Having a cheeky little soak in a hot spring is the perfect way to relax & enjoy some time down. Until recently, I seriously didn’t know just HOW many there are in the world. Pretty much dotted around every continent there a literally hundreds, if not thousands, of natural hot springs to enjoy worldwide. But before just jumping into a watery hole in the ground, what is a hot spring?
A hot spring is usually a spring of water naturally heated by geothermic activity happening below the surface. As the water rises through the earth’s crust, minerals can dissolve into the water containing various therapeutic qualities or health benefits. Many are at the perfect temperature for bathing, ranging from 36-43 degrees being the supposed sweet spot, a large number are so hot they’d cause serious injury if you decided to take a dip. The extreme end of these are geysers, where the water is super heated into steam that shoots out of the earth at significant pressure. Of course, we’re not going to recommend any that aren’t safe to visit but if you’re interested in more than just soaking your troubles away in hot springs, it’s worth researching the local area when you’re bathing as you’ll usually find other geothermic features to check out nearby.
It’s worth keeping in mind that commercial hot springs come in all different styles too. From the purely natural springs that involve bathing in a river bed or creek, all the way to swimming pools that have been man made for people to enjoy the hot springs in a more ‘known’ environment. I guess it comes down to personal taste as to which style you prefer.
So how do you know how to locate some of the best hot springs in the world? I’ve spoken to a few of my fellow writers to build a list of some of our preferred globally. Yes, it’s a hefty list but if you’re heading to any of these destinations you’ll need to make sure you hit these hot springs up.
Europe, my home continent and full of surprises around every corner. From the Icelandic hot springs that we all flock towards, to the lesser known Benja thermal baths in Albania, there is something for everyone here. While it can get a little chilly outside, is there any better way to warm up than in a pool of naturally heated, mineral filled spring? Even in water spots throughout the continent it’s a great way to let your muscles rest after a long day of exploring Europe’s finest cities or hiking our classic mountains.
Szechenyi Baths, Budapest - Hungary
The Szechenyi baths in Budapest might just be one of the most classic hot spring facilities in Europe along with the Gellert bath (also in Budapest). It was built in 1913 and since than million of people have enjoyed the therapeutic benefits from these hot springs.
There are 21 pools in total, and they are open every day. It's a paradise for people who want to relax and enjoy themselves in hot water. Szechenyi has both outdoor pools and indoor pools. It's also quite interesting to see the old Hungarian men playing their games of chess and other types of social games in the pools. So it is not only a place popular among tourists, but locals as well.
Every pool is different and has various temperatures as well as minerals. There is also a drinking well which has healing water that contains rich amounts of calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, chloride, sulphate.
You can reach Szechenyi baths easily via metro or the trolleybus 72. I suggest to go with the yellow metro line. The price per person is from 5 500 Ft which includes the usage of a locker.
Solec Zdroj - Poland
One of the best hot springs in the world, the Solec Zdroj thermal spa attracts a lot of tourists due to its relaxing and rejuvenating properties. With high levels of chlorides, iodine, sodium, bromides, and sulphides, the spring water has healing properties that can soothe muscle and joint pains as well as treat skin disorders and respiratory diseases. In fact, with the high concentration of sulphur found in its water, the Solec Zdroj hot springs have the most powerful therapeutic water in Poland and one of the best in Europe.
Set in a beautiful location with a temperate lowland climate, the spa village of Solec Zdroj is filled with walking and cycling trails lined with pine trees. As a matter of fact, the green tourist hiking trail from Wislica to Grochowiska passes through this village and the red tourist hiking trail to Busko Zdroj starts from here. Water sports are also available in the nearby reservoir. Aside from its therapeutic waters, the availability of fitness activities and intimacy with nature also contribute to the wellbeing of the people who come here.
Karolina, Lazy Travel Blog
Saturnia Thermal Baths – Italy
Set in the gorgeous countryside of Tuscany, the Saturnia Thermal Baths are some of the best hot springs in Italy. These cascading hot springs are located a 6km drive from the town of Saturnia, and are easiest to reach with your own car. The Baths are free to visit and open to the public, although parking is limited. There’s also a small snack bar on site, but with limited options, so you might want to bring your own snacks.
The warm, natural waters of the baths have been loved for thousands of years, and were first known to be used by the Etruscan people. Plan to spend a relaxing afternoon, soaking in stone bath after stone bath, admiring the scenic rolling hills that Tuscany is known for.
A top tip is to take off any jewelry beforehand, as the mineral content in the water will temporarily tarnish your items. There’s also a strong sulfur smell here that may stick with you for a few days after, but it’s a nice reminder of a beautiful place! At least, I thought so!
The Blue Lagoon - Iceland
Probably being one of the most famous hot springs in the world, we can’t skip a mention of the Blue Lagoon here. Found in Iceland halfway between the city of Reykjavik and the international airport, these hot springs are easy to get to and perfect for a little bit of relaxation. Located on a lava field, you’ll certainly feel like you’re in another world as you walk up towards the entrance surrounded by steaming, blue waters.
The waters generally remain at a steady 39 degrees throughout the year which is perfect for a little warm up! My first visit was during winter and the idea of heading out in the snow was a little unnerving, but being able to get in the water from the heated inside building before swimming out meant I hardly noticed the outside temperature change. I can’t imagine using the outside entrance at this time of year though, getting as cold as -30 in the country can’t be fun in a bikini before climbing in!
