Mondariz – Balneario, a flagship hot springs in Europe since the late nineteenth century, offers us the ideal plan for diving into its therapeutic waters. We’ll delight in the rich natural and historical heritage surrounding it, which will also take us to Ponteareas, Soutomaior and Tui.
The “Very Hospitable Town” of Mondariz-Balneario is an excellent destination for enjoying a hot-springs relaxation experience. This tiny municipality – just 2.4 km2, the smallest in Spain – has a plethora of economic, historical and natural wonders, and a rich collection of anecdotes about hot springs-related culture. Here, we’ll relive echoes of the Belle Époque and the golden years of hot spring therapy of the late neteenth and early twentieth centuries,when Mondariz was a de rigueur model of luxury and grandeur.
A stroll through the surroundings of Mondariz Hot Springs Spa
Mondariz is nestled in the peaceful River Tea Valley, located in the district of O Condado in the province of Pontevedra, just 30 km from Vigo and very well connected due to the proximity of major road arteries such as the AP-9 and the A-52 or the N-120 and the N-550.
The ruins of the old Grand Hotel, a model for hot springs spas in Europe beginning in late nineteenth century.
The next stretch runs from the chapel to the fence of the old Grand Hotel, from where we’ll be able to have a look at the spa’s gardens. You’ll be amazed by the ruins of the buildings and the old bathing facilities coexisting with plants and trees.
Following the signposted path, we’ll end up back at the heart of Mondariz-Balneario in front of the granite monument to Enrique Peinador Vela. This doctor – a “favourite son” of the town – was the person who devised the colossal project for Mondariz-Balneario, elevating it to a reference point for hot springs in Europe beginning the late nineteenth century. When he learned of the dramatic rise of people coming to the town for hot springs treatments, he set out to build an imposing hotel, which opened in 1898..
The Grand Hotel – designed by architect Genaro de la Fuente – and known for its luxury and grandeur, became worldfamous and attracted renowned guests like the magnate Rockefeller himself. Other guests included Primo de Rivera, the Infanta Isabel de Borbón, Luis Peral, Emilio Castelar and Ramón Cabanillas who also climbed the stunning imperial staircase leading to one of its 250 rooms. The hotel even came to mint its own currency, have its own programme of operas and publish a newsletter. These are but a few of the many examples that will help you to imagine the magnitude and significance of the complex.
In April 1973 a fire ravaged the spectacular building, leaving standing only the stones that allowed a faithful reconstruction of the original façade to be built. Today, a high-rise buildingç of flats stands behind it. Sitting in the music stand, near the monument to Dr Enrique Peinador, we can take a moment to admire the reconstruction of the original façade.
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