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10 Bucket-List Saunas, Hot Springs, And Thermal Baths From Around The World / By Sallie Lewis / www.dwell.com/ Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

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10 Bucket-List Saunas, Hot Springs, And Thermal Baths From Around The World / By Sallie Lewis / www.dwell.com/ Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

10 Bucket-List Saunas, Hot Springs, and Thermal Baths From Around the World
In her new book, “Thermal,” author Lindsey Bro plunges into the deepest reaches of the globe exploring the healing powers of heat.
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If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a cedar sauna or soaked in hot springs, you’ve participated in something much greater than a good sweat.

“From the hot, enveloping atmosphere of the sauna; to the deep, embracing allure of geothermal waters; to the sometimes contradictory, yet always beloved and enduring initiation of bathhouses around the world, we as humans appear to crave the sacred rites of water, in all its forms, as a way to remember,” writes Lindsey Bro in her new book, Thermal, a steamy volume available November 22 via Chronicle Books.

Thermal: Saunas, Hot Springs, and Baths

Thermal: Saunas, Hot Springs, and Baths

$29.95
Full of breathtaking photography and engaging stories, THERMAL is a celebration of the places, traditions, and mythologies surrounding the healing benefits of heat.

But these traditions we hold dear are as much about connecting with the past as they are about healing. In her book, Bro explores some of the world’s most dramatic saunas, hot springs, and bathing pools, spaces we’re drawn to for their restorative and reviving powers.

For lovers of a good schvitz or soak, sink yourself into these magnificent phenomena, natural and man-made, from a cocoon-shaped sauna on the fringes of Tasmania to the world’s largest hot spring in the volcanic wilds of New Zealand.

Panorama Glass Lodge, Hella, Iceland

Created after appearing to its owner in a dream, the Panorama Glass Lodge offers direct views of the active volcano Hekla, the northern lights, the midnight sun, a beautiful river, and the Icelandic highlands—all from the comfort of your bed. Inspired by the simple, rugged beauty of Scandinavian houses, the property consists of four lodges and two saunas completely immersed in nature. "Saunas are very important to us locals. We think it is important for body health and mental health, as well as a way to deeply relax and unwind," says co-owner Sabrina Dedler. In Iceland, a country that embraces cold winds and freezing temperatures, "we are able to find a greater balance of health by incorporating sauna," she says.

Created after appearing to its owner in a dream, the Panorama Glass Lodge offers direct views of the active volcano Hekla, the northern lights, the midnight sun, a beautiful river, and the Icelandic highlands—all from the comfort of your bed.

Inspired by the simple, rugged beauty of Scandinavian houses, the property consists of four lodges and two saunas completely immersed in nature. “Saunas are very important to us locals. We think it is important for body health and mental health, as well as a way to deeply relax and unwind,” says co-owner Sabrina Dedler.

In Iceland, a country that embraces cold winds and freezing temperatures, “we are able to find a greater balance of health by incorporating sauna,” she says.

Courtesy of Panorama Glass Lodge

House of the Weedy Seadragon, Pirates Bay, Tasmania

"Rugged and wild, Tasmania is beautiful year-round, and we wanted to use our shack in every season," say co-owners and sisters Lara McCartney and Clair Peachey. "As winters can be cold, the sauna provides a warm, peaceful cocoon; it’s a beautiful way to enjoy the weather and storms that roll in over the Tasman Peninsula from across the Tasman Sea. From the sauna, you can watch the tuna boats returning with their catch, humpback whales coming home with their calves, and countless seabirds swarming."

“Rugged and wild, Tasmania is beautiful year-round, and we wanted to use our shack in every season,” say co-owners and sisters Lara McCartney and Clair Peachey.

“As winters can be cold, the sauna provides a warm, peaceful cocoon; it’s a beautiful way to enjoy the weather and storms that roll in over the Tasman Peninsula from across the Tasman Sea.

From the sauna, you can watch the tuna boats returning with their catch, humpback whales coming home with their calves, and countless seabirds swarming.”

