Hamams, or Turkish baths, have been integral to the country’s history and culture since the armies of the Roman Empire first brought the concept here. Turkey spas have been part of the landscape ever since, and you can see ancient and well-preserved vestiges of them in many of the ruins that draw so many visitors to the country. There are Roman and Turkish baths in the ruins of Ephesus near Izmir and at Perge near Antalya. There are modern Turkish spas on the beautiful pristine beaches of the Turquoise Coast and at the skiing centers of Bursa and Ankara.
Spa resorts in Turkey have sprung up everywhere that visitors enjoy their vacations. Some of these are large resorts that offer a day spa in addition to a great number of other facilities, activities, and services. Others are small exclusive boutique hotels that specialize in extensive spa services from yoga to facials and may be in a remote and serene natural location. One of the finest of the Turkish spas on the beaches of the Turquoise Coast is the Sheraton in Cesme. This is one of the many five-star beach resorts along the coast, and its spa offers a full range of treatments from massage and facials to body wraps and Turkish baths.
You will find the largest number of ancient Turkish baths that are still operating in the city of Istanbul. Many of them are full of history and fabulous examples of grand Ottoman architecture. The most popular is probably the Cemberlitas Hamani that dates to 1584, with fanciful domes, marble interiors, and beautiful mosaics. Several modern Turkey spas in five-star luxury hotels also have traditional Turkish baths. One modern spa in Istanbul that boasts one is the luxurious Leveda Spa at the Ritz Carlton. It also boasts several treatment rooms for massage and other therapies, saunas, Jacuzzis, a lap pool, and an indoor pool. For a real treat, when to go to this spa in Istanbul is during the warm summer months, when it moves outside onto terraces that look out over the Bosphorus and have views of nearby attractions like beautiful Dolmabahce Palace.
There are many thermal spa resorts in Turkey because the country is volcanic with numerous natural hot springs. One of the most unique places with these kinds of Turkish spas is at Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle.” Here is Hierapolis, a sacred mineral pool littered with columns and artifacts from the days of the Roman Empire. Here also are many mineral pools naturally heated to 91 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. In the surrounding towns and villages are hostels and luxury hotels with their own thermal pools and modern spas.
You can also find spa resorts in Turkey on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, about an hour’s ferry ride south of Istanbul. The cities of Yalova (right on the coast) and Bursa (about 35 miles inland) both offer spas and thermal springs. In the far eastern part of the country on the Black Sea coast near the borders with Armenia and Georgia is the town of Ayder, an alpine mountain retreat (with some of the best skiing in the country) nestled among evergreen forests. You can reach this area using car rentals from the city of Trabzon. During the summer, there is daily public bus transportation from Trabzon. After visiting the Turkey spas here, you can treat yourself to some of the best pastries in the country. This area is famous for its pastry, and many of the pastry chefs in the best hotels in the country are from this region.
One of the most unusual spas in Turkey will be found in Sivas, located about halfway between Ankara and Erzurum. Here, the Balikli Cermik (hot springs with fish) is a natural thermal pool heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with fish nibbling at your toes! Here is one of the most magnificent medieval mosques in the world. The Divrigi Mosque and Hospital is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its extraordinary and exquisite carvings.