Guide to Portugal’s Natural Thermal Springs
Portugal, a small country to the west of Spain on the European continent, has plenty of natural hot springs to enjoy. The history of thermal bathing is long in this country, and even the first-ever King of Portugal, Alfonso Henriques, lauded the benefits of mineral baths.
He famously visited the São Pedro do Sul Thermal Baths. However, he would be shocked to see how thermal bathing has grown and flourished into a full therapeutic industry in the country today. The word ‘termas’ has developed to describe a Portuguese thermal spa.
We’ll break down the hot springs on offer into two categories; those in the northern half of the nation and those in the south. Notably, the southern regions tend to be a few degrees warmer than the north and receive less rain during the grey winter months. Perhaps that accounts for the higher density of hot spring spas in the north, where they serve as a warm escape from a dreary winter season.
Hot Springs in North Portugal
The northernmost natural spring spa in Portugal is Tesal Thermal Monção, housed in a beautiful glass and metal frame building. Within it, there are several communal thermal baths, therapists offering massages, and restorative algae wraps. The spa proclaims that its water, which stays around 50°C (122°F), has innate anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat diseases like asthma and sinusitis.
Another spa, closer to the center of the nation, is Termas de Luso. The motto of this thermal spa translates to, “Feel the power of water!” Though the spa has been in place for nearly two centuries, the inner space has been fully renovated and modernized to meet the expectations of today’s hot springs tourists.
Termas de Luso offers half-day and full-day therapeutic agendas, catering to each guest’s unique needs and goals.
Also in the north you’ll find:
- Caldelas Spa
- Termas do Gerês
- Pedras Salgadas Spa & Nature Park
- Caldas de Carlão
- Longroiva spa
- Carvalhal Spa
- Termas de São Pedro do Sul
- THE SPA THERMAL Alcafache
- Caldas da Felgueira
- Termas de Unhais da Serra
- Termas da Curia
Hot Springs in South Portugal
In the more temperate south lies Termas de Monfortinho, an entire town devoted to healing water. This town also serves as one of the main crossings into Spain, as it’s located right on the border with the neighboring country.
The location is beautiful with both fog-crowned mountains and verdant, rolling plains painted with flowers. Visitors can look out at these vistas while bathing at the spa or receiving massages and electrotherapy. The spa is open year-round.
The southernmost mineral bathing site is located at the tip of the country. It’s simply called The Natural Spring at Alte. The spring has had a dam built over it, which has caused the water to turn clear emerald green.
The springs culminate in a waterfall, and open bathing is welcomed. However, this is an outdoor space and, without the proper amounts of rain, the spring can at times run dry. During the summer months, many locals will walk down to the spring to spend a leisurely sunny day. This can lead to high traffic periods.
Other southern region hot springs include:
- Hospital Termal Rainha D. Leonor
- Termas da Sulfúrea
- Termas do Vimeiro
- Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique Spa Resort
With so many scenic spas and easy-to-access mineral bathing spots, Portugal is a necessary stop on any European hot springs trip. The culture is steeped in history and lively, the hot springs are welcoming and warm, and many of the people speak English, making it easy to communicate while traveling.
Learn more about visiting Portugal on our sister site, La Vida Nomad.