Some people think hot springs are primarily a winter activity, reserved for snowy nights under the stars after a long day of skiing. These people are more wrong than the horror movie character who suggests the best thing to do is “split up to cover more ground” before offering “I’ll take the basement.” Because hot springs are the perfect trip all year long. They ease sore muscles after a long hike through the jungle or the desert, priovide views that, while beautiful in the snow, are especially insane in the colorful days of summer, and create community on cool summer nights that stretch into the morning — with no one dying of cold when they get out of the water.
Hot springs are this perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, luxury experience and natural ambiance. They are, in short, the perfect summer trip. Whether you road trip to one nearby or include it as your favorite part of a trip abroad, these 25 hot springs around the world will wow you in just about every way. And while they’re worth going to in any season, they are completely essential for your plans in summer ’18.
Ma’In Hot Springs (Jordan)
There are plenty of beautiful hot springs in the world, but Ma’In brings beautiful to a whole new level. Stunning, incredible, awe-inspiring? I don’t even think the right word exists. We need a new word specifically to explain how mind-blowing this desert oasis is with its serene hot pool and giant waterfall cascading off of an epic cliff.
Awe-credi-stun-iful? Yes, it’s Awecredistuniful.
The dead sea location has a rich history — rumored to be a place where King Herod used to bathe — and its mineral blend of hydrogen, potassium, magnesium, and calcium leaves you rejuvenated, healed, and probably gives you Jesus-like powers. You leave, and you can’t stop multiplying fish for some reason.
Grutas Tolantongo (Mexico)
These cliffside hot spring pools are incredible. Caves, waterfalls, “infinity pool type” views of the jungle, rivers, ziplining….if you told us this place also was filled with unicorns galloping about to grant your wishes, we’d believe you. Of course, “wishing unicorns” are great and all, but what would you even wish for?
You’re already in literal paradise.
Burgdorf Hot Springs (Idaho)
Step back in time in this remote hot springs about 30 miles north of McCall, Idaho. It may only be a few hours from Boise, but Burgdorf feels like another world. During the winter months, this ramshackle collection of cabins (surrounding the naturally heated pools) are inaccessible by car. You have to rent snowmobiles, pack a picnic lunch, and journey through the snow to reach them. In the summer you can drive, hike, and enjoy the outdoors a little more.
It’s common at Burgdorf to be the only ones there and arrive to find your own personal, steamy pool. Once you’re there, you can stay the night in a cabin or make it a day trip. Just know that this is very remote (and there is no electricity!) so pack accordingly.
Eco Termales Hot Springs (Costa Rica)
This hot springs deep in the rainforest (near Arenal) may not be as famous as the busier Tobacon Hot Springs, but that just makes it all the better. It’s gorgeous — with waterfalls pouring into a relaxing open pool to float in. There are plenty of quiet, tucked away places to lay down and lounge in the spring, and it’s also surrounded by trails with tropical jungle all around to go exploring in when you’re feeling a little wrinkled from the warm water.
Eco Termales has less of a touristy “manufactured romance” vibe and more of a genuine sense of the romantic. Plus — as a bonus — there’s a bar and a really good restaurant (it’s worth paying extra to include a dinner seating in your visit) and with no hotel attached (and a cap at the number of daily visitors), it has a much chiller vibe than other springs in the area.
Strawberry Hot Springs (Colorado)
This large, lovely hot spring located just outside of Steamboat Springs is the perfect place to soak your sore muscles after a long day of hiking and gallivanting this summer. This beautiful spring is just remote enough that you feel removed from the busyness of the resort towns but close enough that it’s an easy trip. And the bonus is that going there (by tiny winding road) in the summer feels far less deathly and daring than getting there in the winter (during which there were several points this author thought, “Well, thanks life! It’s been real. So glad to die like I lived. Holding a box of wine.”).
We would highly recommend going at night (last entrance is at 9:30 pm, so plan accordingly). The sky is filled with such a vast plethora of stars that as you sink into the warmness of the water, you’ll feel like you’re floating off into space.
Travertine Hot Springs (California)
You don’t get a more spectacular setting than this gorgeous (and FREE) hot springs. But like many popular and breath-taking places it can get really crowded here. So try to go on off days or just be prepared to get up close and personal with your (naked?) neighbor.
