Great Spa Towns of Europe

Spa and Hot Springs of Bath

The spa and hot springs of Bath are traditionally associated with the Romans. It is true that the Romans developed the baths and built a massive complex, with temples and administrative buildings, around them. However the site dates back to the Celtic period, and the baths have been in used almost continuously since the Romans left. The spa was revitalised in the 18th century and appears on the novels of Jane Austen. Tod ...
Founded: Celtic | Location: Bath, United Kingdom

Spa

Spa is a Belgian town located in Liège Province, and the town where the term spa originates. Spa is one of Belgium"s most popular tourist destinations, being renowned for its natural mineral springs and production of 'Spa' mineral water, which is exported worldwide. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spas of Europe'. As the site ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Spa, Belgium

Karlovy Vary Spa Town

Karlovy Vary lies on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá. It is named after Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Bohemia, who founded the city. Karlovy Vary is the site of numerous hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River), and is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic. In 2021, the city became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Bad Kissingen Spa Town

Bad Kissingen is a German spa town in the Bavarian region. Situated to the south of the Rhön Mountains on the Franconian Saale river, it is one of the health resorts, which became famous as a 'Weltbad' in the 19th century. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'. The town was first documented in the year 801 and was renowned above all for i ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Bad Kissingen, Germany

Vichy Spa Town

Vichy is a city in the Allier department of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in central France, in the historic province of Bourbonnais. It is a spa and resort town and in World War II was the seat of government of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. The term Vichyste indicated collaboration with the Vichy regime, often carrying a pejorative connotation. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World H ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Vichy, France

Baden Spa Town

Baden bei Wien is a spa town in Austria. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spas of Europe'. The celebrity of Baden dates back to the days of the Romans, some ruins are still visible. The nearby abbey of Heiligenkreuz's Romanesque church was constructed in the 11th century; it subsequently served as the burial place for members of the Babenberg family. The ...
Founded: Roman Age | Location: Baden, Austria

Baden-Baden Spa Town

Baden-Baden is a spa town in the state of Baden-Württemberg. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'. The springs at Baden-Baden were known to the Romans as Aquae ('The Waters') and Aurelia Aquensis ('Aurelia-of-the-Waters'). The known ruins of the Roman bath were rediscovered just below the New Castle in 1 ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Baden-Baden, Germany

Montecatini Terme

Montecatini Terme is an Italian municipality in Tuscany. The town is located at the eastern end of Piana di Lucca and has a strong vocation for tourism, as well as industrial and commercial industries related to the spa, which in turn has increased the interest for hotel accommodation in the region. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Montecatini Terme, Italy

Frantiskovy Lazne Spa Town

Františkovy Lázně is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. Together with neighbouring Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně, it is part of the renowned West Bohemian Spa Triangle. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'. The salutary effects of the surrounding springs were known from the late 14th century on. The sou ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Františkovy Lázně, Czech Republic

Mariánské Lázne Spa Town

Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad for German) is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. The town, surrounded by green mountains, is a mosaic of parks and noble houses. Most of its buildings come from the town's Golden Era in the second half of the 19th century, when many celebrities and top European rulers came to enjoy the curative carbon dioxide springs. In 2021, the town became part of the transnati ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic

Bad Ems Spa Town

Bad Ems is a town in Rheinland Pfalz, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Rhein-Lahn rural district and is well known as a spa on the river Lahn. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spas of Europe'. The town was first mentioned in official documents in 880 and received its town charter in 1324. The Counts of Nassau and Katzenelnbogen rebu ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bad Ems, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Tyniec Abbey

Tyniec Benedictine abbey was founded by King Casimir the Restorer probably around 1044. Casimir decided to rebuild the newly established Kingdom of Poland, after a Pagan rebellion and a disastrous Czech raid of Duke Bretislaus I (1039). The Benedictines, invited to Tyniec by the King, were tasked with restoring order as well as cementing the position of the State and the Church. First Tyniec Abbot was Aaron, who became the Bishop of Kraków. Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the foundation date as 1040, some historians claim that the abbey was founded by Casimir the Restorer’ son, King Boleslaw II the Generous.

In the second half of the 11th century, a complex of Romanesque buildings was completed, consisting of a basilica and the abbey. In the 14th century, it was destroyed in Tatar and Czech raids, and in the 15th century it was rebuilt in Gothic style. Further remodelings took place in the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Baroque, then in Rococo style. The abbey was partly destroyed in the Swedish invasion of Poland, and soon afterwards was rebuilt, with a new library. Further destruction took place during the Bar Confederation, when Polish rebels turned the abbey into their fortress.

In 1816, Austrian authorities liquidated the abbey, and in 1821-1826, it was the seat of the Bishop of Tyniec, Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler. The monks, however, did not return to the abbey until 1939, and in 1947, remodelling of the neglected complex was initiated. In 1968, the Church of St. Peter and Paul was once again named the seat of the abbot. The church itself consists of a Gothic presbytery and a Baroque main nave. Several altars were created by an 18th-century Italian sculptor Francesco Placidi. The church also has a late Baroque pulpit by Franciszek Jozef Mangoldt.