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Best Spa Vacations - Europe

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1Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul teems with venerable Turkish baths. Visiting one is an intrinsic part of the Istanbul experience. One of the best known, the popular Cagaloglu Hamam, is a classical Ottoman wonder that's almost 270 years old. It's the place to go for authentic Turkish massage, steam baths and sweet Turkish tea.
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    • History & Culture
      Istanbul
      Thousands of years of history have made Istanbul a repository of European and Asian culture. Empires are layered upon each other in the Old City of Sultanahmet, from early Greek civilization through ancient Rome and the Ottoman Empire, which left its mark in domes and minarets.
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2Budapest, Central Hungary, Hungary
Over 15 million gallons of water bubble into Budapest's 118 springs and boreholes daily. The city of spas offers an astounding array of baths, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the vast 1913 neo-Baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa, a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman architecture.
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    • History & Culture
      Budapest
      Fascinating for its transition after the fall of the Soviet Union and its colorful past prior to that, Budapest has plenty of history. Visit the ghosts of communism at Heroes' Square and Statue Park, and see what Hungary was like before at the Opera House, National Museum, Buda Castle and ubiquitous baths.
    • Romance
      Budapest
      Buda and Pest, the two distinct halves of the Hungarian capital, cling tightly together on either side of the river Danube. The atmospheric, narrow streets of the Paris of the East are perfect for strolling, and Margaret Island, the heart of the Danube, makes for a charming, romantic excursion.
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3Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
The restorative wonders of the elegant city of Bath have been trumpeted since Roman times, when the thermal waters of the Avon lured local Celts and Romans. Particularly popular since Georgian days, today visitors flock to soak in the waters of Britain's only natural thermal spa, Thermae Bath Spa.
4Tuscany, Italy
Etruscans set the pace at Tuscany's bubbling waters, and the Romans splashed in their wake, heating up the fortunes of spa town Bagni San Filippo. Those suffering from degenerative arthritis and rheumatism plunge into the restorative waters amid olive groves and vines in nearby Bagno Vignoni's thermal baths.
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    • Romance
      Tuscany
      Tuscany is a thrillingly romantic destination. Olive groves etch hillsides among beautiful towns bristling with centuries-old towers such as Fiesole and San Gimignano. A captivating array of churches, intriguing winding streets, the 1345 bridge Ponte Vecchio and the Italian's love of life make Florence deliciously romantic.
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5Iceland
Richer in geothermal activity than any other country, Iceland is a veritable hot spring hotspot. Around 800 hot springs, some with dramatically spouting geysers, pepper the landscape. The most famed is the stunning, steaming, turquoise Blue Lagoon in Grindavik, just beside capital Reykjavik.
6Andalucia, Spain
Andalusia's Moorish past is captured in some of its fine hammam bathhouses. Cordoba's restored 10th-century Medina Califal Hammam, an exquisite Arab style bathhouse, provides an enticing Moorish spa experience for both men and women and a fantastic way to sink into the idyllic pace of life in the region.
7Baden-Baden, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Nestled at the foot of the Black Forest, this chic destination has long done a healthy trade in spa breaks. First popularized by the Romans two millennia ago, Baden-Baden's salt- and radon-rich thermal hot springs still lure cosmopolitan convalescents to this acclaimed spa destination in South Germany.
8Karlovy Vary, Karlovy Vary Region, Bohemia, Czech Republic
Acclaimed for their medical benefits since 1522, 200 spa houses had sprung up in this picturesque valley by the end of the 16th century. Its curative springs have won fame as the answer to a slew of metabolic and gastric difficulties. Today's treatments range from aquatherapy to drinking the mineral-rich water.
9Pamukkale, Turkey
Pristine white cliffs tower over this recently revitalized spa town with its Sacred Pool and calcium-rich mineral springs. The pool is set amid a gorgeous garden, and a teahouse is adjacent. Pamukkale is most pleasant once the crowds of summer have departed, but temperatures have not yet plummeted.
10Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Germany
An intrinsic part of German culture, thermal spas are a serious business in Bavaria. Health spa destinations sprinkle mountainsides, including thermal hotspot Bad Fussing, where waters first bubbled to the surface in 1938, and premier spa town Bad Reichenall, home to glamorous alpine mecca Ruperts Therme.
11Bursa, Turkey
Known as the Royal Springs, Bursa's renowned hot mineral waters have been popular since Byzantine and Roman times. Fed by magnesium, calcium and sulfur-rich thermal springs, the 700-year old baths were built in the time of Sultan Murat I. The beautifully ornate Yeni Kaplica bath dates back to 16th century.
12Evian-les-Bains, Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes, France
Elegantly perched on the border between France and Switzerland, Evian's internationally renowned healing waters lure health-conscious visitors from around the world. It is France's most celebrated spa resort, famed for its hydrotherapy treatments that benefit digestive and metabolic conditions.
13Heviz, Zala County, Western Transdanubia, Hungary
Europe's largest thermal lake is reputed to work wonders on various medical conditions. The lake's healing waters and therapeutic mud have provoked a healthy stream of health tourists. Visitors can experience its beneficial effects in spas and hotels or for the authentic Heviz experience, bathe in the lake itself.
14Edipsos, Euboea Region, Central Greece, Greece
Over 75 thermal springs and a 3000-year-old reputation as a healing place shoot cosmopolitan Edipsos high up the spa destination hotlist. In this atmospheric town where steaming rivers run, turn-of-the-century hotels bask around steaming pools, while others offer health-enhancing mineral baths.