Honestly speaking, most of the options to warm up on a cold day are kind of uncool. No offense to those who partake, but wrapping yourself up in a blanket, sipping tea or wearing multiple sweaters should be reserved for those 60-plus. Instead of rolling over and giving in, why not take off to an incredible destination? Even if you can't visit these physically, they're visually stunning, and the sight alone will be enough to warm you up. Take this with a grain of salt, though — while all of these are awe-inspiring, not all of them are swimmable.
Cotton castle – that’s exactly what this hot spring’s name ‘Pamukkale’ translates into. The recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Denizli Province of southwestern Turkey, where locals have developed an impressive tourism system including various accommodations. In fact, the region continues to thrive on tourism so much that they’ve replaced roads with artificial pools to meet demand. To begin listing some of the many reasons why tourists continue to visit, Pamukkale is both fun to observe and equally entertaining to swim in, thanks to its moderate temperature. The travertines, or “calcium carbonate shelves”, are filled with water that is best viewed in the winter, when the shelves freeze to truly resemble cotton in appearance.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
It almost seems impossible to leave out Iceland’s world-famous Blue Lagoon from this list. Yes, it is one of the 25 wonders of the world, and not that it needs any more description or praises, but it's also one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. Located in Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon is currently going through an expansion that’ll include a luxury hotel to accommodate travel demands. But whenever you visit, there’ll always be a serene shade of blue from the geothermal spa, which oozes a calm vibe for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in its complete spa experience. The water is also known to be helpful in curing skin diseases, as it contains silica and sulfur.
Aqua Dome, Austria
Sure, you might recognize Austria as Mozart's home or have heard of its cultural heritage, but did you know that it’s also home to the beautiful Aqua Dome hot springs? In Tyrol, Austria, there is a beautiful hotel that includes a truly one-of-a-kind pool – a.k.a. the Aqua Domes. The 21,000-square-foot Domes are already quite famous, accommodating over 350,000 visitors annually. There’s no one way to describe the Domes, as each is filled with different characteristics ranging from various temperatures, salt content, and water depth. If possible, extend your stay to include a Friday, when you can experience moonlight bathing. And don’t forget that selfie – the underwater camera built in the Domes’ warm water is made for it.
Blood Pond Hot Spring, Japan
Would you ever voluntarily enter something dubbed as the “bubbling hell”, “ponds of hell”, or “blood pond”? At least take a look before you step away from Beppu, one of Japan’s most remarkable geothermal hotspots. The region itself is known to have at least 2,500 hot springs, and is only the second largest source of thermal spring water (first being Yellowstone National Park). The uniquely red-colored hot spring is only one of the eight “Hells of Beppu” – meaning the Beppu region has seven more hot springs, each with a different theme, composition and color. Collectively, they cause the region to get so hot, almost to the point that summer becomes unbearable for residents.
Prismatic Spring, U.S.
You may not have witnessed it in person, but it’s quite possible that you've encountered a picture of the prismatic spring in Yellowstone National Park at some point. The park welcomed approximately four million visitors in 2015, and is expecting to see more growth as popularity continues to peak. One of the ‘cool factors’ behind tourism is the prismatic spring and its vibrant colors, ranging from blue and green to red. The dominant colors continue to change by season, such as orange in the summer and green in the winter to match the weather (though the center always remains a clear blue). Don’t expect to swim in it though – it’s an astonishing 200 feet deep and about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ma'in Hot Springs, Jordan
Ma’in hot springs is composed of hot mineral springs and waterfalls about 264 meters below sea level in a desert oasis. There are historical facts that point to Ma’in hot springs’ wonder, as the Bible notes King Herod once bathed in it. Since then, the springs have evolved to become a modern-day spa resort, where cascades of the natural hot spring waterfalls lead into a spa pool, relaxation area, or just the traditional large, main pool. There are even options to ensure your privacy – such as the ladies only or family pools. However, make sure to note that the temperature can range to a point where it becomes too hot (up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit).
Cascate del Mulino, Italy
While there’s almost too many things to do in Italy, Cascate del Mulino is one that you definitely shouldn't sacrifice from your list. Peacefully tucked away in Southern Tuscany, the hot spring is repeatedly praised as a hidden gem away from the mass tourist scene. Given that this is still Italy, though, the hot spring is surrounded by nothing less than picturesque landscape and vegetation. Seasonal weather changes won’t affect any tour experience, as the water maintains a 37.5°C temperature all year round. Perfect temperature of water and beautiful scenery are a given, but make sure to leave time for the impressive local restaurant scene afterwards.
Frying Pan Lake, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Frying Pan Lake is one of the world’s largest hot springs, and also boasts an incredible depth range of 6m to 20m. Though it has more recently been renamed Waimangu Cauldron, the majority of visitors continue to recognize it as the Frying Pan Lake for its constant boiling and steaming. Don’t take this lightly, either, as the lake always stays at a crazy-hot temperature of 113 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. (In short, be cautioned that this hot spring is indeed very hot.) Interestingly, the water has been found to be acidic, meaning it releases carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide – which explains the boiling part. The lake and the inferno craters complement each other in creating beautiful scenery, including a stunning shade of blue across the wide lake.
Glenwood Hot Springs, U.S.
Colorado is home to a number of beautiful hot springs that could easily fill its own ‘Top 10 Hot Springs’ list. While there are ample options, there are certainly a few that stand out, including Glenwood Springs. It has become a tourist favorite for many reasons, including the fact that it is the world’s largest pool of mineral water. The water stays at a comfortable temperature of about 93° F; however, the smaller “therapy pool” is a bit warmer at 104° F. Tourist reviews boast that the minerals in this hot springs helped them relieve stress and pain, among other benefits. Conveniently located near Aspen, Vail and the city of Denver, it’s also equipped with dining and shopping options to complete any vacation.