A hot spring is created when water beneath the Earth’s surface is heated due to geothermic heat and then travels to the surface through geysers or rivers. Although some are known to reach boiling temperatures, especially around volcanic areas, and should never be entered, there are many springs across the world that are frequently used by humans. Because of the underground source of many of these springs, they have a high mineral content, and that, coupled with the warm temperatures, makes these springs very popular as a form of relaxation and hydrotherapy.
Jigokudani Monkey Park in Joshinetsu Kogen National Park features a rather unusual popular tourist attraction; Japanese Macaques that bath in the hot springs found there. In the cold winter months the monkeys come out of the forests and relax in the warm water of the springs. In fact, the name Jigokudani translates as Hell’s Valley due to the steam that erupts from fissures around the park.
When Pamukkale was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, the hotels and roads that had been built around the springs were demolished in order to protect the natural beauty of the area. Bathers can still visit, and they do in their hundreds every year, although you may have to share your pool with a few friendly tadpoles!
Budapest has built its city around its warm springs and the bath houses you find there allow you to enjoy the wonderful benefits of the pools all year round. Originally built by the Romans to enjoy the thermal springs, Budapest’s baths are now some of the world’s most famous natural springs.
Initially, this small district in the northernmost part of Taipei City, Taiwan, had only a park, and locals were the only ones to take advantage of the natural spas there. Now there are over 30 resorts in the Beitou Valley, with mineral pools varying from cool to very hot.
From June until late September when the roads become inaccessible, Landmannalaugar is the perfect place to enjoy thermal springs in Iceland. A popular destination for hikers and riders, the stunning natural beauty of the area enhances your experience and there are many places to stay, including hotels, campsites and chalets.
Roughly translated to mean ‘The Grandfather’, El Tatio in Chile has more than 80 geysers, is more than 4.200 metres above mean sea level and includes mud bath full of skin-replenishing minerals. The nearest populated town is Calama and here you can find accommodation and transport.
There are 16 lakes in this region, and most of them are used by fishermen angling for rainbow trout, brown trout and tiger trout. The mineral pools include warmer acidic pools and ‘softer’ alkaline ones. The hotels in the area are varied and cater for families, couples and young people all looking to try the relaxing waters for themselves.
Iceland is famous across the world for its many spas, and one of the most well-known is Blue Lagoon. Set in stunning picturesque scenery, the pools here are warm and rich in minerals and you can enjoy a number of treatments at the facilities, including silica massages, silica salt glows and in-water massages.
Located near a 7,000-year-old volcano, Arenal Hot Springs takes you right to the heart of a natural spa. There are a number of different pools at various hotels to choose from, including Eco Termales, Los Perdidos Hot Springs and Titokú Hot Springs, so no matter where you choose to stay during your visit, you can find a mineral-rich spring nearby.
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