Saturday, April 30, 2016


The coastal town of Kamena Vourla (about 150 km north of Athens) has a certain reputation as a thermal place of well being.
From the wikipedia link above:
'The famous springs became important around 1926 when the chemist Michail Pertesis discovered the exceptionally high radon concentration in the water, which was thought of as a great value for people's health. Nearly ten years later (1930s), the first hotels started to develop. After World War II, Kamena Vourla was transformed into a famous tourist attraction'.
However the status and importance of this hot spring seems to have changed. The main bathing building has gone defunct. Just google Kamena Vourla + hot spring to see the ruin.  Such as this:

'During my short trip to Kamena Vourla I visited the Ippokratis hydrotherapy which apparently was the "new" building. Things did not look that new and certainly needed some restoration.
But within a driving distance there are some small healing thermal waters nearby that locals are using- the Kallyntika and Koniavitis.
Those I can totally recommend. I loved it'. 

Or read this from the greektraveller:
'Only few people come at this side of the settlement [of Kamena Vourla]. A wonderful pine grove, filled with big poplar trees, sedges and plane- trees all stretching in the shade of the mountain Knimida. The slopes fall vertically drowned by vegetation mixed with innumerable caves and rocks full of holes. Around this grove spring are the ruins of the old baths: Hotel “Radion”,the Baths “Asclepius”, other old hotels, all now deserted and devastated with wonderful neoclassical architecture and paint which has peeled away from the once glorious era: purple, ochre, sepia, warm yellow and shades of charcoal gray'.
Radion refers to it's radioactive waters: the hot spring of Kamena Vourla is one of the two hot springs of Greece known for their radioactive qualities (source). 

There are though a number of hotels with hot spring features (source). However, oddly the thermal connection is not a heavily used card: probably the most prominent Galini Wellness Spa & Resort hardly mentions their thermal pool.

But besides what appears the main claim to fame, the town of Kamena Vourla has another few gems of hot springs, surprisingly underdeveloped. All the better.

An early morning this May sees me heading out north of town, along the many restaurants and cafes straddling the tiny beach where one can enjoy the view over the Gulf of Maliakos Kolpos towards the island of Evia and the Greek Peninsula to the north. 

On the roundabout just before the motorway there's a tiny sign in Greek (Πηγή Κουνιαβίτη or Koniavitis hot spring) pointing the way: head under the motorway without using the on ramp.

Coming onto this small lane, it just fits between the no-mans land between motorway and mountain face. After a kilometer or so you'll hit a set of hot springs, though maybe warmish is a better description.

In all behind a twin number of changing cubicles / huts to take refuge from the sun/rain, there are 4 cement lined pools (see blog leading photo). Three of these see little use apparently (some scum / algae on top), but enthusiastic soakers are dipping in the last, which also seems to the warmest of the quadruple. All pools would appear to contain waters with temps from 32-34C.

As common on our Greek sojourn, we are called over to soak and enjoy. 

However we skip this, soakers have quite a choice here: just further up the road is another hot spring, which I'll cover later in this blog.

There's not much other info on soaking itself here, certainly not in English. I did find this experience:
'I'm not sure exactly what we were expecting, but we were surprised to find that after a 4 km walk the hot springs were actually cement pools in the middle of a trash heap right on the highway (and they smelled like sulfur). Even though at first all we could do was laugh, once we all got in and started to relax it was actually really really nice. The water was oily and made our skin and hair feel amazing'.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


The island of Milos is oft mentioned as being of a highly volcanic nature with many a hot spring. Witness the official website:
'Milos thanks to the volcanic activity and the meta-volcanic hydrothermal action has a lot of hot springs, well-known in antiquity for their therapeutic powers. Characteristically, Hippocrates in his book E’ “On epidemics” refers to the therapy of an eminent Athenian who suffered from a skin disease and who was cured at the Hot Springs of Lakkos in Milos. Furthermore, the French professor  of Botanic Pitton de Tournefort refers to the island’s  hot springs in his “tour” texts in 1771'.
On the ground things are telling a different story.

I'll get to this in a later posting, there are mainly two failings: 
1. there's precious little info to go by,
2. other than the statement above there's little or no interest in soaking at all!

At least one of these statements does not apply for the hot springs of Aliki (or Alikes, Alykes, but sometimes referred to as Kanava): not only are they the most often cited, there's even a roadside signboard to indicate their existence.

But that's about all there is to these hot springs, a signboard. No telling exactly where they are.

Were it not for other additional info one would never have known where to search and / or what to expect.

