Guide to Georgia’s Natural Thermal Springs
The nation of Georgia shares a border with nearby Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. There is a handful of natural hot springs in this both Asian and European nation, and many of them feature the pointed arches and lovely tile work that are prominent at hammams.
Others are open-air, surrounded by nature, and barely touched by developers or others. The best factor for outdoor thermal bathing is that Georgia’s climate is mild, even in winter, and that makes it enjoyable to go for a soak no matter what season it is when you’re visiting.
Outdoor Hot Springs
One of these alfresco pools is Hot Sulfur Spring Nokalakevi, located in Jikha. Here the water sprinkles down from a waterfall and collects in basins near a river. On their own, most of these basins will be too hot to soak in, but locals have cracked the code on enjoying them comfortably. Bring a bucket with you when you go to Nokalakevi because you can mix the cool water from the river with the steaming mineral water.
This hot spring has an interesting origin story. The tale goes that a pregnant local woman was trying to escape from enemy soldiers. She jumped into the hot water and, instead of getting away, her determination to escape led to her turning into a stone. That’s hot the thermal spring got the nickname ‘Dedamoka’ or ‘pregnant mother.’
Another hot spring open to the elements is the Sulfur Pool in Dikhashkho, Georgia. The spring collects in two tarns and has a definite sulfuric smell that lingers on both clothes and skin.
Water shoots from a small geyser here, and there’s something very visually appealing about the white rock pools and the clear, baby-blue tint of the water. You can visit the sulfur springs any time of day or night.
Other Outdoor Hot Springs:
- Borjomi Sulfur Pools
- Lailashi Secret Pool
- Pansheti Pool (cold water pool)
Georgian Hot Spring Spas
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, you can head to Bohema Sulfur Bath in Tbilisi. You can get services here before going for your soak, add-ons like scrubs, peels, and massages. Refreshments are offered to guests, though only some of the private rooms have been renovated to accommodate modern expectations for health spas.
Nearby, also in Tbilisi, is Chreli Abano. At this thermal spa, you can enjoy the stained glass windows, skin treatments, and reserved private rooms to enjoy either on your own, with a loved one, or in a small group. Some of these rooms come with showers and televisions while others are bathing pools only.
One unique experience at Chreli Abano is the snow room, a fantastical way to cool down in a manufactured winter after warming up in the hot spring.
Other Hot Spring Spas:
- Gulo’s Thermal Spa
- Thermal spa and wellness- Sairme
- Tbilisi Balneological Resort
- Nunisi Forest Hotel and Spa
- Torghva Sulfur Bath
- Tskaltubo Spa Resort
Like in other tropical climates (think Brazil’s warm but wet conditions), Georgia can experience rain almost daily during the summer months. The best time for visiting the nation of Georgia is in the spring when temperatures are a bit cooler and a sudden downpour is less likely. Springtime offers optimal weather for visiting the many hot springs, where you may have to hike to get to those situated in nature.
Fall is also a good option if you’re looking to travel later in the year. Just remember to bring your own supplies with you such as drinking water, washcloths, and towels. Some of the spas charge extra to rent and use theirs and those that are outdoors probably won’t have any on hand.