Six of the world's best spa towns

The famous Szechenyi Baths in Hungary's capital Budapest. Photo / 123RF
The famous Szechenyi Baths in Hungary's capital Budapest. Photo / 123RF

We're spoilt for choice in New Zealand when it comes to hot springs.

But where else in the world should you go to de-stress with mineral goodness?

1. Budapest, Hungary

There are 118 springs in Budapest, providing more than 70 million litres of thermal water a day. And the city provides some delightful places to enjoy them in saunas, steam baths and hot tubs.

Choose from the Art Nouveau surroundings of the Hotel Gellert in Buda, Veli Bej's Turkish-style baths or Szechenyi Medicinal Bath, Europe's largest medicinal bath with water temperatures between 74C-77C. You can even party at historic Lukacs Bath almost every Saturday, winter or summer.

2. Bath, UK

The historic city of Bath in England's west country was founded on hot springs, with the Roman Baths constructed around 70AD.

Today steam continues to rise from the baths, which are one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. More than one million litres of steaming spring water still fill the bathing site every day. While the Romans believed this was the mystical work of the gods, we now know this water fell as rain water around 10,000BC.

In the 21st century, spa-goers can make the most of Thermae Bath Spa's facilities with a beautiful rooftop mineral-rich pool overlooking the city.

3. Pre-Saint-Didier, Italy

The waters of Pre-Saint-Didier's QC Terme in northern Italy's Aosta Valley are rich in iron and perfect for nourishing the skin and aiding in blood circulation. While the waters boost your body, your eyes can feast on the stunning contrast between the
hot thermal waters and the falling winter snows.

4. Aix-Les-Bains, France

Aix-les-Bains is a thermal spa town in eastern France by Lake Bourget, the largest and deepest natural lake in the country. Not only is there a healing, mineral-rich hot springs bathing complex, there are beaches on the lake, and a variety of watersports.

5. Hakone, Japan

Hakone is one of Japan's most popular hot springs resorts, with more than a dozen springs providing hot water to the area's many bath houses. Visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to baths and beautiful scenery as the town boasts
views of Mt Fuji.

6. Calistoga, USA

At the top of Napa valley, Calistoga is full of relaxing hot springs, mud baths (a local specialty in volcanic hot ash), world-class restaurants and the amazing Napa Valley wines. Nearby attractions include an artificial geothermal geyser known as the "Old Faithful of California" or "Little Old Faithful". The geyser erupts from the casing of a well drilled in the late 19th century.

- AAP

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