The Hungarian capital is renowned as a spa city, with numerous hot springs and public baths. For many tourists, taking the waters at the hot springs of Budapest is one of the “must do” experiences. An experience that people have been enjoying since Roman times.
Budapest The City Of Spas
Budapest has been known for its hot springs and mineral waters since the 2nd century, when the Romans established a settlement here. However it was not until the Turks occupied the city in the 16th century that the spa culture became fully established. Two of the baths from this period – the Rudas Bath and the Kiraly Bath – still exist.
With more than 100 springs, Budapest claims to have more thermal waters than any other capital city, and it was recognised as a Spa City in 1934. Today there are several public baths where you can enjoy the waters. Some hotels, such as The Corinthia Royal, have their own private spas.
One of the most popular hot springs in Budapest is the Széchenyi Baths. More than 100 years old, this is the largest thermal bath in Hungary, and one of the largest in the whole of Europe. Apart from the thermal waters (which are supposed to have healing properties), visitors can enjoy a range of wellness activities: the entrance ticket includes gym and sauna facilities.
The Széchenyi Baths have 21 pools, including three outdoor baths. The surroundings are particularly ornate, with classical style statues everywhere. It is clear that this is a popular meeting place as well as a health facility: apparently playing chess is a popular activity here! (Read more about visiting the Széchenyi Baths).
The Gellert Baths
Although nothing remains of the original building, the Gellert Baths date back to the 13th century. The current spa opened in 1918, and is remarkable for its architecture, with Art Nouveau decor, sculptures and stained glass. Today’s visitors can enjoy a range of spa facilities, as well as steam baths and outdoor bathing. It is also possible to tour the building without using the spa.
The Lukács Thermal Bath
The Lukács Baths go back to the days of the Knights Templar. By the 19th century they had become a popular meeting place for writers and artists, and the whole complex was updated in 2012. You are likely to find more locals and fewer tourists here. Facilities include medicinal treatments and Saturday night bath parties!