The World's Best Hot Springs

Tabacon Hot Springs near Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica. Frommers.com Community
When you really need to unwind, you can book a massage at the nearest spa. Or you can seek out the therapeutic qualities of these hot springs that have drawn travelers for centuries. We've rounded up five of the best natural steam rooms around the world, where you can also soak in the local culture.


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Portsea, Point Nepean National Park, Mornington Peninsula. dawvon
What: The natural thermal mineral water at Peninsula Hot Springs varies from 98.6°F to a sizzling 109.4°F. (There are some cooler pools for summer days). The Bath House and pool complex includes saunas, a cold-plunge pool, a Turkish steam bath,  and even special baths and barrels for babies and children. Spa treatments are also available.

Where: 140 Springs Lane, Fingal (Rye), Victoria, about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula

When: Throughout the year but if you come in the Australian summer (the western hemisphere's winter), it's warm enough to swim at the beach.

More Info: tel. +61/3-5950-8777; www.peninsulahotsprings.com

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Beppu spa region, Japan. Anne Ackermann/ Novus Select
What: With more than 100 hot springs and hot-spring pools, mud baths, and sand baths, Beppu is considered Japan's premier hot-spring (onsen) resort city. Yamada Bessou, a traditional hotel (ryokan) with tatami floors, has indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths on the premises. In town, there are also several public bath houses where you can soak in water, mud, or sand. Some allow men and women to bathe together sans clothing; others are separated by gender, so you may want to ask before your visit.

Where: Beppu is on the east coast of Japan's most southern island, Kyushu. Yamada Bessou is a 10-minute walk from the Japan Rail Beppu train station.

When: Throughout the year, although winter is probably the best season to visit.

More Info: www.yamadabessou.jp
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Evia, Greece. Anthony Woods
What: Edipsos, which has been on the hot springs map since ancient times, was mentioned by Aristotle for its therapeutic qualities. It was particularly popular in Roman times, and today, you can visit the city ruins on a hill just outside the modern town. There are more than 80 natural hot springs here, and the water is routed into bath complexes in hotels and public buildings such as the Greek National Tourism Center, which has its own spa facilities with 84 individual hydro-massage baths, steam rooms, and saunas. The simple but comfortable Capri Hotel has on-site thermal baths and rooms with Evian Gulf views.

Where: On the northwest coast of the Greek island of Evia, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge, or accessible by bus and ferry (two hours by bus, plus a 40-minute ferry ride) from Athens.

When: June to October

More Info: www.capri-sa.gr/en/hotsprings.php
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This former capital of the Ottoman Empire is nestled in the Ulu Mountains and has some beautiful ancient mosques, thermal hamans and bazaars. Today it is an exciting city with beautiful friendly and kind people. Frommers.com Community
What: The city of Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and has been known for its natural hot springs for centuries. The historic domed baths are now run as part of Hotel Kervansaray in the Çekirge district. The traditional hammam features hot mineral pools, baths, and a Turkish bath with natural hot springs, all set in stunning Ottoman architecture.

Where: Less than two hours from Istanbul. There's a fast ferry service to Güzelyali several times per day; from there you can take a short bus or taxi ride to Bursa.

When: Throughout the year

More Info: Hotel Kervansaray (www.kervansarayhotels.com); IDO Ferry Service (www.ido.com.tr/en)

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Waterfall in Costa Rica Arjen Toet/Flickr
What: The five-star Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort has thermo-mineral rivers that range from 77°F to 122° F and flow through tropical gardens, forming natural waterfalls and river pools. A four-night package includes lodging in a superior room, unlimited access to the Thermal Mineral Springs Resort, breakfast daily, and a $100 Spa bonus per person toward any treatment.

Where: La Fortuna de San Carlos, in the middle of the rainforest, about a three-hour drive from San José.

When: Throughout the year.

More Info: tel. 877/277-8291; www.tabacon.com

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