Rejuvenate in the world’s most relaxing hot springs. Mother Earth heats the water then gently infuses it with mineral rich nutrients. All you have to do is slip in.

There is nothing that makes you feel better, physically, mentally, or emotionally, than a long soak in hot mineral spring. Your aches and pains fade away along with your stress and cares. Your skin and hair look radiant and vibrant. Your spirit becomes more vital.

Are you ready to take part in the study of balneology? Oxford dictionary defines balneology as “The study of medicinal springs and the therapeutic effects of bathing in them”.

Here are 12 unique places to begin your relaxation:

1. Banff Upper Springs, Alberta, Canada

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Set in the awe-inspiring peaks of Banff National Park, these spring fed pools sit under the majestic Mount Rundle. Discovered in 1884, these soothing waters are loaded with sulphate, calcium, magnesium, sodium and bicarbonate. After a day of skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or sightseeing you can relax and ease your sore muscles in the natural hot spring water.

2. Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey

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At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site. Surrounding the ruins calcite-laden waters have created an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins given the name of Pamukkale. After exploring the sites you can float in the Sacred Pool gazing up at the cerulean Aegean sky or down at the 2,000-year-old Greek and Roman antiquities scattered on the pool’s floor.

3. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, USA

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Grand Prismatic Spring was first mentioned by geologists in 1871 who named them for their striking coloration. The vivid colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The bacteria produce colors ranging from green to red; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green. The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat.  Although you are not able to soak in these hot springs, the sheer beauty of them is awe inspiring.

4. Bains De Dorres, France

Situated in the Pyrenees, close to the Spanish border, the baths date back to Roman times and offer visitors the chance to soak away their worries in water that is typically between 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 degrees Celsius) and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) surrounded by stunning views of the valleys below from an altitude of 4,800 feet.  This little known hot spring is a must do for anyone wanting a relaxing soak without the crowds.

5. Myvatn Nature Baths, Iceland

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Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is one of the country’s headlining attractions. However, the Myvatn Nature Baths, located in the more-remote northern part of this island nation, offer equally stunning landscapes and pools that are much less crowded than Reykjavik.  Laze in the temperate waters on a long summer’s day when the sun never sets, or under a delicate sprinkling of snow in the dark of winter when you may catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Located in the heart of northeast Iceland, a mere 65 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Lake Myvatn was shaped through the years by repeated volcanic eruptions and seismic activity. At an altitude of more than 900 feet, the landscape around the lake is a panorama of lava, crater and cave formations, mountains, and sweeping wetlands.

6. Puyuhuapi, Chile

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Puyuhuapi Hot Springs are located 213 kms northeast of Coyhaique. This is one of the most important springs in Chile, and also one of the southernmost. Puyuhuapi is located within Dorita Bay of the Glacier Inlet, in the middle of the Chilean Patagonia and surrounded by a thrilling wildlife scenery of native forest and enormous ferns. The name Puyuhuapi means “place of puyes”, which is a species of fish that is greatly sought after by fishing lovers. The waters of the inlet are source of underground springs of the Melimeyu volcano.

7. Edipsos, Greece

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Edipsos has to be one of the most amazing resorts in the world when it comes to healing mineral baths. There are more than eighty individual springs with waters ranging from 28 to 86 degrees Celsius, which can be quite hot. There are also many privately owned spa facilities, baths and pools, some of which belong to the hotels. Nature has also chipped in for a rare combined experience where the warm water gushes from the sea bed, a rare phenomenon that is difficult to find anywhere else in the world.

8. Strawberry Spring, Colorado, USA

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Steamboat is home to natural hot springs that are located throughout the area. Upon first hearing a chugging sound, early trappers believed that a steamboat was coming down the river. When the trappers saw that there was no steamboat, and that the sound was coming from a hot spring, they decided to name the spring Steamboat Springs. The area has two hot springs that are open to the public. The largest is at the Old Town Hot Springs, with multiple pools and two slides. Located in the hills a few miles out of town is Strawberry Park Hot Springs, with two pools and natural rock features. Strawberry Park Hot Springs offers excellent stargazing opportunities due to the lack of ambient light.

9. Takaragawa Onsen, Japan

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Takaragawa Onsen is located deep in the mountains of Minakami. The onsen is world famous and one of the most scenic hot springs in Japan. It sprawls along the banks of the Takara River which is home to wild boar, bear and river fish. The onsen had four outdoors of hot springs as well as two indoor bath and several smaller ones. One large open air bath faces a spectaular mountain stream. This bath also claims to have the best healing properties.  The traditional Japanese architecture and open air baths situated along the beautiful mountain stream all join in harmony to create a relaxing balanced experience.

10. Heviz, Hungary

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The Heviz Lake is a geological curiosity, Europe’s largest thermal lake – a warm water lake situated in a peat-bed. The lake is surrounded by a nature conservation area which provides a tranquil setting within which to relax. Springs of different temperatures merge in a narrow cave and become a constant 38.5 degrees Celsius temperature when entering the lake. Beautiful water lilies, brought to Hungary at the end of the 19th century, dot the lake, supporting the eco-life. The lily leaves help to slow down evaporation and creepers protect the medicinal mud on the bottom of the lake.

11. Palia Kameni, Greece

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The turquoise springs on this volcanic island in the Santorini caldera are known for their therapeutic sulphuric mud. ‘Old Burnt’ in Greek, Palia Kameni is accessed by boat from Santorini – visitors are required to swim from a moored vessel to reach the main seaside spring. These healing waters consist of large amounts of iron and manganese. If you are looking for a different hot spring experience this one is for you.

12. Peninsula Hot Springs, Victoria, Australia

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Peninsula Hot Springs is the only natural thermal mineral springs bathing and day spa facility in Australia. It has two main facilities providing relaxation and recreational spa experiences. One facility caters to adults and the other to families. Relaxation, rejuvenation and fun can be found in the 20 plus bathing experiences including a cave pool, reflexology walk, hydrotherapy pool, thermal stream gully, sauna, hilltop pool offering stunning 360 degree views, massaging thermal showers, family pools and many more.

Where will your next hot spring experience take you?

Featured photo credit: Saturnia/aurelio candido via flickr.com

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