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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|Tickets||Weekdays with cabin||Weekends with cabin||Weekdays with locker||Weekends with locker|
|General Admission||4600 HUF/$16 US||4800 HUF/$17 US||4100 HUF/ $14 US||4300 HUF/$15 US|
|Massage||4500 HUF $15.75 US|
|Children (up to 2 years)||Free||Free||Free||Free|
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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