Baile Herculane, Romania
The Romans put the life-giving waters of Baile Herculane on the map. The 15 thermal springs, named after deities including Diana and Neptune, were equally beloved of the Hapsburgs, who added splendid rococo lodges. Soviet health-seekers also adored the sulphur-rich waters, and added the giant concrete blocks that today house much of the resort accommodation. The Grand Hotel Minerva offers an affordably classy blowout. Inflammatory, spinal and neurological conditions can be soothed by ozone therapy, magnet therapy and herbal plant baths, as well as complimentary access to thermal pools and saunas for all package guests.
£258pp for a five-night (Sunday to Friday) half-board package, including four daily therapeutic procedures such as massages, mud packs and thermal wraps, go to website Baile Herculane
The benefits of Truskavets, near Lviv, were first prescribed by a Polish doctor in 1578. Empires from Austro-Hungarian to Soviet later basked in waters rich in sodium, sulphur and more. Truskavets is one of the few spas that encourage visitors to actually drink the stuff. Even modern resorts like Chale Graal offer ancient treatments such as speleotherapy (sitting in a salt cave to extract moisture from lungs) and hirudotherapy (leeches to you and me). Modern treatments like computer-aided spinal traction, to slowly unlock the vertebrae, are also offered.
£161pp for seven-day package including consultations, mineral baths and colonic hydrotherapy session
Hungary is Europe’s hot spring champion. Life, love and leisure revolve around its 1,300 thermal spas, and visitors can choose to soak in the glitzy (Budapest’s Gellért baths) or the rural (Héviz, a massive thermal lake) or opt for sulphurous, salty or carbonic waters. Bükfürdő, near the Austrian border, was discovered in 1957 when oil prospectors unleashed a 70-metre geyser of potassium- and calcium-rich waters instead. The resort is large and family-friendly, with some 30 pools, plus lots of saunas (Finnish rock, herbal cabin) and slides, plus mobile homes and a campsite. A 25-minute goat milk mud bath costs €22, an hour’s wellness massage €41. The resort is particularly strong on osteoporosis regeneration.
€155pp for a seven-night package, including 10 traditional treatments and unlimited spa access (but not accommodation), plus €74 for seven-day entry ticket