Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Any reputable day spa can provide you with a full menu of water therapies, mud baths, reflexology treatments, and aromatherapy sessions. But what if you could experience an even purer level of relaxation and rejuvenating in the pristine beauty of nature while you travel?
Before high-tech spa treatments became top tourist attractions around the world, wellness seekers flocked to natural hot springs to soothe to reap the benefits of traditional healing waters. Belief in the powers of thermal mineral waters dates back to prehistoric times, and there are thousands of amazing hot springs that still exist around the world. Although the composition of mineral waters varies greatly by geography and geology, many hot springs contain natural salts, sulfur compounds, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Spending an hour or two in a thermal pool surrounded by natural beauty and fresh air is one of the best ways to relax, recharge, and experience a new destination. These are some of the most stunning natural hot springs around the world to soothe your mind, body, and soul.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
With 15 indoor baths and three outdoor pools, Hungary’s Szechenyi Bath is one of the largest and best bath spas in Europe and a top attraction in Budapest. Over a million bathers travel to Budapest to visit these baths because they are relaxing, romantic, affordable, and near lots of other attractions. If you’re looking to fully experience every aspect of an elite thermal spa, you can take advantage of on-site massage therapies, facial treatments, and steam cabins. If you want to learn a bit more about Hungarian bath traditions, book a quick 15-minute guided tour of Szechenyi Bath when before taking the plunge.
One of the most alluring hot springs destinations in Turkey is the Pamukkale Thermal Pools, which has been a popular bathing destination for thousands of years. Located in the city of Denizli in southwestern Turkey, Pamukkale (which literally translates to “cotton castle”) is made up of 17 hot springs with water saturated with calcium. Pamukkale recognized as a World Heritage Site, and you can visit the nearby Hierapolis Archaeology Museum to learn more about the region and view beautiful works of Bronze Age craft.
Surround yourself with awe-inspiring peaks and glacier panoramas as you take a dip in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, located inside this Canadian national park. These soothing waters remain at a consistent temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit and 104 degrees and are loaded with natural sodium, calcium, and magnesium. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can reach the hot springs after a steep 3.5-mile hike up Sulphur Mountain and check out the rustic bathhouse when you reach the top.
Kusatsu is one of Japan’s most popular hot springs and the one with the largest natural flow of hot spring water in the country. Kusatsu Onsen is a small mountain town, located northwest of Tokyo, which draws nearly three million tourists each year. You can enjoy the sulfurous, highly acidic waters in the town’s public bathhouses, Sainokawara Rotemburo, the Otakinoyu, and the Gozanoyu. Most of the bathhouses contain small, gender-separated pools that can only hold a few people each.
The U.S. National Park Service doesn’t exactly advertise the Boiling River as a public bathing area, but you’ll often find visitors parked along the road near the “45th Parallel of Latitude – Halfway Between Equator and the North Pole” sign at the Montana/Wyoming state line inside Yellowstone National Park. Follow the clouds of rising steam and walk about a half-mile upstream along the trail. Cold water from the Gardiner River and hot water from the Boiling River meet at this point and swirl around to create a wonderful temperature – even when snow still graces the mountaintops.
Blue Lagoon is an outdoor geothermal spa with steamy waters fed from a lava field in a fishing town along Iceland’s southwestern coast. Visitors travel to this exciting Iceland destination to soak in the mineral-rich waters, full of natural silica and sulfur, which are known to soothe a variety of skin conditions. After you’ve explored the country’s top natural wonders, unwind with a dip and slather yourself with silky mud at this year-round attraction.
Arenal used to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world, but today it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica. This region is known for its luxurious resorts, but you can still visit the Arenal Hot Springs if you’re traveling on a budget. If you walk across the road from the famous Tabacón resort, you can hike down a gentle hill and access natural springs that are free and open to the public. Climb up on the larger rocks to access a big pool of volcano-heated spring water, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and varying temperatures.
What better way to end a day of wine tasting in southern Tuscany than by taking a dip in the Cascate del Mulino natural springs? These warm Italian waters stay at a comfortable 99.5-degrees throughout the year and contain minerals known to boost digestive, circulatory, and skin health. Popular since Roman times, these hot springs remain free and open to the public.
If you’re looking for a little workout with your relaxation, head to New Zealand’s Hot Water Beach, where you have to dig your own spot to soak. Before and after low tides, the hole you dig will fill with spring-fed water that contains plenty of natural minerals. Located south of the North Island’s Mercury Bay, this is a communal beach area that’s especially popular during the December-to-March summer months. Keep in mind that the waters can rush in at nearly 150°F; so many people bring buckets of cold seawater to help regulate the temperature.