You can visit during the midnight sun throughout the summer months, or during the icy cold winter months where you may only get a few hours of sunlight. There are multiple packages to pick from, you can make sure you get an experience that suits you. There’s even a swim up bar within the lagoon which is a seriously cool touch!
Roman Baths, Bath - England
The water fell around 10 000 years ago and sank about 2 km below the earth’s surface. High temperature rocks heat it to an estimated 69 ºC before it rises back up through one of the three springs in the centre of the city: the Cross Spring, the Hetling Spring and the King’s Spring, which supplies the Roman Baths.
When the waters reach the surface, they are on average 45 ºC. The waters then cool down to the optimum bathing temperature of approximately 34 ºC.
What makes this UNESCO World Heritage City even more fascinating to visit is that you can see the purpose-built Roman baths and then taste the water in the grand setting of the Pump Rooms, a former haunt of Jane Austen.
Then, to actually enjoy the spa element of the city, head to the fully modern Thermae Bath Spa. Modern apart from the water, of course, and the view across the city skyline. Surrounded by UNESCO World Heritage, you can bathe as the Romans did.
Landbrotalaug Hot Springs - Iceland
Looking for a non touristic and totally free dip? Try the hot spring at Landbrotalaug which is popular with locals and brilliantly located within a short drive of the capital.
You'll need to drive north along the ring road as if you were doing to the West Fjords (which are also beautiful) and then the pool can be reached via a short walk from the road. Hiring a car is easy and you'll also want to have full mobile phone battery and an offline satellite navigation app - so that it's easy to find everything even if you don't have signal.
This particular pool is more secluded than others I visited in Iceland, so it's good for couples or anyone shy like me who doesn't want the world to see them in a bikini. It's fed by a boiling hot spring which you'll see steaming - don't touch this part, it's scalding! - and then the water flows into a wider pool with space for maybe two or three where it is a perfect bath temperature.
Danni, Live in 10 countries
Pamukkale Hot Springs - Turkey
Turkey is home to more than 1000 natural springs yet few can rival the mix of history and healing on offer at Pamukkale near Denizli. Attracting thousands of visitors each year, Pamukkale, or ‘cotton castle’ as the area is often referred, is one of Turkey’s natural wonders and has been classed a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
What makes Pamukkale so special is its looks and location. The striking white travertine terraces and hot calcium-rich pools really are breathtaking - appearing to cling to the hillside like a scene from a fairytale. A short way behind the pools is the ancient city of Hierapolis. The site is often overshadowed by the popularity of Pamukkale yet it's essentially one of the oldest ‘spa towns’ in Turkey, the Romans being some of the first to enjoy the many benefits of the areas healing waters.
Today there are many modern thermal spa hotels and resorts in the area, all ranging in price and facilities. Pamukkale is certainly a ‘must-see’ location on any trip to Turkey so do make sure to the head along for a look as you are unlikely to return disappointed.
Seljavallalaug Hot Springs – Iceland
Seljavallalaug Hot Spring is a beautiful geothermal-fed pool on the south coast of Iceland. Although it’s near the coast, this stunning hot spring is nestled down into the foothills of the mountains and volcanoes in the area. In fact, the stunning view is the thing I love the most about it. It’s super isolated and requires an easy one-mile hike each way for your soak. The hike is very easy and you just follow along the river until you reach the beautiful little pool.
Now, this isn’t a place of luxury. In fact, it’s kept up by a group of volunteers who live in the area, so it’s super important for visitors to help keep it clean. The best time to visit Seljavallalaug is the summer because the water isn’t super, super hot. However, it makes for a peaceful and relaxing dip at the end of a day of hiking. Seljavallalaug is very near to the famous waterfall Skogafoss and makes a perfect addition to any Iceland itinerary!
Paige, For The Love Of Wanderlust
Karlovy Vary Hot Springs – Czech Republic
With the highest concentration of hot springs in the Czech Republic, picturesque Karlovy Vary, a spa town about two hours west of Prague, is fabulous destination for soaking up both the atmosphere and the springs. The best way to experience the water? Strolling through the historical centre of town with a long-spouted porcelain spa cup and sipping from the various springs. Housed in elaborate pavilions, gazebos and colonnades, the fountains, all free, offer thermal water of different temperatures (ranging from warm to piping hot) and with varying degrees of mineral salts. Your ‘water walk’ culminates at the imposing Hot Spring Colonnade, a massive glass and concrete structure built in the 70s, where you’ll find a geyser that rises up to 12 metres in the air. Traditionally, mineral baths are taken as individual spa treatments in the Czech Republic, but one spa with an indoor thermal pool is the Castle Spa at Zamecky Vrch.
Carol, Wandering Carol
As usual, North America can never be kept out of a list when it comes to anything geothermic, and hot springs are no exception. Found all over the continent, you’ll find a collection in most US states and a variety around Canada as well to soak in after long road trip drive days, or a days hiking around. Hot Springs here are also a perfect way to warm up after a long day skiing as well, relaxing your muscles ready for the following day.
Radium Hot Springs, British Colombia - Canada
In a country as big as Canada, there's no shortage of thermal hot springs, especially in British Columbia. Whether you're in the far north or the far south, there's an array of hot, clean, and natural hot springs to relax after a long day of exploring the area.
