Terme di Saturnia and the best natural spas worldwide
24 June 2019
Humans have been pampering themselves for many millennia with the healing properties of thermal springs and natural mineral rich mud revered by many ancient civilisations.
This means many of the world’s best known spa locations, celebrated for their natural geothermal waters or mud baths have been in use for thousands of years. Whether you believe in all the medicinal or health enhancing benefits of all these naturally occurring wonders, they undoubtedly offer amazing once in a lifetime experiences that will leave you feeling energised and inspired.
Here we take a look at some of the world’s most breath-taking natural outdoor spa locations from which we have taken inspiration when creating and refining our wonderful hotel spa here at Ye Olde Bell.
Surrounded by miles of otherworldly black lava fields, the vivid turquoise waters of the blue lagoon appear lit from within. The large pool is fed by mineral rich water from the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power plant and remains at a delightful 38 to 40°C. The water carries an abundance of silica and tubs of the white, silica-rich, geothermal mud are also available for guests to rub into their skin. Aside from the visual impact of the lagoon, it is credited with helping alleviate many skin conditions and boosting collagen production.
The pretty town of Heviz boasts the world’s largest natural medicinal lake, whose waters maintain a comfortable 38°C during summer, making for idyllic bathing conditions. The geothermal lake sits in a peat-bed adding to its rich minerality of dissolved gas components, such as of carbonate, sulphur, calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonate. Surrounded by lush green parks and adorned with water lilies, Heviz Lake is a feast for the eyes as well as the skin, the joints and nervous system.
Named ‘Old Burnt’ in Greek, the rust-red springs on this volcanic island in the Santorini caldera heat the water to a perfect 33°C and produce sulphur which is good for the skin. The springs flow directly into the sea and are accessed by boat, so you can swim between the hot spring water and the cooler sea water. Rub the red mineral mud into your skin then swim out to sea letting it slowly wash away.
Terme di Saturnia, Italy
According to the myth, Terme di Saturnia was formed by lightening bolts thrown by Jupiter at Saturn that missed. Situated in Tuscany, Italy, it's one of the country's best know natural spa spots. Fed by a volcanic spring, the pool's temperature is like a hot bath at an average of 37.5°C. Who wouldn't want to visit this natural phenomenon.
Sitting between Sicily and Tunisia, this tiny volcanic rock is one of Italy’s best kept secrets. At its heart, the island boasts a miraculous heart-shaped lake, the Specchio di Venere or “Mirror of Venus”, which sits in a volcanic crater, fed by rainwater and natural hot springs. The colour of the water, which fluctuates between emerald, turquoise and deep blue, is said to sooth rheumatism and arthritis. With a beach encircling the lake, bathers can cover themselves in the mineral rich mud before rinsing it off with a swim in the beautifully warm - 40°C – water, leaving the skin silky smooth. The island also boasts a natural hot sauna in a cave on the side of its highest peak, Montagna Grande.
Worth going for the spectacle alone, this incredible natural terraced pool complex has been a popular ‘healing’ site for centuries. The white limestone terraces cascade down the slopes holding pools of turquoise water, created over many thousands of years by the natural hot springs bringing up deposits of limestone. To add to the magic, this natural wonder sits next to the impressive ruins of the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis. Here, visitors can take a dip as the Romans did before them, in a picture perfect pool filled with the 36 mineral rich waters and swim among columns of antiquity.
At 400m below sea level, the Dead Sea’s unique climate makes it one of the safest places on earth to sunbathe because the low altitude means more harmful UV rays are filtered out. This safe sunbathing spot can be a huge help for people with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The highly salty waters of the sea itself and mineral rich mud that abounds around it are said to offer a whole host of benefits to the skin as well as aiding breathing, rheumatic conditions and even some psychological disorders.
This 50-acre geothermal spa is owned by the Maori who have tapped into its healing resources for many centuries. With a hot waterfall, mud volcano and many bubbling mud pools, the park boasts three types of mineral mud – white mud for treating burns, black mud use for alleviating arthritis and grey mud which is great for the skin. The Rotorua mud contains minerals including sulphur, calcium, sodium and silicon – a combination said to help promote the productions of connective tissues. Enjoy a mud bath then a dip in the sulphur spa.
This strange natural anomaly – a 50-ft tall mud volcano on the coast near Cartagena – produces warm volcanic ash-based mud rich in calcium, magnesium and aluminium among its ingredients. Visitors are sent down into the 15-ft wide crater to float around in the buoyant mud while it is slathered and massaged over them by local attendants. On exiting the volcano, they are ushered into a lake where local women will wash them down. As entertaining as it is beneficial.
Natural springs pump up hot mineral rich waters of 37 to 43°C which feed this stunning coastal oasis of al fresco pools and private baths. The natural spa offers more than 20 different bathing experiences in a glorious leafy setting, surrounded by the verdant greenery of the Australian bush. You can move between cave pools, cold plunge pools and the hilltop pool with a 360 degree view of the countryside. Peninsula was named the World's Best Mineral Spa Award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The mineralised water can assist with muscular issues, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and stress and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.
This area of Napa benefits from rich volcanic ash deposits and hot springs which bring boiling mineralised water to the surface, creating natural warm bathing pools and mud baths. The mud baths, filled with calcium and sodium bicarbonate minerals, are praised for their exfoliating properties and beneficial impact on circulation, muscle aches and pains and stress. The Indian Wappo tribe discovered the benefits of the warm natural baths as much as 8000 years ago and it since been transformed into a wellness mecca.
There are many other spots across the globe where Mother Earth brings her natural goodness to the surface in the form of hot springs, bubbling mud baths, mineral deposits and more. Virtually all such spots have long been enjoyed by locals, keen to tap into their health enhancing qualities. All such places have a key attribute in common – they rely on the amazing healing power of nature to boost wellbeing.
This belief in the power of nature is a central theme of our spa here at Ye Olde Bell which offers a wonderful array of 10 thermal experiences, each inspired by different natural bathing locations across the world. You can drift between the indoor and outdoor vitality pool, the alpine sauna and Stone Bath, the salt inhalation room or steam bath or try our unique ‘Snowstorm’ experience. Our tailored spa treatments all use natural products which will leave you feeling energised and glowing.
So, if you in need of some nurturing by Mother Nature but cannot afford a trip overseas to submerge yourself in volcanic mud, simply come and visit us for a spa day at Ye Olde Bell Hotel. Here, you can lie back, relax and enjoy all nature’s benefits within the comfort of our beautiful spa.