The spring water at Ladeira, less than twenty minutes drive from the windmill, is well known for its health benefits. The water that springs from the mountainous rocks is high in minerals, has a natural temperature of 21 degrees and a pH of 4.7, and records show that it has been used for its therapeutic benefits for over a century. Many people drive up the mountain road here to fill bottles with the drinking water. A thermal spa was built at the base of the rocky outcrop in 1965 and was renovated in 1997. The building is still modest, conjuring up images of what it must have been like to be sent here for medicinal reasons back in its heyday. You can still visit the spa for therapeutic treatments to help respiratory, skin and digestive problems, but it also offers well-being treatments which is what we tried. We each booked a hydromassage, and with no idea what to expect we were very pleasantly surprised!
After checking in, you are given your own changing room and a bathrobe (you can choose to wear a swimsuit or not). You leave all your belongings in your changing cubicle and are escorted to your massage room. Here you find a massage table, above which hangs a set of five shower heads. Your masseur helps you get into position and then starts the system. The shower water goes between hot and lukewarm, and loops around in cycles of temperature so you never get too hot or too cold. The masseur uses a special oil to massage you under the water, and we both felt very clean and invigorated afterwards!
The Termas da Ladeira spa is open between mid-May and mid-October, and it is necessary to book in advance.