budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List

Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List

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If you’re itching for something extraordinary to add to your bucket list, look no further than the Budapest Baths.

Budapest is home to some of the most incredible thermal baths on the planet, and it is truly a hidden gem in the heart of Europe.

Having lived in Budapest while attending medical school, I was lucky enough to experience firsthand the magical allure of these baths.

This is where I would go when the pressures of medical school got too high and I needed a good therapeutic soak!

This blog post is your golden ticket to navigating the Budapest bath scene. It is a culmination of my firsthand experiences and insider knowledge, wrapped up in one handy guide. Plus, I’m a mermaid, so I love all things water!

CategoryLuxury
Relaxation
Culture
Who Needs to Add This To Their Bucket List?Cultural travelers who
want to relax
Best Time to GoYear Round
Traveling DifficultyEasy
Physical DifficultyEasy
Popularity Rating7/10
Group/Tour RequiredNo, but optional if you
want beer baths or pálinka
Budget$$
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes, in most spas
Favorite Place to StayCorinthia Hotel Budapest
Favorite TourSzéchenyi Spa Full Day with Optional Pálinka Tour
Traveler’s InsuranceGet Quote with VisitorsCoverage

A Brief History of the Budapest Baths

The Budapest baths carry with them a rich tapestry of history that’s as warm and inviting as the waters themselves. 

There are a total of 123 hot springs in Budapest, ranging from 35°F to 101°F. This makes up 9 medicinal baths around the city.

The city’s love affair with thermal baths dates back to the Roman times, when soldiers used these baths as a form of relaxation and healing after exhausting military campaigns. 

But it wasn’t until the 16th century, under the Ottoman rule, that the bath culture truly blossomed and became an integral part of Hungarian life.

Famed for its thermal springs, Budapest earned itself the title of “City of Spas”. The thermal waters are rich in dissolved minerals and were believed to possess healing properties.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Széchenyi Baths is the largest medicinal bath in Europe, with its water supplied by two thermal springs? 

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
The Bucket List Mermaid exploring the balconies of Széchenyi Thermal Baths.

Benefits of Thermal Baths in Budapest

Taking a plunge into Budapest’s thermal baths isn’t just an opportunity to soak up some local culture, it’s also a treat for your health! 

The therapeutic waters are infused with a cocktail of minerals, including calcium, sulfate, sodium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, and more. Each of these brings its own unique health benefits.

They are truly magical healing waters that will leave you refreshed, relaxed, and ready for another fun filled day in Budapest

So, not only are you immersing your senses in a time-honored tradition, but you’re also taking a dip into a natural health boost. 

To all the health enthusiasts and passionate travelers out there, get ready to add a rejuvenating thermal bath experience to your Budapest bucket list!

If you are looking for more bucket things to do in Budapest, check out the general bucket list, the crazy bucket list, or the Hungary bucket list.

What To Expect from a Budapest Thermal Bath

From the moment you step through the grand entrance, you’re hit with a wave of warm, mineral-infused air that instantly evokes a sense of relaxation. 

Unlike other thermal baths around the world, the Budapest baths offer a unique blend of history and hospitality. Each bathhouse, adorned with beautifully intricate mosaics and statues, tells a story, whispering echoes of the city’s Roman and Ottoman past. 

The atmosphere is very communal – locals, tourists, young and old alike, gather to soak, and chat, fostering a unique camaraderie that is perfectly Budapest. 

So, when you visit, don’t just dip in and out. Immerse yourself, let time melt away, and take a moment to appreciate the ‘living museum’ around you. Trust us, it’s a bucket-list experience like no other!

Best Thermal Baths in Budapest

Széchenyi Thermal Bath – For the Classic Experience

Széchenyi Bath is perhaps the most famous and grand of all the Budapest thermal baths. With 15 indoor pools and three grand outdoor pools, it offers a bathing experience that is truly regal. 

And for all of my party animal bucketlisters, it also offer a late night party in the outdoor part called Sparty. Not impressed? They also have a beer bath that is fantastic for your skin. You can book directly below:

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
Looking over Széchenyi Baths in my mermaid tail.

Gellért Thermal Bath – For the Art Nouveau Fan

Step back in time at the Gellért Baths with its stunning Art Nouveau architecture. Renowned for its healing waters, this bathhouse is a must-visit for its splendid thermal pools and stunning stained glass roof.

This might be my favorite bath in Budapest! Although it’s not the most popular spa in Budapest, it still provides relaxing experiences in incredible vibes! Plus, it is a great alternative to Széchenyi.

