American author Sylvia Plath once said, “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Budapest, known as the “City of Baths,” would surely agree. In fact, ever since the numerous thermal springs (there are 125!) of this area were enjoyed by the Romans back in the second century, Budapest’s bath game has been going strong. Loved by tourists and locals alike, Budapest’s many spa and thermal bath destinations are absolute musts. So, the next time you are looking for your warm water fix, here’s a list of the greatest baths of Budapest.
Széchenyi is widely-known as being the largest medicinal bathhouse in all of Europe. Having first opened its doors in 1881, the locale became so popular, it was forced to expand. Now, visitors will find a wonderland made up of 18 pools, 15 of which are fed directly by the world-famous natural Budapest’s thermal hot springs. Three of these pools are outside, so you can enjoy the Budapest sun while you soak. The smaller thermal pools are inside. Visitors may also enjoy onsite sauna facilities and locker rooms. There are even luxurious spa offerings available, including massages (fees apply). Just be sure to pack your swimsuit, as this bathhouse is co-ed.
Apart from physical healing properties, these thermal baths also provide an uber-elegant, albeit slightly over-the-top, extravagance in regards to style. Located right alongside Budapest’s beautiful City Park, the glamour of these baths refuses to be overshadowed.
Szechenyi Baths welcomes visitors daily, during the hours of 6am to 7pm, but the pools remain open for patrons to enjoy until10pm.
For those night owls, this bathhouse also offers an unique and thrilling way to spend an evening. On Saturday nights, all the party people (you are invited too!) gather together from 10pm-3am, as the spa parties the night away (they cheekily call it a ‘sparty’). The night is a blast, and comes complete with electronic music and rainbow-colored lights. So, get your dancing suit (not shoes) on, and get ready to party!
One of the most photographed bathhouses in the Hungarian capital, Gellért bath in the 1st district was built in 1918. The building’s stunning Art Nouveau architecture alone is worth the trip. And, of course, its magical thermal waters. From the colorful floors and walls, which are covered from top to bottom with pretty mosaic tiles, to the gorgeous stained glass windows, Budapest’s Gellért bath is not only a treat for the body, but is also a feast for the eyes.
Add to this style the healing waters, which fill an impressive 10 pools, each of a different size and temperature, and you have a divine day spent in Budapest. Did we mention that there is an outdoor wave pool, too? Don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself!
The baths are open daily from 6 am to 8 pm. Just don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.
And, if you are really looking for a luxurious retreat, add a fancy spa package to your day’s escape. After all, your admission allows you to stay the whole day, so why not use it to spoil yourself silly?
When you think of Rudas, think of the old world. This bathhouse is known to be one of the very first traditional baths in Budapest. This authentic Turkish bathhouse was built by the Turks themselves way back in the 1560s. Over the years, Rudas has expanded and improved, yet has still kept pieces of that old world charm that bring its patrons back again and again.
Rudas has maintained many elements of its traditional Turkish roots, such as its architecture, which can be seen in its impressive domed roof, 6 thermal pools, and a large swimming pool. It has also now branched out from its original male-only rule to include female visitors as well. It does still have separate days for women’s only and men’s only soaks. On these single-sex admission days, swimsuits are optional. Many patrons, especially the locals, will opt to go completely nude at this time.
The bathhouse is open daily from 6am to 8pm, and has a special night bathing option on Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm to 4am.
Much smaller and intimate than its sister spas, Király Thermal Bath is a perfect pick for those looking for a more low-key and peaceful, less crowded setting. Built by the former Pasha of Buda, Arslan, way back in 1565, Király Thermal Bath was first created, surprisingly, as a sort of military measure to ensure that those within the walls of the castle would always have access to bathing water, in case a siege should occur. Fast forward to the present, and the original bathhouse has been completely rebuilt, or reborn, you could say.
Visitors now can come and enjoy a quiet destination bathhouse that flawlessly combines the best of both worlds. It seamlessly blends the old with the new. Chocked full of character and steeped in history, the bathhouse welcomes visitors to lose themselves among the 4 onsite thermal pools, each varying in temperature. As the bathhouse is co-ed, all are welcome, as long as you are above age 14. Visiting hours are daily from 9am-9pm, with last admission being at 8pm.
Lesser known, and decidedly much less touristy than the more famous baths in Budapest, Lukács Baths is the preferred choice of many local residents, when it comes to choosing their ideal day away. They are drawn here by many qualities that this unique bathhouse has, the first of which is its history. The baths are actually fed by the oldest hot springs in the entire country, which date as far back as the Roman and Turkish empires.
As well as the beautiful style of the bathhouse, visitors are delighted by its many medicinal spa treatment offerings as well. Having been recently remodeled in 2012, the locale now has modernized changing rooms, a rooftop terrace for sunbathing, a state-of-the-art wellness area, saunas, a fitness room, and even a playroom. For those really wanting to pamper themselves, the bathhouse even provides options for alternative medical treatments, a beauty room, and a salt cabin.
The regular hours of the baths are daily from 6am-10pm.