Mineral thermal springs, or in today's world, Spa centers, have a centuries-long history due to their healing properties.
Many spa centers were directly under the patronage of European royal and aristocratic families. Even today, some of them have still have a traditional appearance.
During the XVIII and XIX centuries, bathing in healing thermal waters became fashionable. That's the beginning of the development of spa tourism. During the golden age of European architecture, great spas made ways inside luxurious and impressive buildings.
Here are some of the most popular places, which will offer you the royal treatment:
Vichy is more than a famous cosmetics company. The company is a piece of mineral thermal spring's history in the French city.
During the XVIII century, the French royal family promoted the Allier River's healing power in Vichy. Staying in this place was a matter of prestige for the French aristocracy.
Later, during the Belle Époque period, a period of optimism and joy of enjoying life, important art nouveau Spa buildings became a thing, and many still stand proudly today.
In the center of Vichy, in the Parc des Sources, there is a glass structure in the Art Deco style, Hall des Sources, meaning spring hall. The hall protects six thermal pools and a fountain from which drinks, slightly mineral water flows.
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Over 120 Pillars in the Corinthian style adorn the Neo-Renaissance building of the Mlýnská kolonáda or Mill Colonnade.
It is one of the most famous symbols of Karlovy Vary, the Czech spa center.
This city has 13 thermal springs, and within the Mill Colonnade, there are five of them, with different temperatures.
Once known as Carlsbad, the city was popular with great artists, including Beethoven and Chopin. During the spring and summer, they play in the Mill Colonnade. It's an addition to works with thermal springs, and there is also space for regular performances by the city orchestra.
A little further south, along the river Tepla, there is Pramen Vřídlo, and with a temperature of 73 degrees, this is the hottest thermal spring in this part of Europe. It is placed in the building of the Vridlena colonnade, characterized by contemporary steel construction.
Tourists come here to inhale the healing steam or drink hot mineral water. Occasionally, exhibitions take place, so it's a way to indulge all your senses and feed the soul.
According to legend, the Roman god Saturn got tired of hearing people argue. He decided to send lightning and make a hole in the ground. Fountains of water and steam erupted in that spot. And it made people focus on enjoyment and relaxation, instead of petty arguments.
The Mulino and Gorello waterfalls in the Tuscan Saturnia attract visitors worldwide to bathe in the rocky pools of sulfur water.
The unusual pools with turquoise water, surrounded by olive trees and cypresses, created a real oasis. The nearby five-star Terme di Saturnia also has a luxury spa using healing water from the same spring.
Granite rocks fillter the Malvern hills' water.
It gained its reputation thanks to one quality - there is nothing in it.
The unbelievable purity of this water has a healing reputation, which is why it was appreciated by many influential Victorian personalities, like the royal family, Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens.
Its Victorian charm is still very much alive to this day. Old street gas lamps, traditional craft shops, and the building of the old railway station look great today.
The luxurious Malvern Spa fills its pool with the Malvern Hills' spring water has the cleanest water in the United Kingdom.
Baden near Vienna, Austria
The Romans bathed in the sulfurous waters of Baden, which is only 26 km away from the Austrian capital, Vienna. It is a well-known health resort, the third-largest in Austria, and a favorite spa destination of Vienna.
Baden was also under royal patronage, which helped to preserve numerous Neo-Renaissance buildings. Today, the city has two extremely famous spas - Römertherme and Badener Hof. Both are outstanding for their hydrotherapy treatments.
There are numerous vineyards around Baden, so you will have to try some wine. And since you're near Vienna, some cake and Mozartkugeln wouldn't hurt.
Spa centers will help you relax and unwind. But, as you can see, these spots can also have cultural and historical significance. If you're planning to visit Europe, you have to check out at least one of these calming yet exciting spa spots.