The 10 Best Natural Hot Springs In The World
Probably the best thing about winter.
With summer now feeling like a distant memory, us Southern Hemisphere residents are diving deep into our blankets, doubling our carb intake and refusing to remove our trackies. But don’t hang up your swimmers just yet – we’ve got just the thing to warm those frostbitten toes: the answer is hot springs. (The answer is always hot springs.)
Here’s the ultimate bucket list of naturally warm pools across the globe for you to tick off on your travels.
1 / 10
Fosso Bianco, Tuscany
Found among the vineyards and tiny cobblestone streets of Italy’s sun-drenched Tuscany region are the Fosso Bianco Hot Springs. Hidden in the shady woods below Bagni San Filippo, this series of natural hot springs is situated on a sloping rock face, with a set of cascading white rock pools. Pure magic.
2 / 10
Tekapo Hot Springs, New Zealand
Here’s further proof that New Zealand is actually 100 times better than Australia: the beautiful Lake Tekapo on its South Island is a turquoise dream with views of the dramatic Southern Alps. And the best way to enjoy a view like this? From a hot spring, duh. Tekapo Springs offer warm communal outdoor pools, a day spa and even a man-made snow slope and ice skating rink for extra fun.
3 / 10
Grutas Tolantongo, Mexico
This geothermal wonderland of Grutas Tolantongo is found along the edge of a canyon near Ixmiquilpan in Mexico, about three hours north of Mexico City. The spas are fed from the surrounding volcanic mountains so they’re steamy, warm and naturally infused with minerals. Also: those views.
4 / 10
Termas Geometricas, Chile
At Termas Geometricas, surrounded by the greenery of Chile’s Villarrica National Park, you’ll find a valley of rich thermal springs cascading down into 17 slate-paved baths. The striking addition of red wooden walkways lets you move from pool to pool, and there’s huts with indoor fire places to dry off in front of.
5 / 10
Peninsula Hot Springs, Victoria
It’s understandable why this iconic Victorian hotspot is so popular. Found an hour-and-a-half south of Melbourne on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, the Peninsula Hot Springs is actually listed under ‘relaxation’ in the dictionary. Wait – it’s not? Well it should be. There’s upwards of 20 different ways to chill out here, including thermal mineral pools, an underground sauna, private outdoor baths (the hilltop one is a beaut), cave pools, steam baths and so much more. Settle in for the weekend and expel those toxins.
6 / 10
Pamukkale, which means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish, is probably the most accurate way to describe this white wonderland in the southwestern Denizli Province of Turkey. Nutrient-rich hot thermal water from a nearby spring runs over shelves of calcite rock, depositing calcium carbonate which hardens into the remarkable white shelves you’ve no doubt seen on Instagram. Crowned a World Heritage Site back in 1988, there are restrictions in place that limit bathing in some areas, but a nearby swimming pool was constructed away from the cliffs that funnels the same thermal water.
7 / 10
Deception Island, Antarctica
OK, so it’s not the easiest one on the list to get to, but this particular hot spring in Antarctica has got to be the most breath-taking of them all. Deception Island is a caldera for an active volcano; as a result, a number of the pools within the port are filled with natural warm water – the perfect escape from the actual freezing temperatures outside. Your guess is as good as ours as to how you get warm once you hop out. Alternative solution: just soak forever.
8 / 10
Thermae Bath Spa, England
The World Heritage City of Bath boasts Britain’s only natural hot springs, and you can soak in them just like the Romans did over 2000-years-ago. Thermae Bath Spa is located in the heart of the the town, and you can enjoy these mineral-rich waters a bunch of different ways – our pick is the rooftop pool at night. What a stunner.
9 / 10
The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
This list wouldn’t be complete with Iceland’s hot spring wonder, The Blue Lagoon. It’s the country’s most visited attraction for a reason: the milky blue water averages between 37 to 39 degrees Celsius, minerals like silica and sulfur are abundant, said to help people suffering from skin diseases, and there’s even a bar if you need even more help to cure what ails you. Do note that Iceland has a strict code of hygiene and you’re required to shower before bathing; check out their excellent instructional videos on hot-tubbing before you go.
10 / 10
Mystic Hot Springs, Utah
With possibly the most accurate name for a hot spring ever, the Mystic Hot Springs will definitely leave you with a sense of spiritual awe. Here, you get to enjoy the warm water right from your own bathtub in the middle of the Utah dessert. Be sure to visit in July when the site hosts its own music festival. Rub-a-dub-dub.
(Lead image: Moyan Brenn/Flickr)