Summer may have packed its bags and headed south, but if you’re feeling the effects of darker mornings, shorter days and temperatures with an icier bite, we’ve found the perfect solution: Start planning your next holiday. Whether you’re a fly-and-flop kind of traveller or keen for a little more action, we’ve rounded up a few of the best destinations in Europe to put on your bucket list. They all have one thing in common: They’re perfect for beauty addicts. Thermal springs for a full detox, mineral lakes renowned for glowing skin, spas you just have to see to believe… We’ve covered all bases for a wellness trip of a lifetime. You just need to do the booking. Keep scrolling for the 10 European travel ideas every beauty obsessive needs on their radar.
The Destination: Bešeňová, Slovakia
The Agenda: Tucked among the rolling hills of the Liptov Region, Galeria Thermal Bešeňová is a chic spa hotel built on mineral-rich thermal springs. Laden with calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulphates, the 39°C water is said to have a healing effect on the skin (hello, head-to-toe glow) and respiratory system whilst also soothing achy muscles and joints. Traces of lithium in the springs can also boost your mood from your very first dip. Lounge in the spa’s private thermal pools, clear your pores in the menthol sauna, book a massage and finish up with a dish from the restaurant’s “holistic nutrition” menu. PS, There’s a thermal water park around the corner, should you fancy a whizz down the slides.
Peter W. Haas
The Destination: Lake Hévíz, Hungary
The Agenda: If you like the idea of mineral-rich springs, get ready for Héviz, an entire lake of thermal water (Europe’s largest, in fact) that’s so potent with dissolved carbonate, sulphur, calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonate gases that bathers are advised to only swim for 30 minutes at a time. The lake’s healing properties have been famed for centuries and reduce inflammation, ease chronic pain and leave your hair and skin softer and healthier. The lakeside spa offers an impressive massage menu, too, making this an unmissable detour if you’re heading to Budapest.
The Destination: Therme Vals, Switzerland
The Agenda: Loving the idea of thermal waters but not the outdoor swimming part? Switzerland’s 7132 Hotel spa is for you. Think Alpine glamour meets luxe day spa, and then add in a massive indoor thermal bath made from 60,000 slabs of cool grey quartzite. Yep, this is Instagram heaven complete with four additional thermal baths—including a 14°C ice pool, a 42°C fire pool and an outdoor thermal bath that’s perfectly positioned for gazing at the Val region’s tree-covered mountains. All of this, and we haven’t even got to the ESPA treatment menu yet…
The Destination: Wine Oil Spa, Spain
The Agenda: Relaxing massages and good wine—could there be a better duo? Sitting within the Villa de Laguardia Hotel in Spain’s Rioja Alavesa wine region, the Wine Oil Spa does pretty much what the name implies. Massages and treatments all harness the skin-healing properties of local grapes and olive oil, whilst a Finnish sauna, Turkish bath, ice fountain and swimming pool (complete with water jets and hydromassage benches) make this the perfect spot to really kick back.
The Destination: ION Adventure Hotel, Iceland
The Agenda: Don’t let the name fool you—the ION Adventure Hotel is the perfect place to rest, recuperate and get away from it all. Though it’s less than an hour from Reykjavik, it’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from the speed of the city. Hike the surrounding lava mountains to reap the benefits of all that fresh air (an adventure that’s sure to put some colour in your cheeks); then soak in the dream-like heated outdoor pool, drinking in that incredible view of the landscape. Icelanding herbs power the hotel’s signature facial and massage treatments, so you can arrive frazzled and leave a radiant picture of serenity.
The Destination: Euphoria Retreat, Greece
The Agenda: A fusion of ancient Greek wellness traditions and Chinese medicine, the philosophy at the Euphoria Retreat is all about rebalancing. If you’re looking to break out of a health rut, this is the place. Enjoy yoga sessions, tai chi and fitness classes; deep tissue massages, reflexology and meditation; nutritional advice and a healthy Mediterranean menu. Start with the inside and finish up with luxe facials, sauna sessions and a dip in the icy plunge pool for a top-to-toe glow. The outdoor infinity pool is also an Instagram must.
The Destination: Rogner Bad Blumau, Austria
The Agenda: If you’re looking for a do-it-all spa experience, this is a strong contender. From the green laguna outdoor pool filled with healing thermal water and the Ayurvedic treatments to relaxing full-body hammam experience and a whole suite of saunas ranging from traditional Finnish spaces to a Roman sweat room and infrared options, your paths to total detox are endless. Not to mention the speciality massages using natural oils, sculpting facials and glossy mani-pedis to finish things off. You can’t not come back from this wellness retreat with a brand new glow.
The Destination: Helsinki, Finland
The Agenda: Naturally, Finland is still the coolest place to head for the ultimate sauna experience. Here, it’s more than just a tradition—it’s an art form. To sauna in true Scandi style, head to Helsinki’s city-skirting Löyly. A sleek public sauna complex that’s spread over pine terraces, the aim of Löyly is to make wellness a community activity. Sweat it out in the sauna (there are gender-neutral areas plus male-only and female-only spaces), slip into the sea for a cooling swim, and then lounge on the decking with a drink in hand. A stone’s throw from the city centre, this is urban wellness at its best.
The Destination: Pamukkale, Turkey
The Agenda: An incredible chain of mineral-rich pools all edged in bright white calcium, Pamukkale’s feat of nature staggers its way down an entire hillside in Turkey’s River Menderes valley. Once you’re done splashing in the slope’s terraced travertines, head to the top of the hill where you’ll find the ambient green waters of Cleopatra’s Pool. Once a Roman temple where Cleopatra herself is said to have bathed, the natural pool is now edged in flowers while the submerged collapsed columns make for rather grand resting points. Sunshine, skin-softening waters and a swimming spot fit for the queen of Egypt. What’s not to love?