Experience Healing Waters - Northern AZ Luxury Living Magazine

Experience Healing Waters of the Original Spas

The word “spa” has expanded over the millennia from the name of a Belgian town by a mineral spring believed to have healing properties to mean any such community in Europe.

In the 17th-19th centuries these European spa towns were centers of health and urban innovation, and 11 of them were jointly named as a UNESCO Heritage Site last year.

All of them continue as centers of healing and relaxation, so consider adding a couple to your next continental itinerary:

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Baden bei Wien, Austria

Built around springs which appeared after a 1755 earthquake, this town’s “yellow gold” is the golden hue seen in its curative waters used for traditional treatments; it’s also become a modern center for the spine and musculoskeletal system.

Baden bei Wien, Austria, the Unesco World heritage site in Lower Austria

Spa, Belgium

Spa is a town located in a wooded valley of the Ardennes mountains, surrounded by undulating hills and countless rivers and springs. It is famous for its mineral waters and for the spa. Wallonia, Belgium

The town whose name was adopted by the entire water-cure movement is known for its extensive network of walking trails and being home to one of the world’s first casinos. Indulgent treatments include subaquatic massage.

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

The village was founded in the 15th century after royalty discovered the first of 79 hot- and cold-water springs in the area; today accommodations are just as majestic and available treatments even more varied.

Františkovy Lázně, Czech REPUBLIC

Developed beginning in the 18th century, this city’s spa zone with historic resorts still frequented today is surrounded by open space on both sides, including its famous network of “heart trails.”

A fountain in Fratiškovy lázně

Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic

Maxim Gorky spa colonnade in Marianske Lazne on a winter day

There are 40 springs within the town itself, sheltered by colonnades and pavilions developed over the centuries. Visitors can build a pleasant vacation around relaxation, walks and sports. The three Czech towns are conveniently clustered on the nation’s western edge.

Vichy, France

Popularized by Napoleon, today this burg has a museum’s worth of architectural styles and you can still get the iconic Vichy shower, a massage therapy using 5 to 7 showerheads.

Vintage faucet with a source of mineral water in Vichy,France.

Bad Ems, Germany

Floating fountain in the Lahn with the spa buildings in background

Known for the Baroque style of its imperial bath, modern medicine has its place here alongside traditional European and Asian therapies. The continent’s first floating river sauna, the Emser Therme, is here.

Spielman Spa & Casino at the Lahn, Spielbank

Baden-Baden, Germany

This destination nestled in the hills of the Black Forest has two separate clusters of springs with differing emphases; Friedrichsbad’s enriching 17-step ritual and the Caracalla spa with luxe architecture and services.

Entrance of historic pump house called ‘Trinkhalle’ lined with frescos by artist Jakob Götzenberger, in Baden-Baden.

Bad Kissingen, Germany

These springs were first discovered in the ninth century. Today tourists can enjoy the ultramodern conveniences of the KissSolis thermal baths and 20 state of the art spa and rehabilitation clinics.

Spa in Bad Kissingen Bavaria Germany

Montecatini Teme, Italy

Known for its exquisite gardens, statues and thermal treatments beginning with the 15th century, come here for thermal mud baths along with the rest of a full range of water therapies.

Ancient pool in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany

Bath, Great Britain

The UK’s only naturally warm springs began attracting the Celts and Romans some 2,000 years ago and still draw crowds with, among other options, the Great Bath’s large thermal pool in use since those times.

Roman Bath in England.

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