(CNN) — There’s nothing like soaking in the hot springs while soaking in the culture of a place that loves its bathing. If you’re traveling first class, why not head to Japan or Iceland to enjoy a country whose people celebrate the waters and can pinpoint their various healing properties?
If domestic travel is more your speed and budget, there are delightful natural spas to be had in the United States. And to spend even more time in nature but less in dollars, camping near a historic hot springs may be the way to go…
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
Spa culture dominates Iceland, where locals soak and swim in naturally heated baths and pools all over the country. The Blue Lagoon, the nation’s most famous hot spring spa, is an easy stopover because of its convenient location between the airport and the capital, Reykjavik. Icelandair offers an add-on package after landing or before departure. (Icelandair travelers on the way to another destination may stop in Iceland for up to seven nights without an additional airfare charge.)
If you prefer simpler and less famous hot springs, try the newLaugarvatn Fontana spa. Fontana recently opened in the village of Laugarvatn, about 50 miles from Reykjavik.
To mix with the locals at their hot springs or thermal-heated swimming pools, check the “Swimming in Iceland” website. There are about 150 thermal pools in Iceland and a similar number of natural bathing places or hot springs. Iceland’s inside and outside pools are heated, and most of the bigger facilities include a sauna, slides and one or more hot tubs, ranging in temperature from 104° to 113° Fahrenheit, according to Swimming in Iceland’s Robert van Spanje, whose website lists most of the natural springs and swimming pools in Iceland.
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