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How to Have a Bath in Budapest

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Winding between the River Danube and the Buda Hills, an unusual geological fault line sends hundreds of thermal springs bubbling to the surface of Hungary’s capital city, Budapest.

Budapest Gellert Thermal Baths
Famed for their healing properties, these thermal waters have been used for centuries to combat ailments of all kinds – from arthritis to skin problems and stress.  The Romans built huge spas on top of them in which to enjoy the waters and the ruins of these can still be seen in the city today.

However, spa bathing really took off in Budapest during the Turkish occupation of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and many of their impressive baths are still in use to this day.  Modern Budapest is home to 28 spas, as well as numerous spa hotels offering a variety of healing, relaxation and wellness treatments.  Here are some of the best.

Király Bath

Built during the latter half of the sixteenth century, the Király is a classic example of a traditional Turkish bath.   Many of the building’s features have survived from this period, including the large octagonal pool and domed roof.

The Király is one of the few spas in Budapest not to have its own water supply.  The Turks built the baths within the city limits in case of a siege and the water is piped in from the nearby Lukács spa.

Make sure you check the calendar before visiting the Király as, although the bath is open to both sexes, they are not allowed in at the same time.  On the men’s days, the bath is a popular gay hangout.

Rudas Baths

Another stunning example of Turkish architecture, the Rudas Baths sit on the narrow strip of land between Gellért Hill and the River Danube.  Reopened in 2006 following extensive interior renovations, the central bath is topped by a 10 metre cupola, supported by eight stone pillars.

Offering a variety of medicinal treatments, including drinking tonics made from the spring water, the bath also contains an outpatient hospital and physiotherapy clinic.

Gellért  Baths

This immaculately preserved Art Nouveau bath and hotel was built in 1918, on the site of a previous Turkish bath.  The beautiful building is filled with intricate mosaic tiling, stained glass windows, marble columns and statues.

The Gellért complex has a number of small mineral pools, an outdoor swimming pool with artificial waves, a bubbling effervescent pool, a Finnish sauna with plunge pools and massage services.

Széchenyi Baths

Supplied by two thermal springs that bubble in at a balmy temperature of around 74°F/23°C, the Széchenyi Baths are among the largest and grandest medicinal baths in Europe.

Situated in the pretty surroundings of the City Park, the complex has more than 10 indoor pools, as well as saunas, diving pools and smaller tubs.  For the hardiest of bathers, the outdoor pools are open throughout the year, including the cold winter months.

Best-value hotels in Budapest

For more budget accommodations, check out our Budapest hotel deals.

Photo by encontrado.es.

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8 responses to “How to Have a Bath in Budapest”

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  1. Francesco Tomas says via Facebook:
    June 29th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    bellooooooooooooooo

  2. Antonella Gramigna says via Facebook:
    June 29th, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    molto bello….dov’è? budapest?

  3. Cathy Piglou says via Facebook:
    June 29th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Oh punaise je viens de voir qu’elles avaient 32 et 33 ans… Mais euh elles font plus non ? Ou alors c’est moi qui me prend pr une gamine ?

  4. Goodrich Melissa says via Facebook:
    June 29th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Our family spent an afternoon at the Széchenyi Baths last summer – then took the continent’s oldest subway back to the hotel! Budapest is a great trip.

  5. Bart van der Veer says via Facebook:
    June 29th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    As from the 29 of October KLM will operate three flights per day from Amsterdam to Budapest!! Oops, maybe I am not allowed to promote the company I work for here

  6. venere.com says via Facebook:
    June 30th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    @Antonella, si è a Budapest!

  7. travel blog says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Ecotourism, also known as ecological tourism, is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often) small scale.

  8. Bedandbreakfast Astra says via Facebook:
    July 1st, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Le terme di Gellert a Budapest (zona Buda) sono stupende anche se le docce della piscina termale lasciano molto a desiderare…(perchè non investono qualche soldino???)


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