hot springs

With the weather turning colder, picture yourself on vacation soaking in the rich mineral waters of a hot spring surrounded by tropical volcanic forests or the Northern Lights overhead. Sound relaxing? While there are plenty of options for hot springs around the world, the following are some of the best highlights. 

The best hot springs around the world include: 

  1. La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  2. Takhini Hot Springs, Whitehorse, Yukon 
  3. Greta’s Tolantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico 
  4. Saturnia Terme, Italy
  5. Hakone, Japan
  6. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

1. La Fortuna, Costa Rica

​​From San Jose it’s about a 2.5-3 hour drive to La Fortuna, a magical little town at the base of the Arenal Volcano.

In addition to the ample hiking opportunities full of lush landscapes and diverse wildlife, the volcanic hot springs in the area are abundant. Plenty of resorts capitalize on the natural springs by offering plush bathrobes and a glass of bubbly to accompany your soak, but there are also plenty of places to reach them in the wild. A good rule of thumb? If you see cars parked along the side of the road, join them and follow the footpath. Odds are, you’ll end up at a hot spring. 

2. Takhini Hot Springs, Whitehorse, Yukon

While it’s the Northern Lights that are the biggest draw in Whitehorse, what better place to watch them light up the sky than from a toasty warm hot spring? The Takhini Hot Pools, 17 miles from the city of Whitehorse in the Yukon, has over 80 campground sites available within walking distance to the mineral-rich hot spring waters.  In winter or summer, there are over 300 acres of property to explore by foot, bike, snowshoe or cross-country skiing.

[Editor’s note: The Takhini Hot Pools are currently closed and will be opening with a new name in 2021.]

3. Greta’s Tolantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico

Greta’s Tolantongo is a wildly picturesque Mexican hot spring destination, located in Hidalgo (about 3-4 hours northwest of Mexico City). Here, infinity pools of varying shapes and sizes, full of natural hot spring waters, cascade down the side of a mountain. Steps weave up and down between the pools. These hot springs also have waterfalls and a cave you can swim through.  There are multiple hotel options on site or you can choose to camp in the park.

4. Saturnia Terme, Italy 

About 90 miles north of Rome’s Fiumicino airport, the tiny town of Saturnia sits on top of a hill overlooking thermal hot springs in the Tuscan countryside. The town has been inhabited since ancient times when the Etruscans and Romans believed the sulphuric, mineral-rich warm waters to be a gift from the Gods. Today, you can choose to visit the free hot springs and waterfalls in the area or plan a stay at a 5-star nearby resort with a spa and 18-hole golf course. 

5. Hakone, Japan

Less than 60 miles south of Tokyo, Hakone is located in a National Park famous for its hot springs and stunning lake views overlooking Mt. Fuji. The city has plenty of hot springs to choose from, many a part of public bath houses or inns. Tenzan, Hakone Kamon and Hakone Yuryo are a few of the most popular. These charming bath houses are often done in traditional Japanese architecture and you’ll be served a refreshing cup of tea following your soak.

6. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

It would be hard to talk about the best hot springs without including, perhaps, the world’s most famous: Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. The ethereal milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon are surrounded by black lava fields, creating an other-worldly sensation for bathers. The cost to enter starts at about $55 and you’ll be given a towel, mud mask and one free drink. Add-ons include massages, dining experiences and more. While you won’t have much daylight during the winter in Iceland, a winter trip gives you ample chance to see the Northern Lights.

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About The Author

Danie is a full-time traveler and freelance travel writer. She’s been on-the-move since 2015 from Albania to Zambia (and 70+ others in between). She’s developed a very sophisticated algorithm that evaluates countries based on a thorough analysis of their wine, hot sauce, local friendliness, and how hard she happy-cries at their nature. You can find her portfolio at owentheglobe.com or her photos on Instagram @danieelizabeth

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