Best Hot Springs For Families in Europe
Whether you are looking for a natural spring surrounded by nothing but nature or a luxury hotel spa experience you can find plenty of options spread out throughout the world! Not only will the opportunities be endless, but you will find that many of them are family friendly! So after a long day of exploring a historic city, hiking in the wilderness, or enjoying your favorite activities, kick back, relax, and rejuvenate yourself and the family while enjoying the health benefits of the mineral water!
Last week we explored some of the great hot spring destinations in the United States that are perfect for visiting with families. Now, we will move to Europe and explore 15 of the best Hot Springs to visit for families, as recommended by experienced travel bloggers from around the world! Which one looks the most appealing to you?
13 Best Hot Springs For Families in Europe
Recommended by Bilyana from Owl Over The World
Hisarya is a small spa resort town in Bulgaria located only 40 km away from the second biggest city Plovdiv. The world-class spa centers that Hisarya offers, plus the Roman ruins that could be found around the town, make Hisarya one of the best places to visit in Bulgaria if you’re looking to combine leisure and history on your holiday.
Hisarya is home to 22 mineral springs with water temperatures between 41 °C and 51 °C. Those waters have proven healing abilities and are used for the treatment of kidney-urological, biliary, gastrointestinal, and liver diseases, as well as for bathing in the treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, metabolism and endocrine system, and gynecological diseases.
An interesting fact is that the town lays the foundations of organized spa treatment in Bulgaria and it was a spa hub even during Roman times. You can check out the remains of the largest Roman bath dating back to the 4th century right in the town center!
There are plenty of spa hotels in Hisarya to choose from and as a guest using the spa center usually comes as a bonus. If you’re not a guest, but want to visit it should cost between 5 and 10 EUR depending on the hotel.
Saturnia Springs (Tuscany, Italy)
Recommended by Martina & Jürgen of Places of Juma
One of the most beautiful hot springs in Europe, which is also very suitable for a family trip, is located in Italy: The Saturnia Springs in Tuscany. A picture-perfect panorama awaits you here. Turquoise blue pools, steaming white sinter baths and an intact nature at the hot river enchants visitors from all over the world.
This magical destination is a natural bathing place, which was even made accessible free of charge. Especially families with children meet here to swim together and later have a picnic near the river.
But not only is the scenery ingenious, the water that you will enjoy is very healthy. Thanks to its high sulfur content, it works well against inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis. And this spa is also said to have rejuvenating effects.
You can visit the Saturnia Springs all year round, but you should avoid the weekends, as this is definitely the busiest time. The most beautiful pictures can be taken in the early morning, then you have this natural spring almost all to yourself!
Recommended by Emily from Wander-Lush
Warming up at the indoor sulfur baths is a time-honoured tradition in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. The city’s location was chosen for its proximity to the natural hot springs that run through the centre (the name Tbilisi means ‘warm place’). Today, the Abanotubani bath district is as popular as ever, with a dozen or so public and private bathhouses offering treatments.
Tbilisi’s baths are particularly good for families as many have private rooms that you can rent by the hour. These range from simple rooms with dual hot and cold baths – which start from 25 USD/hour –to super-plush suites with saunas, which cost around 60 USD/hour.
All include a private bathroom, change room and separate sitting area where you can leave your belongings. Many people choose to bring drinks and snacks into the baths to enjoy between dips. You also have the option to add-on a traditional scrub/massage treatment (kisi) for a couple of extra dollars.
Tbilisi’s baths are a bit different to those in Istanbul or elsewhere, so make sure you familiarise yourself with basic bath etiquette before you go so you have an idea of what to expect. If visiting one of the popular bathhouses such as Gulo’s or Chreli-Abano (pictured), it’s highly recommended to book online in advance.
Baden Baden (Germany)
Recommended by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting
Baden Baden is a historic Black Forest spa town in southwest Germany. It’s built over the site of ancient Roman ruins and one of the premier things to do in Baden Baden is to visit the thermal spas that still attract tourists from around the world. Caracalla Thermae is the best thermal bath in Baden Baden for families. It’s designed in the tradition of old Roman baths and the atmosphere in the complex is incredibly relaxing. It includes both indoor and outdoor pools with jacuzzies available to all guests. There’s also a smaller bath designed as a rock cave featuring a warm water spout and cold water plunge.
It’s great for families as visitors under the age of 16 are permitted with parental supervision. If you’re traveling with younger children, be aware that kids under seven years old are not permitted, however, there is a section of Caracalla that offers childcare for all guests. There is a separate level of the facility for adults only that includes saunas, whirlpools, and additional baths. Guests in this section of the spa are to use the facilities without bathing attire.
