Thanks to its unique geological formation, Italy is home to dozens of natural hot springs and thermal bath resorts. If you’re visiting, you’ve got to enjoy the relaxation and health benefits they offer at least once.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a day cooped up in a spa resort if it’s not your thing. There are plenty of outdoor hot springs with views over gorgeous landscapes.
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1) Terme di Fordongianus (Sardinia)
Located in the province of Oristano, near the historic city of Forum Traiani, the Fordongianus hot springs reach temperatures over 129 degrees. Access to the thermal waters below the historical site only costs 5 euros, but you can also pamper yourself by going to the local spa resort.
2) Terme di Sorgeto (Campania)
The Island of Ischia, in the region of Campania, is a well-known wellness destination. If you want to avoid the crowds, take a hike to the Sorgeto Bay. Here, 194-degree thermal water mixes with refreshing seawater. Bathe in the sea near the shore to enjoy the benefits of the thermal waters. Warning: you’ll need to get up 200 steps to reach the pool.
3) Terme di San Pellegrino (Lombardy)
You read that right – San Pellegrino, where the famous sparkling water is bottled, is also home to a hot spring. There’s a fancy modern spa resort in town offering saunas, massages and much more. The huge building has been recently refurbished and looks stunning.
4) Grotta delle Ninfe (Calabria)
Near the historic village of Cerchiara in Calabria, in the South of Italy, there’s a thermal sulphur water spring in a cave – the Grotta delle Ninfe (Cave of Nymphs). Here you can bathe in the hot spring waters and enjoy the therapeutic mud on your skin. Access to the cave is not free but is cheap.
5) Pozza di Leonardo da Vinci (Lombardy)
The Bormio spa, in Northern Italy, is well-known to the locals because it offers spectacular views of the Alps. Tourists flock there after a hard day on the slopes. But the local’s best-kept secret is that the same hot spring gushes into a natural pool located in the woods below. Enjoy an easy hike and a dip in the hot water and take in the breathtaking mountain landscape.
6) Terme di San Casciano dei Bagni (Tuscany)
These free thermal pools are just a few hundred yards from the center of the historic village of San Casciano dei Bagni. The waters are 104 degrees, so not too hot for those with sensitive skin.
7) Antiche Termae Romane (Basilicata)
If you’d rather spend a few hours indoors, the Antiche Terme Romane offers a unique experience. The resort is located in an ancient Roman spa, dug underground.
8) Terme di Bullicame (Lazio)
These natural pools are just a mile from Viterbo, nestled in a Natural Park. The thermal waters are 136 degrees, which means you can also visit in the winter when it’s pretty cold. Access is free.
9) Bagni San Filippo (Tuscany)
The thermal baths of San Filippo are located in Val D’Orcia, in Tuscany. The pools are in the open countryside, by a white rock formation which resembles a waterfall. The locals call it “white whale.” The waters are a pleasant 118 degrees.
10) Terme di Vulcano (Sicily)
To the North of the island of Sicily lay the Aeolian Islands. Here, there are two active volcanoes: Stromboli and Vulcano. On the island of Vulcano, you can enjoy hot springs and mud baths by the sea. It’s a spectacular setting, right under the (dormant) volcano.
11) Terme di Caronte (Calabria)
The Terme di Caronte is located by Lamezia Terme, in the South of Italy. They are a few miles inland, near Golfo di Sant’Eufemia, at the bottom of the Riventino mountains. The natural pools are in the Difesa Mitoio Caronte Natural Park, among pine trees, chestnut trees and oaks.
12) Terme di Petriolo (Tuscany)
Take a dip in the remnants of an ancient thermal bath immersed in the Tuscan countryside. The Terme di Petriolo were built in 1400 by the river Farma, in Monticiano. What remains of the building and pools is accessible for free.
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