Spa tourism in Serbia - an ancient Roman delight

Milena Mihajlovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Throughout history, we’ve labeled ancient Romans as an advanced civilization on many levels: art, history, even medicine… It’s no wonder that even when it comes to the spa tourism in Serbia, the ancient Romans were first to recognize the huge therapeutic value and enjoy the natural delights of thermal waters. 

Park in Vrnjacka Banja spa © Credits to Banepx

Serbia is very rich with fresh mineral water and natural springs. The spa settlements in Serbia usually revolve around the places where the concentration of these waters is high. More than 1000 freshwater springs and around 50 spas developed on them, make the spa tourism in Serbia an extremely promising trend. These mineral water remedies are famous among the people since ever - the oldest spa settlement dates back to the one-figure centuries of our era when the Ancient Roman Empire ruled this area. 

Spa treatment © Credits to nd3000

Spa tourism as a natural remedy 

Most of the Serbian spas are located in natural areas, surrounded by hills, slopes of mountains, and river and lake valleys. By the unwritten rule, they have a very good geographic position, protected from strong winds, surrounded by forests, creating an optimal and unique micro-climate. Some spas, like Sokobanja, are considered aerial spas - as the concentration of oxygen in these places is high, so they have a beneficial effect on people with respiratory problems. 

Historic importance

Romans used to build the military camps, pools, and resorts around the places with thermal waters so that their legionaries and officials can relax and revitalize between the services. Curiously, the majority the important palaces were established near the thermal springs, where there were also early spas and baths. Exemplaries of this practice are the royal palace Felix Romuliana and Gamzigradska Spa - located within few kilometers. 

The Ottomans who came later were also not immune to the perks of Serbian thermal waters potential. Some spas were just reestablished during their rule, while the others were populated and renovated, so that their healing powers could be used at any times and various places throughout the country. 

Sports, recreation, and therapy

The historic trend has survived to this day - making spa tourism in Serbia one of the most prosperous types of tourism. Young and old people, professional sportsmen, businessmen looking to relax and enjoy a few days out of the busy lifestyle, are just some of the regular visitors of these natural remedies.

Rope bridge © Credits to Михаил Руденко

Professional sports players regularly have organized trips to Serbian spas as a part of conditioning training. Big companies often send the whole team to relax in nature, enjoy the thermal therapy and rejoice in team-building activities. Organized field trips from middle schools across the country try to instill the appreciation for nature and natural wellness among the youngest. Basketball and tennis courts, hiking treks, bicycle trails, pools, riding, and fishing are just some of the activities available to the visitors of Serbian spas. Vrnjacka Banja spa and Banja Koviljaca are especially popular with the sports teams, as their baths and waters have beneficial properties for the muscles and shorten the recovery time of the sports injuries.

There are many ways to enjoy the healing properties of spa tourism in Serbia - swimming, bathing, drinking, and washing. The treatments are supervised by medical staff but are open to everyone either for free or for a symbolic price. The modern times brought a new touch to these Ancient Roman delights - an array of restaurants, hotels, saunas, and fitness centers. 

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