Spa town tourism

Spa towns are travel destinations.A spa town is a resort town based on a mineral spa (a developed mineral spring). Patrons visit spas to “take the waters” for their purported health benefits. The word spa is derived from the name of Spa, a town in Belgium.

Thomas Guidott set up a medical practice in the English town of Bath in 1668. He became interested in the curative properties of the hot mineral waters there and in 1676 wrote A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there. Also, Some Enquiries into the Nature of the water. This brought the purported health-giving properties of the waters to the attention of the aristocracy, who started to partake in them soon after.

The term spa is used for towns or resorts offering hydrotherapy, which can include cold water or mineral water treatments and geothermal baths.

Springs have attracted travellers since prehistoric times, some of them with religious importance. While bathing was a virtue many in societies such as the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, it fell out of fashion in Medieval and early modern Europe, with some exceptions.

In the 19th century, springwater drinking and bathing were again promoted as healthy, with appeals to science as well as romanticism for nature. Rail travel and other modes of transport allowed the middle class to visit spa resorts. Many visitors came for entertainment and social life, rather than health.

Spa towns, some of the earliest resorts, later diversified to cope with increasing visitors and meet their expectations. Whilst the fortunes of many traditional spa towns peaked in the early 20th century, the legacy left behind can be both substantial and impressive.

This topic is a list of destinations that have been noted as spa towns (some historically); for more detail see the destination articles.

Formation conditions of hot spring area
Even if it is generally called a hot spring area, it is very diverse. There are various things from a hot spring area where many large hotels and resort hotels. The factors causing such changes are as follows.

Terrain condition
Terrain conditions may limit the development of the hot spring area due to the coastal area, hilly area, countryside, mountains, valleys, cliffs, etc., or may cause a change in the structure of the hot spring area. In addition, the natural landscape in the surrounding area is used effectively as a landscape or a go environment, and development is performed according to the image of a hot spring resort.
Traffic conditions (other cities, close contact with other areas, proximity)
When approaching a major city, there are many cases where it develops as an interior space. Even if it is relatively distant, there may be rapid development if it has close contact with a large consumption area where the population is dense, etc. due to port maintenance, opening of tourist routes, construction of railways, opening of dedicated expressways. In addition, when famous tourist spots are close, there are cases where hot springs are developed as the tourist base.

Economic conditions
If the terrain and traffic conditions are excellent, a large amount of capital may be invested from companies such as large cities and overseas, and it may form a major resort area. Also, in contrast to this, there is also an example of raising the revitalization of hot spring areas that have fallen due to local capital, and promoting hot spring areas with unique policies and policies.
What the hot spring itself affects, such as spring quality and hot water
When a hot spring has excellent spring quality and high efficacy, the hot spring is used exclusively for rejuvenation, hot spring, etc., and it may form a hot spring area for such customers. In addition, there are cases where hot spring areas develop triggered by the advancement of medical facilities that perform hot spring therapy, or hot spring areas are formed due to special industries such as the production of hot water.
Hot springs that satisfy both conditions to be developed may also appear if there is an abundance of hot water.
These various conditions are often combined, and for various other reasons, it is a factor for the formation of a hot spring resort that is full of variety.

It is said that staying is the best way to enjoy the spa town. After dinner, it is the most common way to go out after entering the ryokan bath. Before leaving in the morning, it is also one of the pleasures of a hot spring trip to walk in the morning water in the outdoor bath and walk to see the souvenir shop.

In the case of extra hot water
When there is a communal bath, the outdoor bath is one of the pleasures of staying in a hot spring resort. It’s also fun to look out at souvenir shops and other places when going to and from the outdoor bath.

In the case of a comfort trip at work
In recent years, work trips to hot springs have been decreasing, but in the case of comfort trips such as work, collective psychology also works, and it was customary to go out to the town after a banquet. However, as accommodation facilities have been enhanced in order to absorb the demand for second-party meetings, the accommodation facilities will lead to an increase in overall sales due to the “locking in” of customers, but on the other hand also the opinion that it will lead to the decline of hot spring resorts.

Costumes when going out
Footwear is often clogs, sandals, snowballs, often also with the name of the inn. These sights also add a touch to the spa town. When going out to the open water, it is better to put clothes in a Shingen bag or wrap it in a bath cloth. Recently, a bag with the name of the inn is often prepared for bringing out valuables when going out. There are also areas where Koshizaki Onsen is dressed as a yukata, for example.

Hot spring bungalows are standard as souvenirs of hot spring areas. There are also things that are created by steaming in the hot spring steam, adding emotions. As there are also stalls at night festivals, buying and eating items contribute to the excitement of the atmosphere as being consumed on the spot. It is likely that the number of customers who buy a large amount of souvenirs in the neighborhood is diminishing because it would already be a thing of the past when the families who were away are happy with the souvenirs of the travel destination. You can also find hot spring flowers that can taste the feeling of hot spring at home at many hot spring resorts.


Termas de Rio Hondo
Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña

Most of the mineral springs in Australia are in the Central Highlands of Victoria, although there are a few springs in South Australia, Moree, New South Wales and Queensland. Most are within 30 km of Daylesford, Victoria: the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs call themselves ‘Spa Country’ and the ‘Spa Centre of Australia’.

