Anne Pinder provides INC members with some of the best spa towns to visit from Madrid. These spa suggestions require a weekend stay. I have stayed in a number of these resorts and have added my thoughts on why some of Spain’s hidden gems are worth visiting.
Middle distance (220 – 400kms from Madrid)
Mineral Waters –the healing powers of the Balneario de Benito Spa
Balneario de Benito, near Reolid (Albacete) in the Alcaraz mountains is a famous area in Spain for mineral water sourced spas. The spa is named after its founder Benito Marin Palacios. In 1850, Benito started offering treatments in the bathrooms of his home. His home ran through a mineral spring on land owned by the Marquis de Valdeguerrero. Legend has it that a farmer who was abandoned by the owners of the land, was suffering from rheumatism and he recovered from his illness by pouring the healing properties of the water in his body. Then people in the early 1900s who suffered from bone disease bathed in the pond in Benito’s property and wrapped their bodies in mud to heal. Benito had the foresight to see that the spring had medicinal powers. He and a neighbour bought more land surrounding their small property. They wanted to secure the source of the spring that flowed through the Marquis’ property and neighboring properties. A growing number of people heard about the healing properties of the water and travel for miles to Benito’s land to seek treatment for rheumatism, arthritis and bone disease ailments. When the water was cold, heated stones would be thrown into the spring to warm the waters.
Three decades later, Benito’s grandchildren took over the business and modernize it adding a hotel and a swimming pool. Next to the swimming pool, mineral waters from the original spring are heated by a large iron boiler. The area now owned by the Marin Palacios family was declared public utility and referred to as beneplacitos which by law, declared the family business as a spa.
Over the years, the Balneario de Benito has become a popular destination for Spanish and foreigners looking to travel for a weekend outside Madrid to spa. Aside from enjoying the spa facilities, one can enjoy trekking through the mountain range at the foot of the spas.
It is best to make reservations before travelling to the spa. There are several hotels (3 and 4 star rating) to choose from that all have access to the spa facilities.
For reservations contact +34 967380410/ 967382060. You can also email the hotel at email@example.com.
Balneario Arnedillo, Arnedillo (La Rioja). This is a Modern 4* spa hotel that offers Beauty, de-stress and medical treatments. It is located in the valley of the River Cicados and near Logrono, the capital of the La Rioja region. www.balnearioarnedillo.com
Baños de Montemayor, near Hervás (Cáceres). Several hotels, 3* to basic. Beauty, de-stress, medical.
This spa offers a pool with underwater massage, flavoured thermal baths, dry and wet thermal bath treatments, tropical showers and thermal couches like those in the picture.
The Montemayor spas are built on roman ruins and you will experience what it was like in the days of the romans how to spa ! It is really one of the best experiences one can have in Spain. The beauty of the spas located in this region of Spain is that there are numerous pools for all family members to enjoy—including children.
Balneario Manzanera, Manzanera (Teruel) has several hotels, 3* to basic. Beauty, de-stress, medical treatments for rheumatism, respiratory ailments, and dermatological problems are well known spa packages offered.
The Manzanera Spa is located in the foothills of the Sierra de Javalambre mountain range in the province of Teruel (Aragon). It is located in an area known as Paradise Valley and it is where the rivers meet. The resort is surrounded by beautiful woodland areas of pine and juniper trees. It stands at an altitude of 1,050 m. Aside from visiting the spa, there are beautiful little towns to visit and places to hike.
If you want to have a bit of an adventure, take the train to the town of Rubielos de Mora. You need to call the spa ahead of your journey and request for a taxi to pick you up at the station in this wonderful little town of 750 inhabitants.
The town is famously referred to as Dinepolis because it is just a few years ago where old fossils were discovered. The town also has some of the most important churches in Spain, particularly the convents of the Augustinian order and that of the Carmelites.
Rubielos Mora is a walled town that is very well preserved. The two remaining entrances (there were in the 1800s seven entrances to the town) are considered to have the most beautiful towers and gates of Aragon province. The Portal of San Antonio and the Church of the Convent of the Carmelites is not to be missed. The Spa is not far from this town so wandering through its quiet streets (take note that the town has only 755 inhabitants) is a wonderful little side trip to consider.
Balneario Alange, Alange (Badajóz) has several hotels, 3* to basic. Beauty, de-stress, medical treatments are offered. It is not far from Portuguese border.
This is one of the great spa towns in Spain. The Roman and Turkish baths are great. The treatment called stacking is wonderful. You are placed in marble bathtubs that are filled with hot mineral water. The treatment improves your circulatory system as well as de-stresses your entire body. The other treatment that was most enjoyable was the inhalation of medicinal spring water and oxygen. This treatment decreases bronchial spasticity and increases one’s blood circulation.
The spa of Alange was declared a UNESCO heritage site because the spa has one of the oldest roman baths discovered in the 19th century. It is also one of the few spas in the world wherein the original roman baths have remained intact.
Balneario Archena, Archena (Murcia). Several hotels, 4* to basic. De-stress, medical. Not far from the coast.
This a different type of spa treatment. Balneario Archena offers water treatments for de-stressing and medical purposes. The jet spray treatments are quite powerful and not for the faint hearted ! Stay at the Hotel Leon which is uber modern. Best to book ahead of travelling to Murcia. This is a popular destination for couples looking for a spa weekend to de-stress from parenting. Murcia is an interesting city to visit. The beauty of this spa is that it is by the coast so a great chance to enjoy the sea after a day in the s