Health tourism is a fast-growing industry these days and the Greek islands are well placed to cater for the rising demand. Not only do they have a sunny climate with fresh sea breezes and long, hot summers but some islands enjoy health-giving natural hot springs.
Lesvos is one of the northeast Aegean islands that has more than its fair share of hot water springs that are renowned for relieving ailments such as rheumatism but also for treating skin conditions and even bronchial problems.
Most of the springs on Lesvos are now covered in thermal bath houses which offer a range of facilities of bathers and some springs on Lesvos boast as having the hottest spring waters in Europe.
The hotspot springs of Lesvos have been in use for centuries and, according to ancient writings, the Greeks among first people to use mineral hot springs for health and well-being, dipping in for a soak in healing waters since 500BC.
The thermal springs of Lesvos are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of chronic rheumatism, arthritis and sciatica. Steam from the mineral-rich waters is also recommended for catarrh and bronchitis.
The springs at Thermi are located north-west of the capital Mytilene. Thought to have once been a temple to the Greek goddess Artemis, a modern baths complex has been built in front of the ancient baths. The current spa has 10 bathtubs and the ferrous waters have a reddish hue with temperatures around 47°C. The springs are recommended for rheumatism, arthritis, skin and digestive trouble while the steam is said to help bronchial problems.
The thermal springs of Eftalou are just outside the resort of Molyvos on the north coast. The salty waters are around 45°CT and recommended for the treatment of rheumatism, blood pressure problems, gallstones and neuralgia. The renovated spa has six private bathtubs and a public pool. Open from June to 15 they are the most radioactive of all the hot springs on Lesvos.
Polichnitos is located in the south-west of Lesvos on the road between Polichnitos to Vatera. The water temperature of 67°C to 92°C makes them the hottest in Europe and the splendidly domed baths have been renovated. The waters are enriched with carbonic acid, chloride and sulfate, sodium and calcium salts. A dip is said to help rheumatism, arthritis, lumbago, sciatica and many other ailments.
Iron stained and rich in chlorine and natrium these hot springs, around 70°C, are said to help ease rheumatism, arthritis and help with dermatological infections. They are known locally as Agios Ioannis and lie in beautiful countryside near the village of Lisvouri. There are nine private rooms and a public pool.
Yeras is found on the Gulf of Yeras and is the largest and most popular baths on Lesvos with pools for men and women. Recommended for rheumatism, arthritis and bronchitis the temperature is around 40°C and rich in potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride, chloride calcium, sodium bromide and magnesium chloride.