So-called because the ancient Romans often built settlements around them, the Roman thermal spas of Europe are actually naturally occurring warm springs. They’re perfect for relaxing and revitalizing after a day of exploring Europe. In Roman times, people gathered at the springs to meet people and socialize, and the same is still true today.

Day 1-4
Distance: 920km / 570mi

Athens to Plodiv

  • Start in Athens, and be sure to visit the acropolis while you’re there.

  • Head to Aidipsos and wash away your travel soreness with a dip in one of the seaside thermal water springs.

  • On the way, stop in Thessaloniki to soak up the sun on the beaches in the southeastern suburbs.

  • Visit Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv and see the ruins of the ancient Roman city there.

  • Check out The Regional Archaeological Museum in Plovdiv to see the Greek, Roman and Thracian artifacts found in the region.

  • Go on a day trip to see the miraculously preserved Roman walls, gates and other ruins around Hisarya, which was once known as Diocletianopolis, after the emperor Diocletian.

  • Experience the seemingly magical effects of the mineral water springs in Hisarya. The water is known to heal and relax the body, both from drinking and bathing.

Day 5-8
Distance: 675km / 420mi

Plovdiv to Timisoara

  • Stop by Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia and see the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the largest and most beautiful Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world.

  • Walk the extensive green spaces in Sofia and enjoy the beautiful views of Vitosha Mountain.

  • Be sure to see the preserved medieval fortresses in Vidin on your way, as well as some of the 17th century churches in the area.

  • Hike around the Mehedinti Mountains in Romania to work up a sweat before you hit the spas in Baile Herculane.

  • Soothe yourself in the thermal springs of Baile Herculane, where legend has it the hero Hercules came to rest and bathe in the springs, giving the town its name.

  • Spend some time in Timisoara for its historic landmarks and architecture, like the Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral or Huniade Castle.

Day 8-10
Distance: 550km / 340mi

Timisoara to Budapest

  • Visit the Sacred Fruška Gora Monasteries in the mountains of northern Serbia.

  • Stop in the charming city of Hódmezővásárhely and make use of its thermal swimming hall.

  • While in Budapest, be sure to check out the Hungarian Parliament Building, perhaps the most beautiful and well-known landmark in the city.

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Castle Hill and the Castle District are a must-see for any trip to Budapest. It’s home to Buda Castle, as well as three churches, six museums and many other historic buildings.

  • Visit the world famous thermal baths of Budapest, which earned it its reputation as “City of Spas.” The Romans first colonized the area so they could enjoy the thermal springs.

Day 11-14
Distance: 1200km / 745mi

Budapest to Basel

  • Stop by Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, and see Bratislava Castle which overlooks the city.

  • Stay in Vienna and soak up all the sights, like Schönbrunn Palace or the Austrian Parliament Building.

  • See Munich’s Old Town and the palaces in Nymphenburg and Oberschleissheim on your way through Germany.

  • Visit one of the many vineyards in the hills that surround Stuttgart.

  • Enjoy the picturesque surroundings and warm mineral springs of Badenweiler.

  • Stop by the Kunstmuseum in Basel before flying home

Before you go

  1. Make reservations at the spas you want to visit.

  2. Be sure you’re familiar with spa rules upon entering, especially if they’re in a language you don’t understand.

  3. Follow basic spa etiquette, which may differ from country to country, or from spa to spa. Generally, speak quietly and don’t behave as you would in a pool as to not disturb the other bathers who are trying to relax.

  4. Some spas have days where men and women can bathe together (typically in swimsuits), but most of the time men and women bathe separately.

  5. Book extra spa services like massages ahead of time

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