The Capital of Spas
The baths are guards of a cultural legacy of the past two millennia, and their surroundings can even evoke the feeling of bathing in a museum. There are not many places in the world where one can find such ancient, historical baths that were first used by the Romans and then assimilated into the bathing culture of the Turks. All of this in the centre of a metropolis where the most modern holistic treatments are also available!
It is no mere coincidence that the Gellért Thermal Bath is the favourite of many. With its Art Nouveau surroundings, this prominent building on one of the most beautiful stretches of the Danube bank has been providing seekers of refreshment and relaxation with that special experience since 1918. In its outdoor pools, the chirping of local birds still sound amidst a thriving metropolis, while the indoor pools, with their Art Nouveau interior, have served as a backdrop on numerous occasions, inspiring film directors and the world's greatest fashion photographers.
Lukács Thermal Bath is one of the most efficacious thermal waters on the Buda side of the city, and has become a serious social institution. Mementos of actors, writers and artists, who began every morning with a swim and the latest news and gossip, can be seen here on the walls even today. The Veli Bej Bath is located nearby, which retains features from the Turkish era in its wonderful mosaic ornamentation.
Aquaworld, the largest aquapark in Central Europe, is in Budapest. The diameter of its gigantic dome is 72 metres and it was made of special materials developed in space research. Fifteen thermal water pools have been created in this complex, which is open all year round. Its interior rekindles the atmosphere of the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. Amongst its services, attractions for both adults and children abound (there are swimming corridors, slides and even a surfing facility) and those seeking complete relaxation will find a range of treatments (both ancient and modern) in the separate spa centre.
The Széchenyi Thermal Bath forms one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe and sits in Városliget park in Pest like a Neo- Renaissance palace from the era of the Monarchy. The complex has twenty-one pools, three of which are open-air. It is an especially great experience to bathe in those in winter because, instead of the inner domes decorated with spectacular mosaics, here the sun or the stars shine down on you. To relax, it is enough to just soak while travelling back in your mind to the sparkling years of the Belle Époque, when the ambitious citizens of the age, who truly believed in development and the power of art, spun their dreams. The outdoor pools have long been the haunt of chess players of both sexes, and it is fascinating just to watch them play (this generic scene has inspired many photographers in the past). Let us not forget that these waters have healing powers too. At Széchenyi Bath, the thermal water is full of minerals and erupts to the surface from a depth of more than a thousand metres. This is the hottest thermal spring in Europe, at a temperature of 77 ° C (170.6 °F).
Rudas Thermal Bath was built more than 450 years ago. Its recently constructed panoramic rooftop pool, which is occasionally used at night, offers an unrivalled view of the steep Gellért Hill and the Pest side of the city. Also located on the Buda bank of the river is the smaller, yet more popular Király Thermal Bath, a remnant from the world of the medieval ‘hammams', built inside the castle wall to enjoy the blessing of the water during a possible siege. Now you can understand the importance of Budapest's bathing culture!