Belgium is home to the town of Spa which became famous in the 14th century for its cold healing mineral springs, and from which all other spas took their name.

Chaudfontaine (whose name literally means “hot fountain” in French)

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Banja Vrućica, Teslić

Brazil has a growing number of spa towns. The traditional ones are: Águas de Lindoia, Serra Negra, Águas de São Pedro, Caxambu, Poços de Caldas, Caldas Novas, Araxá, and São Lourenço.

Bulgaria is known for its more than 500 mineral springs, including the hottest spring in the Balkans at Sapareva Banya – 103 °C. Other famous spa towns include Sandanski, Hisarya, Bankya, Devin, Kyustendil, Varshets, Velingard.

In Bulgarian, the word for a spa is баня (transliterated banya).

Harrison Hot Springs is one of the oldest among 18 in British Columbia; there are also two in Alberta and one in Ontario.

In Croatia, the word Toplice implies a spa town. The most famous spa towns in Croatia are Daruvar, Šibenik and Sisak.

Czech Republic
In the Czech Language, the word Lázně implies a spa town. The most famous spa towns in Czech Republic are Karlovy Vary, Teplice, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně.

See: List of spa towns in France

In France, the words bains, thermes, and eaux in city names often imply a spa town. There are more than 50 spa towns in France, including Vichy, Aix-les-Bains, Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, Dax, and Enghien-les-Bains.


Many German Spa twons indicate their status through the word “Bad” in front of their name or legally part of their name. This word is a cognate of “bath” and means “health spa” in this context.

In the Black Forest region, Baden-Baden was home to Roman baths before being lost after the fall of the empire. The baths were only rediscovered in the 19th century and the town has become a magnet for the rich and famous.

The German seacoast has had a spa tradition since the late 18th century with East Frisian islands like Norderney getting recognition as spa towns in that time and some places on the German Baltic Sea Coast even earlier. During the 19th and early 20th century, crowned heads and high ranking government officials cured various ills by bathing in the sea and even today many combine leisure with physical recuperation.

Among the many famous spa towns in Germany are Bad Aachen, Baden-Baden, Bad Brückenau, Bad Ems, Bad Homburg, Bad Honnef, Bad Kissingen, Bad Kreuznach, Bad Mergentheim, Bad Muskau, Bad Oeynhausen, Bad Pyrmont, Bad Reichenhall, Bad Saarow, Bad Schandau, Bad Segeberg, Bad Soden, Bad Tölz, Bad Wildbad, Bad Wimpfen, Bad Wildstein, Berchtesgaden, Binz, Freudenstadt, Heiligendamm, Heringsdorf, Kampen, Königstein, Radebeul, Schwangau, St. Blasien, Titisee, Tegernsee, Travemünde and Zingst. Wiesbaden is the largest spa town in Germany.

The most popular spa towns in Greece are Aidipsos, Agkistro, Serres, Loutraki, Kamena Vourla, Kimolos, Loutra Kyllinis, Sidirokastro, Serres, Lakkos Milos, Loutrochori, Aridaia, Pella (Pozar)

In Hungary, the word fürdő or the more archaic füred (“bath”), fürdőváros (“spa town”) or fürdőhely (“bathing place”) implies a spa town. Hungary is rich in thermal waters with health benefits, and many spa towns are popular tourist destinations. Budapest has several spas, including Turkish style spas dating back to the 16th century. Eger also has a Turkish spa. Other famous spas include the ones at Hévíz, Harkány, Bük, Hajdúszoboszló, Gyula, Bogács, Bükkszék, Zalakaros, the Cave Bath at Miskolctapolca and the Zsóry-fürdő at Mezőkövesd.


In Italy, spa towns, called città termale (from Latin thermae), are very numerous all over the country because of the intense geological activity of the territory. These places were known and used since the Roman age.

Sitting on top of major fault lines has given Japan at least the benefit of Onsen culture. Japanese often use the opportunity to bathe in hot volcanic water to relax after a busy day, or bond with their friends and family on a weekend. Beppu is a famous spa town in the far south-west of the country with many public and private onsen to enjoy.

Mondorf-les-Bains is by far the most popular and the oldest spa town in Luxembourg.

Druskininkai – is known for mineral springs. The name comes from Lithuanian word druska – salt.
Birštonas – is known for mineral springs and curative mud applications.

Bad Nieuweschans in the North on the border with Germany, with “Bad” implying a spa town. Another country on a major geological fault line, New Zealand offers hot spa destinations in towns literally on volcanoes, such as Rotorua.
Valkenburg near Maastricht, which wants to be a “city of wellness”.

New Zealand
Hanmer Springs
Ngawha Springs

Most spa towns in Poland are located in the Lesser Poland and Lower Silesian Voivodeships. Some of them have an affix “Zdrój” in their name (written with hyphen or separately), meaning “water spring”, to denote their spa status, but this is not a general rule (e.g. Ciechocinek and Inowrocław are spa towns, but do not use the affix).