Edipsos (Evia, Greece)
Recommended by Elena from Spa Wellness Destinations
Dating back to the ancient times, the miraculous waters found in the area of Edipsos, is where the philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle reported the precious benefits and wrote about the rare microclimate that resulted from the earth’s treasured gifts. Located on the second-largest island of Greece, Evia, Edipsos which is also the most famous spa town in the country, is just a two-hour and a half drive from Athens.
Mythology has that the goddess Athena, Zeus’ daughter, asked her brother Hephaestus to build a resort with therapeutic waters, where her protected hero Hercules could relax after his battles or tasks. The luxurious Thermae Sylla Spa & Wellness Hotel is the most famous landmark of the area, built in 1896, is ranked as one of the world’s ten best wellness centers in the world by Conde Nast Travel.
The resort is ideal for those seeking to exchange their clothes for robes and slippers, take a relaxing break from the busy routine and enjoy the healing properties of the natural mineral waters which flow directly from the source to the hotel. Amenities such as heated pools with mineral waters, sauna, hammam, gym are also in place to guarantee a pleasant healthy stay.
There are also other water-related activities such as scuba diving, paddle boarding, but also there are hiking trails in the various mountain hills. The area is also blessed with traditional delicious culinary and typical tavernas.
The Blue Lagoon (Iceland)
Located in Southern Iceland, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is perhaps one of the most well known thermal springs and one of the best hot springs for families in Europe. Kids of all ages are permitted to enter, but those under two are not allowed to swim. The Blue Lagoon offers access to the lagoon as well as spa treatments, mud baths, and dining options.
The Blue Lagoon is located on a 800 year old lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The lagoon is man-made, but the waters that flow into it contain natural and healing minerals. The waters are famous for skin care treatments and the lagoon is known as a psoriasis treatment center. The algae found within the lagoon contribute to its skin healing abilities. The waters contain high levels of silica, which give it its blue color. Water temperatures average 102°F year round.
The Blue Lagoon can be visited year round and can be visited as a day trip or overnight stay.
Gellert Spa (Budapest)
Recommended by James from Travel Collecting
Gellert Spa is one of the leading hot springs and spas in Budapest. The spa, which is fed by one of the natural hot springs that Budapest is built upon, dates from 1918. It is one of the most gorgeous spas in all of Europe. The main baths are filled with ornate tile work and lovely statues and sitting in hot natural spring water surrounded by this beauty is a highlight of a trip to Budapest.
The spa is open from 6:00am to 8:00pm daily. There used to be separate sections for men and women, but these days they are mixed gender (and swimwear is required), so it is easy to visit as a family. In addition to the hot baths, there is a large terrace and outdoor swimming pool, which is a wave pool in summer that kids will love. Inside, there are also dry, steam and Finnish saunas (with icy cold plunge pools) and medicinal baths. There are also various spa services such as massages available. A basic weekday ticket for an adult is 5 900 HUF. Gellert is located on the Danube River near the beautiful art nouveau Liberty Bridge.
Thermea Kostenets (Bulgaria)
Recommended by Ciara from Wellness Travel Diaries
Tucked in the beautiful countryside, about 1 hour away from the capital of Sofia, Bulgaria lies the charming hot springs of Thermae Kostenets. On one side you’ll find luscious green hills, while the other side leads to the village of Kostenets. If you’re visiting Sofia, planning a trip to Thermae Kostenets is an ideal way to spend a family day lounging, swimming and hiking.
First off, the hot springs is located right next to a popular trailhead (3 miles out and back) that leads to a gentle cascading waterfall in the mountains. Stay hydrated as you explore this scenic hike, and then find your back way to the hot springs to relax afterwards. At the hot springs there are two opulent pools (one indoor and one outdoor), showers, hydro massages, a cafeteria, lockers and more. Upon arrival you’ll receive a brief tour of the facilities from the friendly staffers and a complimentary shot of fresh squeezed juice.
Plan to pack flip flops, as they are mandatory, and bring a towel. There are flip flops and towels available for purchase, which you can buy after paying the entrance fee into the facility.
Recommended by Megan from Megan & Aram
There are many fantastic hot springs to visit in Europe and one of the most underrated is Furnas, on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. Founded in the 16th century, Furnas is an entire village that is located atop geothermal energy and contains many fumeroles, spas, hot springs, and more. It truly is a unique destination in Europe and one that is perfect for families.
There are many ways to experience these hot springs in Furnas. You can visit the Terra Nostra Gardens and Dona Beija, both places where you can affordably experience the Azorean hot springs.
