A spa town is a resort town based on a mineral spa (a developed mineral spring). Patrons visit spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word spa is derived from the name of Spa, a town in Belgium.
Thomas Guidott set up a medical practice in the English town of Bath in 1668. He became interested in the curative properties of the hot mineral waters there and in 1676 wrote A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there. Also, Some Enquiries into the Nature of the water. This brought the purported health-giving properties of the waters to the attention of the aristocracy, who started to partake in them soon after.
Most of the mineral springs in Australia are in the Central Highlands of Victoria, although there are a few springs in South Australia, Moree, New South Wales and Queensland. Most are within 30 km of Daylesford, Victoria: the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs call themselves 'Spa Country' and the 'Spa Centre of Australia'.
Banja Vrućica, Teslić
Bulgaria is known for its more than 500 mineral springs, including the hottest spring in the Balkans at Sapareva Banya - 103 °C. Other famous spa towns include Sandanski, Hisarya, Bankya, Devin, Kyustendil, Varshets, Velingard.
In Bulgarian, the word for a spa is баня (transliterated banya).
Harrison Hot Springs is one of the oldest among 18 in British Columbia; there are also two in Alberta and one in Ontario.
In France, the words bains, thermes, and eaux in city names often imply a spa town. There are more than 50 spa towns in France, including Vichy, Aix-les-Bains, Bagnoles-de-l'Orne, Dax, and Enghien-les-Bains.
In Germany, the word Bad implies a spa town. Among the many famous spa towns in Germany are Bad Aachen, Baden-Baden, Bad Brückenau, Bad Ems, Bad Homburg, Bad Honnef, Bad Kissingen, Bad Kreuznach, Bad Mergentheim, Bad Muskau, Bad Pyrmont, Bad Reichenhall, Bad Saarow, Bad Schandau, Bad Segeberg, Bad Soden, Bad Tölz, Bad Wildbad, Bad Wildstein, Berchtesgaden, Binz, Freudenstadt, Heiligendamm, Heringsdorf, Kampen, Königstein, Radebeul, Schwangau, St. Blasien, Titisee, Tegernsee, Travemünde and Zingst. Wiesbaden is the largest spa town in Germany.
In Hungary, the word fürdő or the more archaic füred ("bath"), fürdőváros ("spa town") or fürdőhely ("bathing place") implies a spa town. Hungary is rich in thermal waters with health benefits, and many spa towns are popular tourist destinations. Budapest has several spas, including Turkish style spas dating back to the 16th century. Eger also has a Turkish spa. Other famous spas include the ones at Hévíz, Harkány, Bük, Hajdúszoboszló, Gyula, Bogács, Bükkszék, Zalakaros, the Cave Bath at Miskolctapolca and the Zsóry-fürdő at Mezőkövesd.
In Italy, spa towns, called città termale (from Latin thermae), are very numerous all over the country because of the intense geological activity of the territory. These places were known and used since the Roman age.
Most spa towns in Poland are located in the Lesser Poland and Lower Silesian Voivodeships. Some of them have an affix "Zdrój" in their name (written with hyphen or separately), meaning "water spring", to denote their spa status, but this is not a general rule (e.g. Ciechocinek and Inowrocław are spa towns, but do not use the affix).
Portugal is well known by famous spa towns throughout of the country.
Due to its high quality, as well as the landscape where are located, the most important ones are:
Serbia is known for its many spa cities. Some of the best known springs are the Vrnjačka Banja, Bukovička Banja, Vrujci, Sokobanja and Niška Banja. The hottest spring in Serbia is at Vranjska Banja (96°C)
In Serbia, the word Banja implies a spa town.
Spa towns in Slovenia include Rogaška Slatina, Radenci, Čatež ob Savi, Dobrna, and Moravske Toplice. They offer accommodation in hotels, apartments, bungalows, and camp sites. The Slovenian words terme or toplice imply a spa town.
Spa towns in Spain include:
Some but not all UK spa towns contain "Spa", "Wells", or "Bath" in their names, e.g., Matlock Bath. Some towns are designated Spa Heritage Towns. Two out of three of the English towns granted the title "Royal", Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells, are spa towns.
See: List of spa towns
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