Our travels are all about unforgettable experiences, and of course, a dash of the peculiar and wonderful. And what better example than the planet’s own natural hot springs, where Earth’s heat bubbles up therapeutic waters?

From the valleys of Tuscany to Iceland’s untouched wilderness, these geothermal wonders give travelers an amazing opportunity for a wellness retreat. Let’s have a look at 12 hot springs that you should visit!

1. Tuscany, Italy

Welcome to Tuscany! This region is loved for its rolling landscapes, charming villages, and of course, natural hot springs. Here are a few hot spring highlights in Tuscany that you’ll want to add to your bucket list:

  • Bagno Vignoni: Travel to a small village in the Val d’Orcia region for some of the best thermal baths that you can find anywhere. The showstopper? A large thermal pool, the Piazza delle Sorgenti, set in the middle of the village’s main square.
  • Saturnia: Saturnia, a tiny town known for its therapeutic waters and the Cascate del Mulino, or natural hot spring waterfalls, is a great place to relax.
  • Montecatini Terme: This is a spa town full of thermal baths and wellness centers.

These thermal waters are often rich in minerals like sulfur, calcium, and magnesium, believed to boost your skin, relaxation, and overall well-being.

Related: Vacationing with Friends in a Tuscan Villa

2. Arenal Region, Costa Rica

Time to swap Italy’s scenic beauty for Costa Rica’s tropical climate. The Arenal region, with its Arenal Volcano, rainforests, and hot springs, is a fantastic spot for a wellness retreat. Here are a couple of places you’ll want to check out:

  • Tabacon Hot Springs: Close to the Arenal Volcano, you’ll find Tabacon—a hot springs resort with a collection of natural thermal pools among tropical gardens and rainforest.
  • The Springs Resort & Spa: Another standout in the Arenal region, the Springs Resort & Spa has a mix of thermal pools of varying temperatures for a rejuvenating soak.

And these two resorts aren’t just about thermal pools—they go above and beyond. From saunas and steam rooms to chill-out zones, they offer a holistic wellness journey. You can even try wellness activities like yoga, meditation, and nature hikes.

The blend of volcanic activity, thick rainforests, and geothermal gifts in the Arenal region create a soothing yet energizing atmosphere—perfect for winding down, relaxing, and reconnecting with nature.

Related: 5 Best Spa Resort Trips Worldwide

3. Budapest, Hungary

Our next hot spring adventure leads us to Budapest, Hungary. Known as the City of Spas, Budapest is a treasure trove of thermal baths:

  • Széchenyi Thermal Bath: As one of Budapest’s largest and most iconic thermal baths, Széchenyi’s grand Neo-Baroque building and numerous indoor and outdoor pools are a must-see. The naturally-sourced thermal waters are full of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. With pools of different temperatures—hot, warm, and cold—there’s a spot for everyone. As a bonus, the bathhouse also has facilities like saunas, steam rooms, and wellness treatments.
  • Gellért Baths: Based within the Gellért Hotel, these baths are known for their Art Nouveau architecture. There’s a pool for everyone—thermal baths, swimming pools, and even wave pools. The thermal waters here come from the mineral-rich springs of Gellért Hill, so you can relax in the baths, appreciate the beautiful interior, and enjoy extra spa services like massages and beauty treatments.
  • Rudas Baths: This historic Turkish bathhouse has been around since the 16th century. Rudas Baths is unique for its octagonal pool topped by a stunning dome, and the naturally-heated thermal waters here are renowned for their healing properties. You can also enjoy a rooftop pool with luxurious city views.

These Budapest thermal baths are about more than just hot spring bathing—you’ll find additional wellness services such as massages, aromatherapy, and beauty treatments. Plus, many bathhouses include saunas, steam rooms, and relaxation areas for a complete unwinding experience.