Another opportunity that children and families will love in Furnas is Cozido das Furnas. This is a typical, local dish that is cooked underground by the geothermal energy. It is an interactive experience and after watching it be placed underground, you can visit the gardens, take a dip in the hot springs, and then head to the local restaurant to enjoy your meal of meat and root vegetables that was cooked underground by the Earth.
Visiting the Azores offers many opportunities for kids and families and the hot springs in Furnas are one of the top places to visit when there.
Reykjadalur Hot River (Iceland)
Recommended by Cristina from Honest Travel Stories
While in Iceland, you must go to Reykjadalur. This is a very special type of hot spring, basically because it’s a spring, and it’s hot, but it’s not your usual thermal bath kind of place. But it is unique, I can tell you that, and this reasons enough for you to see it (and feel it!). You’ll want to include it in your Iceland Ring Road itinerary!
You start by hiking for an hour and a half, but this is how you’ll spend half of your time in Iceland anyway, so this won’t feel very special. The scenery is beautiful though and the hike is perfect for beginner level. Children will have no problem doing this as it’s very easy and the path is very well marked.
In the end, you’ll find the spring: a beautiful warm river that flows between lush mountains. It looks like any other normal mountain river, except that it’s warm, and it can even get hot at times. You can control the temperature by simply going higher or lower on the river stream.
As you can assume, there’s no entry fee to this hot spring. There are no facilities either, as it’s just a river portion in the middle of nowhere. You have a few man-made changing rooms that offer almost no privacy, but I’d advise you to at least have your bathing suit under your clothes when you arrive, to make this less uncomfortable.
Recommended by Roxanne of Far Away Worlds
Pamukkale, meaning “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, is built on the site of the old Roman spa town of Hierapolis, which was famous for its healing waters. Nowadays, white limestone terraces step down a hill in Turkey, warm water slowly flowing over their sides. On the hill above the terraces, you’ll find the beautiful preserved ruins of Hierapolis, including an ancient theatre. There is also a modern pool, which families may enjoy, where you can swim in the healing waters. But the real highlights are the bright, white terraces collecting pools of the clear water.
While you can no longer swim in the terraces, there is a section where you can walk down, barefoot, splashing your feet in the warm water. This is a wonderful activity for children and the whole family will enjoy walking down the wide “steps” of this somewhat surreal white landscape, with stunning views all around.
At the bottom of the hill is the modern town, where you’ll find a variety of accommodation options and restaurants. Pamukkale is located just outside of Denizli, where you can get a bus to most major cities including Istanbul, Izmir and even an overnight bus to Cappadocia.
Secret Lagoon (Iceland)
Recommended by Claire from ClairePins Travel
The Secret Lagoon is the oldest hot spring experience in Iceland, built in 1891, and it is a historical, charming and affordable option for families.
The best choices for reaching the Secret Lagoon are either by renting a car and driving 1 hour and 30 minutes from Reykjavik or joining a tour group. Public transportation is not recommended as it could take several hours each way. There is visitor parking available on site.
There is no hiking involved to reach the Secret Lagoon, you can simply walk up to the entrance from the parking lot, and it is not located in a hotel or resort complex. To enter the hot spring, you are expected to wear a standard swimming costume/bathing suit and thoroughly shower before entering the swimming area, and modern change rooms are available on site.
The Secret Lagoon offers snacks and drinks, but not full meals, so make sure you stock up on some food before you leave Reykjavik in case your family gets hungry after your visit ! When you are done soaking in the hot spring, you could always turn your drive into a full day family adventure since you will be close to the Gullfoss waterfall and other Golden Circle driving route stops.
The Secret Lagoon can get busy, and pre-booking is recommended. Adult pricing is 3000 ISK per person over the age of 15. Children 14 and under can visit for free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Recommended by Kat from Wandering Bird
If you’re looking for a hot spring in England which you can swim in, the only one is in Bath. The very reason the city exists is because of 3 natural springs which deliver over 1 million liters of water to the city every day. There is evidence of people using these springs as early as 836BC, but they became famous in Roman times when huge bathing houses were set up.
The water is delivered up to the surface at temperatures of at least 45c- if you visit the museum you can see it bubbling up and the steam rising from it.
To actually get in the water, you have to visit the Thermal Bath Spa. The rooftop pool is worth every penny but be advised that under 16s are no longer allowed. With younger children, you can visit the Cross Bath, which is across the street.
TOP TIP: Be sure to use the showers to wash off thoroughly. We visited as part of our UK Motorhome holiday and, although we had a shower in the van, we were grateful to be able to wash all the minerals off properly- leaving them on too long could cause a reaction in some people.
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