01 Pamukkale, Denizli Province, Turkey
Legend has it that Pamukkale has beautifying qualities, and this natural spa certainly seems to have benefited from its own magical attributes, with its tiers of soft white, cascading rock and turquoise pools of carbonate minerals giving it the name ‘cotton castle’.
02 Laguna Verde Hot Springs, Chile
Soothe desiccated skin — the Atacama is the planet’s driest place — with a soak in the hot springs at Laguna Verde, the 45C ‘green lagoon’ at the foot of the highest active volcano in the world, 22,615ft Volcán Ojos del Salado.
03 Blue Lagoon, Iceland
A hot spring that’s become synonymous with Iceland itself, the water here is milky white, but the silica and algae content reacts with the sun’s rays to produce the Caribbean blue hue. Prices and visitor numbers are high but the Blue Lagoon’s proximity to Reykjavik makes it a good bet for those who don’t have time to explore the island’s other more rustic bubbling pools. bluelagoon.com
04 Széchenyi thermal bath, Hungary
Set in a sprawling neo-Baroque palace in Budapest, Széchenyi’s dozen thermal baths and five swimming pools are filled with mineral-rich water — at a balmy 38C — drawn from the deepest spring in the Hungarian capital. szechenyispabaths.com
05 Hot Water Beach, New Zealand
Love the beach but can’t handle the ocean’s ferocity or stinging salt water? A natural bath in the sand, overlooking the waves from a distance, is the ideal solution. Visitors flock to this serene stretch of silica during low tide, with many bringing their own spades to dig out personal watering holes.
Published in the November 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)