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Our office number: +36-20-427-7166

Ireland Toll Free (From landline only): +353-1-800-817-333

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The 5 Best Baths in Budapest

Oct 15th, 2016

Budapest has several nicknames, like the Paris of East or the Pearl of the Danube, and also the City of Spas. Indeed, there are so many natural warm spring waters under the city (imagine a cauldron topped with some layers) that Budapest has had several great thermal baths for many centuries. The Turkish baths along the river Danube are still functional and much favored. But more than a thousand years before the Turks, the Romans and even before them, the Celts have been enjoying the warm spring waters as baths, healing waters and drinks.

No wonder that by the 21st century, Budapest has reinvented itself as the city of medicinal waters and amazing thermal spas. The bathing culture of the Hungarians is very lively and health conscious: not only are water sports held in great respect, but the young and the old all enjoy the spa waters and the fun bath complexes. Aqua therapy is part of the regular medical practice, and doctors often prescribe water treatments in the healing spa waters for Hungarian patients.

Which is the best baths in Budapest?

One of the most common questions we get from tourists is which is the best Budapest bath. Our answer is usually, it depends. It depends on what you like, how much time you have, if you are in Budapest with your partner, or with kids, if you are interested in a budget ticket, pampering spa services, luxurious massage or just a few hour fun time at a great bath.

If you spend more than 3 days in Budapest, we strongly recommend trying more baths. Each has a distinct character and is worth a visit for its own merits, pools, architecture, history, style, programs.

If you only have three days, you can try the most popular bath, the Szechenyi Baths and Pool in the City Park (mixed all week), or the Turkish Rudas Baths (mixed at weekends), or, if the beautiful Gellert Baths (mixed at weekends). The more ruinous Kiraly Bath may appeal to those who like odd, cool, historical – communist things (weird in a good sense, ‘quirky’ – as in cool special historical bath, with odd white clothed personnel from the communist times, outdated interior, cheap prices, completely local clientele).

Lukacs Baths is probably the most visited by Hungarians, so if you are a tourist who wants to mingle with the locals and keenly seeks out non-touristy places, Lukacs is your best bet.

Széchenyi Bath

Szechenyi Bath is the biggest and most popular of all the thermal baths in Budapest. What is more, it is one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in Europe too. Szechenyi Bath is 100 years old in 2013, and throughout its century old history, about a 100 millions of bathers have enjoyed the warm medicinal waters and the fun pools.

Gellert Bath

Gellert Bath is the most famous Art Nouveau thermal baths in Budapest, Hungary as well as in Europe.Gellert Spa, founded in 1918, is soon to be 100 years old, and visiting the bath is indeed a beautiful and historical experience. You can visit the main hall free of charge, or spend a whole day of relaxation in the “Palace of Baths” as Gellert Bath is often referred to.

Lukacs Bath

Lukacs Bath is one of the historical thermal baths in Budapest.

Lukacs Baths has become more known among locals and tourists in the last few months as the party venue of the Saturday night party series. More info about Budapest Lukacs Bath Magic Bath Party series: laser shows, video projections, electronic music, and lots of folks enjoying a Saturday night party (see: Budapest Bath Parties)

Lukacs Bath is one of the favorite baths of locals, and until 2011, it has almost exclusively been visited by locals only. Due to recent changes, the bath has got more attention (parties, Budapest Card free bath entry inclusion).

Rudas Bath

Rudas Bath is probably the most popular medieval Turkish bath in Budapest, the City of Baths, famous for its bathing palaces like the Neo-Baroque Szechenyi Bath or the Art Nouveau Gellert Bath.

What makes Rudas Bath stand out is definitely its 16th century core, and the fact that the bath has a special very late night opening hours every Friday and Saturday (the baths reopen from 10 pm to 4 am, both nights). Also, Rudas is the only thermal bath in Budapest, which has men only and women only days on weekdays, when aprons are worn by many guests instead of traditional swimwear.

Rudas Bath has recently been restored (in 2012), and is located at the foot of the scenic Gellert Hill on the Buda side.

Turkish baths in Budapest are amazing oriental monuments with modern day facilities. Many tourists who visited Turkey will expect to see the dry Turkish sauna as a Turkish bath, but the medieval Turkish baths of Budapest are not steam baths as in modern day Turkey, but historical Turkish baths with a central octogonal shaped pool extended with other baths.

That said, you can take a Turkish bath as a steambath too, as Rudas Bath offers a complex bath and wellness experience, including a hamam (Turkish sauna) as well as an ilidza (Turkish “Ilica” for warm thermal spring). There are 6 thermal baths in Rudas Bath as well as a larger swimming pool.

Kiraly Bath

Kiraly Bath is the oldest thermal bath in Budapest, along with Rudas Bath, one of the medieval Turkish baths built by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century.

Octogonal Pool Kiraly Bath Turkish Baths Budapest

If you love to visit historical places with a special atmosphere, you will surely enjoy the time travel back to the Middle Age, when, instead of Hungarian kings, Turkish pashas ruled the Buda Castle, and used the geothermal spring waters under the Buda Hills to build their ritual bathing places.

Unlike the contemporary Turkish steam baths, the Turkish baths in Budapest are actual warm thermal spring baths with hot waters in octogonal pools (so called ilidzas rather than hammams). In addition to the historical pool, there are 3 smaller pools (plus a modern jacuzzi pool for 4-5 people).

The Turkish bath in Kiraly Bath has a characteristic dim light, as the pool gets its light from the 16th century dome holes covered in glasses.

The bath has not been restored for many decades, which gives it an even more fascinating historical appeal, where the Turkish details are mixed with the medicinal bathing culture of the 1890s, and the practical, ahistorical approach of the Communist Budapest era.

Kiraly Bath is open every day 9 am to 9 pm, and the once famous men only bath is now completely mixed, unisex every day.

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