Free hot springs
This is a list of hot springs, wild or as a bath, that are accessible free of charge.
- 1 Stay safe
- 2 Albania
- 3 Costa Rica
- 4 France
- 5 Greece
- 6 Italy
- 7 Mongolia
- 8 New Zealand
- 9 Spain
- 10 Links
Know the maximum temperature of the hot spring you're planning to enter. Most commercially-developed springs are diluted with cool water so that their temperatures are similar to those of residential "hot tubs," i.e., a maximum of about 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Centigrade). "Wild" springs, however, can have effluent temperatures far greater than this, indeed, far greater than what is safe. Temperatures as high as about 160 F (70 C) are common in hot springs, and some reach the boiling point; immersion in water this hot can prove fatal very quickly. A little dilution with surface water will go a long way, but be conservative unless you know the spring well.
Many wild springs are gathering places for wildlife. Know what kind of animals might frequent the area of the spring, and be prepared for a greater than average likelihood of wildlife encounters.
Thriller movies notwithstanding, very few of the world's hot springs are acidic enough to pose an immediate safety hazard, although many are acidic to some extent. The few exceptions tend to have very obvious connections to active volcanism, e.g. the crater lake at the active Poas volcano in Costa Rica (which in any event is not open to bathing).
Benjë Thermal Waters
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park
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A few kilometers away from commercial hot springs (Les Bains de St. Thomas), there are also wild springs. From the west end of Fontpedrouse, turn off from the N116 to St. Thomas/Prats-Balaguer. In the first hairpin, follow the signs Prats-Balaguer, then do the same on the next junction (ignoring St. Thomas les Bains). Follow the road up and in the 3rd hairpin you'll see a small parking and a trail leading down to the hot springs.
Free camping and fire are no problem, but keep the place clean and take your trashes down to the village with you!
La Bourboule, http://goo.gl/maps/63WAK
Its pretty close to the green arrow in the link. You have to go from the main road down towards the river. Just next to the river there is a small brick construction and the hot springs are inside it. You can ask locals about it if you get really lost but should be okay. Paths should be obvious. There is also a small bridge nearby for crossing the water. You don't need to cross it, just mentioned it for orientation purposes.
Plan de Phazy
Heard this is a nice free place. Needs to be checked. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_de_Phazy
Pyrenees close to Fontpedrouse see here http://www.visorando.com/randonnee-les-3-bassins-sauvages-des-sources-chaud/
Monetier les bains
needs more research. there are definitely paid springs there and rumours of free ones.
Close to hiking route GR10, needs to be checked.
au pied du Canigou
On hiking route D86A, about 400meteres t the right after leaving N94. Free. One of the few rare saline hot springs that is at a high altitude. Needs checking
Thermopylae ("hot gateways") is a location in Greece where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs.
It's free (unattended, hence with some trash around), used by the locals, water 42c. Possible to free camp. Place is 12km from Lamia, behind the gas station on the way to the Thermopylea battle monument.
This places costs money during summertime but in the winter and maybe other months also it is closed down and unstaffed. It's basically a kind of cliff cave thing with a fence around it. You can easily jump over the fence in the winter and go in the hot springs for free :) Easy free camping nearby near the lake. Yeah there is also a nice lake nearby. The place also has working cold showers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_Springs_of_Kaiafa
Bagni di San Filippo
San Filippo is a tiny village in Tuscany, south of Siena with natural wild hot springs. By car it can only be entered via one road, and the path to the hotsprings is closely after the first building. There´s a sign saying "Fosso Bianco" and leads to a small river, that you have to follow up for 100m. There are several flat spots where you can put a tent as well as a small cave for up to maybe 5 snuggly people. To find the cave you have to follow a small path uphill to the right when you're standing right infront of the hot spring pools. In the cave there are blankets stored in plastic bags, a tarp and a little fireplace. To get drinking water you follow the street downhill to the little chapel. On the little square infront of it is a public fresh water spring. There´s no foodstore in the village.
Benetutti is a small village in Sardinia, north-west of Nuoro quite close to two natural open hot spring baths, contended and claimed also by the nearby village of Bultei.. By car you should arrive on the SP86 starting from Nuoro or Macomer then take the junction towards Benetutti, the hotsprings are quite hidden and difficult to reach if you don't know the exact position though you can just ask anybody around (e.g. your driver if you are hitchhiking) they will easily show you the way. The water is sulphureous and quite warm, you'll hardly resist more than 15-20 minutes, and there will often be a kind of queue (unspoken rule to use the baths one person at a time) of people, still very few, at any hour of day and night. Keep the place clean, of course. Both places are quite in the middle of nowhere but hitch to nearby cities and village shouldn't be hard. You can definitely wild camp among cows.
An abandoned hot spring spa resort with the hot tubs still working and one hut that is still really clean, with two couches that can be turned into double beds. Near Chuluut. The Hot Springs are here: 47°45'21.9"N 100°14'34.3"E. Leave the main road here: 48.093966, 100.315069. Not much traffic though, had to walk more than half of the 40km from the main road to get in and out. I found out about it because my map has markers for hot springs, and these ones had no info about them on the Internet, so I just hoped they were free. To get there from the mainroad from Tsetserleg to Tosontsengel, or from Chuluut, you just need to follow the electric poles, they will split at Haluun us, a little hamlet, one line going straight on, the other to the former resort.
There are many hot springs scattered about both the north and south islands of New Zealand. While some of these have been developed into commercial tourist centres there are also many small natural hot springs that can be enjoyed for free. There is a good user-updated website listing these hot springs: http://www.nzhotpools.co.nz/
A nice overview of mostly free hot springs in Spain can be found at [here http://spanishsabores.com/2016/01/24/6-natural-hot-springs-in-spain-off-the-tourist-track/].
There are some breathtaking uncommercialised natural hot springs near Valencia where you can swim all year round. Access is not easy because the hot springs are located in a mountainous and rural area. The area/village is called Montanejos, and it is about 90km north of Valencia.
There are many hot springs in Galicia, some of which are publicly available. In Ourense there is a whole boulevard of springs along the Miño river, often alongside the paid springs, plus a central thermal bath in the center. Then there is Os Baños (San Xoán) in the South of Galicia.