Photo by Renee Thurs

The Bands, Kleivan, Norway 

Ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, with craggy peaks, open seas, and sheltered bays, sits the dramatic, remote, and lonely archipelago of Lofoten. With an imposing beauty, the islands are part of the Scandinavian Caledonides, a mountain range that stretches from northern Norway all the way to the south, and comprises six principal islands and hundreds of smaller, unpopulated ones. Within this landscape sits The Bands, a seaside sauna built on a quay in the former fishing village of Kleivan. The sauna was commissioned by the local district to tie together the old with the new, incorporating three historical pre-existing buildings—a fisherman’s cottage (Rorbu), a cod liver oil–production building (Trandamperi), and a cod-salting building (Brygge)—with a new structure. Evoking the rocks below and waves nearby, The Bands gets its name from three ribbon-like, connected wooden bands that echo the angular landscape. Each band folds to form the 969-square-foot structure, made up of several outdoor areas. To the north, the bands emerge from the rocks, offering a hot tub and a cold tub as well as a rest area. Built sensitively within the surrounding environment, the light-filled, 161-square-foot [15-square-meter] sauna features clerestory windows made from translucent plastic and a gabled wall with windows looking out on the nearby mountains. As the bands bend and fold, they continue to form a fish-cleaning station, a picnic terrace, and many places to lounge and rest.

Ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, with craggy peaks, open seas, and sheltered bays, sits the dramatic, remote, and lonely archipelago of Lofoten.

With an imposing beauty, the islands are part of the Scandinavian Caledonides, a mountain range that stretches from northern Norway all the way to the south, and comprises six principal islands and hundreds of smaller, unpopulated ones.

Within this landscape sits The Bands, a seaside sauna built on a quay in the former fishing village of Kleivan.

The sauna was commissioned by the local district to tie together the old with the new, incorporating three historical pre-existing buildings—a fisherman’s cottage (Rorbu), a cod liver oil–production building (Trandamperi), and a cod-salting building (Brygge)—with a new structure.

Evoking the rocks below and waves nearby, The Bands gets its name from three ribbon-like, connected wooden bands that echo the angular landscape. Each band folds to form the 969-square-foot structure, made up of several outdoor areas. To the north, the bands emerge from the rocks, offering a hot tub and a cold tub as well as a rest area.

Built sensitively within the surrounding environment, the light-filled, 161-square-foot [15-square-meter] sauna features clerestory windows made from translucent plastic and a gabled wall with windows looking out on the nearby mountains. As the bands bend and fold, they continue to form a fish-cleaning station, a picnic terrace, and many places to lounge and rest.

Courtesy of the Scarcity and Creativity Studio at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Sheldon Chalet, Denali, Alaska

Alaska is synonymous with wild beauty and its landscapes demand respect. Here, simple comforts feel like luxuries. The Sheldon Chalet sits on a lonely outcropping, a five-acre nunatak in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater of Denali’s Ruth Glacier. As one of the most remote guest-houses in the world—accessible only by bush plane, or on foot by the very bravest of mountaineers willing to risk their lives—the chalet offers views and an experience like no other. Just south of the chalet on the same outcropping is the Historic Mountain House, a small hut built in 1966. It’s perched at an elevation of 6,000 feet, a short distance from the summit of Denali, in the middle of the six-million-acre park. Because of this extreme setting, the original owner, Roberta Sheldon, used to ask guests if they were "physically fit and mentally flexible" before they made the journey to the hut. With remoteness and accessibility a consideration, all the materials for the chalet and sauna had to be flown in by plane or hung by a sling and helicoptered in. A stunning accomplishment, the five-bedroom chalet and cedar-lined sauna are a well-earned place to watch a solar storm, witnessing the purples, blues, and greens of the aurora with the naked eye. Located 63º north of the equator, the chalet is designed to endure 100ºF [56ºC] temperature swings, hurricane-force winds, and the incredibly brutal Alaskan climate.


