Wherever hot water is rising miraculously from the earth in Greece, a temple or town springs up around the aquatic wonder. Most springs have been in continuous use since prehistoric times.
Unlike the ruins of ancient cities, where we can imagine but not really experience what life in the ancient times was like, the spas of today offer a modern experience, only slightly altered since the magnificent spa and bath experiences of ancient Greek and Roman times. Spending a few days – or maybe only a few hours – at one of these thermal baths is a great way to get a relaxing break from your sightseeing and activities.
The healing waters in Greece
While a few famous waters are now reduced to merely being the source springs for bottling plants, most thermal springs are still available for the enjoyment of Greeks and tourists alike.
Greece is still an undiscovered goldmine with its many, but in most cases little-known, natural hot springs. Due to the unique geology in Greece, more than 700 natural hots springs are scattered all over the country from the islands in the Aegean Sea to Macedonia in the north, the area around Athens as well as Peloponnese and Central Greece. 84 of the 700 are officially recognized of having healing benefits.
Health treatment in Greece
Still, only a handful are suitable equipped to offer a complete range of spa services – in contrast to the rest of western Europe where hundreds of health resort spas cater to millions of visitors every year. According to Greek tourism experts catering to tourists who combine leisure activities with health treatments in spas is a growing industry which Greece has yet to fully appreciate.
Hot springs and spas through history
Hot springs and spas have been used in hope of curing certain diseases since prehistoric times, and the whole idea of thermal springs has its root in ancient Greece.
It was Herodotus who first established the exact methods of balneotherapeutic practices and later Hippocrates, the famous physician of Hellenic antiquity, who dedicated a great part of his life to working with the therapeutic benefits of thermal water.
Hot springs in Northern Greece
Pozar Thermal Baths are in the district of Pella, which also is the birthplace of Alexander the Great. You will find it at the foothills of Mount Kaimaktsalan, and it boasts hot springs, pools, and rivers with thermal waters. Natural as well as artificial waterfalls are adding a touch of magic to the place. Here the river of Thermopotamos flows near the rocky mountain featuring small waterfalls and shallow river bends. At a temperature of 37 ⁰C the thermal water is recommended for dermatological, rheumatic, gynecological, respiratory as well as circulatory system conditions.
About Pozar you will find various accommodation options, such as hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. Pozar is a top destination for spa treatments, and if you visit it during the winter season you can add in activities such as skiing at the nearby skiing resort and enjoy trekking in the beautiful forests.
Lagadas – a Byzantine spa town
Just a few kilometers north of Limni (Lake) Koroneia you will find the curative baths of Lagadas. It is only two kilometres east of the town Lagadas. The baths have been used by the local population throughout history. The first balneotherapy facilities in Lagadas date back to 900 A.D. It was the Byzantine military doctor Ioustinianos who created the tradition. Today, you will find two Byzantine tanks – dating from 900 and 1400 A.D. – remarkably still in use. The modern development of Lagadas Baths began in 1925, and still today Lagadas is a modern spa town.
35 kilometres southwest of Karditsa you find the curative springs of Smokovo – in the mountains of Agrafa, at an altitude of 450 metres. Back in the middle of the 17th century A.D. two lords from Smokovo built temporary facilities for their baths, making use of the hot springs. The inhabitants in the area soon learned from their example and did the same, while the reputation of these extraordinary facilities of the Smokovo Springs spread far and wide. At that time Greece was under Ottoman rule and Ali Pasha of Ioannina and Mahmout Pasha visited Smokovo Springs to experience the water. Two springs were named after them in honour. Today the waters flow from five different springs being channeled into the hydrotherapy center of Smokovo.
Hot springs in Central Greece
The prefecture of Fthiotida probably offers the greatest concentration of spa sites in Greece. The coast of Fthiotida also offers ferry connection to the island of Euboea (Evia) which boasts dozens of hot springs. One of the best is the spa at Edipsos (also called Aedipsos). This spa is unique in that the hot springs are located under the sea water, allowing visitors to swim surrounded by the swirling warm water. The temperature of the thermal waters range between 28°- 80°C and the waters contain high percentages of magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Both Plutarch and Aristotle wrote about Aedipsos, and archaeological evidence suggests that the spa has been in use for at least 20,000 years. This long history is reflected in the dozens of hotels, including 5* boutique hotels, guest houses, and other tourist and health-seeker facilities which fill this pleasant, hospitable town.
Edipsos provides detailed scientific information on the composition of its healing waters. Just about two and a half hours drive from Athens, Edipsos is with its approx. 80 thermal spas one of the most famous spa towns in Greece. You may also find semi-thermal sea water at certain beaches near Edipsos, where the hot springs empty their water into the sea.
Thermal springs in Kamena Vourla
Kamena Vourla is a quiet seaside town, 150 kilometres (87 miles) north of Athens. It is a nice distination for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. Here the thermal waters are blessed with radioactive elements which some claim to have a beneficial effect on a series of diseases. The temperatures of the hot spring water vary between 30-40 °C. A travel to Kamena Vourla might be the perfect choice in the winter season with a stay at Galini Wellness Hotel in Kamena Vourla and visits at nearby cultural treasures such as Delphi archaeological site and museum, as well as the site of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae. Not far from here you also find the ski resort of Parnassos.
Thermal springs near Athens Greece
Loutraki, not far from the town of Corinth, lies only 81 kilometres (50 miles) from Athens, was one of the first spa towns in Greece in modern times. Loutraki has been known during ancient times as well for its curative thermal water, and this seaside cozy town is the center of a great many services and treatments, among which you will find thalassotherapy – meaning therapy in sea water. Visiting Athens, it is convenient to go to Loutraki on a day trip enjoy a relaxing treatment.
