You already know about the golden beaches, ancient ruins and gorgeous islands of Greece. But did you know there are spectacular natural hot springs scattered from Athens to Thessaloniki? Check out the best below – we’ve even included an excellent hotel or two nearby, bookable with Culture Trip.
Despite the soaring summer temperatures and mild winters in Greece, there’s still something truly relaxing about soaking in the natural thermal springs found here. Plus, a dip reputedly brings a range of health benefits: the sulphur-rich waters are said to contain minerals that ease joint pain and skin ailments. If you do want to visit one of the hot springs below, stay in one of the nearby hotels for an unusual range of holiday activities, from skiing at Parnassos to having your feet nibbled by doctor fish.
Pozar Thermal Baths, Pella
In the Pella district, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, Pozar Thermal Baths lie about 110km (68mi) from Thessaloniki. This impressive site features hot springs, natural pools and rivers with thermal waters – at 37C (98F) – plus a network of natural and artificial waterfalls. Pozar is a top destination, especially if you wish to combine it with other activities, such as skiing at the nearby resort or enjoying the nearby forests.
With the North Macedonia border nearby, you can find Irene’s Resort nestled within beautiful, towering mountains. Surrounded by dense vegetation and gorges, this luxe hotel has a lovely seasonal pool and a laid-back restaurant serving traditional dishes. Rooms evoke a sense of calm, with wooden details and muted palettes. When you’re in need of a good, long soak, the Pozar Thermal Baths are nearby.
As the name suggests, Pozar Salt Cave Hotel has a cave filled with mineral salt (thought to have healing properties). When you’re not immersing yourself in the cave (or partaking in one of the 45 massage and body treatments available at the spa), it’s best to lounge on your four-poster bed or take in the views of pretty Loutraki Aridaias village from your private balcony.
Located 170km (105mi) from the city of Thessaloniki, Krinides has been a spa site since the Byzantine era. It features thermal water and healing clay baths with an approximate temperature of 29C (84F). Treatments aim to relieve skin and rheumatic issues, as well as gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and urinary ailments. After a visit to the doctor’s centre, you will go through a thermal shower before immersing yourself in thermal mud for about 20 minutes. The treatment ends with a second thermal shower, aimed to wash off all the mud. Of course, you can pair this basic treatment with other therapies, such as a massage or a hammam session.
Just a 15-minute drive from Krinides in northern Greece, Egnatia City Hotel & Spa overlooks the glistening Thracian Sea from a hilltop spot. Rooms are modern, most with private balconies, underfloor heating and hydro massage shower cabins – but the majority of your time will be spent dining on the roof garden (at sunset with the gentle sea breeze is best) or making the most of the sensory hotel spa.
For a sleek option in central Kavala, it’s got to be The Anthemion House. With rattan fixtures, a rich palette, tiled floors and walk-in showers, the décor here is photo-worthy. We love the attic room, with its high-beamed ceilings, cosy reading nook, muted green accents and private jacuzzi room. Whichever room you opt for, a hearty, delicious Greek breakfast is served in-house each morning, which will set you up perfectly for a trip to Krinides.
Vouliagmeni Lake, Attica
Right in the Athens Riviera, the warm waters of the Vouliagmeni Lake await. This year-round spa enjoys temperatures ranging from 22C to 29C (71F to 84F). Under the water, a population of doctor fish (or garra rufa) offer natural skin exfoliation to swimmers. At the edge, you’ll find a network of caves that are more than 3km (1.8mi) long. Facilities include sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as a restaurant and a playground for children.
With Astir Beach a short walk away , plus views of lush pine forests and the shimmering sea from most rooms, The Margi proves why an Athenian Riviera mini-break should be at the top of your to-do list. Even the smallest of rooms offers a high-end stay, but if you’re feeling flush opt for the expansive, private beachfront villa for direct access to the Med. When you can pull yourself away, the spa and restaurant are world-class too. Vouliagmeni Lake is a five-minute drive away.
