Wellness tourism is one of the fastest-growing trends in travel. Restorative travel experiences were on the rise before the pandemic; now, in a uniquely health-focused environment, they’ve come back stronger than ever before.
Most of today’s travelers are looking to spend more time and money on trips that benefit their well-being. They’re after rejuvenation, prevention, and relaxation – and that’s not changing anytime soon, as wellness tourism is now expected to grow by 21% each year.
Here are three European destinations that offer the best spa and wellness getaways.
Hungary is home to over 100 baths and spas focused on the health benefits of powerfully concentrated mineral waters. Budapest alone, Hungary’s geothermal crown jewel, has almost too many options to choose from.
Gellért Baths have been well-loved by travelers for over a century. The swankiest of Budapest’s baths, Gellért offers visitors a unique Art Nouveau-meets-palatial vibe. Tourists can enjoy colorful murals while wading through the mineral-rich indoor thermal pools, or bask in the natural rays of its trademark skylight in the lap pool.
The grand Széchenyi Baths are a fun and enjoyable crowd-pleaser with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor pools. Or, travelers can take a step back in time with something more unique. Rudas Baths offer a 400-year-old Turkish pool encircled by stone Ottoman arches and topped with a colorful mosaic skylight, as well as six other cold-to-hot pools.
For those looking to venture out of the capital city and a little off path, the tranquil Hungarian countryside offers plenty of refreshing options.
Two hours south of Budapest, Hévíz Thermal Lake boasts some of the most powerful (and pungent) waters in eastern Europe and the title of second-largest thermal lake in the world. Geothermal spring currents are constantly circulating, completely refreshing Hévíz’s waters every few days.
The Spirit Hotel Thermal Spa is nestled between four similar geothermal lakes in the town of Sárvár, which refill its 22 pools. When you’re done with your hot spring dip, try out the spa’s herbal massages, oxygen therapy, sauna, or plunge pools.
Italy has a reputation for indulgence and pleasure. Naturally, it might not be the first place travelers think of for a health-boosting holiday.
But if you look below the delicious wine-stained surface, Italy has so much restoration to offer wellness travelers.
Lefay Lake Garda’s infinity pool overlooks one of the best views in Italy. Given its distinctly Italian surroundings, travelers may be surprised to learn that Lefay offers a unique menu of Eastern-inspired wellness treatments, from Tai Qi and Zazen Meditation to acupuncture and Gua Sha facial massage.
Guests at the globally renowned Preidlhof Spa in southern Italy can enjoy wild-forest bathing, steam baths, salt rooms, and other cleansing treatments. For those looking to clear both body and mind, Preidlhof offers a variety of yoga classes, meditation cabins, traditional Eastern breathing technique sessions, and an array of Ayurvedic treatments.
What do Michaelangelo and Pope Boniface VIII have in common?
Drinking the healing waters of Fiuggi, Italy to cure their diseases.
Less than an hour from Rome, Palazzo Fiuggi balances its ancient wellness history with a focus on modern Western medicine and nutrition. Goal-focused programs, such as the immune-boosting package, use state-of-the-art testing and treatment to send travelers home in the healthiest shape of their lives.
Guests can enjoy both tradition and modernity, from the Roman Baths section of their hydro circuit to the new-age sound healing sessions.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, Saturnia Hot Springs in Tuscany might be just what the doctor ordered. Tiered pools of ice-blue waters cascade down organically artistic rock formations framed by geothermal steam.
Even if the picturesque rolling Tuscan hills steal the show, the medicinal properties of these sulfuric pools are sure to meet travelers’ wellness expectations.
Anyone who’s been on social media lately is familiar with Iceland’s picture-perfect Blue Lagoon. What travelers may not know is that there’s so much more to this Norden country’s geothermal baths and world-class spas than those (deservedly) Insta-famous pools.
One of Iceland’s newest geothermal spas, Sky Lagoon, is known for the dramatic ocean views from its huge infinity ledge. If the striking scenery and 100-degree healing waters weren’t enough to convince you, the convenient location just outside Reykjavik should make this spa a no-brainer.
Geothermal Sea Baths lay low on the cliffside of an unsuspecting fishing village on Skjálfandi Bay. What sets GeoSea apart is the geothermal saltwater rather than mineral freshwater. Visitors can enjoy a true taste of Iceland, from whale watching to basking under the Northern Lights.
Finally, from the designers of the renowned Blue Lagoon comes The Forest Lagoon. Tucked inside a towering lush forest, two infinity geothermal pools look out on the breathtaking Eyjafjordur fjord. Travelers can enjoy swim-up bars, a sauna, and quiet meditation rooms among the pines.
Self-care getaways can look as different as the people who enjoy them, but one thing’s for sure: There’s a wellness activity or retreat in Europe for every kind of traveler.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com