Bagby Hot Springs (Oregon)
This tree-filled hot springs in Oregon is absolutely gorgeous. As you walk up under the thick canopy you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Then you make it to the actual hot springs where you get to bathe in hollowed out trees! It doesn’t get more magical than that.
At this lovely park you can choose between bathing in a room by yourself (with a partial roof so you can still see the sky!) or in a communal experience. And again, bathe in a hollowed out tree! It’s the perfect way to show those other trees what you’ll do to them if they ever cross you. “I’LL BATHE IN YOUR VERY CORPSE!” you can scream — though not too loudly as that will definitely upset other tree corpse bathers. They want to think about tree murder in private, you know?
Here’s the thing about Kheerganga, it’s a hot spring on top of a mountain that you have to trek into through tiny villages and past incredible waterfalls to reach. Once there, you soak in warm, sacred water overlooking a cliff with one of the most incredible views from a hot spring in the world. It’s a holy place for the people there and should be respected. Submerging your bodies in its healing waters, and visiting the temple should make one want to treat the place with the utmost care. But spoiler! Westerners decided to turn it into a trash dump and last week camping was banned by High Court order. (And this is why we can’t have nice things.)
The good news is that the order came to clean up and restore the area back to pristine condition. The camping had turned into a wild venture — with basically a tent city for tourists built into the mountain with illegal cafes and shops and, you know, a lot of tourists just started throwing garbage everywhere because we’re animals who think that everywhere we go in the world is some sort of traveling version of The Purge. All rules and decency off.
You can still visit… tentatively (this can be taken back so if you visit — please — don’t ruin it for everyone). With less conveniences, hopefully, only the people who want to respect the area will make the ten hour round trip trek to experience the springs. Again, it used to be recommended that you stay overnight and camp due to its distance from the nearest lodging. But we have ruined that for everyone. Travel responsibly, guys. And thank your lucky stars that we can still experience Kheerganga in any capacity. It’s truly breathtaking.
Chena Hot Springs (Alaska)
This gorgeous spring is surrounded by boulders, towering pine trees, and plenty of wildlife. Who doesn’t dream in their heart of hearts of bathing with a moose? Nobody. That’s who.
The biggest draw is that you can see the Northern Lights from this idyllic location. If that pulls you in, your best bet is to go later in summer, in August, when you have a pretty good shot at catching them. Bonus: there’s a museum made entirely of ice with ice sculptures within the compound. That’s kind of like a natural history museum made entirely of dinosaur bones (which is something we’d very much like to go to).
Termas Geométricas (Chile)
This is one of the most thoughtfully and beautifully designed hot springs in the world. Typically, we lean towards loving the more rustic springs that feel like you’ve just stumbled upon them on a hike, but this Asian design-inspired series of red, wooden bridges connecting 17 incredible springs feels like you stepped into the glossy pages of an architecture magazine. As far as being inside a canyon goes, you’d want to spend 127 hours in here.
The pools here are extremely well organized and everything is centered around making the experience as peaceful and seamless as possible. It’s like being in a super nice Korean spa for the day… that happens to have no roof and be located in a Chilean forest. Pools are perfectly temperature controlled and signage gives you the exact degree of each pool so you can Goldilocks your way into your hot spring happy place. And with a variety of options and sizes all tucked away in their own little corners of the property, you’ll feel like it’s a personal, private heaven.
Chico Hot Springs Resort (Montana)
This is a truly wonderful place. It has everything, a big pool, a dive-y saloon, an incredible restaurant, and amazing lodgings! Located just outside of Yellowstone and not far from Bozeman, Chico has a rich history. The first time it was written about was in 1865 but it was probably used by people long before that for its warm, healing waters.
The hotel opened in 1900, and you can stay in the old section which is romantic and supposedly haunted. Or in one of the beautiful newer cabins. You can even rent a house to stay in with friends or family. They also have awesome trails for hiking all around the resort, and horses for riding. You’ll never want to leave (but you should leave to visit Yellowstone, of course).
The Blue Lagoon (Iceland)
Less a hot spring and more a hot lake, this large body of water is as dreamy as they come. The giant, turquoise pool is chock full of skin softening minerals and rejuvenating properties that reduce inflammation. This is a particularly healing pool, perhaps because the algae within contains a bacteria that is unique to the blue lagoon.