Let's start with the most informative, Tripadvisor (forum):
'It is much easier to find the ones in Kanava. They are right opposite the power plant in the bay of Adamas. Driving from Adamas towards the airport, at the end of the of the power plant (right after the junction to Palaiochori, Agia Kyriaki) opposite there is small sign "Hot Springs".
There is a big flat rock on the beach at this point. The majority of the springs extend at the right of the rock as you face the sea. On a calm day you will see the pubbles on the surface of the sea and the sand.
Also the grandmothers and grandfathers swimming there will give you a good indication :'
Or this:
'More like a spa experience than a beach, this is one of the places on Milos where hot minerals springs gush out of the sea around the shore. In Greek Loutra Alikis means "baths of Aliki", as Aliki is the name of the area around the airport. The sign for the springs is hidden between the trees but you can easily find the beach which is right in front of the island`s electric power plant, near the crossroad for Zephyria. The beach and the plant are separated by the main road going to Achivadolimni and Empourio. There is no parking lot and you have to park along the road. The springs cannot be seen from the road but when you get closer you can see the water "boiling" at some spots. The water gushing out from the springs is hot on these spots but the coming cold waves mix with it, reaching a very pleasant temperature and allowing you to soak in the sea for a long period. It is considered that these springs cure skin and gynecological diseases'.
Equipped with this info, we drive over to the site mentioned and park the car. Beyond the sign is a shrub or two and then the coastline. An opening  between the shrubs gives access to the beach, though it's a larger rock onto which it opens up to.
Anyway to the right are two what I believe English dames who might have experienced the soak. Oddly enough they point to a place just before the tide line where (that days prevailing) winds have stacked up as of yet uncertain sea vegetation.
"You have to wiggle a bit".
Wiggle we do and a foot bath is to be had. But that's about that. No grandparents around who might elude. Was this it?

This is it: a nice mess!

Though it's easy enough to stumble onto these hot springs, what better way than to get (more) info than from the Adamas located Milos Mining Museum: a legacy to the geological origins of Milos island and ways to exploit it. 
In itself it's quite interesting, especially if into geology: there's a floor with all kinds of stones all originating from the island. And there's some original mining equipment. 
It would also be a handy as a source of information especially as the visitors information office (of the island) is not functioning (at all or just seasonally?).

The lady behind the desk at the museum however has little knowledge on the subject (of soaking) and straightaway starts to frantically dial a number on her mobile phone. Oddly enough, just three seconds later the man she was calling steps into the office, not having answered his phone. 
After being explained what the question is, he responds and explains the best place to see hot springs on the island is at Alikes.
"You will see the signboard opposite the power plant".
Ok, passed that part. He then expands that the soaking source is actually 10m off the tide line. Hmmmm, that's more info. 
However, average seawater temp at the time of my visit to Milos is 16 /17 °C, if being optimistic. Neither a temperature to swim for a longer time in.

Fast forward a few days, air temperatures have risen and I am still curious. The day is fantastic: warm with little wind. 
We park once more, this time round there's no other visitors (in the course of a week, we have passed this place maybe 10 times; other than on the occasion above the place has been deserted, no grandpa's nor grandma's!).

Winds and tides have pushed the vegetation above the tide line (or maybe it's low tide) and just beyond one can see bubbles. 

Quite hot standing there. 

Looking more intently I see more bubbles a meter or so away and wade that way.  Ahh, that's nice and hot. 
The sea is very flat and I am contemplating swimming out the ten meters mentioned just to confirm the non-existence. 

It's then that I notice a part of the bay with movement on it, contrasting to the flat waters around. 

That's not even 10m, so I dive in. 

Roughly 5m or so (see lead photo), with a depth of a meter, there are huge amounts of hot water flowing into the sea from the sea bottom, thus giving the sea surface a little ripple. It's nice and warm, hot flashes intermittent with the much colder sea.

The waters are also a lot more saline here. Temperatures are supposed to be 50°C (source).

Well, that was a great discovery. And it leaves me wondering why nothing has been done to say make a sea pool, hem in the hot water, get guests in for the winter, so much to do.

Closeby are other springs with the same name (Alikes / Alykes; but not Kanava) but they seem to be in need of a spring cleaning. Miloterreanean:
'Cave with thermal mineral water with a temperature of 29ºC and a chlorine content that indicates a mix of fresh to sea water in a ratio of 2 to 1 [measurements of 1985 - M. Stamatakis]. In a text from 1835 (Xavier Landerer, “On the Hot Springs of Milos”, 1835) it is stated that the spring is "at the foot of the small hill coming from the old city (Zephyria) at the port where the salt marsh is today…”. The same source states that the entrance was low, so someone needed to crouch down to get into the cave, one that could accommodate 60 to 70 people and where the water temperature reached 25°C. Today the cave cannot be visited, because the roof has fallen in near the entrance'.
Another source:
'Another source, known as "Loutra Alikìs", was recommended for women's diseases and infertility. Today the cave is walled and does not work. (Baths of Aliki, opposite to Milos power plant, near the sea, seems to generate the same water type)'.

Euro soaks visited