Bathing has been a part of human life and culture since time immemorial. While the Romans did use indoor plumbing for their own bathhouses, most of the world’s civilizations used open-air baths up until recently. However, the specific practices and cultural importance of open-air baths have persisted in many countries despite the widespread adoption of modern plumbing, and much scientific research has delved into the health benefits of bathing in hot springs. Not only can it reduce stress levels, but it may even lead to clearer and more beautiful skin depending on the mineral composition of the water! Here are some of the most beautiful open-air baths in the world that you should see for yourself!
Reykjadalur Thermal River (Iceland)
Iceland is the number one spot in Europe for open-air bath enthusiasts due to the sheer number of hot springs and thermal pools – thanks to the volcanic nature of the island, you can find an open-air bath almost anywhere! One of the best is the Reyjadalur Thermal River, which may be one of the toughest to find. It is only accessible via a 4.4 mile hiking trail that takes hikers through a variety of breathtaking natural sights. The reward for the trek is well worth it though – a beautiful, natural open-air bath that’s free to enter and enjoy!
Takaragawa Onsen (Japan)
Onsen, or Japanese hot springs, have been valued throughout Japanese history for their healing properties and there are nearly 3,000 onsen throughout the country today. Takaragawa onsen, located in the sparsely populated, mountainous Gunma prefecture, attracts both international and domestic tourists year-round. There are five different baths at the complex, but the most famous of these is the outdoor Maka bath set. This set features unspoiled natural beauty along the Takaragawa stream – while beautiful year-round, most agree the onsen really comes into its own during or after a light snowfall.
Spence Hot Springs (United States)
A wonderful way to experience the beauty of the American Southwest, the Spence Hot Springs are located among the red rock canyons of New Mexico. They may not be as hot as other hot springs (average temperatures hover around the mid to high 90s) but it’s still a great place to relax and take in the sights.
A UNSECO World Heritage Site and one of the most photographed landscapes in all of Turkey, this open-air bath features terraced pools that look like steps coming up from the plain below. While the site is located quite far from both Ankara and Istanbul, the views and the bath experience are well worth the effort!
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