Researching on the web, I thought it was about time to find some spa ideas.  Of course I'd heard about the normal spas, pampering spas, health spas, hot-stone massages, seaweed-wrapped spas.  In Spain alone, there are 2,000 registered thermal springs in various locations. 

Something different to experience, be it the oldest spa or the newest spa just opened with a range of health benefits, perhaps?  We have a whole host of Rejuvenation Health Spas close to Alicante.

It is possible to visit them at leisure if one has the time and the will... book a visit, spend half a day, perhaps, only visiting the heated spa swimming pool options or maybe just hydro-massage, mud-packs, chocolate massage, Psychosomatic ayurveda. 

Or spend a few days there and be lean-and-slim enhanced by exquisite gastronomy.  It gives me a headache to try and list the multitude of Spa-options available, all guaranteed to give you a fresher, leaner outlook on life. 

I'd found a spa complex online that had me intrigued.  It was near to us in the Murcia region, which is only about 45 minutes away by car.  Though we really hadn't visited Murcia, the Archena spa (Balneario de Archena) sounded very interesting.  The Archena complex was where the Romans discovered hot springs and built a Spa.  The hot springs sometimes gather considered sacred.

Warm thermal water and local mud have purifying and therapeutic properties.  Called the Balneario de Archena (Archena Spa), it was unique in that it's one of the oldest spas in Spain going back 2000 or more years.  I said to Murray the other day, we should maybe take a day-trip down to Murcia and see what we could see. 

 
 
The Balneario de Archena is a thermal complex of more than 200,000 square metres, located on the banks of the Segura River as it passes through Archena, 24 km from Murcia and 80 km from Alicante Airport
 It is the premier spa thermal resort in Murcia, recognised nationally and internationally for its spas and the quality of its medical services, such as its large hydrothermal facilities and beauty treatments.

It has three onsite hotels (Hotel Termas **** Hotel Levante **** Hotel León ***) , thermal balneoterápicos gallery where treatments are applied, and a main spa area with a number of outdoor pools, sun bathing decks, plus an indoor pool with multiple hot and cold areas and a novel thermal water circuit.
 

So, early one morning, we set off to Archena, arriving just before 10:00 am, temperatures tipping +30C with the burning orb happily blazing away high in an azure sky.    Arriving early gave us the opportunity to explore a bit of the town and have a late breakfast of coffee and patisseries at a rather smart coffee-bar which also offered artisan ice cream.

 
spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort town ancient Moorish buildings
spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort town modern cafe chocolate ice cream shop
 

Great coffee, just the way we like it, accompanied by coffee-biscuits.  It was a nice prelude to the fun-filled experience I’m sure we’ll be having.  Took a few photos, and continued to Ulea as we had still a half-an-hour to spare before our booking of a half-day at the Archena Spa. 

The terrain at Ulea was similar to a two-horse town, like a spaghetti-Western movie-set with a palm-trees.  White-washed houses, with hint of faded dusky reds and ochre-yellows.  Dry and dusty… and yet, just outside of town, are lush green groves with oranges and lemons, apricots and almonds.  Even a Moorish Tower, hidden among the orange trees.  Great little town, I’m sure it would be worth exploring at a later time. 

 
spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort town countryside orange groves, olive groves, craggy mountain
 
spain Ulea Murcia, Plaza del Baño de la Santa Cruz
spain Ulea Murcia, El Gurugu, Arabic-style tower

Just in time to get to Archena Spa …the road winding its way beside the River Segura is a thermal complex, with origins dating back to the Roman times.   The Romans discovered the curing properties of these waters, and had a spa built for its soldiers.  Archena Spa is situated in Valle del Ricote, and it employs water originating from a spring that holds mineral-medicinal qualities.  Parking in the underground parking station, we are greeted with the colour of the rivers and seas – calm limpid blue waters.

spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort Balneario de  Archena  mineral medicinal spring town
spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort Balneario de  Archena  mineral medicinal spring town underground carpark

We are given a credit-card type key for entry-and-exit into the Termalium Swimming pool.  The deal was a half-a-day at the Termalium swimming pool (spa) circuit and included a set lunch.

The changing room areas were in modern and immaculate condition, and spacious: changing cubicles for families, and smaller ones, hairdryers for when you’ve changed after the swimming pool sessions, ladies and gents toilets, lockers for valuables, spin dryers for swimming costumes.

We ventured outside after changing; out into the heat of the day … great expanse of walkways and greenery and pool areas.  And, what about the pools?  – amazingly, the complex includes huge heated spa pools and many different areas, indoor and outdoor, pictured against a backdrop of stark and arid mountainous scenery.  Open-air with spa-hammocks, plus whirlpool areas. 

Another pool area was enclosed in a huge building, with whirlpools, spa-jacuzzi's, swirling heated waters, jets of water, and massaging bubble spots.  One water jet channelled outside the building to an outdoor part and then back in at the end of the building - a veritable water merry-go-round.  There are myriads of water jets to massage every bit of you. 

Children’s playground in the spa areas with waterslides and bubbles and jets.  There were other heated spa areas, but as we were there for half-day only, we just had no time to try them all.
 

spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort Balneario de  Archena  mineral medicinal spring town remnants ancient original spa
spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort Balneario de  Archena  mineral medicinal spring town Spa thermal pool Complex, water channel, merry go round, spa-hammocks
spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort Balneario de  Archena  mineral medicinal spring town inside Spa thermal complex, freeform pool, upper spa pools

This is a brief note for readers with disabilities… I had a massive stroke in 1995, and was in a wheelchair for more years than I care to remember.  I now walk with the aid of a leg brace, and with my husband helping me over humps and slippery places.  Archena Spa is very well thought out, I must say.  Other spas we’d been to, in countries like New Zealand, South Africa, are possibly not so welcoming for people with are not so able, the ones we had been to.  At Archena Spa .. when you get out of the spa or you climb onto a higher level spa-tub, from the surface of the heated pool area, the steps done in granite are non-slip, and are a pleasure to walk on. 

Some of the energetic jets of water are too great for me (I now only have one usable hand, my right hand and arm are still paralysed after having endured the stroke) though, I had a fun time finding out which of the spa-options that suited me – the warm waters and the mineral content will do wonders, I'm sure, in the long run.

Then, sad to say, it was time to stop... for lunch - the spa-pools will have to wait for another day.  We hurried to change before they stopped serving lunch at the restaurant.

Our expectation of 'a free lunch' was a basic snack, as in being an all-inclusive deal with the half-day at the Termalium pools was probably a marketing thing... perhaps a salad with some mayonnaise on the side.

Nice to be totally wrong.   There was indeed a salad but that was just the starter, plus a choice of 6 or 7 main meals, and a big platter of fruit to end the meal.  We both chose the lamb cutlets, as three hours in a hot pool tends to sharpen your appetite.

Lamb was done to perfection, and three sizeable portions with chips for each of us.  The fruit comprised two huge kiwifruit each, we could have chosen 4 or 5 other fruits in season, all big plates. 

Exceptional value… the half-day in the spa and a huge lunch for just 15 Euros each – absolute bargain.  It was a fabulous day out, seeing a different part of Spain.  Definitely not keen to leave, but being less than an hour away from Perleta, it is definitely on the cards for a revisit. 

spain Archena Murcia Spa Resort Balneario de  Archena  mineral medicinal spring town inside cafeteria, lamb chops, croquettes, beans, chips, coleslaw, side salad