Top 10 Hot Springs Destinations
There’s nothing more relaxing than a hot spring, perfect to get your body feel refreshed. The hot water from these springs comes from deep withing the earth, bringing to the surface a combination of minerals that soothes the body. The very high mineral content makes hot springs impart a wide range of benefits, from chemical effects, to physical and biological. If you want to go all out for a total relaxation of body and mind, here are the top 10 hot spring destinations in the world to put on your travel agenda:
1. Geysir is located in the Haukadalur valley, Iceland, being recognized as the oldest geyser and one of the world’s most impressive examples of the phenomenon. The Great Geysir dates back from 1294, when a large earthquake shook the valley, changing the geothermal area. For centuries, these eruptions were consideren supernatural, locals building many theories to explain the phenomena. There’s more to Iceland then hot springs, one of the most entertaining being the safari among glaciers.
2. Being on the Pacific “rim of fire”, Chile is one of the world’s most seismically active regions and experiences high level of thermal activity which accounts for around 275 hot springs spread across the country. You can enjoy these hot springs at one of the many 5-star resorts, the coquette rustic pools or at the stark pools of the Altiplano, above 13,000 ft in elevation. Located between VolcÃ¡n Llaima to VolcÃ¡n Hudson, the LiquiÃ±e-Ofqui fault has the highest concentration of hotsprings anywhere in the country. No matter your needs, the facilities in Chile cater to anyone’s tastes and suit even the tightest budgets.
3. Yangbajing, 87 km north of Lhasa in Tibet, is famous for its hot springs and geothermal system. Set in a lush green valley, at an altitude between 4,290 m (14,100 ft) and 4,500 m (15,000 ft), the town has one of the highest hot springs on earth. While the surrounding areas are extremely cold, Yangbajing is a green highland covered in smoke and steam emitted from the springs. The hotspring is ideal to cure certain illnesses and the place to refresh oneself while admiring the snow-covered Nyainqen-tanggula Mountains.
4. For the perfect solution to relax and recharge your mind and body head to Taiwan - one of the world’s top hot spring sites. With a great variety of springs (hot springs, cold springs, mud springs, and seabed hot springs), Taiwan’s resorts are gaining more and more popularity among international tourists. Many of the springs have become part of bathhouses and health spas, where you can combine them with traditional Taiwanese treatments. Other springs remain untouched by the tourism industry, remaining in forests and alongside rivers.
5. Hot springs in Greenland are a common phenomenona, the island of Uunartoq being the perfect place where you can take a tip. On this uninhabited island, there are 3 naturally heated springs that run together to a small stone-dammed pool. There are over 2000 hot springs just on Disko Island, which has an area only 0.4% of that of Greenland. You’ll surely have a multitude of hot springs to choose from!
6. The closest town to Machu Picchu in Peru is Machu Picchu Pueblo, which features several hot springs. Known as Aguas Calientes, the pools of sulphurous hot springs are located at the upper section of valley, having different temperatures and altitudes. The hot springs can be visited from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m and are accesible via train. The destination is worth a visit not only for the refreshing hot springs but for the city in itself, which is an architectural wonder built with Incan techniques.
7. Located on the Shiretoko Peninsula, in Hokkaid?, Japan, the Shiretoko National Park is one of the most remote regions in Japan, where you can admire Japan’s largest bear population. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Park has a hot springs waterfall called Kamuiwakkayu-no-taki, (“river of the gods” in the Ainu language). The area is still wild and remote, since the homeland of the aboriginal Ainu people was colonised around 150 years ago. Apart from the hot spring waterfall, the visitor can enjoy the mountain ranges, beautiful lakes and satellite islands as well as the rich diversity of wildlife.
8. Icaria, Greece represents the popular myth about the legendary engineer Daedalus and his son Icarus. The Icarian thermal with their renowned healing qualities have been used in hydrotherapy since 2000 BC. The hot springs of Icaria are also known for being the most radioactive springs in Europe. Icaria is rich in woodlands and formes spectacular bays and inlets. All in all, Icaria still has a beauty worthy of a mythical legend.
9. Located in Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan’s Jigokudani Monkey Park is famous not only for its hot springs, but also for “snow monkeys”, that bathe in the warm wers just like the human visitors. More than one hundred Japanese Macaques take a dip in an exclusive hot spring especially in the winter. Hot springs for humans are located further down the valley but the main attraction remain the monkeys that enjoy the hot steam all year round.
10. Iceland has many famous hot springs, the Blue Lagoon spa in GrindavÃk being the most famous since it’s Europe’s highest flow rate hot spring. The waters full in minerals like silica and sulfur are known to help people get rid of skin diseases such as psoriasis. The Blue Lagoon holds 6 million liters of water, renewed every 40 hours. There are several spa treatments with minerals, silica, and algae available that take place in the open air.