The hidden European hot springs destination that isn’t Iceland
The most famous of Grecian thermal locations, Pozar Springs, also known as Loutraki Aridaias, is around a 90-minute drive from Thessaloniki, and forms part of the region of Pella. Renowned for its beauty, this part of Greece is bursting at the seams with hot springs with Edessa and Aridaia close contenders for the top spot. Pozar Springs has to take the trophy, though, with its majestic setting, cascading waterfalls and levels of pools. Begin your experience with a massage at one of the centres located by the baths. This helps the absorption of the elements in the water, such as magnesium, and directs the minerals’ healing properties to the area where blood has been dilated through the treatment. Then it’s time for a dip in these icy blue waters. A preliminary shower from the natural cold waterfall, followed by a dip in the shallow manmade thermal pools will relieve muscle aches, revitalise your spirit and rejuvenate the scenes. Comprising 48 individual baths, six indoor pools, an outdoor pool, hammams, a jacuzzi and spa, the benefits you’ll feel after some me-time in any of the listed facilities will be felt long after you dry off.
Look for the cloud of rising steam in the distance as you head to Loutra Thermopilon and you’ll feel instantly calm. Nestled near the ancient site filled with ruins like the Leonidas monument and Battlefield of Thermopylae, it makes the perfect rest bite after a day of historical wonder. Located a two-hour drive away from Athens, a mesmerising waterfall spills into the thermal springs all around, where 40° water is yours to bathe in. Even in the colder months, expect the water to stay just as warm because of the geothermic elements, a true escape from European winter. This site has had a lot less interference and instead, since the bathhouse closed, bathers have been enjoying the natural warm waters with just a towel and a camera.
The island of Santorini is synonymous with sophistication but take a couple of hours out of bar hopping and sunset viewing to lay back in the surprisingly quiet hot springs and you won’t regret it. Palia Kameni is a small enclave of thermal waters of a deep turquoise colour, gently flowing around falling copper rocks with a striking whitewashed building in the middle, the blue and white stripes of the Greek flag waving proudly. This is the number one hot spring in Greece for healing properties: it’s home to therapeutic sulfuric mud known to help improve skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne. Lather on the sulphurous mud and wash it away in the warming water… you’ll be skipping on the spa that day. To reach Palia Kameni, hire a boat and sail along the coast until you reach the bay.
One of the lesser known islands in Greece despite being the second largest one after Crete is Evia. But while it remains fairly under the radar as a holiday destination, the locals have known about the wellness properties of the thermal springs here for centuries or even millennia. Emperors such as Hadrian and Constantine the Great visited Evia just to go to the small town of Edipsos for the springs. Even Aristotle is said to have travelled here to try and figure out the healing powers of the water. Evia has more than 80 springs of different temperatures with many of the hotel pools finding a way to pump the mystical water straight into their properties. Find one of the spots either where mineral waters run, or sea water is heated by the springs pouring into it and indulge. Some also have natural healing mud to slap on as well as massage therapists to ease the tension before you relieve your muscle pain with the waters.
Agios Kirikos, Asclepious
The island of Icaria, isn’t just legendary for its name, derived from Icarus, who was believed to have fallen into the sea nearby after flying too close to the sun. It’s also been known since the 1BC for its radio-energic springs sprinkled in abundance around the rocky island. Agios Kirikos is a spot where the natural mineral springs flow into the sea from the shoreline, which are perfect for those seeking an outdoor spa experience while looking out onto the cerulean waters. The mineral element called saline radium is found in the springs diluted and helps to heal the body both through breathing it in and skin absorption. Located in the capital of the island, a dip in these waters is the perfect sanctuary after a few hours of pounding the endless stone steps and drinking Greek coffee in the tree lined square.
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Ellena Rowlin is a Content Writer