One of the most popular is Radium Hot Springs, which is located close to Invermere in Kootenay National Park. While the hot springs are open year-round, the best time to go is in the winter when the air is crisp and cold and the hot springs are surrounded by shimmering white snow. Although Radium Hot Springs is managed by Parks Canada, it feels like your out in the wilderness because the pools straddle the side of a mountain. Whether you come to visit the hot springs on their own or visit them after a day of skiing, Radium Hot Springs is one of the best in all of British Columbia, Canada.
Matthew, Must Do Canada
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas - USA
Nicknamed “The American Spa”, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is one of the oldest national parks in America. Established way back in 1832 by the U.S. Congress, this is actually the first area that was preserved by the national government—decades before the national parks concept even existed.
Nowadays, Hot Springs National Park in the town of Hot Springs is as popular as ever. As one of only two national parks within a city, it preserves both natural features and historic landmarks. There are no public outdoor hot springs here, though. Instead you’ll find the springs’ allegedly healing waters in historic bathhouses on appropriately named Bathhouse Row. This is the greatest series of this kind of bathhouses in America, a beautiful collection of Gilded Age architecture. Fordyce Bathhouse now serves as the park’s visitor center, offering you an insight into what a typical bathhouse looked like between 1916 and the early-1960s.
Two of the eight bathhouses on Bathhouse Row are still used as spas and open to the public. You can take a traditional bath in an individual tub—modelled after early-20th-century European spas—at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. At the Quapaw Baths and Spa, on the other hand, you can either have a modern-day spa experience or bathe in pools of hot spring water.
There are also various hiking trails in hills behind Bathhouse Row, as well as the Gulpha Gorge Campground. Washing away the dirt and seat after your hike in a historic spa is as glorious as it gets. Additionally, those who enjoy a good pint of craft beer will definitely want to visit the Superior Bathhouse Brewery. It’s the only brewery in a national park and the only brewery in the world that uses hot springs water in its brewing process!
Goldbug Hot Springs, Idaho – USA
Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho are a warm, dreamy natural hot spring that is worth the effort. Though the Hot Springs are located in a pretty remote part of Idaho, which is easy to do since most of Idaho is remote, they are still pretty popular and are best visited in the winter months or in September after everyone goes back to school.
I visited at the end of February and it was a winter wonderland, though it did require some effort to get to. In order to find the Hot Springs, you’ll need to hike in about 2 miles. The hike is not very difficult, but if it’s covered in snow it will be icy. Plan to bring some spikes along with you. The trail is obvious and easy to follow, and there’s a parking area at the trail head.
Once you get to the Hot Springs, you’ll notice that there are several different pools and they vary in terms of temperature from quite hot to pleasant. There’s a view of the mountains as well, and it’s perfect for golden hour photography. Just make sure that you get out in down before the sun sets! The trail is obvious and easy to follow, and there’s a parking area at the trail head. It’s a natural spring and everything is free, Including the option to go naked if you wish. Once you get to the Hot Springs, you’ll notice that there are several different pools and they vary in terms of temperature from quite hot to pleasant.
There’s a view of the mountains as well, and it’s perfect for gold in our photography. Just make sure that you get out and down before the sun sets! To get there, it’s about three or four hours from Boise or about the same from Twin Falls. Do yourself a favor and give it a whole day, I stayed there for hours!
Kristin, Be My Travel Muse
Banff Hot Springs, Alberta - Canada
Located in world-famous Banff National Park, the Banff Hot Springs is one of the most famous hot springs in Canada. In fact, it was the hot springs that led to the creation of Banff National Park, which was the first national park in the country. Now Canada's most visited destination, Banff has become emblematic of Canada's mountainous west, which is home to some of the world's best scenery as well as an array of outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking, skiing, and snowboarding. With all that adventure, soothing your muscles in thermal hot springs is a welcome relief. Managed by Parks Canada, the hot springs are very well maintained and are one of the best things to do in Banff. They're open year-round but I recommend going in the winter when the difference in temperatures causes steam to rise off the pool, creating a mystical vibe. They're also great at night when the mist and darkness make Banff Hot Springs a more intimate experience.
Matthew, Must Do Canada
From the top Onsen in Japan, to the Balinese hot springs of Indonesia, Asia as always been known as a place to retreat to when you need to reconnect with nature. What better way to relax than a morning of yoga, followed by an afternoon soaking in a hot spring?
Ikaho Onsen - Japan
Japan has some of the most celebrated hot springs in the world. Here, hot springs are called Onsen and bathing in the pools is filled with hundreds of years of tradition. One of the nicest and off the beaten track places to enjoy Onsen in Japan is Ikaho Onsen, a small town that is centred around its hot springs. Ikaho Onsen is a comfortable 2-hour bus ride from Japan’s capital Tokyo, and while it is popular with the locals, it hasn’t become famous outside of Japan yet.
While a visit to Ikaho Onsen is doable as a one day trip from Tokyo, I recommend staying at least one night at one of the charming Japanese hotels called Ryokan. Many have their own Onsen facilities, where you can soak just before going to bed or after you wake up. During the day you can explore the small town and will find delicious restaurants, sweets shops and little gaming arcades on the way up the 300 steps inside. At the top is the local Shinto Shrine. The area is great for strolling through the surrounding mountains, and nothing feels better than soaking in the hot Onsen waters after a long walk. Ikaho Onsen in Japan is really one of the best hot springs in the world and a fantastic place for hot spring lovers.
