable testament to the combination of fire and ice at work.
The only way to reach these natural Icelandic hot springs is by driving through the surrounding barren lands. Many thrill-seekers take advantage of this trek by booking all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rides or snowmobile tours to travel to the pools.
How Do I Visit Europe’s Hot Springs?
If you crave the warmth and tranquility of a European hot spring but don’t know how to get there, consider booking an ocean cruise filled with culture, adventure and relaxation. Cruises allow you to visit some of your most coveted dream destinations with minimal planning — all you have to do is find a trip that appeals to you, reserve your spot and you’re ready for the excursion of a lifetime.
Windstar Cruises offers dozens of enchanting and exotic cruise destinations featuring some of the world’s most popular hot springs. Whether you’re looking to discover the thermal pools in Northern Europe, including Iceland, Germany and France, or soak in the sights of Greece or Italy, we can help you get there.
Visit the Best Hot Springs in Europe at Windstar Cruises Today
If you’re looking to explore the beauty of Europe’s famous thermal springs, Windstar Cruises can make it happen. Our yacht-style cruises offer the most authentic and intimate experience for travelers, with small ships holding no more than 342 guests per voyage. We’re known for our unfailingly attentive service and over 2,500 unique excursion offerings that guests can choose from for the most personalized adventures.
Contact a Windstar Cruises vacation planner to learn more about booking a trip to the hot springs today!