Summer is the perfect time to visit this paradise as the allure of the midnight sun keeps it open late, allowing you to sip on cocktails well into the night (while still feeling like you’re day drinking)!
Dunton Hot Spring (Colorado)
This resort is billed as an 1800’s ghost town with natural hot springs. And…. they had us at “hello.” From their original 1800’s cabins to their beautiful glamping setups — it’s a hot springs paradise. It’s definitely on the expensive side. But completely worth the splurge.
Dunton is a romantic getaway that feels authentic rather than manufactured and they’ll even pack you a picnic lunch to eat after a horseback ride through the mountains. And with both an outdoor and indoor hot spring (with a gorgeous wall of windows), you’ll feel pampered even as you enjoy all the benefits of the nature around you.
Puritama Hot Springs (Chile)
Located in the middle of the Atacama desert, this natural hot springs is the opposite of some of the more tropical feeling springs — surrounded by marshy plants and red rock formations that make it an oasis in the middle of a harsh Martian-like landscape. And with water that’s more refreshingly warm than hot, it’s the perfect getaway even when the temperature rises. However, the next few months are winter there, so we’re heading into the ideal time to explore this beautiful little springs.
Hiking in is the best way to experience Puritama (as there is nothing better than a hot spring as the pay off for a strenuous hike). Just know that it’s best to get here early in the day. This popular spot fills up quickly and there’s nothing worse than having to sit outside of a hot springs waiting for people to clear out.
The Aqua Dome (Austria)
For a hot spring that feels more like a luxury spa than the culmination of a rugged, outdoor adventure, the futuristic-looking, Aqua Dome checks off a lot of boxes. With food, service, and spa treatments, the springs are only a piece of the relaxing experience, albeit a pretty great one.
The only real problem is that you’re in the alps so the view is (obviously) absolute garbage. Ugh, perfect snow-capped mountains for days is not ANYONE’S cup of tea, right? SO. UGLY.
Welcome Flat Hot Pools (New Zealand)
This is a hot spring adventure at its best with a spectacular hike required to reach this remote, backcountry spring. Warning: It’s very rigorous/dangerous and should only be attempted by those who are experienced backpackers. To get to the hot spring, you go through potential flooding, landslide areas, and it’s a seven-hour, hard trek each way. But man, is the reward worth it.
The views are insane, and the water pristine. And when you get there, you won’t have to camp, there’s a comfy hut to rent.
Quinn’s Hot Springs (Montana)
With six different temperature pools, you can choose exactly the perfect temperature for extreme relaxation at Quinn’s. It’s a friendly place, and you’ll find yourself soaking and chatting with strangers as you let all your frustrations and worries melt away. It’s stunning scenery surrounded by mountains, trees, and wildlife. There’s also a great tavern and restaurant. So you can load up with a cocktail as you soak.
For a more complete experience, rent one of the cabins surrounding the pools for a whole evening of hot springs fun. It’s the classic Montana experience.
If The Blue Lagoon is too mainstream for you, then this hot spring that requires an hour-long hike steeply uphill may be more your style. And at the end, you get to bathe in a rustic, hot river. No amenities here, bring in your own food and drink, and there’s no bathroom. But the world is your bathroom, right? Is that the phrase? No, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe it’s oyster? The OYSTER is your bathroom. Yeah… that makes more sense.
Anyway, with rolling hills and plenty of room to stretch out, this hot spring is a true highlight of any trip to the land of ice. And the hike may be a little on the tougher side, but it’s a lovely walk with pretty views.
Terwilliger (aka Cougar) Hot Springs (Oregon)
There’s nothing better than a hot spring that feels like it just appeared in the forest like a fairy dream. A good one. Not one in which the fairies lured you there because they got a taste of human blood and there’s no going back. No, these are good fairies that used natural materials to make Cougar Hot Springs feel like it’s part of the landscape. Floating in its warm embrace will make you feel like you’re melting into the greenery around you. The leaves above your head creating a thick canopy that lets only little bits of sparkly light through to dance on the surface of the pool.
