Known as ‘Transylvania’s pearl’, dainty Băile Tuşnad is hidden among the volcano-made Harghita Mountains, 32km south of Miercurea Ciuc. Its heart is tiny Lacul Ciucaş, fringed by tall evergreens with invigorating spas close to its shore.
Legends say that in 1842, a shepherd boy's festering ulcers were cured with a splash of Băile Tuşnad’s water. An industry took off only a few years later, bottling these salty, thermally warmed waters and using them to target ailments as wide-ranging as paleness, nerves, and rheumatic trouble. The quest for more health-giving springs continued into recent decades, with a 46°C well discovered 730m deep in 1978.
Beyond simmering in salty water, Băile Tuşnad has walking trails in the bracing, pine-scented air, and it’s a good base to visit St Anne’s Lake, 24km southeast by road.