Greece is gradually discovering the potential tourist goldmine of its plentiful, and in most cases little-known, natural hot springs.
Due to Greece’s unique geology, there are more than seven hundred natural hot springs throughout the country—and eighty-four of them are officially recognized as having healing properties.
The idea of using hot springs or spas in the hope of easing certain ailments and diseases dates back to prehistoric times, and the history of thermal springs is rooted in ancient Greece.
It was Hippocrates, the most celebrated physician of antiquity, who dedicated a large part of his work to the therapeutic properties of thermal waters.
After the passage of three millennia, the Greeks are again discovering the importance of healing waters and thermal springs for relaxation but particularly in terms of well-being and rehabilitation.
Aedipsos is home to some of the most famous hot springs in Greece
Located about two and a half hours from Athens on the island of Evia, Aedipsos is one of the most famous spa towns in all of Greece. The town has approximately eighty thermal springs.
Popular since ancient times, the temperature of Aedipsos’ thermal waters ranges between 28° to 80°C (82° to 176° F). The waters there contain high percentages of magnesium, calcium, and iron. It is thought that these elements promote healing.
Scattered all across the city, the various springs supply water to all the hydrotherapy centers of the region. Accommodation options are many and include five-star and boutique hotels, guesthouses, and more.
Even better, you may find semi-thermal sea water at certain beaches, where the hot springs’ water empties into the sea.
The quiet seaside town of Kamena Vourla, located 150 kilometers (eighty-seven miles) north of Athens, is another great destination for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday.
Blessed with radioactive elements which some claim to be beneficial for healing a series of ailments, the hot spring’s water temperatures vary between 30° to 40° C (86° to 104° F).
Travelers also get the chance to visit nearby cultural treasures and winter sports areas.
The archaeological site and museum of Delphi is close by as is the site of the ancient battle of Thermopylae and the ski resort of Mt. Parnassos.
Hot springs of Loutraki, Greece
Loutraki, located near Corinth and only eighty-one kilometers (fifty miles) west of Athens, was one of the first thermal spa destinations in Greece.
Known during ancient times for its curative waters, the seaside town is home to a thermal spa boasting a plethora of services and treatments, including “thalassotherapy,” or “sea therapy.”
Given its convenient location near Athens, the Loutraki Spa is an excellent destination for a day trip, which you can combine with a visit to the nearby casino.
Methana in the Peloponnese
Located on the Peloponnesian headland opposite the island of Aegina, Methana is another popular spa town which attracts thousands of Greek and foreign visitors every year, especially in the summer.
Writing in the second century AD, the ancient Greek traveler Pausanias claimed that these warm springs appeared after a volcanic eruption near Methana in the third century BC.
Although the volcano has been inactive for more than two thousand years, this ancient volcanic peninsula is still blessed with warm sulfur springs and even more impressive views of steam geysers near the old crater.
Beautiful beaches, traditional villages, and a myriad of walking trails are but a few of the attractions of this magical place.
Located in the district of Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, Pozar Thermal Baths, located in the foothills of Mt. Kaimaktsalan, is an impressive site for so many reasons. It boasts hot springs, pools, and rivers with thermal water as well as natural and artificial waterfalls.
The Thermopotamos River, which flows near the rocky mountain, features small waterfalls and has shallow river bends. The thermal water, at 37° C (98° F), is recommended for rheumatic, dermatological, respiratory, and circulatory system conditions.
Travelers will find diverse accommodation options, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and guesthouses. With a variety of spa treatments available, Pozar is a top destination, especially if you wish to add in other activities such as skiing at the nearby resort or simply want to enjoy the nearby forests.
Hot springs in Kaifas lauded in ancient Greece
Located in the tranquil municipality of Zacharo in the Peloponnese, the Kaiafas thermal springs have been renowned since antiquity.
They include two springs, called Anigrides Nymphes and Geranio (also called Atlantides Nymphes) which flow out of caves at the foot of Mt. Lapitha.
According to Greek mythology, the larger cave was home to the Anigrid Nymphs, and the smaller cave, Geranio Andro, also had a population of the creatures. They are located on the eastern shore of the Kaiafas lagoon.
The spring water there, which is 32° to 34°C when it reaches the surface, is rich in sulfur compounds and minerals with strong therapeutic properties.
You will find a modern hydrotherapy center with private baths and an outdoor pool as well as other areas for the many treatments available.
The Thermal Springs of Kyllini (also called Lintzi) are located in a region of infinite beauty. They are situated nine kilometers (5.6 miles) away from Kyllini and are secluded in the woods.
As one approaches the Kyllini Baths, the forest becomes denser, and the tall trees extend all the way to the sandy beach.
The Kyllini Baths have been renowned since ancient times for their hot springs. The waters, steam, and mud under the water are ideal for helping cure arthritis, asthma, and skin diseases.
Byzantine-era springs in Lagadas
Only two kilometers (1.2 miles) east of the city of Lagadas lie its homonymous curative baths. The evolution of the baths of Lagada is directly connected to the history, traditions, and culture of the area through the ages.
The first balneotherapy facilities in the region of Lagadas date back to 900 A.D. Tradition has it that the baths were created by the Byzantine military doctor Ioustinianos (Justinian).
Today, two Byzantine tanks from the years 900 and 1400 A.D. still remain and are, remarkably, still used. Geographers and travelers in 1670 AD mentioned Lagadas’ Byzantine spa, making a special reference to the “magnificent marble group tub.” The modern development of the baths began in 1925, and, today, Lagadas is a large, modern spa city.
The curative hot springs of Smokovo, Greece are located thirty-five kilometers (twenty-two miles) southwest of Karditsa in the mountain range of Agrafa at an altitude of 450 meters (almost 1,500 feet). The first mention of the use of the hot springs there was made in 1662.
At that time, two lords from Smokovo built temporary facilities for their baths. The inhabitants soon did the same, and the reputation of the extraordinary properties of the springs spread far and wide.
Among the most famous visitors of that time were Ali Pasha of Ioannina and Mahmout Pasha. Two springs were named in their honor. The waters flow from five different springs and are channeled into the hydrotherapy center.
There are even hot springs on Santorini
Palia Kameni is a refreshingly undiscovered hot spring experience on this most polished and well-known of all Greek islands.
It has copper-colored rocks and sparkling, emerald water. Habitués of the many walk-in springs on Santorini slather themselves with warm sulfurous mud before washing off in the mineral-rich water.
To enjoy the same invigorating experience, all you have to do is book a trip to Ammoudi or rent a boat and head along the coast until you reach the bay of Palia Kameni. You can’t miss the bright green hot spring water pouring into the sea.
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