Related: 15 Stunning River Cruises Around the World—Danube, Nile & More

4. Beppu, Japan

We’re now jetting over to Beppu, based on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Known for its high geothermal activity, Beppu offers a wide range of bathing experiences:

  • Onsen Resorts: Beppu is dotted with onsen resorts featuring traditional onsen baths filled with mineral-rich hot spring water believed to have healing properties. Plus, many of Beppu’s onsen resorts offer unique bathing experiences such as mud baths, sand baths, and steam baths.
  • Beppu’s Eight Hot Springs: Known as the Beppu Hatto, these eight distinct hot springs areas each have their own unique characteristics, like the white mineral-rich waters of Shiraike Jigoku or the red-tinged waters of Kamado Jigoku.

5. Baños, Ecuador

Heading south, we reach Baños, tucked away in the Andean highlands of Ecuador. This town combines the healing powers of thermal baths with beautiful scenery and exciting outdoor adventures. Here’s what Baños has in store for wellness travelers:

  • Natural Hot Springs: Baños is famous for its natural hot springs, powered by the area’s geothermal activity. One of the most well-known hot springs is the Piscinas de la Virgen (Pools of the Virgin). Here, you can relax in warm, mineral-rich waters known for their healing properties.
  • Wellness and Spa Services: Beyond hot springs, Baños also offers an array of wellness and spa services. Pamper yourself with massages, facials, and other treatments to enhance relaxation and well-being.

Baños is also home to several waterfalls, including the Pailón del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) and Manto de la Novia (Bride’s Veil). These scenic wonders offer fantastic views and opportunities for walks or hikes.

6. Kusatsu, Japan

Next up, let’s head to the tranquil mountain town of Kusatsu, located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. This quaint spot is renowned for its traditional Japanese onsen experience. Here’s why Kusatsu should be on your wellness travel list:

  • Yubatake: Yubatake is a field of bubbling hot spring water—this natural hot water flows into the town’s public baths and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), infusing them with Kusatsu’s revered healing waters.
  • Classic Onsen Experience: In Kusatsu, you can dive deep into traditional Japanese onsen culture. The town has numerous public baths and ryokans where you can soak in mineral-rich waters believed to have health benefits.

Kusatsu’s charm is amplified by its beautiful surroundings. Based in the green mountains of Gunma Prefecture, the area offers plenty of opportunities for leisurely strolls, hiking, and exploration. The combination of nature’s tranquility and the healing properties of the hot springs creates a holistic wellness experience.

7. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Let’s now journey to the famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Known for its geothermal spa set in a dramatic lava field, the Blue Lagoon promises an unforgettable wellness adventure. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Geothermal Spa: Located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon’s waters are heated naturally by the earth’s geothermal activity.
  • Bathing Experience: The Blue Lagoon offers a serene and unique bathing experience with its warm, mineral-laden waters.
  • Silica Mud Masks: One of the highlights of the Blue Lagoon is its silica mud. Known for its purifying and exfoliating properties, visitors can enjoy a self-applied mask, believed to cleanse and revitalize the skin.
  • Spa and Wellness Activities: Besides bathing, you can find a range of wellness services around the Blue Lagoon. Think massages, facials, body wraps, and more—all leveraging the lagoon’s natural resources and local Icelandic elements.

With its mix of geothermal wonders, mineral-rich waters, luxurious spa treatment options, and tranquil surroundings, the Blue Lagoon is a must-visit spot on your wellness journey.

8. Hakone, Japan

Our next stop is Hakone, Japan—a destination loved for its onsen, traditional Japanese hospitality, and natural beauty. Here’s why Hakone deserves a place on your wellness tour:

  • Hot Springs: Hakone is famous for its hot springs, each rich in healing minerals. There are numerous onsen resorts and public bathhouses for you to soak in these therapeutic waters. Many ryokans in Hakone even offer private hot spring baths for an intimate and relaxing experience.
  • Traditional Ryokan Experience: Staying at a ryokan in Hakone is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese lifestyle. Ryokans offer comfortable rooms, exquisite meals, and access to private onsens.

Hakone’s natural beauty is a must-see, from the calming waters of Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) to the towering Mount Fuji. Whether you’re sailing on Lake Ashi, visiting the mystical Hakone Shrine, or trekking the Hakone Circuit, you’ll be surrounded by incredible views.

