DON’T be put off by the black water or the smell of tar – for this is Slovenian thermal spa water, found nowhere else on earth.
The unusual colour comes from it being rich in iron and lots of other beneficial minerals that’s been filtered through the deep layers of the earth over millennia.
Known as ‘black gold’, the hot spring water is said to help clear skin ailments such as psoriasis and eczema, boost circulation, relieve joint problems and even beautify – taking years off you if you take a dip every day.
The spa at the Sava Hotel Terme 3000 in the city of Murska Sobota, Prekmurje, in the northeast of the country has become legendary for its black geothermal water. You can bathe in the outdoor pool or it’s also on tap in some of the bedrooms.
Slovenes flock from all over after it was discovered around 50 years ago when they were digging for oil. People started bathing in the spring and reporting their skin ailments were clearing up.
The experience feels strange yet it’s first-rate: You soak in the charcoal-coloured pool which is a warm 72F (22C). The only instructions are not to dive, not to dip your face in the water and not to drink it. After 15 minutes, you step out, take a shower and sip a freshly made green juice while lying on a sunlounger. Volia. The ritual is simple and fabulous.