Everyone needs to de-stress from the daily grind at some point, and a visit to one of the amazing thermal baths in Budapest is just the way to do it.
One of the city’s most popular attractions is its many thermal baths, fed by more than 100 hot springs bubbling just beneath the surface. Locals come here daily to play chess, relax, chat, have a date and even make it a family party day. Budapest’s baths help to cure many sorts of ailments, including skin conditions and stress. Whatever your reason for going, it’s still true that nothing beats a good hot bath.
Some baths have days devoted to either men or women exclusively. So check in advance to ensure you go on the proper day. Regarding swimwear, it’s best to bring your own flip flops and towel, plus a bathing cap if you have one. Some pools require them, but the pools also rent or sell these items.
So, we collected the top five thermal baths in Budapest, in alphabetical order, plus one you may not ever have heard of.
Top Five Thermal Baths in Budapest#1: Gellért
Perhaps the most impressive of the indoor baths, if you only have time to visit one bath this Art Nouveau bath may be the best choice. It’s also very popular with tourists. Attached to the world-famous Gellért Hotel, the baths also boast a magnificent tiled main pool (bathing caps required); outdoor and thermal pools are also available. The English-speaking staff welcomes everyone to a wide variety of soaks and treatments, including massages and private bathing facilities.
Top Five Thermal Baths in Budapest#2: Király
The Turks built one of Budapest’s smallest and oldest baths in the 16th century; in fact, the Király Bath still has the traditional Turkish octagonal roof. It’s a great place to relax, with four thermal pools to help lessen bodily aches and pains from arthritis and sore joints. This bath has a special appeal for couples, including mixed bathing hours every day.
Top Five Thermal Baths in Budapest#3: Lukács
A favorite venue for locals, very few tourists come to this bath. There aren’t any amazing architectural flourishes here, but what you will find are five thermal pools, all of which supposedly offer cures for many types of joint and spinal problems. As a special treat, check out the marble tables, donated by people who professed to have been cured here. In addition, be sure and drink a glass or two of the therapeutic waters. The Lukács Baths also offer a steam room and sauna, in addition to water-based medical treatments.
Top Five Thermal Baths in Budapest#4: Rudas
On the banks of the Danube’s Buda side, the Rudas Bath has the best view of any of the city’s baths. A special attraction is the circular whirlpool on the roof, which overlooks the river and the stylish Pest skyline. The Turks also built this bath in the 16th century. The dome above the indoor octagon-shaped pool is festooned with holes, and when the sun shines, it is hard to find a lovelier place for a good soak. Saturdays and Sundays are for both men and women; Tuesdays are for women only, with the rest of the weekdays for only men. As a treat for all visitors, everyone every day can access the Wellness area, and there’s even mixed night bathing on Fridays and Saturdays.
Top Five Thermal Baths in Budapest#5: Széchenyi
The gigantic yellow neo-baroque bath in the center of Budapest’s main park is perfect for those sunny summer days. The three outdoor pools are almost always crowded, so get an early start. Bathing caps are mandatory in the main swimming pool, where serious swimmers also race down the lanes, practicing different strokes. For a more relaxing, quiet soak, it’s best to stay with the whirlpool and hot pool, both filed with chess-playing bathers. Széchenyi Bath is also great for couples, and allows mixed genders are always allowed. Private cabins are available and there are pool parties on Saturday nights in the summer and winter.
And here’s a Thermal Bath I’ll bet you’ve never heard of: Veli Bej
Just up the street from the Lukács Baths, at Frankel Leó 35, is one of Budapest’s true hidden gems. The Császár Hotel, which incorporates the Veli Bej Baths, another sparkling jewel along the Danube. It’s also a 16th Century building, but thoroughly modernized. The standard Turkish Dome covers the octagonal pool, which also has four surrounding pools of varying temperatures. This bath is always mixed gender, but its occupancy is rather limited on weekend, so call ahead to reserve a spot.