5 of the best thermal baths in Budapest
‘Hungary’ for a city break in Budapest? You won’t be disappointed. The scenery is stunning, the nightlife is buzzing and this delightful destination is packed with history.
And if that’s not reason enough to visit, Budapest has a watery secret that makes it one of the most relaxing destinations in Europe. Bubbling away under the city are around 125 natural hot springs that produce a whopping 70 million litres of thermal water a day.
Needless to say, you can enjoy a good, long soak in some pretty impressive thermal baths in Budapest. Here we give you five of the best places to take a dip in the City of Baths.
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1. Széchenyi Baths
More like a royal palace than a spa, this elegant bathhouse in Budapest’s City Park is a popular place to swim, relax and enjoy a relaxing day out.
With 18 geo-thermal pools, hot spring baths, steam rooms, saunas, massage rooms and a gym, Széchenyi Baths has it all. There’s even a beer spa. Yes, you can soak in thermal water infused with malt, hops, and yeast, while sipping a cold one.
For the night owls, Széchenyi hosts legendary ‘sparties’ on Saturday nights during summertime. The brainchild of a famed Hungarian party producer, Laszlo Laki, these watery night-time raves are all about electronic music, light shows and dancing into the night. Check the website for dates.
2. Gellért Thermal Baths
Dating back to 1918, The Gellért Thermal Baths is part of the Danubius Hotel Gellért Budapest, a landmark in the Buda side of Budapest. The gorgeous Art Nouveau building is worth a visit alone, with its breath-taking mosaics, stained glass windows and sculpted pillars.
But the geothermal pools are glorious too. There are 10 to choose from, plus saunas, medicinal massages and a carbonic acid bathtub (to treat cardiovascular issues and high blood pressure).
That said, the pièce de résistance of this thermal bathhouse in Budapest is the fabulous wave pool on the sun terrace. If you’re in the Hungarian capital over the summer months, be sure to take the plunge!
Tip: After your dip, take a short stroll across the river and check out the Central Market Hall. Budapest’s biggest indoor market, there’re two floors with stalls selling traditional Hungarian food, souvenirs and crafts.
3. Lukács Thermal Baths
The waters of the Lukács Baths in Budapest are said to cure just about everything, from spinal deformation and vertebral dislocation, to calcium deficiency. Whether it’s true or not, people flock here from far and wide seeking treatment for various ailments.
Facilities include an infrared sauna, a steam bath, a Himalayan salt chamber and a weight bath (to treat spinal injuries).
You can also book massages, reflexology sessions and tons of other medicinal treatments.
The best bit? Lukács Baths is largely undiscovered by tourists, and it’s one of the most affordable thermal spas in Budapest. Experience its healing powers for yourself!
4. Király Thermal Baths
Fancy a quiet, relaxing thermal bath experience? Make your way to Budapest’s Király Baths, the oldest Ottoman baths in the city, dating back to the 16th century. Built inside the walls of an ancient Turkish castle, the water is supplied from Lukács Baths, which is renowned for its healing qualities.
The best thing about this spa is the wonderful sky-lit Ottoman dome roof and octagonal pool beneath. It’s an awe-inspiring sight as the light breaks through the roof.
This small thermal bathhouse in Budapest doesn’t permit entry to kids under 14 years old, so it’s the perfect place for a peaceful dip.
5. Palatinus Thermal Baths
The ‘Pala’, as locals call it, can be found in the heart of Margaret Island, the green refuge of the city. It makes our list of the top thermal baths in Budapest as it caters to all the family.
For the kids, there are 14 pools to splash around in, including an adventure pool, wave pool and slide pool.
For the grown-ups, there are indoor and outdoor thermal pools, plunge pools, a Finnish sauna, geothermal sauna, and a steam chamber.
Tip: Stand on the viewing platform on Margaret Bridge for great views of the Hungarian Parliament Building on one side and Buda Castle and Mathias Church on the right.