Earth’s Most Idyllic Hot Springs
With more and more of the natural features of the planet being overtaken and overawed with mechanised structures and sculptures, the geothermal hot springs that are scattered across the surface of the Earth come as welcome respite. Located in some of the most dramatic but discordant spots across all seven continents, each of these disparate hot springs are worth a visit regardless.
Pamukkale translates as ‘cotton castle,’ and the origins of this name can be attributed to the ethereal effect of the travertine rock that lines the edges of the hot springs. Legend claims that the ghostly white glow of the area is due to cotton that the giants left out to dry but never collected, but logic dictates that the glittering white rock is actually caused by calcium deposits of the sedimentary rock travertine. Who you believe is entirely up to you, but there is no doubt that it is as idyllic a spot as any to recline and relax in soothingly warm water. Should you ever tire of the hot springs (we doubt it but you never know) Pamukkale is perched just outside the ancient city of Hierapolis, which is composed of a theatre, a temple, a plutonium, a nymphaeum as well as a necropolis.
Takaragawa Onsen, Japan
Like Pamukkale, Takaragawa more than lives up to its translation – Treasure River. A two hour trip away from the capital Tokyo, the stone pools of Takaragawa are situated on the bank of the Takara river. Surrounded by mountains and trees, Takagarawa onsen (or hot spring) is a picturesque sanctuary that will not only relax you, but also heal you, if the purported healing properties of the pools are to be believed. Not content with the vast stone pools alone, Takaragawa also provides sand baths, which, as you can probably guess, involve being buried in sand with only your head poking out. The heat is as intense as the sheer weight of the sand is, and the subsequent result is reportedly meant to be a feeling of both health and happiness.
Cascate del Mulino, Saturnia, Italy
Cascate del Mulino, the hot springs that are the most famous of the hot springs that comprise Terme di Saturnia, and they sit inside the ancient Tuscan spa town of Saturnia. So-named because the god Saturn supposedly sent a thunderbolt to Earth to pacify mankind, and in the process, created a magic spring of warm, flowing water. As well as the cascading ribbons of hot springs, there is also the Gorello Falls further upstream. What is pleasantly surprising about Saturnia, is that access to all the hot springs is unrestricted and free, which means you are free to meander around them as you please – perfect for a stress-free day.
If you fancy recreating the closest thing to a hot spring within the comfort of your own home, a hot water pump goes a long way, providing you with instant hot water on demand, so you can luxuriate in warmth without the wait.