Budapest has its fair share of fabulous attractions. Castles, museums, gardens, modern shopping complexes – you name it. However, it is perhaps best known for the Budapest baths. It’s known as the City of Spas due to the large amount of natural spring water systems that run beneath its surface. If there’s one thing you have to include when you visit Budapest, it’s a foray to one of these incredible baths. Expat Explore has rounded up a few of the most popular natural springs in the city, and the best reasons to visit each.
Did you know? The Budapest baths have been world-famous for many centuries. The Turks, Romans and Celts have enjoyed the healing properties of these spas since the dawn of recorded history. These days, modern Hungarian doctors still prescribe spa visits as part of their healing regimens!
Visit for: Romantic vibes
This is perhaps the most famous of all the thermal Budapest baths. Here you will see locals playing chess in the water for hours on end. This beautiful Neo-baroque palace was purpose-built in 1913 in City Park, the largest green park in Budapest, to house the natural medicinal hot springs that course beneath it. Széchenyi boasts no less than 18 pools, as well as steam cabins, massage spaces and treatment areas where visitors can enjoy facials and other spa treatments. If you’re travelling with a partner, this could be an ideal option for a luxurious travel date.
Visit for: Supreme relaxation
If you prefer your thermal pools a little quieter, opt for Gellért Spa. This Art Nouveau building was constructed in 1918 to house underground springs which have been in use since the 12th century. Back then, it was frequented by the Knights of St John. It’s less crowded than Széchenyi, which makes for a more relaxing experience with a variety of elegant pools and relaxing treatments.
Visit for: Wellness benefits
Although almost all Budapest baths offer healing treatments, the Lukács Baths have been an official water hospital since the 1970s. Doctors would send patients here to take in the steam as a type of physiotherapy. This tradition continues today! These days, visitors can opt to visit the Himalayan Salt Room to address respiratory problems. Or, they can stretch their backs in the Weight Bath to treat spinal injuries. You can also just sit back and enjoy the warmth and relaxation of the geothermal waters – up to you!
Visit for: Local flavour
The thermal Budapest baths are some of the most popular places for locals to meet up and interact. As such, a visit to a spa is a great way to enjoy some local flavour. During the week, Rudas Bath has male-only and female-only days when guests can all strip down to wear special aprons instead of full swimwear. This is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the chatter and to interact with locals. The spa reopens from 10 pm until 4 am, so if your days are full of other sightseeing activities, visit Rudas in the evening to save some time.
Visit for: Historical intrigue
Built by the Ottoman Turks in the 1500s, Király Bath has the official title of the oldest thermal bath in all of Budapest! When you immerse yourself in Király’s waters, you are following in the footprints of great Hungarian kings and Turkish pashas. This is the perfect Budapest bath for history buffs who want to experience the spas as many generations before us did.
When on your Budapest tour, chat with your group leader to find out which baths would tick all your must-have spa experience boxes. They know all the nooks and crannies of this wonderful city, and will be able to point you in the right direction on your free days!
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