8 relaxing, scenic, and unique thermal sites to enjoy

Who can resist the soothing waters of a natural mineral spring? Just when you think this amazing planet has nothing new to offer, you stumble upon a sizzling, bubbling, magical pool of calming water, straight from the earth’s core. But not all springs are created equal, and while most will be a welcome tonic for your muscles, some sites are so breathtakingly beautiful, serene, or mystical that you may never want to leave. If you’re a fan of the spa, get back to basics with a soak in one of these world-renowned natural hot (or cool) spots.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland


A sprawling spring in the middle of a lava field attracts a huge number of visitors to southwestern Iceland, partly because of its reputed healing powers for skin conditions (likely owing to the high levels of silica and exfoliating minerals), but also for the incredibly beautiful surroundings. The name of this hot sport refers to the color of the water: the silicate minerals lend a milky-blue hue, which is particularly ethereal in the evening, when the water matches the sky. The lagoon is man-made, but still fed by the natural geothermal forces under the ground; the volcanic rock and mossy hills rising up around the banks add another level of prehistoric mystery.