World Water Day

Celebrating Europe's thermal water sources

Every year, on World Water Day, the 22nd March, we celebrate the water sources which are at the heart of our Historic Thermal Towns. It’s a day where our member towns and thermal regions can give access to their heritage and healing springs in interesting and unusual ways, such as open days, special offers, water bars, guided walks, and behind the scenes tours. This reinforces the importance of our waters and the history behind them to both local residents and visitors, welcoming everybody to explore our fascinating world of health, tradition and well-being.

Mr Manuel Baltar, President of EHTTA speaks about the importance of our water sources an Groundwater on World Water Day 2022.

This year, please tell us how you see your thermal town in the past, present and future and what thermal water means to you. Scroll down to find your flag to connect to the short survey!

World Water Day 2022 in Historic Thermal Towns

  • Baden bei Wien, Austria – guided tours to explore the sources of “yellow gold” and fantastic bathing stories and tell you about the bathing culture, as well as the launch of some new tourism products.
  • Bad Kissingen has an extensive programme for World Water Day including  Guided walks/tours throughout the town: Water technology in history and today; From brine to salt; Experience refined salt; Maxbrunnen: History, springs protection and techniques.  There is also an exhibition – “Ground Water and World Heritage in Bad Kissingen” in the Wandelhalle.
  • Budapest in Hungary is launching online quizzes and surveys on the 22nd and then putting on free guided tours with a prize draw to the famous baths – Széchenyi, Gellért, Rudas, and Lukács as well as mineral water tasting tours. In all nearly 200 people will be able to take part on these tours.
  • Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, is holding a special concert and will be opening restored historic fountains.
  • Ourense, Spain is running two main activities. Popular free water yoga lessons held Tues to Sun at the just-reopened thermal spaces of Outariz and Burga de Canedo.  Also on March 22nd, local tourist guides will be offering three free tours around the hot springs of As Burgas, explaining the importance of water sources (and underground waters) in the history of Ourense. 
  • In São Pedro do Sul, in Portugal, there’s a whole day of free activities that includes a guided walk, films about the water origin and its importance and, a guided tour to the natural spring and geothermal system and a thermal experience
  • Wiesbaden, Germany – World Water Day talks and tours kick off a whole year of celebrating a Year of Water. A new statue of a spear, representing the founding myth of Wiesbaden will also be unveiled on World Water Day.
  • One of our newest members, Varaždinske Toplice has organised a concert at the archeological site AQUAE IASAE in the old Roman Basilicum. First Ode to Joy (written in Baden bei Wien) will be played by brass section from Music School Varazdin and afterwards jazz duo- guitar and saxophone- will play jazz classics.
Gelbes Gold in Baden bei Wien - photo Lois Lammerhuber
Bad Kissingen
Budapest Spas
Caldas da Rainha
S. Pedro do Sul
World Water Day Ourense
Varaždinske Toplice
Wiesbadebn launches a Year of Water

What'Spa Survey 2022

Do you live in a thermal town, or did you visit thermal spa towns when you were a child? Are they important destinations to you now, especially after the pandemic? Visiting one of our Historic Thermal Towns is about drinking or bathing in the the waters but also so much more! We have architecture, history, culture, events, parks, landscape, relaxationand stories of the famous people that visited the towns in the past. How do you feel about your spa town? What does it mean to you to live there or visit?

For World Water Day, we would like to find out what YOU think about your thermal spa town in the past, present and future, and what thermal water means to you.

Find a survey in your language below and please let us know how you value your thermal water.

#MySpaTown #ThermalTravels

EHTTA's President talks about "Valuing Water" on World Water Day 2021

All the thermal towns of our Association, our Cultural Route, are built around water sources. Our towns all exist because people in the past valued the water enough to build beautiful structures around thermal springs, and find ways to share the healing water with people near and far…. we have always found ways for people to “take the waters” so that they can improve their wellbeing and benefit from this unique source of health.

For me, the thermal waters of my town and region represent hope for the future. Hope that we can help to heal the troubles of the last year with our thermal waters, that people can find the space in our towns to relax, recover, recharge their batteries and reconnect with springs that have been a source of wellbeing for so long.

I hope that on World Water Day this year, you find time to tell us how you value and celebrate water, especially thermal water, a true force of nature!

2020 World Water Day - EHTTA President, Manuel Baltar

In 2020 the theme of World Water Day was “Water and Climate Change” and how the two are inextricably linked. The United Nations, which organises World Water Day tells us that  “adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and save lives. That using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases. And that we cannot afford to wait.  Everyone has a role to play.”
One of the themes this year is about “taking good care of water” – something that we already care about in our thermal towns: We protect our sources from pollution, by maintaining a clean environment around our towns, and they are even more healthy places to visit as a result. We measure and monitor our water sources, making sure they are safe for our customers to use, and that they maintain the unique balances of minerals and salts that give them their particular qualities. We instinctively know that some of our hotter waters can be used to lower carbon emissions  by  using them to heat buildings.  In this way we can contribute to the “carbon-smart urbanisation” that the UN also encourages.

Our model of tourism is inextricably linked to water, the life-sustaining element that we all have a duty to protect.  We are dedicated to health, to physical and mental wellness, and to protecting the natural environment that surrounds our towns.  We encourage our visitors to explore “slow” and less environmentally-damaging tourism, with an emphasis on locally-sourced food and drink, and travel by rail, for example.  We encourage them to  take time out, to relax,  walk in parks and gardens and surrounding countryside, and focus on their health and well-being, in ways that no other form of tourism does.  We know that this model is good for people, and good for the environment.