Lena, The Social Experiment
Toyah Bungkah Natural Hot Spring, Bali – Indonesia
Toyah Bungkah Natural Hot Spring lies in the shadow of Mount Batur, one of Bali’s many active volcanoes and the source of the hot water in the springs. There are two large pools of clear, odourless water which are great to just sit back and relax in. Over hundreds of years legends of the curative powers of the mineral rich water developed and after some hard travelling, hiking, canoeing, or cycling, soaking in the gloriously warm water does feel like the stories are true. The hot springs have a wonderful view over Lake Batur and there are small fish that you can spot swimming through the spring water.
Entrance to Toyah Bungkah is about IDR 150,000 and includes a small drink and snack at the hot spring cafe. There are lockers to put away your clothes and valuables, and towels are provided. If you don’t feel like spending all your time in the water there are deck chairs set up to look out over the lake, a great place to rest. The springs are a fantastic way to spend some time on any tour in Bali.
Monique & Chris, MC Adventure Blog
Beitou Hot Springs, Taiwan
The lush forests and steamy hot springs around Beitou thermal valley in Taiwan make it a favourite retreat for local families and tourists alike. One of the things that makes Beitou so great is its proximity to Taipei city: It’s just a short metro ride away from downtown.
Three types of natural spring are found in the Beitou area: Green sulfur (the same as in Akita, Japan), white sulfur (a cloudy hot spring) and iron sulfur (transparent water). A range of open-air public pools and private bath houses have been built to take advantage of the remedial waters, as well as tea houses and public parks, most built by the Japanese when they occupied Taiwan.
Beitou has options to suit every budget and style of travel. Don a swimsuit and find a spot on the rocks at one of the outdoor pools such as Millennium Hot Spring, where entrance costs as little as 40 NTD ($1.30 USD). Some public baths are nude and sex-segregated, so do your research before you go. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you can splash out and hire a room at one of the fancier hotels. Private bathing rooms are fitted with traditional wooden tubs and plunge pools. All the mod-cons (natural products, slippers, loafer) come included in the price, which is typically between 900-1500 NTD ($30-$50 USD) per hour.
If you’re interested in the history of thermal bathing, be sure to set some time aside for the Beitou Hot Spring Museum, which is located adjacent to the baths.
Maquinit Hot Springs, Corin – Philippines
Maquinit hot spring is located Coron, Palawan Island in the Philippines. These are the largest pools warmed by geothermal water in the area. The hot water is salty and seeps naturally from the earth below due to an underground volcano.
There are some large, circular pools with a 29-40 degrees temperature. It could actually be weird when you take the first dip but, the body gets used to it. Local people came here frequently in the afternoon, to relax. As a tourist, it is recommended to go there after an arduous trek. You will feel better after soaking up in the therapeutic water.
The Maquinit hot spring is located on the edge of a bay protected by mangroves. A boardwalk will guide you through them until you reach a small bridge. Here you can watch the sunset.
If you are going to Coron you definitely should explore more of the town and include this amazing hot springs in the list.
To get there from the center of Coron o the Maquinit hot spring is a rough road. You will need to take a tricycle or do it by yourself with a motorbike.
The entrance fee is 200 PHP (3,80 USD) and it is open until 08:00 p.m every day.
Sandrina, The Wise Travellers
Takaragawa Onsen, Japan
This unforgettable spa Hot Springs experience, or onsen as they are known in Japan, started out from grey skies and drizzle in Tokyo city centre. After a one hour journey on the high speed Shinkensens we arrived to a winter paradise in the hills Minikami in Japan’s Gunma Prefecture (Jomo-Goken station). A short hotel shuttle ride through paths surrounded by alpines and towering snow walls we arrive to Tawagawa Onsen. The entire contrast of the day is just fascinating.
This region of Japan is well known for its hot springs and Takaragawa Onsen, while open to the public for day visits, is the perfect ryokan hotel to stay to enjoy a night in the hot spring pools. There are 5 baths in all, scattered through the nearby alpine forest along the passing Takaragawa River with each little more than a couple minutes apart. In Japan, there will also be men and women hot spring spas, which rotate through the season, as well as mixed baths in the more beautiful locations for everyone to enjoy. While we visited during the later winter months (February) the onsen is apparently incredible through the season, with cherry blossoms in the Spring, and fireblaze foliage in the autumn. It is rather rejuvenating to sit in the open-air hot spring water baths, while heavy snows freeze the rest of you above the water. The sheltered spas are much better for relaxing surrounded by the steam. Note, it’s best to stay away from roof edges or you may get a mini avalanche of snow from above (although this can also be fun as well).
Allan, Live Less Than Ordinary
Krabi – Thailand
Do you enjoy amazing hot springs? You will love the epic Krabi hot springs, a natural hot spring in a Thai forest. Perfect. What are the hot springs? Krabi has awesome hot weather all year due to its geo location. Therefore, lucky for us these epic hot springs are kept warm all year long, leaving them just right for us travellers and locals to bathe in.
How much are the Krabi hot springs? You will have to pay a 200 BHT ($8) entrance fee to the hot springs. Then you can use them all day, however I found that an hour is long enough.
