So close to Sicily, so far from the crowds – Generic English

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In addition to inspiring rugged terrain, geothermal activity has transformed the island into a thermal playground with hot springs and natural saunas. Near Mr. Armani’s compound, in the fishing village of Gadír, there is a small marina with pools carved into the stone. I followed the locals’ lead and soaked in a slightly slimy tub (the water is between 104 and 131 degrees Fahrenheit) for about six minutes, then cooled off in the adjacent port. The smell of the eggs doesn’t matter. The sulfur and mineral content is why the waters are effective at relieving aches and pains.

During my day on the boat, I swam to the Sataria cave, which has three algae-rich hot springs with water temperatures ranging from warm to medium hot. The largest hot spring on the island, Specchio di Venere, is an aquamarine lake that sits in a volcanic crater bordered by mountains and vineyards. Plus the gurgling of 104 degree water, the attraction is a therapeutic (and smelly) mud that bathers rub all over their bodies. Works? Well, the rash on my arms and chest stopped itching and my travel-tight back relaxed.

The springs were lovely, but I was most excited to detox in a natural stone sauna hidden in a mountain cave. I walked along the western slope of Big Mountain for about 10 minutes and knew that I had arrived at Benikulá Cave, or Dry Bath, when I saw puffs of steam seep from a crack in the rocks, and then an older man emerge in a very curvy Speedo. Inside, nine people sat on hot rocks and the ground (bring a towel!), shvitzing in vapors that can reach 104 degrees. Afterwards everyone relaxed on shaded benches with a wide view of the Piana di Monastero valley.

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