10Best Explores Bath Houses Around the World

  • Hammam at the Royal Mirage spa

    Modern-Day Hammams in Dubai, UAE

    When public bath houses began popping up in Ancient Greece and Rome, bathing became somewhat of an art, with bath houses serving as places to relax and socialize. Today the public bath house tradition continues in countries around the world putting their own spin on this ancient leisure activity. You'll find historic bath houses still in operation throughout Europe, as well as modern renditions, like the Turkish hammam at the One & Only Royal Mirage, in Dubai.


    Photo courtesy of One & Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

  • Thermae Bath Spa

    Roman Baths in Bath, UK

    The ancient Roman baths in England were a popular bathing spot 2,000 years ago. After you visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can recreate history by soaking in the Thermae Bath Spa, the only thermal spa in Britain. No one knows where exactly the mineral-rich waters come from, but Romans, Celts, Saxons and Georgians alike have been enjoying them for centuries.

    Photo courtesy of Bath Tourism Plus / Colin Hawkins

  • Gellert Baths

    Art Nouveau Bath Houses in Budapest, Hungary

    Known as the City of Spas, Budapest has taken full advantage of its 118 natural thermal hot springs by operating 15 public baths and countless private ones. The Gellert Baths, among the city's most famous, date back to 1912 and are housed within a stunning columned Art Nouveau-style building.

    Photo courtesy of Heather Cowper

  • Inside Cemberlitas Hamami

    Hammams in Istanbul, Turkey

    Public baths were very popular in the Ottoman empire, and these hammams became popular gathering places. Similar to the process of Roman bathing, experiencing a hammam involves sitting in a sauna, plunging into a cold pool, receiving a massage and then relaxing in another, cooler room. Try it in Istanbul at the popular Cagaloglu Hammam or Cemberlitas Hammam.

    Photo courtesy of Cemberlitas Hamami

  • Tanigawa Onsen in Gunma

    Sentos and Onsens of Japan

    Public bathing isn't limited to Europe. In Japan, many Buddhist temples housed communal bath houses, called sento, or hot springs, called onsen. Today, these facilities are one of Japan's biggest tourist attractions, and some of the best are located in the snowy, mountainous regions of Japan, like this one in Gunma Prefecture.

    Photo courtesy of ©JTA/ ©JNTO

  • Baths at Kabuki Springs in San Francisco

    Old and New Baths in San Francisco, CA

    Public baths started springing up in the United States during the nineteenth century – you can still see the ruins of some of the oldest near the Cliff House in San Francisco. For something a little more modern, get pampered at the Kabuki Springs & Spa, a Japanese-style sento right in the city.

    Photo courtesy of Kabuki Springs

  • Terme di Saturnia

    Thermal Springs in Tuscany, Italy

    Italy's first public bath houses, or thermae, opened in 19 BC. These Roman-style thermae soon became huge aquatic centers complete with game rooms, theaters, gardens and meandering pools. The tradition continues today at the Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany, where the sulfuric spring waters are thought to naturally exfoliate the skin while reducing cardiovascular tension and cleansing the liver.

    Photo courtesy of Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort

  • Female sauna

    Bath Houses in Seoul, Korea

    Korean bath houses, called jjimjilbang or "heated bath rooms," stay open 24 hours a day, making them popular and convenient spots to relax for the night if you miss that last subway home. Besides heated baths and saunas, you'll find relaxation rooms with heated floors, a snack bar and sleeping quarters stocked with mats or bunks. You'll find one of Seoul's newest and nicest facilities at the Spa in Garden 5.

    Photo courtesy of The Spa in Garden 5

  • Leukerbad Therme

    Leukerbad Therme, Switzerland

    Leukerbad in Switzerland is home to the largest alpine thermal spa in Europe with more than 30 thermal pools open year round. We suggest visiting in winter, when you can soak in the warm waters while enjoying views of the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps all around you. It doesn't get much more relaxing.

    Photo courtesy of Leukerbad

  • Amalienbad Bath

    Classic Bath Houses in Vienna, Austria

    The Celts brought the art of public bathing to Vienna some 2,000 years ago, but it wasn't until after World War I that a majority of the city's beautiful bath houses were built. One such house, the Amalienbad, first opened in 1926 and was even equipped with a glass roof that could be opened when the weather was nice. It stands as a lovely example of Austrian bath architecture.

    Photo courtesy of avidd

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