How to get to the hot springs in Krabi? You will most likely be staying in Krabi town. So, your cheapest option is to hire a scooter for ($4) then make your own way their. However, it takes 30/40 minutes to drive there. If you’re not a big fan of driving, you can do a tour from Krabi to the hot springs.
Don’t forget to visit the emerald pool whilst you’re checking out the hot springs, have an amazing time like I did!
Wulai, Taiwan is home to my favorite hot spring in the world and should definitely be added to your itinerary, especially if you’re already in Taipei. Wulai is a riverside village that can easily be accessed by public bus from Taipei, sporting plenty of spas and homestays to go hand in hand with a waterfall and the natural hot springs. Many visitors spend their entire time enjoying the Wulai hot springs from luxurious resorts but my favorite part was going down to the riverside public baths.
Large tubs were carved into the rocks giving you an open air view of this subtropical paradise. Wulai is a popular destination among retired Taiwanese but still off the international tourist path. We found the locals to be warm and welcoming at every corner of this cute village and were happy to show us their favorite hot spring. There’s even a small cave that turns into a natural steam room and you can jump straight into the river to cool off. All of this combined with the rich Taiwanese culture make Wulai my favorite hot spring in the world!
Mike, Live Travel Teach
Red Rock Hot Springs – Philippines
Red Rock Hot Spring is a small resort located in Valencia in Negros Oriental, Philippines. What makes this place hot spring so interesting is that it's close to nature as you can get. The water comes from a naturally occurring spring which sprouts through a gap by the pool. The water is volcanic in origin as there is an active volcano in the region. Another interesting feature of the hot spring is the reddish rocks in the area and the rustic color of the water, which is due to sulfur deposits, hence the name of the hot spring.
Red Rock Hot Spring has minimal, rustic design. It sits on top of a mountain and offers gorgeous mountain views. Currently, there are 2 pools – one for adults and one for kids. This is a perfect place for people in the area to relax, unwind and soothe their muscles.
Aside from its relaxing properties, the hot spring is also purported to help with various conditions such as asthma, insomia, among others.
Red Rock Hot Spring is about 30 minutes away via private car from Dumaguete City. Along the way to this resort, you'll pass by sulfur vents along the mountain. You need to pay a minimal fee to get inside the hot spring.
Katherine, Tara Lets Anywhere
Hongye Gu Hot Springs, Taitung– Taiwan
Taiwan is dotted with so many hot springs. You can find them anywhere. Some are free for the public, othes have an entrance fee and some are even located inside fancy hotels.
My absolute favorite hot spring in Taiwan is one near Taitung, on the East Coast of Taiwan. The Hot Spring is called "Hongye Gu Hot Spring", and it is a public, natural one. No entrance fee, and not many people at all allowing crowd free relaxation time. In fact, when we were here, there was only one elderly couple joining us.
The hot water comes from below the stones while you are sat next to the little river. The hot spring is built by locals, simply by building a pool-shaped rock formation to gather the water. If the water is too hot for you, simple take away a few stones, so that the water of the river can enter to cool it down slightly. It does not get more natural than this!
Please note, you really need a scooter or a car to get here from Taitung or Dulan as it is fairly off the beaten track.
Matt, Hostel Geeks
Perhaps a slightly less commercialised activity here, as a continent I haven’t heard much at all about hot springs here. However, I’m sure there are a huge number of them dotted around. I’ve heard Tanzania has a few to take a dip in, and the Kasane Hot Springs in Botswana are supposed to be fairly special. Although, being that close to the Chobe National Park with the fairly prominent hippo & crocodile population does make me question how safe I’d feel hopping in…
Hammam Mellegue – Tunisia
Hammam Mellegue stands out from all the other public bath complexes in Tunisia because it was built by the ancient Romans more than 1800 years ago.
Many of the rooms lie in ruins, but the caldarium (the room for taking hot water baths) is still completely intact and is fed by natural hot springs. The water is potable, and locals believe that it's good for curing rheumatism and digestive problems.
As per usual in Tunisian hammams, there are separate chambers for men and women. My husband and I visited the hammam together but had to separate when it was time to bathe. We were the only foreigners there, and each of us was welcomed by the locals of the same sex who we shared the experience with.
I had brought a bikini, but I saw that the other women were bathing in only their underwear with no bra, so I did the same. I was shy at first and stayed in a corner of the pool watching the other women bathe each other. But after a few minutes they invited me to join them. They scrubbed me down quite ferociously, and I got very clean that day!
Very basic accommodation is available at the hammam, but you're better off coming here on a day trip from Le Kef, about 15 kilometers away along a bumpy dirt road. During the winter rains, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is required. A car and driver can be arranged in Le Kef.
There’s no food for sale on-site, so either time your visit between meals or ask for a packed lunch from a local Tunisian restaurant in Le Kef.
Wendy, The Nomadic Vegan
Latin America is home to some of the greatest habitats in the world, with stunning ancient jungle claimed ruins to relaxing beachfront locations. With the Pacific coast of the continent hugging the ring of fire, you’ll find volcanoes all spotted all over to explore. As we know, wherever there is geothermic activities, we’ll find us some nice relaxing hot springs to relax in and Latin America is certainly no exception to this rule!
