One of our favorite après-ski activities is definitely taking a warm, relaxing mineral bath after a long day of skiing. Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing various minerals that give it therapeutic value. The temperature of the water can very from mild to extremely hot and is normalized by mixing fresh hot water from the spring with already cooled water from the same spring. The main benefit for skiers is the relaxing affect that the warm water has on your muscles. It helps to loosen them up and bring down muscle tension. There are numerous other health benefits from natural spring water as well.
In the area around Bansko there are many naturally occurring hot springs that have spa centers built next to them. The sad part is that no hot springs can be found in Bansko itself. But within just a few kilometers, in the neighboring villages, there is an abundance. This list shows some of our favorite picks.
Dobrinishte Public Mineral Baths
This one shouldn’t be on the list. The only reason it is its uniqueness and authenticity. The public baths in the town of Dobrinishte probably haven’t changed in style much the past 30 years, but will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. This is definitely only for more adventurous travelers as the baths are rarely attended by foreign visitors and luxury is at non-existent levels. There is a separate indoor bath and changing room for men and women. Why separate baths for men and woman? Well, the thing is that bathing suits are strictly forbidden and everyone bathes naked. A cool option is to rent a private bathroom with tub, where you can bathe in mixed company. Even though this mineral spring lacks in luxury, it is still very clean and pleasant. Entrance and a towel is only 1 euro, but getting there may be a little more as it is located 8km from Bansko.
Alpha SPA and Pool Complex (Dobrinishte)
The largest such complex in the area, featuring a large outdoor pool with a variety of smaller pools with different depth and temperature. The shallow pools are perfect for kids. The smallest pool can be used also in winter. The complex is new, with clean and secure changing rooms. Attractive cocktails and refreshing beverages can be enjoyed either at the pool itself, or at the bars just next to it.
SPA Hotel Aspa Villa
Located in the neighboring village of Banya (meaning “bath” in English), this spa hotel is a great place to stay. The best part about this accommodation is the big outdoor pool. You can also order food and drinks to be carried over to you at the pool or you can bring your own (just don’t be to obvious about it). Another feature are the jaccuzzis you can use. The pool and jaccuzzis both cost the same, but you can’t use both by paying for one. The hotel also offers a great restaurant you can check out after bathing. Probably the only thing that isn’t great there are the changing rooms and the long walk to the pool. Even though the changing room is well furnished and warm, it’s pretty much unisex. There is only one corner where you can get some privacy and you don’t have access to your locker from it. The showers are also open to both men and women.
SPA Hotel Izgreva
This one is also located in the village of Banya, right next to H-l Aspa Villa. The first thing about this spa that sticks out is the traditional architectural style that is dominant. This is both good and bad at the same time. Why is it bad? The outdoor pool itself wasn’t made from tiles (like normal swimming pools), it was made by mixing cement and rocks. This looks great, much more authentic, but isn’t as nice to sit on in the shallow part as it’s an uncomfortable texture. Other than that the complex is great. At your disposal are 3 pools: the big main pool where the water is isn’t unbearably hot, a smaller children’s pool which is shallow and warmer and you’ve got the “don’t worry, I’m Norwegian” pool. That’s the really really hot pool, where water temperature is well over 40C. Another cool feature is that you have changing rooms right next to the pool and a restaurant where you can order a poolside beer in a plastic cup. But again, the changing rooms may not meet expectations.
Spa Hotel “Roman Bath”
This is definitely the most luxurious on this list (again located in the village of Banya). If you’re looking for a place to relax a full day, then look no further. It’s been recently renovated and has a very nice interior and architecture. This price for outside guest is higher than the others on the list, but includes a bunch more features. The complex has 2 different saunas, Japanese, Turkish and Roman baths, a big indoor pool, great changing rooms and a very professional staff.
SPA Hotel Aquilon
The hotel (located in Banya village too) has an indoor (deeper) and an outdoor swimming pool with hot water (32-40C). The outdoor pool may be closed during some periods in winter, but the indoor one is a great place to stay in really deeper waters compared to all other pools in the area (its depth exceeds 2m in its deepest side). The other side of it that is more shallow is good for kids to play. The water of the indoor pool is extremely clean, as it is rarely used by outside visitors (which is not the case with other more popular sites, like Hotel Roman Bath, where it often gets overcrowded). A steam bath is conveniently located right next to it so you can rapidly change temperatures a few times during your stay in the SPA center.
Know a place we don’t? We want to hear about it in the comments section below.