Just steps from two of Athens’ best beaches (Vouliagmeni and Okeanida), Azur Hotel is a chic option for a beach holiday. Rooms are monochromatic, with marble-clad bathrooms and geometric detailing – opt for one of the suites with private pools to make the most of the famed Greek heat. When peckish, the all-day Cinq Restaurant serves traditional Mediterranean dishes. Combine ocean time with a trip to the warm waters of Vouliagmeni Lake.
Located about 2.5 hours from Athens on the island of Evia, Edipsos is one of the most famous spa towns in Greece. Popular since ancient times, 80 thermal springs range between 28C (82F) to 80C (176F). The water contains a high percentage of magnesium, calcium and iron with high healing properties. Scattered across the city, the springs supply water to all the hydrotherapy centres of the region. Even better, you may find semi-thermal sea water at certain beaches where thermal springs reach the seabed.
A visit to a spa town like Edipsos means maximising your relaxation time – so why not stay in a dedicated spa hotel? 9 Queens Spa Hotel features a wellness centre and spa with its very own hot springs, and suites also come with double spa baths. Hot tubs are available on request. While you’re in such a deep state of relaxation, it’s best to book in for a massage too.
Kamena Vourla, Fthiotida
The quiet seaside town of Kamena Vourla, 150km (93mi) from Athens, is another great destination for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday. The two thermal hot springs are more rustic than the others on this list, and are located about 2km (1.25mi) apart. Temperatures vary between 30C to 40C (86F to 104F). They are regularly frequented by locals and are free to lounge in for as long as you like. Combine a visit with a day trip to Delphi, the site of the Battle of Thermopylae and the ski resort of Parnassos.
A spot for serious spa buffs, Mitsis Galini Wellness Spa & Resort’s 3,000sqm (32,291sqft) is thought to be one of the world’s biggest. With its own thermal water pools, the hotel also has a sea pool, 100 different types of massages, face and body treatments, a rasul, a hammam, a sauna and a solarium. Personalised health programmes can be designed too. While most of your time will be spent in the spa, rooms offer mountain views and there’s also a beach on your doorstep.
Loutraki in the prefecture of Corinth, only 81km (50mi) west of Athens, was one of the first thermal destinations in Greece. Known during ancient times for its curative waters, the seaside town is home to a thermal spa boasting a plethora of services and treatments, including thalassotherapy. Given its convenient location near Athens, Loutraki Spa is an excellent destination for a day trip, which you can combine with a visit to the casino nearby.
Forget the Greek Islands, those in the know are heading to Loutraki on the Greek mainland for a quiet seaside break. Here, it’s best to stay at the seafront Pefkaki Boutique Hotel Loutraki where you can spend your days taking in lungfuls of fresh sea air. Opt for one of the bungalows if you can – one has its own a private beach while the other has a private pool. When parched, head for a cocktail at Perla Bar with a glorious backdrop of the Gulf of Corinth.
Located in the tranquil municipality of Zacharo, in the Peloponnese near Kalamata, Kaiafas features two thermal springs located in a natural cave by the foot of Mount Lapithas. The water, erupting at around 33C (91F), is rich in sulphur compounds and minerals, with strong therapeutic properties. You will find a modern hydrotherapy centre with private baths and an outdoor pool, as well as other treatment spaces available.
A short drive from the thermal springs of Kaiafas, Hotel Natura Club & Spa is an adults-only haven. With its hilltop location and sea views, pink-tinged sunsets are a given – best seen from the hotel’s lofty pool or from the privacy of your own balcony. Those looking to unwind should head to its spa where you’ll find a jacuzzi, sauna, hammam and an infrared cabin.
Kaiafas Lake Hotel sits – as you would expect – just 800m (2,624ft) from Kaiafas Lake, a teal-hued body of water known for its healing properties. Rooms here are basic, but most of your time will be spent in the aforementioned lake, the hotel’s pool or dining on Greek fare at the onsite restaurant. Visit in late summer to dine al fresco on balmy evenings, surrounded by birdsong and lush trees.
Ethel Dilouambaka contributed additional reporting to this article.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.