Take it from someone who’s experienced Japan’s bathing culture firsthand: there’s nothing quite like listening to your heartbeat slowing as you are immersed in soothing waters that haven’t seen the light of day for millennia.
In general, there are two different ways hot springs occur: magma close to the Earth’s crust may come into contact with an underground water source, or water may be heated directly from the energy produced by the Earth’s core — a geothermal spring.
Hot spring culture is universal, yet the baths themselves exist in a variety of environments – not every spring is the stereotypical picture of water boiling to the surface of a stone-covered pond in the midst of a dense forest or jungle.
In fact, you can find the familiar steam in urban sprawls, near ancient ruins, and even amongst the ice of Antarctica! Where in the world should you go if you’re looking for a good soak? Here are ten places: