The statue of "The crutchbreaker" in the spa town Piešťany (Slovakia) – a symbol of balneotherapy
Print of Spa, Belgium, 1895
Ikaalisten Kylpylä, a spa center in Ikaalinen, Pirkanmaa, Finland

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.

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.[1]

The term spa is used for towns or resorts offering hydrotherapy, which can include cold water or mineral water treatments and geothermal baths.[2]

Spa towns by country



There are mineral springs in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Most are in and around Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. [3]Daylesford and Hepburn Springs call themselves "Spa Country" and the "Spa Centre of Australia".

In Queensland, many towns have mineral springs created by artesian bores into the Great Artesian Basin, often the only or primary water supply to the towns. Some of these towns had periods of popularity as spa towns, including Ararmac, Barcaldine, Dalby, Helidon, Innot Hot Springs, and Muckadilla, mostly in the late 1800s and early 1900s when mineral spas were believed to cure various medical conditions. However, the remote locations of most of these towns made them expensive to visit and only small-scale spa facilities developed there. Helidon, a day trip from Brisbane by car, was more successful, particularly with growing owernship of cars after World War II. However, concerns about radioactivity and bacterial contamination resulted in the Helidon Spa falling into disuse by 1994. Many towns in Queensland continue to provide bathing facilities fed by hot springs, but these are promoted as relaxing holiday activities rather than as medical treatments.[4]


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Main article: List of spa towns § Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Slatina Spa


Main article: List of spa towns § Brazil

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.


The Roman walls of Hisarya. Many spa towns in Bulgaria have existed since the Roman Empire.

Main article: List of spa towns in Bulgaria

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, Velingrad.

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


Main article: List of spa towns § Canada

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


Main article: List of spa towns § Croatia

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

Czech Republic

The spa town of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad)

Main article: Spa towns in the Czech Republic

In Czech, the word Lázně implies a spa town. The most famous spa towns in Czech Republic are the West Bohemian Spa Triangle of Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně, listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other important spas are Luhačovice, Teplice, Jáchymov, Konstantinovy Lázně, Jeseník, Třeboň, Poděbrady, Bechyně or Velké Losiny.


Traditionally, Hanko,[5] Rauma[6] and Kalajoki have been considered spa towns. Today there are more than 50 spas (kylpylä) in Finland;[7] some towns known for their spa centers include Ikaalinen, Naantali and Imatra.


Main article: 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.


Borjomi is one such example in south Georgia.


Binz on Rugia Island, Germany

Main article: List of spa towns in Germany

In Germany, the word Bad implies a spa town. 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 Schönborn, 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.


Main article: List of spa towns in Greece

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)


Main article: List of spa towns in Hungary

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.




Salsomaggiore Terme, in Northern Italy.

Main article: List of spa towns § Italy

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.


Main article: Hamam al-Alil


Main article: Onsen





New Zealand


Main article: List of spa towns in Poland

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).


A waterfall in Caldas de Monchique, Algarve (south region of Portugal)

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:


Main article: List of spa towns § Romania

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.


Main article: List of spa towns in Serbia

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)[8]

In Serbia, the word Banja implies a spa town.


Entrance to the spa in Turčianske Teplice (Slovakia).

Main article: Spa towns in Slovakia

Slovakia is well known by its spa towns. The most famous is the city of Piešťany in Trnava Region. Other notable spa towns in Slovakia include:


Spa towns in Slovenia include Rogaška Slatina, Radenci, Čatež ob Savi, Dobrna, Dolenjske Toplice, Šmarješke Toplice, Moravske Toplice, Rimske Toplice, Laško and Topolšica. 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:




Wulai Hot Spring Street in Wulai, New Taipei, Taiwan.

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


There are several spa towns in Turkey. The most famous of these is Pamukkale, Denizli where the Pamukkale thermal springs are located.


United Kingdom

Main article: List of spa towns in the 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 four of the English towns granted the title "Royal", Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells, are spa towns.

United States


Main article: List of spa towns

Terms used in various countries:

See also


  1. ^ Burns, D. Thorburn (1981). "Thomas Guidott (1638–1705): Physician and Chymist, contributor to the analysis of mineral waters". Analytical Proceedings. 18 (1): 2–6. doi:10.1039/AP9811800002.
  2. ^ "Healing Waters; Investigative Files (Skeptical Briefs June 2005)". Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  3. ^ "VICTORIAN MINERAL SPRINGS: STRATEGIC MASTERPLAN 2015-2024". Victorian Mineral Water Committee. p. 3.
  4. ^ Griggs, Peter (2013). ""Taking the waters": mineral springs, artesian bores and health tourism in Queensland, 1870-1950" (PDF). Queensland Review. 20 (2). Cambridge University Press: 157–158, 169. doi:10.1017/qre.2013.18. S2CID 39508107. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Hangon kylpyläkulttuuri herää henkiin kymmenien vuosien hiljaiselon jälkeen". 16 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Tiesitkö: Rauma oli huikean suosittu kylpyläkaupunki jo 1700-luvulla". 4 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Katso lista kaikista Suomen kylpylöistä – mukana myös kartta". 21 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Reservoir Capital Corp.: 20MW Potential Estimated for the Vranjska Banja Geothermal Project". Retrieved 3 February 2012.