Last year in 2022, UNESCO created a new designation called the “Great Spa Towns of Europe.” It is a list of 11 famous historic spa cities and towns in seven countries and includes probably the most famous bath towns like Bath, England.
In america, among the first places to be protected was the springs in Arkansas which are now protected as part of the Hot Springs National Park. Those springs are developed like in Europe, but if one would prefer to find undeveloped springs, there are plenty of hidden undeveloped hot springs to find out in Oregon.
Options to consider From the Great Spa Towns of Europe
The Great Spa towns are located in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, and the Uk. They represent a unique cultural phenomenon that peaked within the 18th and 19th centuries – they are among the great heritages of Europe and compromise some of Europe's most stunning and charming cities and towns. All of them developed around natural standard water springs (a number of them with traditions dating back to the Romans).
The eleven spa towns are Baden bei Wien (Austria); Spa (Belgium); Frantiskovy Lazne; Karlovy Vary; Marianske Lazne (Czechia); Vichy (France); Bad Ems; Baden-Baden; Bad Kissingen (Germany); Montecatini Terme (Italy); and Town of Bath (Uk).
- Spa, Belgium: The Town Of “Spa” Gave Its Name To “Spa Therapy” Today
The European spa culture resulted in the emergence of grand international resorts that had spa buildings such as baths, buildings dedicated to therapy, pump rooms, drinking halls, colonnades, and galleries designed to harness natural mineral water resources.
In these towns, one will see elaborate bathhouses. Outside the bathhouses, these old resort towns typically also feature old casinos, theaters, villas, and gardens.
- Heyday: Europe's Spa Town's Heyday From Around 1700 towards the 1930s
All of these spa towns will vary, but each shares numerous things in common which allow these to be manufactured – to the stage that UNESCO now considers them one “property”.
There are extremely many to go through here, but we will discuss some of them. For any dedicated website and guide visit the Great Spa Towns of Europe website.
Bath of England
Perhaps the best-known spa town is Bath in England. It's famous for having the best Roman ruins any place in the United Kingdom. It is equally renowned for its grandeur and stunning Georgian architecture.
- Where: Somerset, England
- Latin Name: Aquae Sulis Literally “The Waters Of Sulis”
Bath is a resort town for a long time now it remains certainly one of England's greatest attractions. The city is very compact and so it is very simple to explore.
Today visitors can see these Roman Baths (the buildings above them are Georgian) and walk around the original Roman pavements. The ruins of the old Roman Temple of Sulis Minerva are still visible.
- July – August: 9.00 am – 10.00 pm Daily
- September-October: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Weekdays (6 pm Weekends)
- Weekend Price of Admission: 27 Pounds Or $37.50 Per Adult
- Weekday Price of Admission: 25 Pounds Or $35.00 Per Adult
Vichy In France
While Vichy may be also known for its role to be the French collaborationist capital during World War Two, it had been certainly one of France's top resort towns.
Vichy was originally established by Roman legionaries in 52 BC when they found the mineral springs there. During Roman rule, Vichy was a fairly prosperous town due to the supposed medicinal worth of the thermal springs.
- Founded: Through the Romans In 52 BC
- Population: 25,000 Residents Today
- Location: Central France
In the 1600s Vichy began to have a revival plus they became popularized following the waters were claimed to cure ailments. Luxurious thermal baths were built by the French in the 1700s as well as in 1799 Napoleon's mother visited to be cured.
Today is a stunning French town of around 25,000 people with beautiful architecture that one should visit if your are in the center of France.
Baden bei Wien In Austria
Baden is from the German word for “Baths” and it is a spa town just 16 miles south from the glorious Austrian capital city of Vienna (“Wien” the german language). It's a perfect day trip for anybody exploring the great historic imperial seat of the Habsburg Empire.
- Location: 16 Miles From Vienna
Baden was long a favorite summer resort from the Emperors. The town is stunning and combines the architecture from the beginning of the nineteenth century (“Biedermeier”) using the architecture and infrastructures from the turn from the last century (when Baden was a world-class spa resort).
- Temperature: Between 72 and 97 °F (22 and 36 °C)
- Number: 14 Hot Springs
Baden is situated in the Vienna Woods at the mouth from the Schwechat River's St Helena Valley. It's 14 hot springs – these vary in temperature from 72 to 97 °F (22 to 36 °C).