Thermal springs in Peloponnese
Methana Spa Town – at an ancient volcano
Methana is yet another popular spa town, located on the Peloponnesian headland, just opposite of the island of Aegina. Each year, Methana attracts thousands of Greeks and foreign visitors, especially during the summer months. Ancient Greek traveler Pausanias wrote in the second century AD that these warm springs appeared after a volcanic eruption near Methana during the third century BC.
This volcano has been inactive for more than 2,000 years, but still today this ancient volcanic peninsula has warm sulphur springs and impressive steam geysers near the old inactive crater. When visiting Methana spa town you can enjoy beautiful beaches, walking trails and traditional villages nearby.
Therapeutic waters at the Lagoon of Kaiafas
The municipality of Zacharo in Peloponnese – known as a mountainous landscape in perfect tranquility – is home to the Kaiafas thermal springs which have been renowned since ancient times. There are two springs, named Anigrides Nymphes and Geranio (also called Atnatides Nymphes) both flowing out of caves at the foot of Lapitha Mountain.
Both caves are to be found on the east shore of Kaiafas Lagoon. The spring water at Kaiafas has a surface temperature of 32 – 34 °C, it is sulfur compounds and minerals, with strong therapeutic abilities. Today you will find a modern hydrotherapy center with an outdoor pool and private baths, as well as many other treatments.
Kyllini – thermal springs in beautiful forest
The Thermal Springs of Kyllini (also called Lintzi) are to be found on the western coast of Peloponnese, nine kilometres from the town of Kyllini in an area of great natural beauty in the woods. As you approach Kyllini Baths, the forest becomes dense with tall trees extending all the way down to the sandy beach. Since antiquity, the Kyllini Baths have been famous for their hot springs, where the waters, the steam as well as the mud under the water are helping to cure arthritis, skin diseases, and asthma.
Hot springs in the Cyclades
Hot springs in Santorini
In one of the most cosmopolitan and expensive islands in all of Greece you will find the hot springs of Palia Kameni a refreshingly uncommercial experience. The rocks are copper-coloured, and the sea is sparkling emerald. Cover yourself with warm sulphurous mud before washing off in the mineral-rich water.
All you must do to enjoy this invigorating experience is to rent a boat and head along the coast until you reach the Bay of Palia Kameni or book a trip to Ammoudi. You cannot miss the emerald green hot spring water pouring into the sea.
The hot spots in the island of Milos
The volcanic island of Milos has several spots which provide hot waters, though these are not organized. There are also “hot spots” along many of the beaches, where very warm water rises just offshore.
Hot springs in the Dodecanese
On the island of Icaria (Ikaria), spas still function at Therma. The ancient thermal springs in Therma have an abundance of therapeutic radio-energized water. They are regarded the best in the world and considering the longevity of the inhabitants of Ikaria, who knows? 😉
Therma in Ikaria has been popular for hydrotherapy since the 4th century B.C. Still today you can see the ruins of the ancient baths at Therma, two kilometres from Agios Kirikos. The remains of wrecked marble bathtubs and pre-historic aqueduct that has been excavated from the area bear ample testimony of Therma’s popularity in antiquity.
If you are an active spa-seeker, you may hear of the Kallithea Spas on Rhodes. Be warned, these are not presently in use. It is interesting for its Italian-occupation-era architecture, but you cannot soak in it.
The thermal springs of Kos is to be found at Agios Fokas with a sea-pool and hot springs, known as Thermes. To get there you must cross the East beach and pass Cape Psalidi, as well as Cape Agios Fokas, which is a steep arm rising from the sea 75 metres up. About three kilometres from the cape you find Thermes, the thermal springs of Kos. The thermal baths are situated at the end of a pebbled beach, surrounded by a rock pool where the water usually is ranging at a temperature of 42 – 50 °C. Mixed with the sea water it produces a nice warm bath. The temperature in the big pool varies a lot. According to studies, apart from being pleasant, the waters of the thermal springs of Kos have healing features for skin diseases.
Lesvos also offers an array of hot and cold healing springs. In addition to the natural spring waters, there are several spas specializing in thalassotherapy, or sea-water treatments. They have provided beautiful chambers to soak in the seawater, and a variety of treatments, including pedilavium, affusion therapy, underwater massage baths and many others.
Thermal and therapeutic natural springs in Greece
Greeks are proud of their abundant spring waters, each of which is considered to have special curative powers. Thermal hot springs are scattered all over Greece. Many of these springs are not organized for bath while others are only being used for bottled water. Find many of the historic thermal springs on this list with description of health issues and therapy use of the water. Obviously, this is not a prescription, and if you are seeking therapy for a specific condition, you should consult your health-care provider. Find a list of important and historic thermal spas in Greece here
You will find all thermal springs in Greece presented by geographical location in this brochure. Klik link to download.
Hot springs and thermal baths
Thermes Gera Hot Springs
Koniavitis Thermal Springs
Kamena Vourla, Greece
Thermal Spa Agia Paraskevi
Agia Paraskevi, Kassandra, Halkidiki, Greece
Loutraki Thermal Spa
Hot Springs Nea Kameni
Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece
Hot Springs Palea Kameni
Palea Kameni, Santorini, Greece
Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort
Paliouri, Halkidiki, Greece
Thermae Sylla Spa & Wellness Hotel
Lagadas Municipality, Greece
+30 2394 022221
Pozar Thermal Baths
Kos, Cyclades, Greece
Krinides Mud Baths
Lefkada Recommended Public Hot Springs
Lefkados, Ag. Kirikos, Ikaria, Greece
Therma, Ikaria, Greece
Apollon Municipal Thermal Spa
Therma, Ikaria, Greece
Therma Loumakia Recommended Public Hot Spring
Therma, Ikaria, Greece