Cajon Del Maipo - Chile
Without a doubt, the best hot spring we have discovered anywhere in the world are the ones in Cajon del Maipo. This region is located about an hour outside of Santiago, the capital of Chile. However, to get to the actual hot springs, you must venture for another hour or so, deep into the snowy mountains! This is exactly what we did when road tripping our way south from Santiago in 2016.
We really had no idea what to expect as we set off into the mountains, as there wasn’t much information online about the springs. As such, our small Chevrolet Spark rental car got seriously abused on the way to them. It actually got stuck deep in the snow and mud at one point. We had to get some locals to push us out!
However, while the journey was interesting the hot springs themselves were incredible and we ended up being the only ones there! We were completely secluded in a spectacular snowy bowl in between the mountains. The only people around were a few locals and it was like being in paradise, nestled amidst the mountains in the roasting hot springs.
Baños Colina - Chile
The tranquil Termas Colina hot springs in Cajón del Maipo are completely surrounded by the Andes mountains, yet they can be reached on a day trip from Santiago, Chile. When you reach the site, you'll be greeted by light blue water, which flows into the cleverly terraced pools. You will find the hottest pools at the top, and the coolest pools at the bottom of the structure. If you arrive for a soak during daylight hours, you can admire the mountain scenery; if you visit during the evening, instead, you can see brilliant blanket of stars in the sky, uninhibited by light pollution.
These outdoor Baños Colina hot springs are remote, so they don’t get very crowded. However, the journey along bumpy roads can be arduous. While you can rent a car to make the journey yourself, it’s easiest to join a tour. Admission to the hot springs costs just $8000 Chilean pesos, or $12 USD. The hot spring facilities are very basic, but the views are priceless.
Alison, Dance Dispatches
Hierve El Agua, Oaxaca - Mexico
One of the coolest hot springs I have ever visited in the world is Hierve el Agua, just outside of Oaxaca City in Mexico. There are a lot of things that make these ‘hot springs’ so special, the first being you couldn’t visit these springs until a few years ago! One interesting thing about Hierve el Agua is that it translates to literally ‘boiling water’ although, there is no geothermal activity in the area that makes these springs hot! The water is actually lukewarm at best. The reason being the springs have the world boiling in their name is because the water is constantly bubbling from the pressure of the water escaping to the surface making it look like it’s boiling, but, it is not.
You can get to Hierve el Agua on your own, but most people opt to join a tour in the town of Oaxaca as it makes it much easier to visit. Hierve el Agua has beautiful mineral pools right on the edge of a huge cliff overlooking the gorgeous mountain scenery. Besides being able to soak in the (not so hot) mineral pools while taking in the view, Hierve el Agua also has a view of a “petrified” waterfall. This petrified waterfall happened because the water slowly dripping over the cliff has high calcium and minerals deposits which built up over time like a stalactite or stalagmite in a cave, but it happened on the side of a mountain instead! If you are looking for an incredible hot spring to visit in an even more incredible destination, definitely check out Hierve el Agua!
Santa Rosa de Cabal – Colombia
Whenever in Colombia you can’t miss out on one of the best hot springs in the world at Santa Rosa de Cabal. The springs are located in Colombia's Coffee region and home to one of the most beautiful hot springs that let you enjoy the huge cascading waterfall along with the hot pools and even a spa.
Popular with locals as well as tourists, you’ll quickly realise that Santa Rosa de Cabal takes you to a place that you can relax and forget about the rest of the world. From the town, you’ll find a local bus that takes you to the venue - which is hidden in the middle of the countryside. It's recommended that you take regular breaks from the pools as the heat can make you feel slightly dizzy on leaving the water if you stay in too long, and trust me, you will want to stay in.
There are various pathways that allow you to walk around the venue and see the waterfall from many different angles. You’ll be glad to know the venue is very family orientated and is open in the evenings, so you can spend a good time there and be alongside the waterfall during the nighttime hours.
Daniel, Layer Culture
Tabacon Hot Springs, Arenal – Costa Rica
The area around Arenal– which until recently was one of the world's most active volcanoes– has grown increasingly popular since my first visit 21 years ago. That's because there's an abundance of things to do in the area of Costa Rica, from hiking and horseback riding on the volcano and kayaking in Lake Arenal to visiting the gorgeous La Fortuna waterfall.
Nothing is better at the end of a long day of outdoor adventure than a soak in a volcano-fed hot springs. And though there are a number in the Arenal area, Tabacón Hot Springs is easily our favorite. These naturally heated thermal waters come from 5 different spring sources, the strongest of which flows over a sculpted waterfall, which provides a wonderfully intense hydraulic shoulder/back/neck massage.
The fact that the springs are surrounded by lushly landscaped tropical gardens and offer stunning views of the Arenal Volcano is, of course a plus. The Tabacon Resort & Hot Springs, which is carbon-neutral, offers an eco-friendly option for immersing yourself in this relaxing natural wonder. There’s also an impressive spa where you can treat yourself to massages and mud masks, as well as a cool spring and a swimming pool nearby for when you're ready to chill.
Bret & Mary, Green Global Travel
La Gruta, San Miguel de Allende - Mexico
The town of San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico might be best known for its impressive colonial architecture, charming cobblestone streets and rich artistic culture, but this UNESCO World Heritage site also happens to be home to some of Mexico's best hot natural springs. La Gruta or The Grotto in San Miguel de Allende is a series of interconnected, open-air pools set within landscaped gardens located 20 minutes outside of the city.