Alaska is synonymous with wild beauty and its landscapes demand respect. Here, simple comforts feel like luxuries.
The Sheldon Chalet sits on a lonely outcropping, a five-acre nunatak in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater of Denali’s Ruth Glacier.

As one of the most remote guest-houses in the world—accessible only by bush plane, or on foot by the very bravest of mountaineers willing to risk their lives—the chalet offers views and an experience like no other.

Just south of the chalet on the same outcropping is the Historic Mountain House, a small hut built in 1966. It’s perched at an elevation of 6,000 feet, a short distance from the summit of Denali, in the middle of the six-million-acre park.

Because of this extreme setting, the original owner, Roberta Sheldon, used to ask guests if they were “physically fit and mentally flexible” before they made the journey to the hut.

With remoteness and accessibility a consideration, all the materials for the chalet and sauna had to be flown in by plane or hung by a sling and helicoptered in.

A stunning accomplishment, the five-bedroom chalet and cedar-lined sauna are a well-earned place to watch a solar storm, witnessing the purples, blues, and greens of the aurora with the naked eye. Located 63º north of the equator, the chalet is designed to endure 100ºF [56ºC] temperature swings, hurricane-force winds, and the incredibly brutal Alaskan climate.

Photo by Mike Pham

Sauna, or bastu in Swedish, is a natural way of life for the people of the North. Like the midnight sun or the northern lights, sauna and cold baths are deeply ingrained in everyday life here. Cold plunges, together with a warm sauna, are incredibly invigorating and often credited with building the sort of resilience Swedes are known for. This restorative combination is used to ease sore and aching muscles, help the central nervous system, and reduce the body’s inflammatory response. The Arctic Bath & Spa, located just south of the Arctic Circle, was built as a reminder of the region’s heritage, its essential connection to nature, and the overwhelming importance of the forest. Situated on the Lule River, an old transportation route for timber, the main circular building was designed to imitate log jams in the river rapids. Here, the sauna experience is about the connection between mind and body, energy and health, earth and well-being. It’s about using all of your senses to feel refreshed, release tension, and expand your awareness.

Sauna, or bastu in Swedish, is a natural way of life for the people of the North. Like the midnight sun or the northern lights, sauna and cold baths are deeply ingrained in everyday life here.

Cold plunges, together with a warm sauna, are incredibly invigorating and often credited with building the sort of resilience Swedes are known for.

This restorative combination is used to ease sore and aching muscles, help the central nervous system, and reduce the body’s inflammatory response.

The Arctic Bath & Spa, located just south of the Arctic Circle, was built as a reminder of the region’s heritage, its essential connection to nature, and the overwhelming importance of the forest. Situated on the Lule River, an old transportation route for timber, the main circular building was designed to imitate log jams in the river rapids.

Here, the sauna experience is about the connection between mind and body, energy and health, earth and well-being. It’s about using all of your senses to feel refreshed, release tension, and expand your awareness.

Courtesy of Arctic Bath & Spa

Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rotorua, New Zealand

Situated within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a hotbed of geothermal activity. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s youngest geothermal valley—formed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Renowned for its mud pools, hyperpigmented opaque waters, and natural hot springs, Rotorua is steeped in deep Maori culture. The tangata whenua, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, believe in the restorative and spiritual power of the natural world, an idea embodied by kaitiakitanga, the Maori concept of guarding over and stewarding the land. Geothermally, Waimangu (meaning "black water") is a hotbed of activity, featuring the largest hot spring in the world—it is too hot to swim in—with temperatures of 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and features brilliantly colored microbiology (like the red algae) and intense mineral deposits in the water. According to Maori mythology, the hot springs came about when a priest, Nga-toroirangi, was caught in a blizzard while climbing Mount Tongariro. He called on his sisters, the fire goddesses Te Pupu and Te Hoata, to come from Hawaiki (their Polynesian home) to relieve his chills. After traveling underwater, the goddesses surfaced on New Zealand’s North Island in Rotorua, where the region’s hot pools are now found. Today, residents of Rotorua continue to embrace the unique geothermal properties of the area to cook ha-ngı-—a traditional method  using an earth oven—in the natural thermal steam and sulfurous water.

