Budapest has its fair share of commonplace attractions. Castles, museums, gardens, modern shopping complexes – you name it. However, it is perhaps best known for its incredible baths. In fact, it’s actually called 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. We’ve 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 spas have been world-famous for many centuries. The Turks, Romans and Celts have enjoyed its healing properties since the dawn of recorded history. These days, modern Hungarian doctors still prescribe spa visits as part of their healing regimes.
Visit for: Romantic vibes
This is perhaps the most famous of all the thermal baths in Budapest. It’s here where you will see the 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. Szechenyi boasts no less than 18 pools, as well as steam cabins, massage spaces and treatment areas where visitors can enjoy facials, etc. If you’re travelling with a partner, this could be the perfect option for a luxurious date while you travel.
Visit for: Supreme relaxation
If you prefer your thermal pools a little quieter, opt for Gellert Spa. This Art Nouveau building was constructed in 1918 to house underground springs that have been in use since the 12th century when it was frequented by the Knights of St John. It’s less crowded than Szechenyi, which makes for a more relaxing experience, but still offers a variety of elegant pools and relaxing treatments.
Visit for: Wellness benefits
Although almost all of the spas in Budapest offer healing treatments, the Lukacs Baths have officially been a water hospital since the 1970s. Doctors would send their patients here to take the steam as a type of physiotherapy, and this tradition continues today. These days, visitors can opt to visit the Himalayan Salt Room to address respiratory problems or stretch their backs in the Weight Bath that is said to treat spinal injuries. Or you can just sit back and enjoy the warmth and relaxation of the geothermal waters – up to you.
Visit for: Local flavour
The thermal spas in Budapest are some of the most popular places for its citizens 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 interaction of each group individually. The spa also reopens from 10 pm until 4 am, so if your days are full of other sightseeing engagements, you can visit Rudas in the evening to save some time.
Visit for: Historical intrigue
Kiraly Bath has the official title of the oldest thermal bath in all of Budapest. In fact, it was built by the Ottoman Turks in the 1500s! When you immerse yourself in the waters here, you are following in the footprints of great Hungarian kings and Turkish pashas – perfect for history buffs who want to experience the baths as generations before us did.
When on tour chat with your group leader along the way 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 on tour.