Guide to Belgium’s Natural Thermal Springs
Belgium, the small country sandwiched between Germany and France, has a ton of thermal bathing spots, especially given its size relative to its number of bathing areas. Bathhouses are fairly common, as are wellness centers that feature heated, therapeutic pools.
However, be aware that thermal bathing in Belgium doesn’t necessarily equate to the pool utilizing natural hot spring water. Chaudfontaine, one location that does make the most of its natural mineral water, is the most renowned of these hot springs, and it has housed visitors seeking healing water treatments since the late 1600s.
Nearly all the hot springs locations are in the north half of the country. Therefore, instead of breaking them down by location, we’ll give you highlights of the most sought-after spots.
Best Belgian Soaks
At Thermen ‘t Mineraal, an all-inclusive hotel that boasts a restaurant menu, bar, and several water-based therapeutic services, guests can spend all day soaking. There are indoor and outdoor pools, the sauna featured so frequently in Belgian spas, and massages in private rooms. Clothes are optional in the pools but are required in the on-site gym.
Did you know the word ‘spa’ and its use as we know it comes from Belgium? Belgium in fact had the original spa town, Spa, just south of Liege. The Romans went to Spa to take the waters, and you can too at Les Thermes. There the outdoor pools steam at night, creating a white fog in the evening air. Despite the slick, modern building and amenities Les Thermes mostly draws local visitors.
Les Thermes de Kain is a spa near the town of Tournai in a village that gained its fame when its reservoir of mineral water was shouted from the rooftops in the early 19th century. At that time, the therapeutic center was known as Dr. Kneipp’s spa. Now, there’s an on-site hotel, a hammam, private gardens, and, of course, a sauna.
Finally, at Château des Thermes in Chaudfontaine, you can bathe in the naturally effervescent water that stays warm year round. The spa claims that the water goes through a 60-year underground journey before pooling at the surface, which makes it highly mineralized. This accounts for its makeup of calcium, fluorine, and magnesium.
To feel the full effect, you’re welcome to stay in one of the Château’s 45 guest suites.
There are so many reasons to visit Belgium. It’s more than waffles, more than being the ‘heart’ of the EU, and even more than its long history with mineral bathing. After all, Pliny the Elder did recommend Belgian mineral waters to heal aching joints. It’s the charm of the culture and the welcoming nature of the locals that make Belgium (and its thermal baths) well worth a visit.
Learn more about visiting Belgium on our sister site, La Vida Nomad.