A spa town is a resort town based on a mineral spa (a developed mineral spring). Patrons visit spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word spa is derived from the name of Spa, a town in Belgium.
Thomas Guidott set up a medical practice in the English town of Bath in 1668. He became interested in the curative properties of the hot mineral waters there and in 1676 wrote A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there. Also, Some Enquiries into the Nature of the water. This brought the purported health-giving properties of the waters to the attention of the aristocracy, who started to partake in them soon after.
Most of the mineral springs in Australia are in the Central Highlands of Victoria, although there are a few springs in South Australia, Moree, New South Wales and Queensland. Most are within 30 km of Daylesford, Victoria: the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs call themselves 'Spa Country' and the 'Spa Centre of Australia'.
Bulgaria is known for its more than 500 mineral springs, including the hottest spring in the Balkans at Sapareva Banya - 103 °C. Other famous spa towns include Sandanski, Hisarya, Bankya, Devin, Kyustendil, Varshets, Velingard.
In Bulgarian, the word for a spa is баня (transliterated banya).
Harrison Hot Springs is one of the oldest among 18 in British Columbia; there are also two in Alberta and one in Ontario.
In France, the words bains, thermes, and eaux in city names often imply a spa town. There are more than 50 spa towns in France, including Vichy, Aix-les-Bains, Bagnoles-de-l'Orne, Dax, and Enghien-les-Bains.
In Germany, the word Bad implies a spa town. Among the many famous spa towns in Germany are Bad Aachen, Baden-Baden, Bad Brückenau, Bad Ems, Bad Homburg, Bad Honnef, Bad Kissingen, Bad Kreuznach, Bad Mergentheim, Bad Muskau, Bad Oeynhausen, Bad Pyrmont, Bad Reichenhall, Bad Saarow, Bad Schandau, Bad Segeberg, Bad Soden, Bad Tölz, Bad Wildbad, Bad Wimpfen, Bad Wildstein, Berchtesgaden, Binz, Freudenstadt, Heiligendamm, Heringsdorf, Kampen, Königstein, Radebeul, Schwangau, St. Blasien, Titisee, Tegernsee, Travemünde and Zingst. Wiesbaden is the largest spa town in Germany.
In Hungary, the word fürdő or the more archaic füred ("bath"), fürdőváros ("spa town") or fürdőhely ("bathing place") implies a spa town. Hungary is rich in thermal waters with health benefits, and many spa towns are popular tourist destinations. Budapest has several spas, including Turkish style spas dating back to the 16th century. Eger also has a Turkish spa. Other famous spas include the ones at Hévíz, Harkány, Bük, Hajdúszoboszló, Gyula, Bogács, Bükkszék, Zalakaros, the Cave Bath at Miskolctapolca and the Zsóry-fürdő at Mezőkövesd.
In Italy, spa towns, called città termale (from Latin thermae), are very numerous all over the country because of the intense geological activity of the territory. These places were known and used since the Roman age.
Most spa towns in Poland are located in the Lesser Poland and Lower Silesian Voivodeships. Some of them have an affix "Zdrój" in their name (written with hyphen or separately), meaning "water spring", to denote their spa status, but this is not a general rule (e.g. Ciechocinek and Inowrocław are spa towns, but do not use the affix).
Portugal is well known by famous spa towns throughout of the country.
Due to its high quality, as well as the landscape where are located, the most important ones are:
Serbia is known for its many spa cities. Some of the best known springs are the Vrnjačka Banja, Bukovička Banja, Vrujci, Sokobanja and Niška Banja. The hottest spring in Serbia is at Vranjska Banja (96°C)
In Serbia, the word Banja implies a spa town.
Spa towns in Slovenia include Rogaška Slatina, Radenci, Čatež ob Savi, Dobrna, Dolenjske Toplice, Šmarješke Toplice and Moravske Toplice. They offer accommodation in hotels, apartments, bungalows, and camp sites. The Slovenian words terme or toplice imply a spa town.
Spa towns in Spain include:
Taiwan is home to a number of towns and cities with tourism infrastructure centered on hot springs. These include:
Some but not all UK spa towns contain "Spa", "Wells", or "Bath" in their names, e.g., Matlock Bath. Some towns are designated Spa Heritage Towns. Two out of three of the English towns granted the title "Royal", Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells, are spa towns.
- Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
- Hot Springs, Arkansas
- Desert Hot Springs, California
- Palm Springs, California
- Pagosa Springs, Colorado
- Warm Springs, Georgia
- Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
- West Baden Springs, Indiana
- Mount Clemens, Michigan
- Excelsior Springs, Missouri
- Jemez Springs, New Mexico
- Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
- Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico
- Ballston Spa, New York
- Saratoga Springs, New York
- Hot Springs, North Carolina
- Hot Springs, South Dakota
- Mineral Wells, Texas
- Warm Springs, Virginia
- Connell, Washington
- Bath (Berkeley Springs), West Virginia
- Waukesha, Wisconsin
- Saratoga, Wyoming
- Thermopolis, Wyoming
See: List of spa towns
- in the Arab world - Hammam
- in Australia
- in Belgium -
- in Bulgaria - Bani
- in Chile - Termas
- in Croatia - Toplice
- in Cyprus - Loutra-Therma
- in the Czech Republic - Lázně
- in Ethiopia - Filwoha
- in France - Bains, thermes
- in Georgia - სამკურნალო წყლები
- in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland - Bad, the first part of the names of most spa towns, a cognate to the English "bath" while "Therme" is used for the spa itself.
- in Greece - Loutra-Therma
- in Hungary - fürdő or -füred
- in Italy - Terme
- in Iran - "Cheshme Ab-e-Garm" or "Cheshme Ab-e-Madani"
- in Jamaica -
- in Japan - Onsen
- in Korea - 온천 or 사우나
- in Latvia - Jūrmala
- in Malaysia - Poring
- in Mexico- Termas or Balneario
- in New Zealand - Rotorua
- in Peru - Cuzco, Cajamarca
- in Poland - Krynica-Zdrój
- in Portugal - Caldas or Termas
- in Russia - Минеральные воды or Лечебные воды
- in Romania - Băile
- in Slovakia - Liečebné kúpele
- in Serbia - Banja
- in Spain - Termas or Balneario
- in Turkey - Termal or Kaplica
- in Ukraine - Лікувальні води
- Burns, D. Thorburn (1981). "Thomas Guidott (1638–1705): Physician and Chymist, contributor to the analysis of mineral waters". Analytical Proceedings including Analytical Communications: Royal Society of Chemistry. 18 (1): 2–6. doi:10.1039/AP9811800002. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- "Healing Waters; Investigative Files (Skeptical Briefs June 2005)". Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
- https://www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/victorian-mineral-water-committee-strategic-master-plan/ Victorian Mineral Water Committee Tourism information
- "Reservoir Capital Corp.: 20MW Potential Estimated for the Vranjska Banja Geothermal Project". Retrieved 3 February 2012.
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- "Wallonia spas: Step into Belgium's impressive springs - Europe, Travel - Independent.co.uk". The Independent. London. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2008.