7 Great Thermal Baths in Budapest
Rudas Baths: from Turkish times to state-of-the-art wellness
Although the first baths in the area of today Budapest were built by the Romans, the oldest today-existing examples date back to the Turkish times. One of these baths is Rudas, but only half of the bath is an original Turkish one, because – besides the Neo-Classicist swimming pool –, in the end of 2014, as a result of a general refurbishment, it was completed with an absolutely state-of-the-art wellness facility.
The latter has 3 thermal pools, a panorama pool on the roof terrace, sauna world, salt chamber, and even a Turkish-Hungarian restaurant with fusion cousine! Chef of the latter is Lázár Kovács, and it is accessible not only for the guests of the baths, but even for those who are not fond of bathing.
Traditions: Tuesday the Turkish bath is exclusively reserved for women, in the weekends it is coeducational, and the rest of the week is exclusively for men.
Weekends special: On Fridays and Saturdays the baths are open during the night too – the best time to drink champagne with friends above the city!
Lukács Baths: Classic thermal bath with weekend party
Lukács Baths were also refurbished a few years ago: daytime hospital (offering treatments in an ambulatory way), weight-bath (invented by a Hungarian doctor at Hévíz) and sludge-treatment building, wellness facilities, cloakrooms and common areas all got a new design. We can enjoy the lounge, relaxing in front of the cool saltwall, or we can refresh ourselves in one of the many pools.
Traditions: The baths are coeducated, but the 2 swimming pools can be crossed only lenghtways. Only two exceptions existed: Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók; they were the only ones who could cross the pool crosswise.
Party zone: We can participate every Friday evening in a bath & sauna party, while Saturday nights DJ's and a crazy visual settings await us during Spartys. .
Baths of Veli Bej: Contemporary Turkish bath with centuries-old traditions
This is the only bath which is not part of baths managed by Budapest Gyógyfürdői és Hévizei Ltd. The building is situated in the middle of another bathhouse, Császár Baths. This is the oldest and biggest Turkish bath of Budapest, which was built in 1574 by Sokollu Mustafa pasha.
Photos © csaszarhotel.hu
Baths of Veli bej operate in the area of the Hospital of the Merciful Brethren Order (same building as the Császár Baths), and refurbishment was designed by Csaba Virág, architect merited two times with prestigious Ybl-prize. It has 8 pools of different temperatures, in which rheuma or nerve pain is relieved, but anyone wishing to relax will find them absolutely wonderful! You can also choose from saunas and other attractions.
Szecska: elegance and 21 pools in Széchenyi Baths
Gentleman playing chess in the open-air pools of Széchenyi Bath undoubtedly became one of the most well-known symbols of Budapest's thermal baths, and Szecska party-series, named after the nickname of Széchenyi fürdő, are also very popular. At Széchenyi Thermal Baths we can enjoy not less then 21 pools altogether!
Main elements of the daytime life of the bathhouse are the weight-bath and medical bath pools indoors and the open-air pools outdoors – among the latter the sitting area is the favourite of the chess players, but swimming pool and wellness facilities also await visitors. We can also enjoy the steam cabin and the saunas, but we can even try fish pedicure, aquafitness and a wide variety of massage treatments too. The coolest pastime is of course the chilling in the open-air pools in wintertime, but it is worth exploring the beautiful architecture of the building itself, and visiting it's beautiful cupola hall, where we can admire the mosaics, the handmade tiles and the murals of the cupola.
Traditions: The Zoo of Budapest and the Széchenyi Baths exist in a pleasant symbiosis: in wintertime the hot water from the baths heat the houses of the zoo animals, and also the lake of the hippopotamuses get it's water supply from here.
Party zone: Szecska parties and nighttime baths.
Gellért Baths: An Art Nouveau luxury gem
In the 1920's, when Gellért Baths flourished, it's wave pool was a curiosity even in Europe, but the elite of those times could enjoy bubble and salty pools, sludge treatment and infra cabin too. Today you don't have to be member of the aristocracy to enjoy all these attractions! While in the summer the sunbathing terrace is the most popular attraction, in wintertime the steam bath and the salt chamber are the favourites – no wonder because both of these a great to fight cold and flu! Private bathing in the beautiful, decorated pool is a real luxury pastime.
Traditions: Celebs, and even prime ministers visit Gellért regularly (even President Nixon has visited it!). A very funny photo collection commemoretes this: Ministers in swimsuit series were put together by the lifeguard of those times, Sándor Pusztai, between 1930 and 1939..
Party zone: Parties and concerts are often held in the building, although regular series are not organised.
Dandár Baths: Hidden gem in the 9th District
In Ferencváros, 9th District of Budapest, near Müpa and National Theater, just a few minutes from the downtown of the city, in a small, calm street there is a lesser known bath: Dandár bathhouse. It was nicely refurbished a few years ago, with thermal facilities and sauna world. In it's beautiful Art deco building we can find a whole selection of services, and the new buffet helps us to prepare to a pleasant evening concert or visit to a theater.
Photos © dandarfurdo.hu
Speciality: One of the main advantages of Dandár Baths is that it is less busy then other Budapest thermal baths.
Király Baths: Ancient Turkish Baths near the Castle
Király Baths date back to the Turkish times. The most characteristic element of the building is the cupola above the steam baths, several small windows of which result in a unique play of light. Király Baths are connected to Lukács Baths, getting the thermal water from the supplies of the latter.
Traditions: The garden has a unique atmosphere, and as a result it is very popular. Guests like to relax here, where we can admire a beautiful statue and an ancient tub.