Note: Due to a landslide this winter that blocked the road in, Terwilliger is currently closed. Now that it’s summer and there is access to the area that caved in, they are working to re-establish a route! Stay tuned for updates that will get you back there (perhaps) later in the summer. Was I wrong about the fairies? Was this their revenge for us destroying their sacred pools like the horrible, all-consuming beast creatures that we are? Probably. But nice try, fairies. We’ve got extremely efficient construction crews who are going to work and are going to fix this.
Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (Japan)
This mountain hot springs retreat is a beautiful way to experience a Japanese onsen. Surrounded by older, traditional buildings, it’s a serene location with good food, comfortable rooms, and mixed gender springs (though for those uncomfortable with mixed gender nudity, there is a women’s only section).
Interesting note: Not all onsens allow guests with tattoos to use their baths. Luckily, Takaragawa will allow inked up folks to climb right in, so if you have a cool (or highly regrettable) design on your skin, you won’t be turned away.
Chinati Hot Springs (Texas)
It’s only 53 miles from Marfa, Texas to this kooky little hot springs retreat, but it will take you at least two and a half hours to reach it. The roads are extremely bad, so we’d recommend 4-wheel drive. It’s very easy to get lost, and even easier to get a car stuck.
But don’t let that scare you off from journeying to this fantastic springs! When you arrive, after traversing remote Texas roads (even border patrol agents seem scarce here), you’ll find yourself in a little desert paradise. It’s a wonderful oasis in the middle of nowhere, but with comfortable cabins and cozy amenities. There’s an adorable little hot pool for the cool nights, and a cold pool to soak under the scorching sun of the day. The cold pool has sweeping views of the gorgeous landscape right at the Mexican border. It’s highly worth the difficulty getting there.
Yangbajain Geothermal Field/Yangpachen Hot Springs (Tibet)
Touted as the highest-altitude hot springs in the world, Yanbajain is the largest geothermal steam power plant in China. It also has recreational access and is beautiful in sort of an odd, industrial way. You’re also part of creating electricity for nearby towns.
Paradise + green energy. What more do you want?
Terme di Saturnia (Italy)
This Tuscan paradise has a series of marble rocked tiered pools leading from a gorgeous old spa. The pools create a magical look and an even more magical experience. This is also free to visit, but if you want to spend money, there are fantastic spa services and a restaurant.
There’s a high level of sulfur in this one so while it may not smell the best, it relaxes you even more than your usual hot springs.
Peninsula Hot Springs (Australia)
Just outside of Melbourne, this lovely hot spring resort includes a little pool with sweeping views of the countryside. (As well as plenty of other cozy, hot springs to fall in love with.) If you’re looking for a blend of a spa-like space with hot springs that feel natural and in the thick of their surroundings, you can do no better than Penninsula which has activities and spaces for every kind of spring seeker. Except for those searching for the spring that contains the Fountain of Youth. It doesn’t exist and if it did, we definitely wouldn’t keep it to ourselves so we can stay young forever (forcing our readers to age twice as fast because of a wish we made while in said, Fountain of Youth). Don’t worry about it. Like we said, it doesn’t exist.
Note: reservations are a must here as it books up quickly to keep the spa as tranquil as possible.
Batur Hotspring (Indonesia)
If there’s anything we like at Uproxx, it’s people’s backs in infinity pools looking at a beautiful horizon. Perhaps it’s a cliche of a picture, but it’s a cliche for a reason. The view of the mountains over Lake Batur here is insane. This hot spring isn’t the cleanest place in the world, the food is just okay, and the amenities not about to win any awards, but. that. view.
After a day hiking up a volcano, we can’t imagine a better place to watch the sunset, drink in hand, than this slice of Balinese heaven.
EDITOR’S PICK: Douglas Hot Springs (Australia)
You want off the beaten track? This place is virtually unknown, even to people living in Oz. If it weren’t so remote it would be insanely crowded, but tucked into the Australian Northern Territory’s “Top End” — a few hours from Darwin — the hot springs is uncrowded and often found completely unoccupied.
The allure here is that hot water boils up through the sand at different points in the river. It’s far too hot to touch directly, but a few feet downstream from one of these spots you can dig yourself a little tub and mix the water from the cool river with the hot thermals to achieve your perfect temp.
This sacred Aboriginal land is occasionally closed for cultural ceremonies (and weather), but catch it in June, July, or August and you’ll be raving about it for years to come.