Situated within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a hotbed of geothermal activity. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s youngest geothermal valley—formed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Renowned for its mud pools, hyperpigmented opaque waters, and natural hot springs, Rotorua is steeped in deep Maori culture.

The tangata whenua, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, believe in the restorative and spiritual power of the natural world, an idea embodied by kaitiakitanga, the Maori concept of guarding over and stewarding the land.

Geothermally, Waimangu (meaning “black water”) is a hotbed of activity, featuring the largest hot spring in the world—it is too hot to swim in—with temperatures of 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and features brilliantly colored microbiology (like the red algae) and intense mineral deposits in the water.

According to Maori mythology, the hot springs came about when a priest, Nga-toroirangi, was caught in a blizzard while climbing Mount Tongariro. He called on his sisters, the fire goddesses Te Pupu and Te Hoata, to come from Hawaiki (their Polynesian home) to relieve his chills. After traveling underwater, the goddesses surfaced on New Zealand’s North Island in Rotorua, where the region’s hot pools are now found.

Today, residents of Rotorua continue to embrace the unique geothermal properties of the area to cook ha-ngı-—a traditional method  using an earth oven—in the natural thermal steam and sulfurous water.

Courtesy of 2022 iStock.com

Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey

The terraced travertine pools of Pamukkale sit in the southwest Denizli region of Turkey, carrying with them the ancient history of a holy city where emperors soaked and, it’s rumored, Cleopatra swam. "Bathing is one of the many practices of letting go," says Ekin Balcıog˘ lu of Hamam magazine. In Turkish culture and around the world, "bathing can be communal or personal," and on some level, it’s always profound. Pamukkale’s seventeen pools sit above the Anatolian Plateau, featuring shallow thermal waters that range from 91 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Heated by subterranean tectonic activity, the water pushes its way through 984 feet of earth, including a layer of limestone that dissolves into the liquid, enriching the bicarbonate and colloidal-iron water with calcium carbonate. As the water evaporates, the calcium carbonate is left behind, creating a gel that eventually petrifies to form travertine, which gives the terraces their iconic white features. This explains the name Pamukkale, which translates to "cotton castle."

The terraced travertine pools of Pamukkale sit in the southwest Denizli region of Turkey, carrying with them the ancient history of a holy city where emperors soaked and, it’s rumored, Cleopatra swam.

“Bathing is one of the many practices of letting go,” says Ekin Balcıog˘ lu of Hamam magazine. In Turkish culture and around the world, “bathing can be communal or personal,” and on some level, it’s always profound.

Pamukkale’s seventeen pools sit above the Anatolian Plateau, featuring shallow thermal waters that range from 91 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heated by subterranean tectonic activity, the water pushes its way through 984 feet of earth, including a layer of limestone that dissolves into the liquid, enriching the bicarbonate and colloidal-iron water with calcium carbonate.

As the water evaporates, the calcium carbonate is left behind, creating a gel that eventually petrifies to form travertine, which gives the terraces their iconic white features. This explains the name Pamukkale, which translates to “cotton castle.”

Photo by Uğurcan Özmen

Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal, Risaralda, Colombia

Located in the region’s coffee triangle, these volcanic hot springs were first discovered in the early 1940s by a local family and opened to the public shortly thereafter. Including both hot and cold pools, the springs are situated at the base of three neighboring waterfalls. A popular destination for locals and visitors alike, Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal features human-made pools as well as steamy lagoons hidden in the forest, but the main attraction is the Santa Helena waterfall that flows through the property.

Located in the region’s coffee triangle, these volcanic hot springs were first discovered in the early 1940s by a local family and opened to the public shortly thereafter.

Including both hot and cold pools, the springs are situated at the base of three neighboring waterfalls.

A popular destination for locals and visitors alike, Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal features human-made pools as well as steamy lagoons hidden in the forest, but the main attraction is the Santa Helena waterfall that flows through the property.

