Both in summer and winter, Budapest is one of the first-choice destinations for those who enjoy hot spring water, where they can relax all day long (sometimes at night, too), however bad and unfriendly the weather is. What we love the most about thermal baths is to relax in the outdoor thermal pools when it’s raining or snowing – it’s a special feeling, a very enjoyable experience. 🙂
There are several dozen thermal baths in the Hungarian capital. Which one to choose? Well, all of them, because each one has a specific charm and at least one thing to love about it. But if you don’t have the time to visit every bath in the city, here’s some inspiration from our experiences at the ones we’ve been to:
1. Széchenyi Thermal Baths
These are the largest and most famous thermal baths in Budapest, located in a beautiful building, over a century old. There is a subway station right by, with the same name. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor pools, and on weekends there are parties with clubbing music, lights and foam, where you can dance and drink in the pools.
2. Gellért Thermal Baths
Set in a 19th-century luxury hotel, Gellért Thermal Baths have a special aristocratic atmosphere. They even shot movies in this sumptuous location. Prices are not as high as you would expect for such a place, and it’s an experience worth having at least once.
3. Rudas Thermal Baths
Located at the foot of the Buda hill, on the Danube’s shore, these baths have a super-special feature: the rooftop pool with an amazing view of the river with its beautiful bridges and a big part of the city. Before going to Rudas Thermal Baths check out the schedule for that day on their website, as they have some days for women or men only.
4. Paskál Thermal Baths
This is an old communist-era thermal park that has recently been renovated and looks great. It has several indoor and outdoor pools, all with hot water, as well as a pool bar, a grassy area where you can sit on a blanket or a sunbed during summer, terraces with beer and snacks, playgrounds for children, and the entrance price is very affordable!
5. Király Thermal Baths
If you are looking for a special and different experience, choose these Turkish baths that are over 500 years old. Although the interior wasn’t modernized much, the feeling of entering the same basin in which the great Ottoman rulers have been centuries ago is special! And the price is very affordable compared to other similar locations.
6. Palatinus Thermal Strand
For those who prefer something more modern, this is the right choice. The thermal strand is located on the Margaret island on the Danube, it has several indoor and outdoor pools with water of various temperatures and is surrounded by a huge park where you can walk, run or ride a bike at will for miles, without being bothered by cars.
7. Veli Bej Thermal Baths
These Turkish baths resemble Király, but are completely renovated. The conditions are very good, but the atmosphere feels a bit too … contemporary. Besides the classic medieval pools, there are also jacuzzis, new pools for swimming and treatment, as well as an adjoining hospital where people with various impairments for which thermal waters have positive effects are treated.
8. Lukács Thermal Baths
Lukács Thermal Baths are located in a century-old building near the Chain Bridge and are probably among the busiest in the city. The outdoor pool is nice and it’s worth trying, but the indoor ones are very crowded, especially in the evening, so better come here in the morning if you want a more enjoyable experience.
9. Dandár Thermal Baths
Less famous, but equally enjoyable, these baths are located outside the city center, in a southern neighborhood. Although they don’t look that promising from the outside, the atmosphere is really nice inside. The sensation you have when bathing in the outdoor pools between residential buildings is strange but interesting. This place is probably visited more by locals than tourists, so we can say that it’s more authentic, not being intended for outsiders.
In addition to thermal baths, there are also several aquaparks in Budapest (Római, Csillaghegyi, Pünkösdfürdői), with cold water, so the bathing here only happens on hot summer days.
There are also several swimming pools in the city, the Hungarians being champions at water sports (Dagály is a nice strand by the new aquatic complex Duna Aréna).
Another place we plan to visit is Aquaworld, a large water park with thermal water that resembles the Therme in Bucharest.
There are some beautiful places that are closed because of various litigations. A good example is the Rácz bath, which we could only admire from the outside, being located in a superb 19th century building; we hope they will be opened as soon as possible so we could enjoy the inside, too.
We will add new locations to this list as we will visit the beautiful Hungarian capital again and again. 🙂
Which of these amazing places did you visit and what do you think about them? And if you didn’t visit any, what’s your excuse? 🙂