A Blissful Day in Budapest – Spa Capital of the World

Budapest Spa (Updated On: February 2, 2016)

If the wonderful food, amazing historical sites and inexpensive prices aren’t enough to make you consider a trip to Budapest, this important fact will. Budapest has long been considered the spa capital of the world. There are 123 natural hot springs and drilled wells here. They deliver 18 million gallons of 70 – 172 degree F of healing waters a day. That’s more than enough to bring happiness to the masses and earn their title.

Use of the springs by the Romans was documented over 2000 years ago. But it was, you guessed it, it was the Turks who really developed the spas during their occupation of the country in the 16th Century. Now, there are 15 public thermal bath houses (and plenty of private ones in luxury hotels).

The history is interesting, sure. But my tired aching muscles and sore feet from all of my touristy meanderings around the city, I was really only interested in figuring out which one to pick, and when to go. The most well-known of the public baths are the Gellért bath, Széchenyi bath, Dandár bath, Lukács bath, Rudas bath, Dagály bath, and Király bath. You can read more about them here. But we chose the Széchenyi Thermal Bath – one of the largest spa complexes in Europe.

There were several reasons why we chose Széchenyi. The first, but not the most important, is that the spa is located near the impressive Heroes Square, which was was worth wandering around to snap a few pictures.

Heros Square Budapest

Heroes Square Budapest

The second is that Széchenyi has several huge outdoor pools with various water temperatures and features – such as jets on the bottom of the pool to massage your achy feet. Not all of the spas have an outdoor area to lounge about in and that was a big plus.

Budapest Spa

Just one of the large outdoor pools

outdoor pool

Outdoor pool at the Szechenyi Thermal Baths

If you leave the expansive outdoor areas, you can explore a maze of indoor pools inside the buildings. There a spas of different temperatures. And multiples saunas. And tubs that had jets that would propel you around in a circle. We just kept finding more and more pools.

indoor spa Budapest

A series of indoor pools

And the marble pillars that made some of the pool areas make me feel like I was luxuriating in a steamy Turkish spa were also a big plus.

SZÉCHENYI BATH

Soaking at the Szechenyi Bath indoor pool

SZÉCHENYI BATH

Marble pillars make the spa experience feel all the more luxurious

And finally – there was the price. Not the cheapest spa in Budapest, but at $16/day a pretty good value.

We were quite happy with our choice and ended up leaving feeling totally relaxed, happy and ready for exploring.

Széchenyi Spa entry tickets
TicketsWeekdays with cabinWeekends with cabinWeekdays with lockerWeekends with locker
General Admission4600 HUF/$16 US4800 HUF/$17 US4100 HUF/ $14 US4300 HUF/$15 US
Massage4500 HUF $15.75 US
Children (up to 2 years)FreeFreeFreeFree
Per Person

Many lucky Hungarians also get free admission courtesy of their physician, who can prescribe a regular regiment of massage and dips in the spa for their patients.

1146 Budapest, Állatkerti körút 11.

Hours: Everyday:  6.00 a.m.-  10.00 p.m.

Via public transportation: trolleybus 72 and the millennium underground train. (The thermal bath is in the City Park)

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21 thoughts on “A Blissful Day in Budapest – Spa Capital of the World

  1. Budapest is one of our favorite European cities! We too spent a day at the Szechenyi Baths and being October we can tell you it’s a great place to go any time of year. The day we were there they were even having a night party at the pools with a DJ and bars and dancing. We didn’t stay because it was an additional admission cost and we were pretty pruned up by then but it sounded like a lot of fun.

  2. I missed the baths when I was in Budapest, but definitely next time. It’s high on my list for a return visit.

  3. I had no clue Budapest had that many hot springs! This spa looks like a beautiful place to relax and rest your feet. The architecture is amazing! Thanks for sharing your pictures and tips!

  4. I had no idea Budapest was so beautiful or interesting or had spas!

  5. Isn’t Budapest amazing? We chose Széchenyi. for our first ever Budapest spa experience, too. Loved it and we did it on a very cold December day — it felt great to be in that hot water outside. Love the jets that took us all swirling around in the center of the outdoor pool Great shots!

  6. I know very little about Budapest and I definitely didn’t know that it was home to so many hot springs! This looks like the ideal way to see a city – sightseeing followed by complete relaxation! Love the look of this place and especially the outdoor pool area.

  7. Incredible photographs. It almost looks like traveling back in time to go into some of the indoor baths. Now that outdoor pools in Széchenyi? THOSE should be the wave of the future. Why doesn’t every pool have massagers for aching feet? I feel more relaxed just thinking of it. Definite bucket list item now. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Oh my god, this looks amazing! I have been to Budapest before, but for sightseeing only. I have bookmarked this post for the future. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. I’ve never been to Budapest but you had me at “Spa Capital of the World.” You photos of the pools look so inviting and refreshing. I had no idea they had all this in Budapest. I’d love to go and relax all day in one of those spas.

  10. I wonder if I can persuade my doctor to prescribe that treatment…
    They look very clean but I always wonder about public baths. Anyway, I wouldn’t miss the chance to go to one if I were in Budapest. Lucky you!

  11. So many different pools to go in! It looks both relaxing and fun. I always feel like those type of places will be packed with people and feel unsanitary, but it looks really nice there and there aren’t many people at all.

  12. It was quite a while ago that I was in Budapest (11 years, ah! My first time travelling!) and the lasting memory of the city is the baths. You’ve captured them well. I lined up for a massage whilst the hunky Hungarian masseuse walked past. When we got in the booths we found wee Hungarian women waiting on us. Mines pulled at my bikini top AND bottoms. When we got out of the booths I found out my friends did not get a bum massage like me!! Fun times.

  13. Beautiful pics, Budapest looks so beautiful! I cannot wait to visit 🙂
    Simone
    http://www.theaussieflashpacker.com

  14. I spent a whole day in Gellert Bath when I was there last autumn abd it was a bliss.

  15. I had no idea that Budapest is the spa capital of the world?! Very interesting…
    Although I do love spas, personally, the thought of sitting in those pools with allll of those people would really gross me out! haha. The price is great though, and the facilities look lovely.

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Im soooo upset I didn’t have enough time to come here when I was traveling around Europe! Looks amazing!

  17. im ashamed to admit I didn’t know Budapest was known for its hot springs! This looks like a great reason to visit!

  18. What about summer? Are the pools too hot for summer enjoyment?

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