4 Budapest essential thermal baths not to be missed
Budapest is full of thermal spas because its basements are full of beneficial hot springs. The use of hydrotherapy developed mainly during the Ottoman occupation but was also encouraged under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the construction of the Széchenyi baths.
Today, it is an integral part of the life of Budapest citizens, whether for a cure or to relax by playing chess comfortably immersed in a pool of hot water.
Here is the list of the top 4 Budapest spas to do in during your trip in Hungary :
#1 The famous Széchenyi Baths
The Széchenyi baths in Budapest are one of the largest bathing centers in Europe. They are also the biggest and most famous. But they are also the most visited, the most touristic and the most expensive in Budapest.
The thermal water at the surface is around 76°C and comes from the second deepest well in Budapest, a well of 1246 meters deep.
These baths were built between 1909 and 1913 by Gyozo Czigler in the neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance styles. It is rich in decoration on the theme of water.
They were originally named the Artesian Baths. However, when they opened in 1913, it had already been renamed the Széchenyi Baths about István Széchenyi.
The water temperature in outdoor pools ranges from 26°C to 40°C. You will find a dozen indoor thermal pools, 3 outdoor, several saunas and hammams.
The thermal waters of Széchenyi Baths are recycled in 2 ways. The first is that the wastewater is routed to the artificial lake in the park. The second is that the heat from the heat sink is recycled in the Budapest zoo, thus providing hot air directly to the animals and in 40 zoo buildings, reducing gas consumption here.
Even if these baths are the most touristy, the place, its size, its architecture, and its cleanliness make it an essential element to visit during your travel to Budapest.
Address: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, Budapest 1146
Opening hours: Every day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
If you are a Budapest Cardholder, you will have a 20% discount on the entrance to the Széchenyi Baths.
#2 The authentic Budapest Gellért Baths
The Gellért Spa Budapest is different from the Széchenyi spa. While the Széchenyi Baths were made in an Art Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance, the Gellért Baths were made in an Art Nouveau style.
These authentic baths and its hotel were built in a secession style in 1918.
The water supply for the baths is coming from a spring located in the Gellért Hill.
In 1927, they decided to increase the services of the thermal baths by adding a wave pool designed by Artúr Sebestyén. Today, the wave pool is still using the original machinery to produce waves.
A few years later, in 1934, they also opened a whirlpool bath.
Unfortunately, both the hotel and the baths suffered severe damages from World War II. The reconstruction began in 1946.
Before, the Gellért hotel was most famous than its baths. It was a hub of the capital’s social scene with sumptuous interior spaces, stunning views, and high-quality cuisine. Nowadays, people are mostly coming to enjoy the thermal baths. However, from a general standpoint, both the hotel and the baths need to be renovated.
They are composed of 12 pools: 1 outdoor wave pool and 1 outdoor thermal pool, 1 indoor swimming pool, 1 indoor thermal pool, and 8 thermal baths. Temperatures are ranging between 27°C and 40°C.
The Gellért Spa also offers health and wellness services such as thermal massages, pedicure, mud packs…
As the Széchenyi Baths, the Gellért Baths deserved a visit for its architecture. However, if you plan on staying in the outdoor pools, go to the Széchenyi thermal baths, they are way nicer.
Address: Kelenhegyi ut 4, Budapest 1118
Opening hours: Every day from 6:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m.
If you are a Budapest Cardholder, you will have a 20% discount on the entrance to the Gellért Baths.
#3 The top of Danube Rudas Baths
These baths located at the foot of Gellért Hill on the Buda side, are also really different from the two previous ones.
The Rudas Thermal Baths were built more than 450 years ago, in the 16th century, during the Turkish occupation of Budapest.
Before the Ottoman occupation, it was located at this place a healing center built by the knights of St John in the 13th century.
Its central part includes an octagonal pool sustained by 8 pillars and covered by a 10-meter diameter dome. At the end of the 19th century, a therapeutic swimming facility and a sauna were added.
Until 1936, the baths were exclusively visited by men. It is only since 2006, that women can use the thermal department on Tuesday. On these particular days, men and women are allowed to swim without swimsuits. However, on the weekend, this section is mixed and swimsuits are compulsory.
Since its recent restoration in 2014, the baths offer a wellness section and a sauna world.
The spa is composed of 3 sections :
the thermal department (5 thermal pools, 1 dipping pool, 2 wet steam chambers, 3 dry hot air room) ;
the wellness department (2 hot water pools, 1 thermal pool, 1 dipping pool, 1 rooftop panorama pool, 5 saunas) ;
the swimming department (1 indoor swimming pool, 1 Finnish sauna)
The Rudas Baths are also known to be opened very late at night on Friday and Saturday (until 4:00 a.m.). So if you want to enjoy Budapest at night while being bathing on hot water, get your ticket right now!
Address: Dobrentei tér 9, Budapest 1013
Opening hours: Every day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. However, the thermal baths are closing at 8:00 p.m. Attention, the thermal baths are reserved for men from Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and reserved for women on Tuesday. The wellness part of Rudas Baths Budapest is opened on Friday and Saturday night from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
If you are a Budapest Cardholder, you will have a 20% discount on the entrance to the Rudas Baths.
#4 The remote and more local Lukas Baths
Among the Budapest baths houses, the Lukacs Baths, located next to Margaret Island, were exclusively visited by locals until 2011. Since the entry is free with the Budapest Card, many more travelers are visiting it.
It’s true, the Lukacs Baths are not as fancy as the Széchenyi or Gellért Baths but the atmosphere feels more authentic.
Before these baths were created, it was the first bathhouse to offer medical treatment by the St John’s knights.
After the Turkish occupation, the baths were bought to be completely redesigned and rebuilt as a spa hotel and wellness center. People wishing to be healed were coming from all over the world. Many marbles Thank You plaques have been placed on the baths’ courtyard to express their gratitude. Unfortunately, most of them got broken in World War 2.
The renovation and modernization of the bath, which cost more than one billion forints, was completed in 2013.
It is now composed of :
2 outdoor swimming pools ;
1 leisure pool ;
1 thermal pool ;
1 underwater traction pool ;
1 Kneipp pool ;
1 plunge pool ;
Saunas: salt crystal sauna, aroma steam cabins, infra sauna, Finnish saunas, naturist sauna, tepidarium, ice chamber, heat chamber, bio sauna…
Even if it’s not touristy, I still recommend visiting in the morning hours. Please note that on Mondays the sauna opens at 2 p.m.!
Address: Frankel Leo utca 25-29, Budapest 1023
Opening hours: Every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
With the Budapest Card, the first entry is free.
Enjoy Budapest Baths during your travel to Hungary!
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