Definitely part of the TOP 5 winter (swimming) activities in Greece, but VERY suitable for going to ALL YEAR ROUND: visiting the Pozar hotsprings in the north of the country, on a 1.5 hour from Thessaloniki. Hot water flows into the pools from the Aridaia spring and is always around 37C, including small hot waterfalls. The waters are said to be therapeutic and consist of (a.o.) iron, potassium, silicon, fluorine, sodium, lithium, manganese, and magnesium. Last but not least, the pools are BEAUTIFULLY situated next to a cold river with amazing, large waterfalls. Read all about them in this blogpost.
The hot springs of Loutra Pozar are located in Northern Greece, close to the city of Edessa in the region of Pella. They are a 1.5 hour drive by car (west) from Thessaloniki.
The easiest way to get to the Pozar hot springs is by car. It is a one hour drive from Thessaloniki. There is a large, free parking lot available on the premises of the hotsprings.
Getting to the Pozar hot springs by public bus is not too easy. From the KTEL intercity bus station of Thessaloniki (outside the city, you can take a city bus there for about € 1) there is a bus to Aridaia (€ 17 return ticket), which is 13 km from Pozar. Sometimes you’ll have to transfer in Skydra. Check the schedules on the website of KTEL MAKEDONIAS. From Aridaia you can take a local bus 3 times per day to ‘Loutraki – Piperia’. Loutraki is the village right next to where the hotsprings are located. Check the schedule here. You can also take a taxi from Aridaia for a couple of euros, which is of course more convenient. Remember to ask for a number of the taxi (company) to call upon your return.
If you are not renting a vehicle, you can take a guided day tour for €55 from Thessaloniki that makes a stop at the amazing waterfalls in Edessa as well.
The Pozar hot springs consist of 3 outdoor pools. They are all temperatured around 37C permanently. There are 2 thermal pools directly on the riverside next to the waterfall(s). These are smaller bassins that are great for relaxing in. The river and waterfall are cold, so you’ll see people jumping in the river after a hot bath to create a sauna effect. There is a larger outdoor swimming pool as well where you can actually excersie in. This pool is accompanied by a cafe and some seating space on the side. Finally, there is also an indoor complex where you can rent a private hot pool for a price starting at €10. And you can also book massages and other treatments there. The pricelist can be found online and you can book directly from the website as well.
Before you go, always check the latest opening times on the website of Loutra Pozar. At the time of writing, the large outdoor swimming pool is opened from 7 or 8 AM to 9 or 10 PM. The maller riverside pool (number 2) is opened from 7 AM to 4 PM. Both the larger riverside pool (number 1) and the inside ‘Alexandreio’ pools are opened from 7 AM till 2 or 4 (!) AM. Which means that night swimming is possible. It is a great idea to do so and stay the night in a hotel in Loutraki village!
When you are using the outdoor pools, There are basic (outdoor) facilities to change into your swimsuit, to shower and go to the toilet. Of course you can change in private, but do not expect a luxurious heated space. There are ‘cabins’. There is also a cafe to eat or drink something at. This place is still very ‘local’ even though tourists from the area know where to find it. But that’s its charm.