Why bathing in waters heated & packed with minerals is so good for us
At BIBO we love all things H2O! That’s why we decided to kick off 2017 with a series of three blogs that explore natural thermal springs. This is the second in this series. We look at why bathing in waters heated and packed with minerals thanks to the volcanic activity of the earth is so good for us and where you can go in Europe and beyond to discover some of the oldest and most beautiful natural hot springs in the world.
Take a look at last month’s blog to read more about the health and wellbeing benefits of thermal springs, as well as some of the best thermal baths you can visit in the UK and France.
This month we are travelling to Italy and Hungary, both of which are packed full of thermal springs, many dating back to Roman times, and where people continue to enjoy the hugely beneficial and relaxing properties of a day spent bathing and drinking mineral-rich waters.
In Italy, the Saturnia Springs in Tuscany have become increasingly well known amongst tourists but they remain wild and magical, particularly at sunrise when no one is around and you can look out over the Tuscan hills. The water is piping hot and you can scrape mud off the bottom of the natural pools to give yourself a proper (and free!) mud wrap!
Moving further south, Naples, with its well-known volcanic activity, has a number of springs. The Stufe di Nerone (Saunas of Nero!) aren’t cheap, at 30€ for a day pass (you must buy online), but are very well-run and have a delicious cafe. The Stufe are a mixture of modern swimming pools filled with thermal, mineral-rich water and cave-like saunas cut deep into the rock that have been around since Roman times. There are numerous drinking water fountains where you can drink the super-charged spring water- why not take along a BIBO Thermal Bottle to take home some of your very own thermal spring water!
Ischia, an island just off the coast of Naples, also hosts some lovely thermal springs, including a series of natural rock pools that line the beach at Sorgeto. The sulphur-rich sea water is so hot in places that the locals even cook fish in it!
Hungary boasts 150 hot water springs and in Budapest alone there are over 35 baths and spas. Since there are just so many thermals, we’ve focused on baths in Budapest, but here are some more ideas around the country for your trip!
In Budapest, the Gellert and Szechenyi Bath Houses are both very central and incredibly lavish. The Gellert has a delicious tea room, a salt chamber, massages and female/male-only pool sessions where you can get your kit off and bathe like a proper Roman! The Szechenyi is vast, one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe, and with your entry ticket you can use all the 21 pools, saunas and even go to aquafitness classes!
Next month we will move out of Europe to discover Japan’s thermal spring tradition and spas.
Guest Blogger: Nina Brown
Nina Brown is the founder of Tandem Collective (www.tandemcollective.org) and editor at InTandem Publications (intandempublications.com). Tandem aims to bring environmental issues to a broader audience through the arts.