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19 October 2017Last updated
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5 of the best natural healing springs in the Middle East

Treat yourself to a relaxing break and nourish both mind and body at some of the most picturesque spots in the region

Noha El Chaarani
24 Apr 2017 | 12:36 pm

1. Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey

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While there are more than 100 natural hot springs in Turkey, Pamukkale (meaning cotton castle) Thermal Pools located in Denizli Province in the south west of the country, are said to be the most miraculous. In fact, the Pamukkale has been named as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The 17 hot springs are surrounded by calcium structures, covering the area in a white blanket.

The pools’ temperatures vary between 35 -100 C. The springs – abundant in calcium and carbon minerals – are said to encourage youthful-looking skin, help lower high blood pressure, and heal nutritional disorders, rheumatism, asthma and eczema. While access to the bigger pools is restricted, the smaller ones will still offer you the same healing benefits and soothing comfort.

Need to know
Turkey is a four-hour flight from Dubai, starting from around Dh1,450 return. 

2. Khatt Springs, Ras Al Khaimah

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A gem unknown to many in the UAE and one that is sure to incite your yearning for a relaxing break, Khatt Springs are natural thermal springs rising from the UAE’s mineral-rich earth. History speaks of this hot spring as the destination of ill travellers, who came to seek its healing properties. The thermal springs overlook the Hajar Mountains and have been modernised to suit the theme of the spa resort that now hosts them – The Golden Tulip. Beneficial minerals fill the 40 C waters, helping to strengthen your body and rejuvenate muscle and bone.

Need to know
It’s a 45-minute drive from Dubai to the springs in Ras Al Khaimah, To access the springs, you will need to purchase the use of other spa facilities at the resort.

3. Ma’in Hot Springs, Jordan 

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An enchanting waterfall, and emerald green, blue and turquoise waters are on offer at Hamamat Ma’in, also known as Zarqa’ Ma’in, meaning ‘the blue spot of Ma’in’.

Only an hour’s drive from Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport, this healing natural spring consists of several waterfalls pouring out from green mountains.

The thermal pools contain potassium, magnesium and calcium, which all combine to energise your body. You can relax and rejuvenate while listening to the splashing waterfall and taking in the natural scenery. The hot springs are a 20-minute drive away from Madaba – also known as the mosaic city – and the Dead Sea, which has its own benefits.

Need to know
Jordan is just under three hours by air from Dubai, with direct flights starting at around Dh1,000 return.

4. Sarein, Iran 

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Located in Sarein, Iran, close to the inactive volcano of Mount Sabalan, these hot springs meet every hydrotherapy-seeking traveller’s need. The thermal waters consist of five separate pools, with Gavmish Goli Hot Spring being the largest. Enriched with hydrogen sulfide and peaking at 46 C, this outdoor natural spring is known for curing joint paints and cardiac difficulties. Momtaz Coffee House Hot Spring is another favoured pool at Sarein because it is hosted inside a coffee shop. The Momtaz spring waters contain bicarbonate, sodium, sulphur, calcium, potassium and magnesium, and are believed to cure hand and feet complications, as well as calming nerves.

Need to know
Iran is a two-and-a-half flight from Dubai, starting from around Dh700 return.

5. Ayoun Moussa, Egypt 

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Located in Sinai, Ayoun Moussa – a famous pilgrimage site – is home to 12 natural thermal springs. Just a short 20-minute flight from Cairo to Sinai, you can relax and bathe in the warm sulphur-rich waters gushing right out of the surrounding rocks – these waters are said to have the highest levels of sulphur in the world.

The springs consist of two attractions – a hot outdoor spring, and a warm bath in a naturally formed cave that offers a sauna-like experience for maximum relaxation. The two most famous springs are the Pharoah’s Bath (Hammam Pharaon) and Moses’ Bath (Hammam Moses) – both of which have been said to heal various diseases including rheumatism, joint pains and several skin complications. While the sulphuric-fragrance in the air may be unusual, the healing opportunity is promising and the location has an almost tangible spiritual vibe, for emotional healing as well as physical.

Need to Know
Cairo is a three-and-a-half hour flight from Dubai, and flights start from around Dh1,000. You can take the Suez bus from Cairo to get to the springs, though you will need to ask to be dropped there as it’s not an official stop. Moses Springs is 100km away from Sharm El Sheikh. Flights to Sharm El Sheikh from Cairo start at about Dh700 and are just an hour long.

Photos by Istock/Shutterstock

Prices are intended as a guide only

Noha El Chaarani

Noha El Chaarani