Budapest which is also known as the city of Baths is also the capital city of Hungry. Geographically, the location of Budapest is on a fault line where Buda hills collide with the Plain resulting in more than 100 thermal spring jets. It is estimated to release 40,000 m3 of mineral-rich thermal water every day. The Hungarian capital has a bathing culture that dates way back, to the Romans.
1. History of Budapest Thermal Baths
The history of the baths goes back to when it was part of the Roman empire. Ruins of 3rd-century massive thermal baths were found in the Óbuda district, near Flórián tér park, which had hot and cold water bathing tabs.
It is known that the Turkish conquered Hungary in the 16th Century and it was under Turkish influence that Hamman-style Turkish baths, called ilidzas were built in Budapest. Some thermal baths are still operative in Budapest and most of the currently running thermal baths in Budapest were built at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the Turkish-era hammams are still visible and are still maintaining charm & tranquillity.
2. Things to Know Before You Visit
Some important points you must keep in mind before you go in for a thermal bath are mentioned here.
- Bring sandals or slippers, useful when walking between the indoor and outdoor pools, because the wet floor gets very slippery and there might be chances of falling.
- In the thermal baths, avoid staying in the hot thermal baths for longer periods, 20 minutes is the optimum time. Staying more in the baths may cause health problems.
- Children aged 14 and above are allowed into the baths. Children below the age of 14 are not allowed.
- Pregnant women should avoid bathing in thermal pools.
- Smoking is not permitted in any of the baths in Budapest. Smoking is prohibited even in open spaces.
- One must also carry bathing soap, shampoo and any other personal cleaning items.
- For many of the baths, you can book a time slot in advance, better to do so to avoid confusion.
- All baths provide lockers. You can also rent a locker cabin for the safety of your valuable belongings.
- Many of the baths also provide saunas and steam facilities.
- Generally, the cashier closes one hour before the bath closes.
- If you have long hair better tie it before entering the baths.
- Visitors can choose baths as per budget and needs. On the weekends usually, baths are open the whole night or past midnight.
3. Inside Baths in Budapest
Each bath has its specialties – some are Saturday night baths, some have a wine tub, some have a drinking hall and some have a rooftop hot tub. Taking baths outdoors in the warm thermal water and then snow frozen pool is the most magical experience, the baths are open around the year and can be enjoyed in all seasons.
4. Benefits of Thermal Bath
Hot water contains many minerals, which are good for human health and have healing properties.
Academic and medical studies have shown, these minerals are beneficial to diseases like arthritis, slipped discs, back pain, joint pains, nerve disorders, nerve pain, stiff joints, lung illnesses and cardiac problems.
5. Thermal Pools in Budapest You Should Visit
In Budapest, numbers of Thermal baths are available. Some built in the 16th century are still working, while there are others built with spas and other facilities. Some of the thermal baths in Budapest also have outdoor pools and indoor pools.
Some of the best thermal baths in the city are mentioned below.
One of the largest thermal pools in Europe and is most popular in the city of Budapest. It is more than 100 years old and is a Neo-Baroque palace in Budapest’s City Park. In the bathing complex, there are 15 indoor and 3 huge outdoor(open-air) pools of different temperatures. Due to the huge complex, it’s advisable to follow the site map, otherwise it can be tricky to navigate.
This largest bathing complex has saunas, steam rooms, aqua fitness equipment, whirlpools and jets, on the inside and outside.
5.2. Rudas Baths
Rudas thermal pool is a Turkish type built in the 16th century, still a very actively in-use bath and spa centre. It has an octagonal shape pool. The temperature of this place ranges from 32 degrees to 40 degrees.
This is one of the very unique thermal baths in Budapest that hosts same-sex days as well. Which means men and women can enjoy the facilities of the thermal bath together without any discrimination.
5.3. Gellért Baths
Gellert is the best if you are looking for privacy and is therefore considered best suited for couples. Located at the bottom of Gellért Hill, with stained-glass windows and colourful tiles on the walls, Gellért is the finest piece of art nouveau architecture.
It’s the most precious historic bath in the city, here you will be able to experience royalty with dignity. There are also several, small baths pools with closed enclose, which can be booked & used privately, making Gallert the first choice for couples.
Gallert specialty is mosaic walls and floors and Roman-style columns are the sign of art nouveau. It was built in 1918 and in both the indoor and the outdoor pools( open air ), the water comes from the thermal springs from Gellért Hill.
Newly tech equipped the outdoor pool with a wave machine and a large terrace for taking sun baths.
5.4. Veli Bej Bath
It is considered the oldest and the best stylist Turkish bath. It is located secretly inside the Budai Irgalmas Rendi Hospital.
Veli Bej is open every day but is closed only on Easter Weekend and Pentecost. It is one of those thermal baths in budepest with indoor thermal pools, where you can find two steam chambers and a jacuzzi and various massages.
Ruins of original piping built by the Turks can be seen if you walk to the sauna from a pool.
5.5. Lukács Baths
It is considered a purely medicated pool and was built in 1880. The pools are popular for the treatment of various illnesses where you can find facilities like an infrared sauna, steam bath, Himalayan salt wall (for the treatment of respiratory illness) and weight bath to treat spinal problems. Many services for massages, reflexology and medicinal treatments are also available here.
There are also swimming pools & a sunbathing terrace outside, a unique underwater traction bath with a temperature of 36°C is also available here.
5.6. Kiraly Baths
If you want to enjoy baths and the budget is a concern, Kiraly offers the best option for you. Less crowded, with small pools & decent ones. It’s one of the best pocket-friendly thermal baths in Budapest.
The main pool is under a beautiful dome designed with skylights. Kiraly was damaged during the second world war and reconstructed in 1950. You see steam baths, saunas, underwater massage jets, and baths pool.
5.7. Csaszar Baths
Csaszar, also built in the 16th century, is not as grand as the other baths in Budapest but offers good wellness services. Here we can see original stonework done during the Ottoman empire. It’s an octagonal shape thermal pool. The bath complex has a hotel and a hospital Hydrotherapy treatment. No outdoor pools are available at this place.
5.8. Dandar Baths
It’s located outside the city and was opened in 1930. Apart from the bath, a wellness centre is also present here. The first choice of locals is Dandar as some consider Dandar Baths to come closest to Budapest’s traditional feelings.
The outdoor pool is most enjoyed during winter evenings. Nearby Dandár is the Zwack Unicum Museum, a collection of the iconic Hungarian herbal liqueur
6. Other Facts
Budapest is considered the spa city of the world. It has a total of nine medicinal baths and 123 hot springs which supply hot water to the baths.
In most of the baths, the water source is natural springs and thermal geysers. Mostly baths are charged on an hourly basis. Many baths offer discounts for shorter stays. Ticket prices on afternoon slots on weekdays offer reduced prices.
If you are in Budapest for a travelling or leisure trip you must spare time to visit the thermal baths. The Bath Budapest (Turkish Bath & Roman Style) is monumental in history.
Email addresses of pools are available online or on the bath website. Thermal Baths are safe for normal health, however, if you are having some health issues it’s advisable to consult a doctor.