9. Rotorua, New Zealand

Let’s hop on over to Rotorua, a wellness haven on New Zealand’s North Island. Here’s why Rotorua deserves your attention:

  • Geothermal Wonders: Rotorua is a natural playground that bubbles, steams, and fizzes with mud pools, hot springs, and geysers. At spots like Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, you can see erupting geysers and explore geothermal parks.
  • Hot Pools: Rotorua is loaded with hot pools, giving you plenty of choices to enjoy mineral-rich waters. Places like Polynesian Spa and Hell’s Gate offer a variety of bathing experiences, from private pools to communal thermal experiences.
  • Spa Treatments: Many of Rotorua’s spas harness the region’s geothermal resources for treatments. Try out therapies that use local geothermal mud, mineral-rich waters, and volcanic ash.

With Rotorua’s geothermal wonders, healing hot springs, and tranquil surroundings, it’s the perfect spot for a wellness holiday, offering a great blend of relaxation and adventure.

10. Pamukkale, Turkey

Next, we’re visiting Pamukkale in southwestern Turkey. Known for its natural beauty and healing thermal waters, Pamukkale is a wellness traveler’s dream. Here’s why you should consider Pamukkale for your spa vacation:

  • Travertine Terraces: Cascading thermal waters depositing calcium carbonate (bright white mineral) over thousands of years have formed radiant, snowy terraces in a place so beautiful that it’s referred to as Cotton Castle.
  • Thermal Waters: Pamukkale’s thermal waters are rich with minerals like calcium and magnesium, believed to have healing properties. Here, you can walk barefoot across terraces or soak in warm pools.
  • Cleopatra’s Pool: Surrounded by ancient Roman ruins, you can relax in the mineral-rich waters here—rumor has it that Marc Anthony had the pools built as a gift for Cleopatra.

With its extraordinary beauty, mineral-rich thermal waters, and a touch of history, Pamukkale is a must-visit wellness destination!

Related: A Journey Through Turkey’s Cappadocia: Fairy Chimneys, Underground Cities & More

11. Banff, Alberta, Canada

Moving on, we’re going to Banff in Canada, where you can enjoy nature’s spa against a backdrop of mountain scenery. Here’s why Banff is worth your time:

  • Banff National Park: The hot springs you’ll find here are tucked away in Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s a perfect mix of geothermal marvel and wilderness.
  • Banff Upper Hot Springs: This hot spring, rich with minerals and naturally heated, is the star attraction. You can relax in the outdoor pool, open all year round, while taking in amazing views of the mountainous landscape.

The warm waters at Banff Upper Hot Springs are believed to soothe your body, ease muscle tension, and improve circulation. Paired with the serenity of the Canadian Rockies, it’s an incredibly tranquil experience. Pair your visit to Banff with activities like hiking, wildlife watching, and scenic drives in the National Park!

12. Calistoga, California, USA

Finally, we’re off to Calistoga in California’s Napa Valley. Known for its hot springs, wine culture, and health-centric offerings, here’s why you should consider Calistoga for your next wellness retreat:

  • Hot Springs: Calistoga is known for its geothermal waters and hot springs. Take a dip in the warm, mineral-rich thermal waters, and you’ll understand why these springs have a reputation for healing and relaxation.
  • Spa Treatments: Calistoga offers a range of spa and wellness treatments, leveraging the local geothermal waters and natural resources. Be sure to try out the mud baths, where you can soak in warm volcanic ash and mineral-enriched mud.

The natural beauty surrounding Calistoga, including vineyards, rolling hills, and quaint countryside, makes it an ideal location for a serene wellness getaway.

Ready to Travel?

So there you have it—some of the world’s top wellness destinations where you can indulge in natural therapies, soak in mineral-rich waters, and immerse yourself in breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or a rejuvenating adventure, these destinations have something to offer everyone. Time to pack your bags for a wellness journey you won’t forget!

About the Author

As the editor-in-chief of Frayed Passport, my goal is to help you build a lifestyle that lets you travel the world whenever you want and however long you want, and not worry about where your next paycheck will come from. I've been to 20+ countries and five continents, lived for years as a full-time digital nomad, and have worked completely remotely since 2015. If you would like to share your story with our community, or partner with Frayed Passport, get in touch with me at!

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