Welcome to Budapest, the ‘City of Baths’
A visit to the ‘City of Baths’ is not complete without a dip in one of the thermal spas. There are over 120 hot springs in Budapest! The Romans were the first to take advantage of the thermal springs, while the Turks were the ones who turned them into bathhouses during the 16th and 17th century.
The water of the hot springs are rich in minerals and are considered to have healing powers for rheumatic and muscle pains. My trapezius muscle hurts quite often for example, especially in winter, so the warm waters were a real virtue during my visit 🙂
Széchenyi is one of the largest public baths in Europe. Unlike some of the old bath houses, built in the 16th and 17th century, this exquisite one was built in the 19th century. It was supposed to be a temporary establishment but because of the growing popularity they expanded. Today, there are 18 pools of which 15 are spring fed.
- Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
- Metro: Széchenyi fürdő (M1)
- Bus: Széchenyi fürdő M (72, N72)
The Baroque building has several entrances. One main entrance facing the City Park, leading to the indoor pools, one side entrance leading to the steam baths and a rear entrance leading to the outdoor pools.
There are a lot of ticket options but actually it is not that complicated. You just have to decide wether you want a private changing cabin where you can keep your stuff or just a locker, which is cheaper. Don’t worry, you still get to change in a cabin if you choose the locker, it’s just smaller 🙂 but do-able for two!
This was our third visit to the Széchenyi baths. Usually we start our visit with a 20 minute dip in the outdoor pools. Remember there’s also a jacuzzi and lazy river on one side of the outdoor baths!
After that, you can go inside and enjoy the 15 indoor pools. They vary in size and range in temperature from 20° up to 40°. My favorite pools are the ones in the middle of the building where the half dome is. There are seats to take a rest, palm trees all around and natural light coming out of the dome.
If you ever visit Budapest, this is definitely the first bath house you should try out. Combine it with a walk through the City Park and your batteries will be fully charged again. Enjoy!
PS: on Saturday evenings they organise “sparties“. I’m curious on how party people, booze and pools combine but I guess it must be fun 🙂
Szent Lukacs baths
This bath house is located in Pest, near the southern tip of Margaret Island. There almost weren’t any tourists when we visited Lukacs baths, and it is supposed to be a favorite among the locals.
- Frankel Leó utca 25-29, 1023 Hongarije
- Tram: Szent Lukács Gyógyfürdő (17, 19, 41)
Szent Lukacs was built in 1894 and was, at the time, the biggest bathhouse in Budapest. The bathhouse has eight pools of which five thermal pools. There’s also a drinking fountain with healing water.
The indoor pools are very cozy and beautifully finished with mosaic. I also thought everything was very well maintained and clean (in contrast to the facade). It took us a while to find the entrance to the outside thermal pools, but we enjoyed every second of it.
Gellért and Rudas baths are still on my wishlist. Gellért is supposed to be one of the prettiest, while Rudas is one of the oldest and most famous Turkish baths. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Budapest 🙂
PS: bring your own towels and slippers, otherwise you have to rent them.