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
Looking over the main courtyard at Gellért Spa.

Rudas Baths – For the Night Owls and Panorama Lovers

Rudas Baths, a mystical blend of the old and new, is a must-visit spot on your Budapest bath bucket list! 

With a historical base dating back to the 16th century and a modern rooftop pool offering a panoramic view of the city, it’s a hit among night owls. 

The baths are open till 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays, allowing you to bask under the starlit Budapest sky! 

Lukács Thermal Bath – For the Off-the-beaten-track Explorer

Less crowded but equally charming, Lukács Thermal Bath is popular with locals. With an array of thermal pools and a unique drinking hall, it’s a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered on your Budapest bucket list!

Palatinus Bath on Margaret Island – For the Scenic Seeker

If you’re ticking off the Budapest baths from your bucket list, a trip to the Palatinus Bath on Margaret Island should be on your itinerary. 

Nestled amidst the lush greens of the island, it is the perfect spot to unwind. 

The complex houses 11 pools, including a wave pool and thermal baths, making it a heaven for water lovers. But that’s not all! The island itself is a joy to explore with a mini zoo, a water tower, and a rose garden. Dive in and have a splash!

Remember, each of these thermal baths offers a unique experience steeped in history, culture, and wellness. Each one is totally unique and worth your bucket list!

Budapest Thermal Baths Price

When it comes to the cost, experiencing the thermal baths of Budapest won’t break the bank! 

This makes it an affordable addition to any Budapest bucket list! Prices can vary depending on the bath you choose and any extra services like massages. This can also change depending on the spa and the day. 

So it’s always a good idea to check out the bath’s website for accurate pricing. 

And remember, while we strive to keep this information up-to-date, prices are subject to change, so be sure to check directly with the baths for the most accurate and current costs!

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
The interior section of Gellért Spa.

Best Time to Go to the Budapest Baths

Budapest Baths in Winter

Visiting the Budapest baths in winter is an experience like no other! 

The contrast of the warm thermal water and the chilly winter air is invigorating to say the least! 

Plus, if you are lucky, there’s something magical about soaking in these historical baths under a blanket of snow. 

Although outdoor temperatures can drop drastically, the thermal baths remain consistently warm, providing a blissful retreat from the winter weather. 

So, don’t let the cold deter you; the Budapest baths in winter are a bucket list experience that you won’t want to miss!

Going to the Thermal Baths in Spring

Spring is also a fantastic time to experience the Budapest baths! 

As the city shakes off the chill of winter, the thermal baths also take on a renewed energy. 

The weather is usually pleasant – warm, but not too hot, making it the perfect time to bask in the soothing warmth of the thermal waters. 

And let’s not forget, spring is less crowded than summer, so you’ll have more space to truly unwind and enjoy this unique Budapest experience. 

Relaxing in the Budapest Baths in Summer

Although it is not my favorite time to go, Summer at Budapest baths can still be an experience like no other! 

Summer in Budapest is lively and vibrant, and the baths are no exception. It is filled with people from all around the world coming together to enjoy this unique experience. 

The only downfall is that it is going to be crowded due to Europe being on summer holidays. 

Despite the crowds, summer in the Budapest baths is a bucket list experience you simply cannot miss!

Opting for Autumn for your Budapest Bath Experience

Autumn in Budapest is an absolute delight for thermal bath enthusiasts seeking a more serene and peaceful experience. 

This shoulder season is often overlooked, but let me tell you, that doesn’t take away from the magic! 

The weather is still incredibly pleasant, with a refreshing, crispy chill in the air that makes the contrasting warmth of the baths all the more enjoyable. 

When I first moved to Budapest, it was in the fall and it was my first time to the baths. It was a little chilly to swim in the outdoor chlorinated pools, but the experience was still incredible!

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
Enjoying a Budapest Thermal Bath in my tail.

What To Bring to a Budapest Thermal Bath

When packing your bag for the Budapest thermal baths, there are a few essentials you mustn’t forget. 

Towel

First and foremost, bring a towel—it’s your trusty sidekick, perfect for drying off or simply lounging poolside. 

Flip-Flops

Pair that with a good set of flip flops to navigate the wet floors without slipping and sliding! Plus, most spas require them to be worn whenever you are not in the baths.

Shower Cap

A shower cap, too, is a necessity that I was not aware of when I first stepped into the baths. In some of the pools, shower caps are required to enter. 

I would especially suggest this for Gellért Spa so that you can swim in the gorgeous indoor main pool area. Because I didn’t know this, I had to pay extra and buy one there.