Photo by Melissa Chaquea

Kurokawa Onsen, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Kurokawa Onsen is one of the most frequented hot-spring towns among Japanese bathers, but is relatively unknown to Westerners. Located in the mountains of Kumamoto Prefecture, visitors to Kurokawa typically embrace the relaxation and seclusion of the region by staying in a traditional ryokan, or inn. For a local treat, onsen tamago, or hot-spring eggs, are boiled in the stable thermal waters and sold as street food as a regional delicacy; in Hakone, the eggs are boiled in sulfurous volcanic waters, turning their shells black. With no hotels or colorful signs, Kurokawa boasts only the pure and simple aesthetics of a traditional Japanese village surrounded by forests, mountains, and calming rivers. Featuring ancient wooden buildings and earth-and-stone stairs, the town is lined with small shops and inns, and bathers shuttle from one ryokan to another wearing their yukatas (robes) and geta (sandals).

Kurokawa Onsen is one of the most frequented hot-spring towns among Japanese bathers, but is relatively unknown to Westerners.

Located in the mountains of Kumamoto Prefecture, visitors to Kurokawa typically embrace the relaxation and seclusion of the region by staying in a traditional ryokan, or inn.

For a local treat, onsen tamago, or hot-spring eggs, are boiled in the stable thermal waters and sold as street food as a regional delicacy; in Hakone, the eggs are boiled in sulfurous volcanic waters, turning their shells black.

With no hotels or colorful signs, Kurokawa boasts only the pure and simple aesthetics of a traditional Japanese village surrounded by forests, mountains, and calming rivers.

Featuring ancient wooden buildings and earth-and-stone stairs, the town is lined with small shops and inns, and bathers shuttle from one ryokan to another wearing their yukatas (robes) and geta (sandals).

pPhotograph copyright © 2022 iStock.com/LaChouettePhoto /p

Gellért Baths, Budapest, Hungary

Known as Spa City since 1934, Budapest has an abundance of riches when it comes to its countless fountains of thermal waters. An impressive 18.5 million gallons of 70 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit thermal waters issue daily from the city’s 118 naturally occurring springs. In fact, an underground series of springs run next to the Danube River and a network of thermal baths above ground allow access to the city’s waters. Since the 13th century the region has been famous for its healing waters, and visiting the hot springs is an integral part of life here. Frequented as often for their health benefits as for the opportunity they provide to catch up, swap stories, and gossip, the baths of Budapest are both a solitary and a social affair. Of all the baths here, the most famous is the Gellért Baths, known for its Art Nouveau and Art Deco furnishings, artistic mosaics, stained-glass windows, and opulent sculptures. The main allure here is the design of the complex, which features six pools and a glass roof that opens during the summer. The mineral-rich waters pour over multiple layers of glazed ceramic tiles, which also feature mosaics that mark the temperature—104 degrees in one pool, 97 in another. Outside, you can either lie in the cold pools or play in the wave pool that has been in continuous operation since 1924.

Known as Spa City since 1934, Budapest has an abundance of riches when it comes to its countless fountains of thermal waters. An impressive 18.5 million gallons of 70 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit thermal waters issue daily from the city’s 118 naturally occurring springs.

In fact, an underground series of springs run next to the Danube River and a network of thermal baths above ground allow access to the city’s waters. Since the 13th century the region has been famous for its healing waters, and visiting the hot springs is an integral part of life here.

Frequented as often for their health benefits as for the opportunity they provide to catch up, swap stories, and gossip, the baths of Budapest are both a solitary and a social affair. Of all the baths here, the most famous is the Gellért Baths, known for its Art Nouveau and Art Deco furnishings, artistic mosaics, stained-glass windows, and opulent sculptures.

The main allure here is the design of the complex, which features six pools and a glass roof that opens during the summer.

The mineral-rich waters pour over multiple layers of glazed ceramic tiles, which also feature mosaics that mark the temperature—104 degrees in one pool, 97 in another. Outside, you can either lie in the cold pools or play in the wave pool that has been in continuous operation since 1924.

Photo by Adriano Batista

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