Croatia's Best Wellness Centers and Spas
From the ancient Ottoman tradition of soaking and steaming in Turkish baths (hammams) to the deeply entrenched sauna culture of Scandinavian countries, each of the world’s great cultures has its own unique wellness tradition. And Croatia is no exception.
“The spa culture here has evolved into what Americans are looking for,” says Wanda Radetti of professional travel company Tasteful Croatian Journeys. “It [the wellness culture] was originally medicinal in purpose -- about health and not necessarily pampering,” explains Radetti, who has been lauded by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine as the top Croatia travel specialist. “My mother used to go all the time; it was not costly or luxurious. Treatments targeted things like breathing and heart conditions. But the culture has been elaborated now into what we can call spas.”
The Croatian word for “spa” is toplice, and you’ll see the word referenced on many websites as well as emblazoned on hotel signs throughout the country. And while some of Croatia’s healing centers are still fairly utilitarian in terms of aesthetics (after all, the tradition was just as important in communist times as it is today), you’ll find everything from luxurious spas in 5-star hotels to thermal spring-fed healing pools in austere surrounds scattered across the country, from the Croatian Riviera in Opatija to the Adriatic coast.
Whether you have chronic medical ailments –- or just want some good old spa hedonism along the lines of a hot-stone massage –- there’s a world-class wellness center in Croatia with a targeted treatment. Read on for our picks for Croatia’s top wellness centers and spas in the various health-oriented hotspots.
There’s almost no sulfur in the water here, which trickles through Lithuanian limestone, so there are no stinky smells. And the water’s slight natural radioactive effect helps patients suffering from sciatica, rheumatism, coronary diseases and vascular and circulation issues. All of the apartment-style suites at Villa Magdalena have private whirlpools fed by the thermal waters, which are incorporated into all treatments.
Another top spot for wellness in Rovinj is the luxurious Hotel Monte Mulini, with its hydro-massage pools and ritualistic thermal recovery treatments that incorporate natural scrubs and algae detoxification, leaving you feeling positively reborn.
One of the best is Five Elements Wellness and Spa at the Hotel Ambassador Opatija, where the two-story facility includes a Finnish sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpools and a Cocoon Room with waterbeds. Treatments stick mostly to universal offerings such as anti-stress massages, seaweed wraps and hot-stone therapies. Nearby, at the Hotel Adriatic’s luxurious wellness facility, indulge in caviar facials, ritualistic green-tea baths (with anti-oxidant properties), and water-based thalasso treatments enhanced with de-aging products.
Now that you have some of Croatia’s very best spa destinations on your radar, all you have to do is book a flight and start thinking about the treatments that will best suit your own personal wellness agenda.