Relaxing in Budapest. Guide to the city's bathhouses
Journeys | 20.11.2019
Among the popular tourist cities there are few that are more interesting to visit in cold season. Budapest is definitely on this list. The bathhouses of the Hungarian capital are part of the city's culture, and it is a special pleasure to come here in cold season. We'll tell you about the best bathhouses of the city.
Having a new experience is one of the most valuable acquisitions that we get in travels. This is a way to learn the culture of a new place through local cuisine, traditions, leisure or to try to feel local. Bathing in thermal springs is innate for the cultural code of the inhabitants of Budapest. It is difficult to imagine a trip to the capital of Hungary without visiting a thermal spring. Water breaks out in 130 places in the city and is used not only for baths, but also for drinking. Water heals sore joints, restores the body and helps to relax.
Széchenyi Baths
When we hear about the Budapest baths, the image of the majestic neo-Renaissance architecture arises in our mind, recalling the royal chambers, thermal pools and steam. If this is about you, you most likely involuntarily imagine the Széchenyi Baths, the most famous in Budapest. This place appeared on the map of the city in 1913, when a spring with 77 degrees Celsius water was found underground.

In fact, there are not only outdoor pools. Széchenyi Baths is a complex of 16 baths. Three of them are out in the open – the rest are smaller and under the roof. In addition to baths, a hammam, a wellness center, Finnish saunas, dry and wet steam rooms and other amenities of the SPA industry are available here.

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Rudas baths were opened back in 1550 under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and have preserved the Turkish spirit to this day. Like other baths in Budapest, it is a complex with pools that vary in temperature: you can take a dip in a cold font after sauna or sit in a warm bath forever and a day.

The main thermal pool includes one large room in the center and four small rooms in the corners. The room itself is authentic, with columns and a large dome, characteristic of the Ottoman architecture of that time. The wellness center actively competes in popularity with the historical part of the complex. It's all because of the rooftop pool where you can relax overlooking the city.

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Lukács Baths
These baths look much more modern. If you love everything ancient and authentic, don't be hasty to get upset. Healing thermal waters, according to a legend, were used by the knights of the holy order of John of Jerusalem to restore health after battles in the 12th century. Then the main dome was built, and the place turned into public baths.

In 1999, the complex was modernized, some more pools were added, two of which are outdoors. Also, here you can spend time with children for whom there are small baths and various activities. For adults, from October to December, parties are held in Lukács.

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Gellert Baths
In the architectural ensemble the Gellert Baths can compete with the Széchenyi. The Gellert baths have an interesting history of development from a hidden source to a magnificent complex. There used to be a small nursing home called the "Muddy shed", Turkish baths, and this place turned into a palace only during the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

During World War II, the Gellert baths were almost completely destroyed, and then restored not in the best way due to the lack of funds in post-war Hungary. Only after a large reconstruction in 2008, this place acquired historical appearance. Despite the fact that this is a new building, the atmosphere still remains the same thanks to the art nouveau architecture, majestic columns, stained glass windows and mosaics.

Gellert Baths consist of three outdoor and ten indoor pools. They are divided into many types: with waves, with hydromassage, deep, shallow, sitz baths, etc. Each has its own temperature, and the entire group of pools is filled from ten springs. In the summer, a rooftop terrace is available.

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Király Baths
Another historic swimming pool in Budapest, built in 1556 under the Ottoman rule. It is not as big as the rest, and does not have its own spring. Water comes in Király from the Lukács baths.

The interior and exterior of the Király bathhouse is much more restrained than other Budapest complexes. The main octagonal pool is surrounded by classicist columns and a dome without an abundance of decorative elements. There are four pools and they are all indoor. Because Király is smaller than the rest of the baths, you will not meet many people here, and there are also no male or female days. The ascetic decoration has its own atmosphere, and the inner space is filled with the Ottoman spirit.

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  • Learn the working hours of the baths. In many of them there are men's, women's, and mixed days. Most often, the weekend is the best time if you want to come with friends.
  • It is worth looking at the requirements on the official website of the bathhouse. For example, somewhere it is forbidden to be in the territory without a hat or slippers. At the same time, you should see where to bring bath accessories with you, and where you can take what you need right on the spot.
  • Budapest baths are full-fledged body care centers. Massage, baths and other procedures. You can relax in the thermal waters or have a SPA day.
  • Many bathhouses work after 10 p.m. There will be fewer people, and night swimming has its own charm. See the official websites of the complexes for information.
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