, meaning of hot spring has totally different concept than Americas and Asia. European's view of Thermal or hot spring is place to cure decease or illness, not for the relaxation as top priority. Therefore, all the hot springs are either expensive spas with tubs, jacuzzies with water jets using the geothermal water or large swimming pool for recreation. Almost every thermal spas visit in Europe they advertise to cure; rheumatic disorders, degenerative disorders of the musculoskeletal system, secondary treatment of paralysis, dermatoses, and even gynaecological disorders. I'm sure it has positive effects after each hot spring use and I strongly believe power of thermal mineral spring however, this view of treatment center and overall settings (individual water jet tubs and jacuzzies in hospital like rooms) makes me bit uncomfortable especially when I'm used to natural primitive hot springs throughout Americas and Asia.
One of first hot spring I've visited in Europe was thermal springs in Plombier, France. It was one of best hot springs I've visited at the time especially I was totally impressed by the underground tunnel where natural hot steams are spewing and the entire tunnel was still in working condition since Roman times meaning over 2000 years old. According to history, the Roman legions used the site for their wound treatment and general relaxation. Even Napoleon and other royals were heavily visited there and created large town in the middle of forest. However, the drawback was, when you get out of the underground steam tunnel, it leads in to the hydrotheraphy treatment building where you go in to small room with tub and it's like sitting in water jet thermal treatment process. I was hoping that owner of the place could go to Japan and learn how to change the entire setting to more naturally blended in and make it more relaxation place rather than treatment center. In the center of the underground facility, there's one place where old hot spring pool was there but now it's completely filled with concrete which made me sad. The place has so much potential if and when they change the overall function and design rewind back to 2000 years ago.
Plombier from overlooking hilltop - in front of the Cathedral is the town center where underground spa center is locating.
Underground spa passageway where the geothermal heat and steam is coming out from the cracks of 2000 years old Roman time concrete.
Throughout Europe, there are so many Thermal springs but most of them are well developed spas or swimming pools. Of course all are well maintained and beautiful settings especially in Swiss and it's probably the most advanced in terms of technology and overall design of facilities.
Swiss has several great ones:
Leukerbad in Swiss which is the largest spa and wellness resort in the Alps,
Baden near Zurich, has history of 2,000 years when Roman regions cure their cuts and bruises from battle from its thermal springs.
Bad Zurzach locating in black forest near German border. Both Baden and Bad Zuzach is near city of Zurich so if you plan well, you may be able to hit them on one weekend.
Engadine Bad in Scuol near eastern German border
A typical Thermal spring. This one near Evian France by the lake Leman.
Evian Thermal Spa in Evian, France.
- during my stay in Germany, I've been checking Bad (bath in German) in entire Germany then fould like 250 Bads but most of them I researched were coldsprings, not hot springs I was looking for. Aachen and Baden Baden was probably most impressive places I've been in Germany. Aachen's rich history combined with beautiful town setting was very much appreciated and the water quality was excellent if I can remember correctly. Baden Baden was an old casino town and the town is meticulously maintained like typical German town and it has one of the largest thermal pools I've visited.
is famous for hottest springs in Europe with water temperature of 74°C (165 °F) and Charlemagne who established residence and built the city there in 768 AD. Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse in German) built the Aachen Cathedral which deployed unique German style church architecture and it remains as one of the largest and oldest church in Germany http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/3
. Charlemagne and Casanova both bathed in Aachen and others simply call Aachen the name "Spa of Kings" which the reputation still continues today
After taking bath at one of many spas, you should walk through the old town. Aachen’s historic Old Town is perfect for stroll around and enjoy over 2000 years of history and great food and beer.
Aachen Cathdral's inside.
Aachen's famous cathedral
Is locate in the middle of black forest near French border and the history goes back to Roman times when Roman emperor Carracalla enjoyed bath there to cure his illness. Baden Baden attracted many celebrities throughout Europe and famous visitors are including Napoleon, Brahms, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy who most likely visited there for Casino as well as curing thermal baths. The 200 years old Spielbank casino is most famous for Dostoyevsky's lose of fortune uncluding his shirt. Baden Baden also has Germany's largest Opera house and Brahmshaus who was local resident for many years.
Baden Baden's famous Irish bath house.
In Germany, many spas like this one allows both male and female to enter same spa and steam room and they are not paying attention to others, mind their own business.
Baden Baden's largest spa Caracalla Spa very famous for rich sodium chloride and the hot spring is coming out from artesian wells 1.8Km meters under the near by mountain.
Budapest is often called the "Spa Capital" due to its vast network of natural hot springs throughout the city. There are over 400 registered thermal spas (natural) and some of then famous ones are well designed with Baroque style buildings and well designed pools both indoor and outdoors. Spa vacation is well traditioned amongst Hungarians.
Budapest downtown and Danube river.
Budapest Castle Hill Funicular
Karlovy Vary - Czech Republic
Karlovy Vary has more than 20 hot spring dispensers throughout the town. Visitors buy one of those beautiful handy hot spring mug and fill with the hot spring water at each dispensary then walk to next one while sipping the hot water. It's quiet an interesting concept which I haven't seen anywhere else.
Kalovy vary, CZ
Teplice is another spa town in Cz.