Paris, Barcelona, ​​Brussels: 9 of the 10 best spa holidays in the world are in Europe

Rest and relaxation are an integral part of any stay. Whether you’re horizontal on a beach, skydiving, skiing or on safari, you’re sure to incorporate quieter moments of self-care as well.

With hotels jumping on the wellness trend, vacationers don’t have to look far for a homemade massage or detox drink. But more and more people are looking for the ultimate relaxation experience: a spa break.

And European cities are increasingly equipped to respond to our desires.

You might associate it with the bustle of sightseeing, fashion, and food, but Paris actually has the most spas for its size: a whopping 965 in total, or about nine per square kilometer.

That’s according to a new study by travel experts on, an online comparison service, which has broken down the number of spas in each major city in the UK, EU, US United States and Canada.

Paris also has the most expensive and highest rated establishment of the lot. A day pass to the Molitor Spa by Clarins will cost you €290 – but is well worth it according to TripAdvisor testimonials.

“I have a very intense job, and getting a massage in this place always brings me back to life,” wrote one reviewer. It’s a sentiment shared by many, so here’s a guide to the best spas in Europe.

Europe is home to 9 of the top 10 spa vacation destinations

Second on the list is the ever popular Barcelona, with 605 spas: nearly six per square kilometer on average. It also has one of the lowest starting prices for a premier spa, at just €31.

The sunny climate, delicious cuisine and vibrant culture make it an attractive destination for those looking for the complete city package. It is therefore good to know that it has some of the most affordable popular spas to relax after a busy weekend of exploration.

Brussels rarely shares a top three spot with Paris and Barcelona, ​​but when it comes to spa density, the Belgian capital punches above its weight with 73 over its 33 kilometres.

The premier spa offers a unique experience: a Belgian beer bath. Relaxing in a pot of yeast, malt and hops has been known as skincare in some countries for centuries, but Belgium has been surprisingly slow to catch on.

The founders of Bath and Barley are changing the game by welcoming customers at a rate of €99 per person per pot to their old Brussels cellar where you can relax on a bed of straw after a bath.

Athens came in fourth place. But it’s France that really dominates the top 10, with Bordeaux and Lyons also proving to be havens for spa lovers. Switzerland also does well, with Zurich and Basel in 6th and 9th place respectively.

What are the best cities for spas in the UK and USA?

A British city comes in at number 10 and no – it’s not Bath. The Roman town of Chichester in West Sussex may only have 13 spas, but that’s a high ratio for its 11 km². With the chalky hills of the South Downs on its doorstep and the charming seaside resort of Bognor Regis, there are plenty of other ways to relax on the massage table.

Norwich was the other UK city to make the top 20, with 32 serene spas. It’s a characterful place to spend a weekend, with a high density of pubs and churches and the epic Norfolk coastline to explore.

There are only five destinations on the top 20 list that are outside of Europe, according to data compiled by TripAdvisor. They are: Vancouver in Canada in fifth position, Honolulu in Hawaii in 13th position, New York in 15th position with one spa per km², followed by Miami and San Francisco in 18th position.

Lille, Nice, PortLisbon and Dubrovnik are the other European contenders.

Richard F. Gandhi