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One of the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary are the thermal baths in Budapest. Budapest lies on a geological fault between the Buda Hills and the Great Plain providing hundreds of thermal springs.
The Romans originally colonized the area where Budapest now stands. So they could utilise the thermal springs and built large bath houses. Ruins can still be found around the city. During the 1500’s the Turkish invaders built new baths thought to be for both bathing and medicinal purposes. Some of those baths are still used today.
Built in 1550 and situated between Gellert Hill and the Danube. Used in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Red Heat. The thermal baths here are believed to have rejuvanting properties.
Renovated in the early 2000’s the baths have been modernised whilst keeping its Turkish Roots. Mostly men only during the week so check before going if visiting as a couple. Stunning octagonal main pool with 6 other pools of varying temperatures.
Veli Bej Baths
Probably the most beautiful of the Ottoman baths, housed in Hotel Csaszár. Again an octagonal pool, this time surrounded by 4 pools. The waters, rich in calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulfate and sodium, with a significant content of fluoride ions.
Recommended to help cure regenerative illnesses of joints, chronic and semi-acute arthritis, spinal problems and post-injury healing. The thermal pools are fed from the wells of the nearby Margaret Island.
The oldest baths still in use. A chance to travel back in time to the Ottoman ruled Buda. A dimly lit octagonal pool with more light coming through glass panels in the domed roof. Unlike most of the other thermal baths Kiraly baths have not been renovated for many years. This adds to the historical charm of the place.
The baths are open 9am to 9pm and are mixed sex at all times. Along with the main pool there are 3 additional thermal pools.
Found alongside the Gellert Hotel. These Art-Nouveau thermal baths are the most famous in Budapest. Gellert Spa opened its doors in 1918 and unfortunately shows its age as a run down but grand hotel and spa.
One of the more expensive thermal baths in Budapest. But this has its advantages of keeping the pools from overcrowding. There are 10 pools in the spa and the addition of an outdoor wave pool is great to visit in the summer.
Certainly the most visited thermal baths in Budapest. With over 1.7 million visitors a year they can sometimes feel crowded. The only “old” medicinal baths to be found on the Pest side of the Danube. Set in an impressive baroque revival building the 21 indoor and outdoor pools are open all year round. Sitting in the outdoor thermal pools during the colder months is something you won’t regret. However you may need to pick your moments in the summer months as the baths can feel a little like a theme park.
Pool temperatures range between 18C and 40C. Getting a map of the bath may save time getting lost. The spa also has many treatments available at reasonable prices to be enjoyed during a visit.
Although you may not be able to visit all the baths during 48 hours in Budapest make sure you visit at least one. Let us know your favourite in the comments below.
Featured image – Gellert Baths by NanPalermo / Flckr
Chris is a Number cruncher by work day, seeker of new experiences by weekend – always looking to spend 48 hours somewhere! Seen 4 continents, 26 countries and 100’s of city’s hoping to add a few more each year.