With unparalleled landscapes and perennial sunshine, it’s undisputed that Spain is an ideal vacation spot. For a getaway with a focus on wellness, look no further than spa hotels in Northern Spain, which strike a pleasant balance between classic luxury and traditional Spanish flavor. These hotels are situated in idyllic locations on small bays or on the outskirts of cities; some are even housed in old castles and boast a uniquely historic flair. Prepare to be pampered with massages and beauty treatments, as well as access to spacious swimming pools, whirlpools, and sauna areas.
Where to stay at a spa hotel in Northern Spain? Top regions & locations at a glance:
Basque Country: Tranquility in the countryside
© Arantza Hotela Straddling both the French border and the coast of Spain, Basque Country is a truly unique place, equipped with its own language, own sport, and even its own kind of tapas, called pintxos. In the major cities that dot the region, find some of the world’s best: Bilbao’s Guggenheim is respected as a hub of art and architecture the world over and San Sebastian has been considered one of the top places to eat. Beyond that though, is the fairytale countrysides in which mountain villages sit sleepily. Surrounded by oak forests and vistas over mountain and sea, spa hotels provide the utmost tranquility, allowing you to regenerate alongside nature. In a luxurious, design building tucked under the limestone peaks of the Basque mountain range, explore onsite wine cellars, enjoy a lavish meal on a sun-stained terrace, and allow your worries to slip away with a trip in the sauna or dip in the pool. In or around the medieval city of Laguardia, find varieties of wine unique to the region—best paired with a view of the region’s hyper-modern architecture and rolling hills that spill out into the ocean or rise toward the sky in sharp peaks. If all that’s not enough, the active traveler will find the region lined with a suite of dazzling natural parks, primed for hiking or biking through the fresh mountain and coastal air. One that’s sure to impress is the UNESCO Basque Geopark, which stretches out into the wild sea with black, rocky fingers.
Galicia: Wellness on the beach & in Santiago de Compostela
© A Quinta da Auga Hotel Spa Relais & Chateaux Those looking for a lavish stay at a spa resort on the beach should high-tail it to Northern Spain’s Galicia, located at the northwesternmost tip of Spain. Here you’ll find sprawling beaches, lively promenades, and spa hotels that have long perfected the art of wellness holidays. These hotels offer hydromassage baths, hot-stone treatments, and are often walking distance from the beach, if they don’t already have one onsite. The confluence of air, sea, algae, and water in Galicia lends itself to a rejuvenating stay, along with the focus on gastronomy as a health benefit. Some of these beachside resorts even come equipped with separate spa centers for children and adults, to ensure you’ll have plenty of time and space for yourself, while the kids have some fun, too. Inland, around Santiago de Compostela, step into the spirit of a bygone era in this famous pilgrimage destination. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was built in the 1300s and is impressive not only for its massive size and Gothic beauty, but also for housing the relic of Saint John. A spa hotel in this medieval town places you quietly between spring fountains, wide gardens, and lush forests, while just a stone’s throw from the charming city center.
Asturias & Cantabria: Spain’s tranquil northern coast
© Castilla Termal Balneario de Solares Hugging the shoreline of the Bay of Biscay is a suite of Gaudi buildings, luscious scenery, and a generally laidback energy. The spa phenomenon found its way to the regions of Asturias and Cantabria many years ago, and it seems as if it’s not going anywhere: wellness in special places, surrounded by exceptional natural beauty, is what this coast and mountainous inland have going for them. Body, spirit, and mind come together in spa hotels with an emphasis on total relaxation; discover a long list of treatments including thalassotherapy, oxygenation, and revitalizing treatments using water from the sea. In luxurious rooms within medieval facades, waste away a day gazing out into protected oak forests, still inhabited by black bears and other critters. Set off on a wander through the hotel grounds: verdant land stretching as a far as the eye can see—or to the coast, whichever comes first. The wellness facilities of some Asturias and Cantabria spa hotels are even filled with water directly from local hot springs; the rest have other unique traits, if not just their magnificently secluded locations. After a day filled with puttering around and sipping regional apple wine, treat yourself to an Asturian 3-course meal, served on the terrace with panoramic views of the stunning countryside.
Good to know:
Getting there: For a quick trip from major airports in the UK, fly direct to Bilbao, Santander, La Coruna, Santiago, or Vigo on a couple-hour flight. From these airports, catch a cab, book a transfer, or take a bus or train to get to your hotel. The Renfe Spain Pass can be purchased ahead of time and used on all long-distance and mid-distance high-speed trains. Renting a car is always recommended for countrysides as beautiful as Spain’s, as you’ll have the opportunity to take the scenic route along the beach and through the mountains. If you’re traveling to Asturias, there’s also a sightseeing train you can take from Santiago de Compostela, if you’re looking to bounce around on your holiday.