Portugal is well known by famous spa towns throughout of the country.

Due to its high quality, as well as the landscape where are located, the most important ones are:

Caldas da Rainha
Caldas das Taipas
Caldas de Monchique
Caldas de Vizela
Pedras Salgadas
Sao Pedro do Sul
Caldas da Felgueira located in Viseu District, and 5km from Nelas town.

In Romania, the word Băile implies a spa town. The most famous spa towns in Romania are Băile Herculane, Băile Felix, Mangalia, Covasna, Călimănești & Borsec.

Serbia is known for its many spa cities. Some of the best known springs are the Vrnjačka Banja, Bukovička Banja, Vrujci, Sokobanja and Niška Banja. The hottest spring in Serbia is at Vranjska Banja (96°C)

In Serbia, the word Banja implies a spa town.

Slovakia is well known by its spa towns. The most famous is Piešťany. The most important spa towns in Slovakia are:

Bardejovské Kúpele
Liptovský Ján
Rajecké Teplice
Kúpele Sliač
Trenčianske Teplice
Turčianske Teplice

Spa towns in Slovenia include Rogaška Slatina, Radenci, Čatež ob Savi, Dobrna, Dolenjske Toplice, Šmarješke Toplice and Moravske Toplice. They offer accommodation in hotels, apartments, bungalows, and camp sites. The Slovenian words terme or toplice imply a spa town.

Spa towns in Spain include:

Alhama de Aragon
Panticosa in the high Pyrenees
Caldes d’Estrac
Caldes de Montbui
Riofrío[disambiguation needed]
Caldes de Malavella
A Toxa, an island-spa in northwestern Galicia.
Caldas de Luna

Bad Ragaz (Ragatz, also known as “Old Baths Pfäfers” or “Old Baths of Pfäfersin)
Schinznach Bad

Taiwan is home to a number of towns and cities with tourism infrastructure centered on hot springs. These include:

Jiaoxi, Yilan
Wulai, New Taipei
Beitou District, Taipei City
Tai’an, Miaoli
Guguan, in Heping, Taichung


United Kingdom
Some but not all UK spa towns contain “Spa”, “Wells”, or “Bath” in their names, e.g., Matlock Bath. Some towns are designated Spa Heritage Towns. Two out of three of the English towns granted the title “Royal”, Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells, are spa towns.

The Romans brought the concept of baths to England, with the great former Roman city of Bath, being the most prominent.

Cites such as Buxton, Malvern, Royal Leamington Spa and Tunbridge Wells were also noted for their mineral springs.

United States
Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Desert Hot Springs, California
Palm Springs, California
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Warm Springs, Georgia
Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
West Baden Springs, Indiana
Mount Clemens, Michigan
Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Jemez Springs, New Mexico
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico
Ballston Spa, New York
Saratoga Springs, New York
Hot Springs, North Carolina
Hot Springs, South Dakota
Mineral Wells, Texas
Warm Springs, Virginia
Connell, Washington
Bath (Berkeley Springs), West Virginia
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Saratoga, Wyoming
Thermopolis, Wyoming

Other countries
in the Arab world – Hammam
in Australia
in Belgium –
in Bulgaria – Bani
in Chile – Termas
in Croatia – Toplice
in Cyprus – Loutra-Therma
in the Czech Republic – Lázně
in Ethiopia – Filwoha
in France – Bains, thermes
in Georgia – სამკურნალო წყლები
in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – Bad, the first part of the names of most spa towns, a cognate to the English “bath” while “Therme” is used for the spa itself.
in Greece – Loutra-Therma
in Hungary – fürdő or -füred
in Italy – Terme
in Iran – “Cheshme Ab-e-Garm” or “Cheshme Ab-e-Madani”
in Jamaica –
in Japan – Onsen
in Korea – 온천 or 사우나
in Latvia – Jūrmala
in Malaysia – Poring
in Mexico- Termas or Balneario
in New Zealand – Rotorua
in Peru – Cuzco, Cajamarca
in Poland – Krynica-Zdrój
in Portugal – Caldas or Termas
in Russia – Минеральные воды or Лечебные воды
in Romania – Băile
in Slovakia – Liečebné kúpele
in Serbia – Banja
in Spain – Termas or Balneario
in Turkey – Termal or Kaplica
in Ukraine – Лікувальні води

As a problem that applies to many hot spring resorts, from the oil shock of the 1970s to the bubble period of the 1980s, with the enlargement of hot spring facilities, the movement of incorporating the souvenirs and facilities of the hot spring town into the hot spring hotel Were seen everywhere. This can be said to be a business that was born in pursuit of operating income. A mechanism to satisfy all the pleasures in a hot spring hotel = All the gold used in the hot spring was designed to benefit the hotel owner. This move was a huge blow to the spa town and forced to shrink or disappear. However, in recent years, the number of tourists who pay attention to the hot spring town’s emotions and the pleasure of taking a walk on it has increased, and the attraction of the entire hot spring town including the hot spring town has been questioned as part of the attraction. However, there is concern that great difficulties will await the revival and revitalization of the former hot spring resort under the long-term recession following the collapse of the bubble.