Plan to spend a full or half day here soaking up the relaxing vibe and floating leisurely from one pool to the next. Lockers are available to rent. The steamiest waters are located within the grotto itself, accessed through a covered stone tunnel. Inside the dark grotto, hot water plunges like a waterfall from a spout in the cave's roof and you can stand beneath its jets allowing the powerful, hot waters to pummel away any stresses. A restaurant, full service spa offering massage therapies, a traditional temazcal steam bath and plenty of lounge chairs are a few more of the offerings at this hot springs attraction.
Michele, A Taste for Travel
Termas Geometricas - Chile
Without a doubt, my favourite hot springs of all time is that of Termas Geometricas in the lakes district of Chile. Tucked up in a small nook and cranny of a mountain, these hot springs have everything covered for a relaxing morning, afternoon or entire day. With multiple pools, each with their own unique temperature there is a spot no matter whether you are looking for a cold, warm or crazy hot pool. I do remember the tiny 44-degree pool being almost too hot for me but once acclimatised it was incredible. Also, tucked in amongst the pools were the occasional cold waterfall. There is something amazing about going from a 44-degree hot pool to having cold water rushing over your head, you certainly feel alive.
It must also be mentioned that the infrastructure set up is second to none. The wooden pathways and little signs help you navigate the hot pools while still providing that natural feel. I never once felt like I was in a horrible looking man-made structure for these hot springs.
While travelling the lakes district of Chile, you would be silly not to explore these incredible hot springs. We were lucky enough to explore Chile in a campervan and were able to get ourselves to the hot springs if we wished to. Otherwise, multiple tours run from the incredible town of Pucon, allowing you to fully relax and enjoy what is, Termas Geometricas.
Lauren, Luxury Travel Hacks by #LjoJlo
Australia & The South Pacific
I’ve always known that New Zealand is a geothermic hot spot so it came as no surprise to me that the South Pacific & Australia would be full of hot spring options having visited a number of these myself! With a huge variety of public and private springs available, there’s something for everyone here to relax in.
Hot Water Beach – New Zealand
While not your traditional hot springs, there is a beach on New Zealand’s North Island that should be on your radar if you love a good, hot soak. Located on the Coromandel Peninsula, Hot Water Beach is just what it sounds like... well, sort of. The water from the ocean is not warm, but it is what lies beneath the sand that makes this beach special: an underground hot spring. And the coolest part is you can dig your own personal “Jacuzzi”.
Rent a shovel for $10 NZD and get digging! It won’t take long for you to feel the hot water seep out, and be careful because it can get quite hot. Simply add a little ocean water to cool it down a bit if necessary. Use your shovel to dig your very own “hot tub”, where you can sit and watch the ocean in peace and quiet. Only joking. You’ll have company in the others who want to get in on this hot spring too, and since the hot water is only in one specific part of the beach, it can get quite crowded. Bring a little wine though, and you’re bound to make new friends!
Insider Tip: You can only access this part of the beach around low tide. Before heading to Hot Water Beach, look up the tides and plan to go within a 4-hour window (2 hours before low tide through 2 hours after low tide).
The Polynesian Spa, Rotorua – New Zealand
Located in Rotorua, a small town on the North Island of New Zealand, you’ll find a huge number of hot springs. This is a seriously geothermic area of the country so there is plenty to keep you entertained. Our favourite spot here however was the Polynesia Spa. This is one of the only pay to enter hot springs in the area, but as I’m sure you know when you travel, you get what you pay for.
Complete with a huge number of pools (28 to be exact) and swanky changing rooms, you can pick the package that suits your needs best. From the family pool, the private pools and even a deluxe lakeside collection there truly is an experience for everyone here.
Each hot spring pool here has its own healing qualities, with different minerals to soak in. Some are good for your muscles and joints while others are great for skin nourishment so you can self diagnose the best pool for you.
If you’re looking for a little extra luxury, you can also opt to add a treatment into the mix. We went for some divine massages, but there is plenty to pick from!
Douglas Daly Hot Springs, Northern Territory – Australia
There are so many things to do and see in Darwin that this little local secret often gets missed by tourists. This is a shame as the Douglas Daly Hot Springs are one of the best hot springs in the world! This little creek runs right though the tropical jungle of the Northern Territory and the water is hot – like really hot!
The great thing about Douglas Daly Hot Springs is that it is located only about a 45 minute drive from Darwin city center which means you can easily visit on a day trip. However, I recommend taking advantage of the campground right on the water’s edge and spending a night or two. This campground offers very private campsites along the hot springs. In the evening as the weather cools down a jump in the water is even better especially if you dry off next to a camp fire.
Besides this outback campground, there are no other facilities around the hot springs. There is no entrance fee and these hot springs are totally natural. Since not many people know about them, it is often very quiet and you might even get the whole place to yourself!
Keep in mind that you can only swim in the Douglas Daly Hot Springs during the dry season (May to October) as during the wet season the waterways flood and there is a crocodile risk. But as long as you follow this rule you’re guaranteed to have a great time in such an isolated spot surrounded by nature.
