1. Pamukkale, Turkey
The terraced hot springs of Pamukkale formed naturally, although they do look quite unbelievable, much like an alien landscape described in a science fiction novel. The springs consist of 17 azure-blue tiered pools made of travertine, a type of white limestone deposited from the minerals present in the water.
The water in Pamukkale is a pleasant 94°F (34°C) all year. The hot springs have been in use as a thermal spa for centuries. In the 2nd century BC, the Romans built a spa city and a healing center called Hierapolis nearby. Today, both the Roman city and the hot springs of Pamukkale are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. Terme di Saturnia, Italy
The Terme di Saturnia springs in Tuscany are a worthy competition to Pamukkale, as much like the Turkish resort, it has been around for centuries and consists of natural limestone pools connected by majestic waterfalls. The water in the pools is around 99°F (37°C), and the water's sulfur content is said to be beneficial for many skin conditions, muscle issues, and other ailments.
Probably the most photo-worthy spot in the spa town is the Cascate del Mulino, a picturesque location where the cascading natural pools interweave with waterfalls, all with an old rustic mill in the background (shown in the picture above).
3. Kinosaki, Japan
The resort town of Kinosaki is completely dedicated to the idea of the traditional Japanese onsen, which is a bathhouse built around hot springs. The first thermal springs in the area were discovered in the 8th century BC, and ever since, the town has been building its impeccable reputation as the onsen resort in Japan.
Today, there are 7 public hot springs and many traditional inns called ryokan in the town, one more beautiful than the other. The springs are free to visit for those staying at the ryokan, and visitors are encouraged to stay the night to get the traditional Japanese bathhouse experience. The water in the springs is around 107°F (41°C), and the minerals present in the water are said to beneficial for those who suffer from digestive issues, nerve and muscle pain, and chronic fatigue.
4. Grutas Tolantongo, Mexico
If you wish to soak and relax in a hot spring pool while admiring nature and nothing but nature, Grutas Tolantongo is one of the unique options out there! Situated in Hidalgo, this paradise resort consists of many geothermal infinity pools heated by the surrounding volcanic mountains to a temperature of 86°F (30°C).
The pools are literally integrated into a cliff on different levels, so an unforgettable experience is guaranteed. Visitors can also visit the nearby caves and thermal tunnel and admire the surrounding rivers and waterfalls.
5. Glenwood Springs, USA
If enjoying the breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains while swimming in the world’s largest natural hot spring pool sounds like your speed, there’s no better place to visit than Glenwood Springs. The water in this big pool is kept at the comfortable temperature of 93°F (34°C), but there is also a small therapy pool that offers more heat, where the water is at around 104°F (40°C).
However, keep in mind that the pools are hardly the only attraction in the area, as there is a beautiful resort built around the hot springs, as well as the natural beauty of the White River National Forest.
6. Szechenyi Spa Baths, Hungary
For a different spa experience altogether, you must see and take a dip, whenever it will be possible, in the geothermal pools of the Szechenyi Spa Baths. The famous bathhouse is located in the heart of the Hungarian capital, and it is also the go-to vacation spot for both locals and visitors alike. One of the biggest selling points of the bathhouse, apart from its massive size, is the Neo-baroque design of the surrounding buildings.
Built at the very beginning of the 20th century, the bathhouse certainly has that classic European atmosphere. The water in the pools fluctuates around 40°C (104°F), and there are 3 outdoor pools, 15 indoor baths, 10 saunas, and various spa treatments and services available on the premises. So, if you even decide to visit Budapest, you simply drop by the Szechenyi Spa Baths.
7. The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is certainly one of the most famous geothermal pools in the world, and it's easy to see why. Not only is this resort only 50 minutes away from the capital, Reykjavik, but it is also quite unique in appearance. With the milky blue spring water only partially covering the black lava rock landscape and steam rising from the water, the Blue Lagoon atmosphere is quite otherworldly, in the best way possible.
Unlike the majority of destinations on this list, the Blue Lagoon was created artificially in 1976. Hot water is redirected from the nearby geothermal power plant, which allows maintaining a perfectly steady temperature of 100°F (38°C) year-round.
8. Aqua Dome, Austria
The Aqua Dome is another world-famous European spa resort. It is located in the Alps' Tyrol region, a beloved spot for ski enthusiasts from around the world. The thermal resort architecture marries traditional materials like wood and stone with more contemporary ones like metal and glass, giving the resort a futuristic appearance.
Here, visitors can peacefully relax in a warm basin filled with warm thermal water while admiring the surrounding Alpine peaks and forests. The water at the large pool is kept at a steady temperature of around 100°F (38°C).
9. Termas Geométricas, Chile
Do Alpine views strike you as a bit too cold? Maybe, relaxing in thermal waters surrounded by a beautiful rainforest sounds more appealing to you, then. If so, consider Termas Geométricas, a bold resort built like a maze. The hot-spring resort is hidden deep within the Villarrica National Park in Chile.
The nearby Villarrica volcanic mountain heats up the waters of the Aihué stream in 20 different sources, and there are crimson wooden walkways spanning over the stream, which lead visitors to the numerous pools in the resort. The water in these natural pools ranges from 86 to 113°F (30°C to 45°C).
Share these beautiful natural destinations with others!