Anne Pinder shares her thoughts on some of the best weekend spa getaways in Spain–less than 220 kms from Madrid !
Dry Spain has a wealth of natural thermal springs and mineral waters. Some have been used since Roman times, some were high-society scenes in the 19th century, some are relatively modern; some are huge, some tiny; some luxurious and some basic. Spa treatments vary as widely as style: pamper or pummel a stressed-out body with jaccuzi, massage or mud packs; treat medical problems in a surprisingly effective, non-invasive way by drinking, inhaling or bathing in the waters – or any combination of above.
Spain’s spas cover the country, though there are more in some regions than others – green Galicia has a lot, followed by Catalonia – but there are even spas in the dry central plains. There’s something, somewhere for everyone, so take your pick!
Suggestions for choosing a spa:
Decide if you want–
A romantic getaway with your sweetie, pure pampering, health care (respiratory problems, skin ailments, digestive problems) or a combination? Different spas are good for different things – check the websites, ask a specialist, and talk to the spa if you want a medical treatment – they should have a specialist to help you out.
Town or country, sea, flatlands or mountains? Being in town can be fun, but if you want a real rest cure, being away from civilization can be an advantage. The location is no less important, influencing the climate and surrounding scenery.
History or ultramodern? The spa’s age doesn’t indicate cleanliness or services offered, but the ambiente (atmosphere) of an older spa and a newer spa are quite different.
Ultra luxurious accommodations or a simpler atmosphere? Spas often have a hotel associated to the baths, ranging from five-star hotels to boarding houses. Take your pick – but don’t discart the simpler places, often they’re fine, fun and better than luxury for a cultural experience.
Sights nearby or not; do you want to expore the area? Don’t overplan – you’ll undo some of the relaxation if you rush around (and if true relaxation sets in, you may not feel like doing much anyway!).
Summer, winter, spring or fall? Some spas are open all year, others only spring to fall; many outdoor pools will be closed in the winter, especially north of Madrid. You may be able to get special deals off-season but plan ahead: spas sometimes block-book for groups.
Leave the car at home? Many of these spas have public transportation nearby – and some will pick you up at the train station if you arrange in advance.
Some of the best weekend spas that are less than 220 kms from Madrid are the following :
Balneario Cervantes, Sta. Cruz de Mudela (Ciudad Real). Newish buildings, 3* hotel, de-stress and medical. www.balneariocervantes.com
Palacio de Salinas, Medina de Campo (Valladolid). Classic older building, nice 3* hotel. Beauty and medical. www.palaciodelassalinas.es
Termas Pallares, Alhama de Aragón (Zaragoza). Several hotels, 5* to basic. Beauty, de-stress, medical. A classic , year-round outdoor pool. www.termaspallares.com Note: other spas in the area.
Balneario El Bosque, Mataelpino (Madrid). Hotel and restaurant. De-stress and beauty, classes for yoga and tai chi. About an hour from Madrid. www.el-bosque.org
Here are some pictures of the weekend spas near Madrid and the beautiful scenery surrounding the areas they are located in.