Bailey, Destinationless Travel
Bitter Springs, Northern Territory – Australia
It's about 1500 km (930 mi) to Darwin on the highway north from Alice Springs, and during the dry season it's hot, dusty and – yes you guessed right – dry even though this is what passes for winter in the 'Top End'. So when your day's journey ends somewhere near the small town of Mataranka, about 1100 km (680 mi) north of the Alice, you can relax. Those fantasies you've been having of kicking back in a tropical oasis aren't just a mirage – they're about to come true!
Resist the urge to head for the well-known Mataranka Springs – that's where everyone else is going. Just 5 minutes up the road you'll find the Bitter Springs campground. Take the track to the Bitter Springs Thermal Pool and discover the impossibly turquoise waters surrounded by palms and flowing through a scenic wonderland of tropical vegetation. Impressed? Just wait until you immerse yourself in the welcoming warmth of the waters and feel your aches – and troubles – draining away. Drift gently down the stream to the lower pool, then climb out using the ladder, return to the top and repeat. Or just settle in for a LOOOOONG session.
If you're anything like me at this point, you'll be so chilled you'll decide to break your journey and soak it up in paradise for a few more days! Dreaming of an oasis is normal. But when you find one, don't let it get away.
Kerosene Creek, Rotorua – New Zealand
Hidden away from the highway and nestled between native trees lies one of New Zealand’s most awesome hot springs. As you approach it from the nearby parking lot, it’s first a creek, deep enough to sit in it like in a natural bathtub. But if you keep walking for another minute or so, the hot water creek turns into a waterfall that tumbles into a deep basin of just as warm water. If it wasn’t for the name-giving smell of the water, you’d never want to leave Kerosene Creek.
I wish I could say that Kerosene Creek in Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s most active geothermal areas, was still an insider tip. Unfortunately, the creek has become quite popular with travellers over time. Partly because it doesn’t cost any entry and partly, because it’s so close to Rotorua’s most famous geothermal park, Wai-O-Tapu, and can be done along the way. But it’s nevertheless one of the coolest hot springs I came across in New Zealand so far.
Zebedee Springs, Kununurra – Australia
Zebedee Springs in El Questro Station near Kununurra, Western Australia, is the most beautiful natural springs we could’ve imagined. The rock pools are all different shapes and sizes, which is perfect for different people and groups to enjoy. Some are small enough for a young child to safely sit in alone, others hold several adults submerged together. All are heated from the water running over the surrounding rock faces, and are a perfect warmth to relax in for hours! And the setting is just beautiful too, with plenty of greenery and a backdrop of red rocks glowing golden in the morning light.
Zebedee Springs is free to enter and is open to the public until 12 noon in the dry season. In the afternoons it is reserved for exclusive use of guests at El Questro. It is hard to leave this beautiful place: we visited twice and reluctantly left when we had to both times! We’d definitely visit Zebedee again and highly recommend it.
Emma, Small Footprints, Big Adventures
The Lost Spring, Whitianga - New Zealand
If you’re looking for a luxury escape for a day, look no further than The Lost Spring in Whitianga, trust me. Located a few hours from Auckland in a gorgeous part of the country called known generally as the Coromandel, you’ll find peace, relaxation & a little indulgence in the most stunning location.
With each hot spring hidden away, including a section found in a lit up cave, the Lost Spring gained it’s name for a reason. Having ancient mineral filled water containing healing properties, within minutes of starting to soak you can feel the benefits. You’ll also find a stunning waterfall in the front as you walk through, and massages are conducted in a stunning tree house overlooking the volcano. Can I hear you say yes please? For ease you’ll also find hairdryers and straighteners in the changing rooms for after.
If you love hot springs but also love a cheeky beverage as well this is also the place for you with poolside service for your wine, cocktails, smoothies and even poolside snacks as well! If you’re still a little peckish though, you can don your robe and head to the in-house gourmet restaurant. Sit inside or out on the sundeck, whatever you prefer! With food, drinks & relaxing on the menu, there aren’t many better places to visit.
Before starting this, I had absolutely no idea that Antarctica would be suitable for anything warm, let alone hot springs. Yet once again, the earth has surprised me. It makes sense though when you think about it, since the earth’s crust is just a thin layer between where we live and melted rock, it’s almost more surprising that more places don’t have these hot springs really.
Deception Island – Antarctica
Deception Island is home to probably the most unusual hot springs on the planet. The island is the caldera of an active volcano in Antarctica. A small part of the wall has collapsed, leaving a narrow entrance that ships can squeeze through to enter the inside of the donut-shaped island. The island has been home to a whaling station and a British research station, which was abandoned when the volcano erupted around it in 1969. The remains of both stations are scattered and strewn along a beach, at times almost disappearing in the steam that rises up from the black sand.
It is common for crew from ships to dig a large hole in the beach. The hole quickly fills with steaming thermal water from the hot springs that permeate the island. If you’re game, you can strip off and soak in hot spring waters whilst gazing at whale oil barrels, a wingless airplane and the occasional penguin waddling along the steaming beach. If you’re even more game, you can invigorate your skin with a quick dip in the icy Antarctic Ocean.
James, Travel Collecting
So, you’ve now read a few examples and I’m sure have a few ideas of where to go next! Have you been anywhere that’s not on the list and think it deserves a mention? Let me know either in the comments or shoot me an email and we can try to add it in. I can’t get enough of hot spring relaxation personally, so I’m sure you’re the same if you’ve made it this far down.