We’ve a lot to thank the Romans for. Straight roads. The Alphabet. Sanitation. Months. But there’s one thing they invented we couldn’t possibly live without: hot, bubbly, and wholesome thermal baths.
The alpine resort town of Bormio is home to some of Italy’s best. Bagni Vecchi (old baths), Bagni Nuovi (new baths), and Bormio Terme (the spa) invite guests to indulge in all manners of self-pampering, from unwinding in natural saunas to indulging in blissful beauty farms. We’ve put together a list of Bormio’s must-visit geothermal wonders, including a few popular hot springs, in case you’d rather relax in these steamy waters at the source itself...
Bagni Vecchi has been used as a luxury thermal spa for more than 2,000 years
Bagni Vecchi Spa
Rome might have been built in a day, but whoever built the Bagni Vecchi certainly took their time. From idyllic thermal pools to stone-carved saunas deep beneath the ground, this ancient uber-luxurious spa is finished to perfection. A long soak in the outdoor panoramic pool which overlooks the Bormio valley is an experience worth savouring.
Bagni Nuovi offers guests a modern spa experience beneath a marvellous backdrop
Bagni Nuovi Spa
Bagni Nuovi treats guests to a modern spa experience right in the the centre of town. Recently restored to include different ‘thermal circuits’, the spa takes its healing waters from three springs in nearby Mount Reit. These baths stay hot all year round, even during winter, when the looming Dolomite mountains wear a thick blanket of snow to complete the experience.
Bormio Terme is a completely renovated thermal centre in the centre of Bormio
Bormio Terme Spa
Bormio Terme Spa caters for all visitors by blending therapy, relaxation, fun, and wellness. You can quietly unwind in thermal hot tubs, a U-shaped pool with contrasting temperatures, or mineral-rich mud baths, while the kids enjoy indoor pools and water slides.
For the ultimate in relaxation, try the inhalation therapy, which heals you from the inside using thermal water particles.
A short walk from Bagni Nuovi, Fonte Pliniana is one of nine hot springs around Bornio
Pliniana Hot Springs
Historic author Pliny the Elder was the first Roman to chronicle the health-restoring benefits of Bormio’s hot springs, so it was only right to name one in his honour. Pliniana is reached via a scenic trail that winds its way from Bagni Nuovi, and through the Adda Gorge. It gets busy in summer, but brave the winter cold and you’ll likely be rewarded with your own private dip.
San Martino's steamy waters can be reached via a dark tunnel leading from Bagni Vecchi
San Martino Hot Springs
The ‘Sweating Grotto’ of San Martino is made up of three parts: heaven, purgatory, and hell – so-called due to the rising temperature as you move closer to the spring’s source. The water here spurts from the ground at a sizzling 40-degree celsius, filling the pools at an estimated volume of 250 litres per minute. To get there, you’ll need to creep down a dark underground tunnel in Bagni Vecchi, stretching 50 metres into the dolomitic limestone of Monte Braulio.
Water from San Carlo hot spring has been used to treat conjuntivitis since the Roman times
San Carlo Hot Springs
Prior to being renamed ‘San Carlo’, this spring was known as the ‘source of the eyes’, since the water was historically used as a treatment for conjunctivitis. Hundreds of years later, it’s still deployed as eye medicine, and, somewhat confusingly, also as an unfiltered drink. With an average temperature between 18 and 19 degrees celsius, San Carlo is the coolest of all the Bormio springs.
Where to get your beauty sleep:
If you’re looking for an en-suite thermal bath, QC Terme Hotel Bagni Vecchi and QC Terme Grand Hotel Bagni Nuovi are about as close as it gets. Guests staying at either of these ultra-luxurious properties get free access to the outdoor thermal pools, as well as all the spa facilities, including hydromassage pools, and a Turkish bath carved into the rock. Alternatively, get your forty winks at Sottovento Luxury Hospitality – an equally lavish hotel that’s just a stone’s throw from Bormio Terme Spa.