Bathing in Majesty: Top Spots to Soak around the World

A stark moon-like landscape surrounds the steamy luxury at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. image courtesy of the Blue Lagoon

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of submersing your tired body in warm thermal springs. If the ambient temperature is icy, I find the joy of the springs all the more decadent. My bathtub is having trouble cutting it on these dark winter nights, even if I turn the furnace down to “Jen! Stop messing with the thermostat!” and turn on Sleepytime Turtle who shoots stars onto the ceiling for ambience. I can’t help but think of all the grand spots to soak, out in the great beyond, so we’ve compiled a bunch of the best. To make it to the top of my list, warm water isn’t enough, majestic surroundings are, dare I say it, even more of a draw. So, without further ado, may I present Family Fun Canada’s Top Spots to Soak.

The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, Iceland

A land of fire and ice, as Iceland is often described, couldn’t not take precedence in a round up of the world’s top spots to soak. Vats of volcanic mud are on hand at the springs for visitors to slather on and rinse off in the pools, adding an extra element of indulgence to the cure. There are many places to “take the waters’ in Iceland, but the Blue Lagoon is tops on many visitors lists!

Shibu Onsen, Japan

Bathing in Japan in such serious business that rituals and even a culture are built around onsen.  Not that they take either into account, but even Japanese Macaques get in on the hot springs action. A fun side trip from Tokyo might include a visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park and at least a night in the spa town of Shibu. Nine bath houses (each with different curative properties) line the street, with a master key to all of them provided to residents and overnight guests.

Bathing in Majesty: Top Spots to Soak around the World

The beauty of Jasper National Park is the seat of the Miette Hot Springs. Athabasca Glacier by Roger Gruys, courtesy of JNP

Miette Hot Springs, Jasper, Canada

Following a winding mountain road is a daunting prospect, but the prize at the end it worth it. Not that the route keeps the crowds away. No less majestic setting than the Rocky Mountains form the background to your bathing at Miette, and many tourists each year clamour for a piece (peace?) of the relaxation.

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, England

Well a place called BATH could hardly be left off the list, could it? Since Roman times, the healing waters at Bath have been attracting visitors. Jane Austen’s characters knew the charming Somerset city was the place to be and be seen, and modern visitors continue to flock there as well. The Themae Spa itself is relatively new when one looks at the long history of the spa town. The rooftop pool, surrounded by the historic architecture of town positions this hot spring as a uniquely beautiful on the list!

Bathing in Majesty: Top Spots to Soak around the World

The azure blue of the pools is due in part to the minerals in the water at the “Cotton Castle” of Pammukle. image courtesy of Tourism Turkey

The Sacred Pool, Pammukle, Turkey

As far as beautiful surrounding go, this one is a stunner. The calcium and other mineral in the water spill out to form intriguing sculptural walls along the pools in Pammukle. “Cotton Castles” in Turkish, viewers can be forgiven for thinking the pools are in snow banks or maybe clouds in heaven.

Chaojih Hot Springs, Green Island, Taiwan

The island of Taiwan boasts over 150 hot springs. Despite (or perhaps because of) the busy lifestyles of the Taiwanese, hot springs and spas are among the most popular pastimes in the country. On this tiny island just east of Taiwan, you can find some of the only salt water hot springs in the world (Japan and Italy have them too.) Green Island offers a very welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of urban Taiwan, and some amazing relief in the waters!

Bathing in Majesty: Top Spots to Soak around the World

The 2015 winner of the Hair Freezing Challenge at Takhini Hot Springs. courtesy Takhini Hot Pools Co.

Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon, Canada

Yeah, I’m Canadian. Yeah, I’m going to put two Canadian hot spots on this list…I could put a lot more, it was hard to narrow it down. Takhini makes it onto the list for it’s impressive location…on 300 acres of Northern majesty.  Those who have been there can attest that there are few better seats on Earth from which to watch the dancing Aurora borealis; the entire pool is available to rent for private Northern Lights viewings. A little more humble than some of the 5 star properties on this list, Takhini maintains a sense of fun with activities like hosting a frozen hair contest picture contest each year…the hilarious winner from 2015 is pictured above.

Deception Island, Antarctica

Lately I have come to harbour a less-than-secret obsession with the volcanic island of Deception Island, Antarctica. No longer inhabited, it previously served as a whaling outpost, and is now administrated by Argentina and Spain. It is one of the most touristed spots on the most isolated continent, home as it is to several chinstrap penguin colonies. And although my inclusion of Deception Island could be controversial, as there is no official hot spring on the island, a popular activity for visitors  is dig their own pit on the beach, which fills with water heated by the underground volcanoes. And if that isn’t about the coolest hot tub you’ve ever heard of, I feel sorry for you, maybe there’s no joy in your life.

Have you visited any of these places, or have I missed something that should be up here? Let me know in the comments, below, I’d love to add some more to my repertoire!