Water Bottle

And finally, remember to pack a water bottle. Soaking in the thermal waters can be dehydrating, and you’ll want to stay refreshed and hydrated. 

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
Soaking up Budapest Baths.

Upgrades to Budapests Baths to Go For and Which Ones to Skip

While indulging in the rejuvenating experience of Budapest’s thermal baths, you may be tempted to enhance your visit with a few upgrades. 

One upgrade that consistently receives mixed reviews is the massage option. While some visitors find it a relaxing complement to the thermal bath experience, others report feeling that it falls short of their expectations. 

So, before shelling out extra cash, consider whether a massage is a must-have on your bucket list. 

On the other hand, one small luxury that comes highly recommended is the private cabin. This personal changing and storage space offers a level of privacy and convenience that goes a long way in enhancing your overall bath experience. 

I have gone several times with just a locker. Although the crowded locker nooks are not the end of the world, it is definitely an added luxury to have your own space for your things. Plus, it is only about a 2000 HUF upgrade (about $5). 

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List
An exterior pool at Gellért Spa in Budapest.

Budapest Hotels with Baths and Luxury Pools

If you’re looking to maximize your thermal bath experience, why not stay at a hotel that offers its own thermal baths? Here are a few Budapest hotels that have made this dream a reality.

  1. Gellért Hotel: This grand, art nouveau-style hotel is home to the famous Gellért Baths, with stunning mosaics and sweeping views of the Danube. A dip in the thermal pools here is like taking a step back in time.
  2. The Aquincum Hotel Budapest: Located on the Buda side of the city, The Aquincum Hotel features a luxurious spa with various baths with minerals and oils. 
  3. Danubius Hotel Helia: Positioned along the Danube River, Danubius Hotel Helia offers fantastic wellness facilities, including various baths, a swimming pool, and a range of spa treatments.
  4. Corinthia Hotel Budapest: This stately hotel boasts the Royal Spa, with its 15-meter swimming pool, several relaxation areas, saunas, and steam baths.
  5. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace: Although this lavish hotel doesn’t have its own thermal baths, they do have a luxury pool that is in the heart of Budapest. 

Remember, you’re in Budapest – the ‘City of Baths’. There’s no better place to soak, relax, and enjoy the thermal bath experience or luxury pool right from your hotel doorstep!

Final Word on Budapest Baths

As we close this thermal journey, it’s clear that the Budapest baths are more than just a dip in the pool – they are a cultural encounter, a healing experience, and a ticket to the past. 

So, whether it’s the pristine vibes of Gellért Baths, the historical atmosphere of Rudas, or the grandeur of Széchenyi calls your name, you’re bound to find a thermal bath experience in Budapest that’s perfect for you. 

And remember, with each plunge, you’re not just crossing an item off your bucket list, you’re immersing yourself in a centuries-old tradition! So why wait? Budapest is calling! It’s time to soak in the culture, literally!

budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List

Budapest Baths FAQ

Absolutely! If you are in Budapest, it would almost be a crime to not check out at least one of the baths.

They are cultural, historical, and relaxing. You really can’t go wrong on your next holiday.

Unfortunately (maybe), you have to be clothed in all public areas in the baths.

Some of the baths are quite old, so they can look rough in some places. However, the water is routinely inspected and is clean. 

The hygiene is going to be dependent on the spa itself. For example, the water in Széchenyi is filtered and refilled daily and the pools are treated with chlorine.

Budapest baths are a unique combination of history, culture, and wellness, making them a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the ‘City of Spas’.

I personally have not been in a popular European city that is a metropolis yet is still overflowing with thermal spas and relaxation opportunities.

The indoor pools vary from 82°F to 104°F give or take. 

Most spas also offer cold plunges that stimulate your cardiovascular system. These fall in the 60°F range. This might sound terrible, but just do it…and fast. Trust me!

Yes! Even though the temperature drops in Budapest, the water remains warm all year! 

In fact, going in the baths in winter is just as magical as the warmer months, if not better.

Most of the spas are relatively modern. The natural thermal baths, however, have been used since the Romans! 

Kiraly Bath is one of the oldest baths in Budapest, dating back to the 16th century with the Ottomans. It is, unfortunately, closed until further notice for reconstruction.

Since the water comes from natural sources within the ground, it does have a smell to it. Fortunately, it is not overly pungent and is tolerable! 

Still, I would shower both before and after you enter the baths.

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budapest baths, Budapest Baths and How to Cross it Off Your Bucket List

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