Hot Spring Baths or "Termas": Natural spas of Portugal

Natural hot pool of Ponta da Ferraria on São Miguel

Treating people’s ailments with heat and cold has been around for thousands of years. Since the last century, it has fallen out of style to send patients to cure themselves in thermal springs. However, everyone can agree that a spa-session has always given a lot of relaxation and comfort to the mind, therefore it can still be viewed as a cure for people that might be overworked, stressed or in need of quietness. This post will give you all the information you need to book your stay at the Portuguese hot spring baths.

Poça da Dona Beija is a naturally heated pool on São Miguel

What are Hot Spring Baths?

Hot Springs are geological oddities that are explained by water reserves getting heated by hot stones in the crust of the earth that finds its way to the surface.

Hot spring baths or “Termas” have been around in Portugal for many centuries. Some springs, like the ones in Caldas da Rainha, were already used by the Romans for their baths and then later in 1488 when the queen Leonor built a hospital to treat the sick. Today, Caldas da Rainha does not have hot spring baths opened to the public, but the old baths can be visited.

Parque Terra Nostra on São Miguel has a hot water pool open for everyone

Where in Portugal should you go for hot spring baths?

Portugal has a lot of hot springs and many hotels and resorts offers accommodation and weekend retreats. You can see the map of these hot springs on this Google map list linked here

On the mainland in Portugal, the most famous ones (that I have written more about below) are in Luso and Gerês. However, there are many more hot spring locations across Portugal and also notably in the Azores on the island of São Miguel.

Interior pool of the Termas de Luso
Exterior of Grande Hotel de Luso


There are several establishments that offer thermal treatments and spa sessions in the town of Luso, located just north of Coimbra in the center of Portugal. The hot spring baths, also called “Termas de Luso” have a website which I linked here

If you want accommodation, I can recommend two places:

  • Grande Hotel do Luso: a 4-star hotel that has catered to people since 1900. A room for one night for two people is €100 when I checked last time.
  • Palace Hotel do Bussaco: a true palace with a beautiful garden. A unique place to stay at. A night here will cost you €145 for two people, one night.
Dining room at the Palace Hotel do Bussaco
Palace Hotel do Bussaco with its gardens
Hotel Águas do Gerês offers spa, massage and other thermal treatments


Gerês is mostly known for being part of Portugal’s national park of Peneda-Gerês, however, few people know of its thermal baths. You can find information of the Termas on the website by the national thermal baths of Portugal, linked here

The hotels I would recommend staying at would be:

  • Água do Gerês: a hotel specifically tailored to people who are seeking a spa retreat. It offers thermal treatments, spa sessions, romantic weekend deals, and healthy meals. The price was €86 for one double room last time I looked. Book in advance as it is very popular.
  • Pousada Mosteiro de Amares: located in the mountains, this hotel is built in an old monastery. Monks would seclude themselves here, surrounded by the peaceful nature and quietness. Price for one night was €115 for two people.

Hot spring pools in Torneros, located in Gerês
Pousada Mosteiro de Amares located in the mountains surrounded by nature
São Miguel has hot water pools both inland and on the coast. Here are the Termas of Ferraria
São Miguel is known for the many waterfalls and natural pools that you can swim in

São Miguel

The island of São Miguel is known for its volcanos, called “Caldeiras” and luscious nature, and most importantly its hot springs. Every tourist that comes to the island hears about the hot water pools. In the town of Furnas, you have these natural pools that are heated by the activity in the earth’s crust. The hot pools you should see are:

  • Poça da Dona Beija

  • Parque Terra Nostra

  • Cascata da Ribeira Quente

  • Termas das Caldeiras

  • Ponta da Ferraria

For hotels with Spa or proximity to the pools, I recommend the following:

  • Hotel Verde Mar & SPA: this hotel has, as the name suggests, its own spa should you find yourself wanting massage and other treatments after the hot springs. One night for two can cost around €190
  • Termas da Ferraria: situated on the most western point of the island, this thermal bath-retreat offers Turkish baths, sauna, natural pools and the usual massage-offers. This is not a hotel, and you book the activities on their website found here
View from above of the natural hot water pool near Termas da Ferraria
View from the hotel Hotel Verde Mar & SPA located by the sea

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