Hot springs are tourist attractions and places of legend. For thousands of years people have believed that these warm water sources had curative properties. Regardless of whether they cure your ills or just feel nice and toasty, they are a huge attraction to many.
Let’s take a trip, and dip our toes in the hottest hot springs.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Reaching temperatures of up to 60 °F (70 °C), the grand Prismatic Springs in Yellowstone Park are the largest springs in the US and the third largest in the world.
These springs are absolutely stunning to look at thanks to the variety of bacterial and microbial organisms that call the edges of this hot spring home. They have given the spring a rainbow coloured hue, depending on the temperature and bacteria growing in the specific spot.
Translating to “Cotton Castle”, once you see the incredible carbonate deposits left by the warm spring water in Pamukkale Springs, you will understand where the name comes from.
The white calcium deposits that form the 2700 meter long “Cotton Castle” structure is the reason why people have come here for millennia. They take in the incredible sights, visible from the opposite end of the Menderes valley then bath in the thermal springs.
This historically significant site was the centre of some uproar recently; when a hotel and resort development that was to be built by the river damaged an archaeological site near the ancient city of Hierapolis.
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Probably the most popular hot springs in the world, the Jigokuda springs in Nagano Japan are famous not just for their temperatures, but it’s unlikely guests that enjoy the warm water as much as the human tourists.
Indigenous snow monkeys, also known as Japanese Macaques come down from the surrounding cliffs and mountains during the day to enjoy the water during the harsh winters in the region.
Despite the renown of these springs, you won’t find the area crowded by sightseers, thanks in large part to the relative inaccessibility of the Jigokuda Springs.
Situated in a dangerous lava field in Grindavik, Iceland, the Blue Lagoon Thermal spa is one of the country’s leading tourist attractions. Averaging around 37–39 °C (99–102 °F) in water temperature, the lagoon’s waters are also rich in silica and sulphur, giving the water purported healing properties.
What makes the lagoon stand out however is the fact that it is actually a man made lagoon and hot spring. The warm water found in the Blue Lagoon is actually a by-product of the thermal power generation station next to the lagoon. Bathers will have to obey the strict rules of hygiene observed at the spa, with visitors having to shower before they enter the lagoon.