Spa town

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Woman relaxing in a spa in Hungary, 1939
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. The word spa is derived from the name of Spa, a town in Belgium.

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 ₩ater. 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]



Most of the mineral springs in Australia are in the Central Highlands of Victoria, although there are a few springs in South Australia, Moree, New South Wales and Queensland. Most are within 30 km of Daylesford, Victoria: the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs call themselves 'Spa Country' and the 'Spa Centre of Australia'.[3]


Bosnia and Herzegovina[]

Banja Vrućica, Teslić


Brazil has a growing number of spa towns. The traditional ones are: Águas de Lindoia, Serra Negra, ��guas 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.

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).


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


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 Mariánské Lázně

In Czech, the word Lázně implies a spa town. The most famous spa towns in Czech Republic are Teplice and the West Bohemian Spa Triangle of Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně.


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

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.


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)


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.

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.



  • Druskininkai - is known for mineral springs. The name comes from Lithuanian word druska - salt.
  • Birštonas - is known for mineral springs and curative mud applications.


  • Bad Nieuweschans in the North on the border with Germany, with "Bad" implying a spa town.
  • Valkenburg near Maastricht, which wants to be a "city of wellness".

New Zealand[]


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:


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.


Serbia is known for its many spa cities. Some of the best known springs are the Vrnjačka Banja, , Vrujci, Sokobanja and Niška Banja. The hottest spring in Serbia is at Vranjska Banja (96°C)[4]

In Serbia, the word Banja implies a spa town.


Entrance to the spa in Turčianske Teplice (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 and Moravske Toplice. 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:


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 three of the English towns granted the title "Royal", Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells, are spa towns.

United States[]


Terms used in various countries:

  • in the Arab world - Hammam
  • in Bulgaria - Bani
  • in Chile - Termas
  • in Croatia - Toplice
  • in Cyprus - Loutra-Therma
  • in the Czech Republic - Lázně
  • in Ethiopia - Filwoha
  • in France - Bains, thermes
  • in Georgia - სამკურნალო წყლები
  • in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland - Bad, the first part of the names of most spa towns, a cognate to the English "bath" while "Therme" is used for the spa itself.
  • in Greece - Loutra-Therma
  • in Hungary - fürdő or -füred
  • in Italy - Terme
  • in Iran - Cheshme Ab-e-Garm" or "Cheshme Ab-e-Madani
  • in Japan - Onsen
  • in Korea - 온천 or 사우나
  • in Mexico- Termas or Balneario
  • in Peru - Cuzco, Cajamarca
  • in Poland - List of spa towns in Poland
  • in Portugal - Caldas or Termas
  • in Russia - Минеральные воды or Лечебные воды
  • in Romania - Băile
  • in Slovakia - Liečebné kúpele
  • in Serbia - Banja
  • in Spain - Termas or Balneario
  • in Turkey - Termal or Kaplica
  • in Ukraine - Лікувальні води

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 Water Committee Tourism information
  4. ^ "Reservoir Capital Corp.: 20MW Potential Estimated for the Vranjska Banja Geothermal Project". Retrieved 3 February 2012.

External links[]

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