Budapest is known as Europe’s top destination for hot springs, with over 123 in total! And with that means relaxing thermal baths to try out on your trip! But which are the best baths in Budapest? How do you decide which one is right for you? During my winter trip to Budapest, I spent a wonderful long afternoon at Rudas Baths which was amazing. But to help you decide which one is right for you I’ve asked some fellow travellers which baths they went to in Budapest and why they think they are the best one!
Becky from Becky the Traveller
After pondering which baths to visit in Budapest, I opted for Rudas Baths for my thermal bath experience. Situated on the Buda side of the Danube it is a short walk across the bridge from the Central Market.
You have the choice of the Thermal area (3,500 HUF), the Wellness area (3,300) or a combined package (5,000 HUF). I opted for the combined package as I wanted to experience the traditional thermal baths and the rooftop pool. Yes, a little greedy but it was definitely a good decision. I started in the traditional thermal area, it was ‘Ladies only’ day so many local women were bathing in pools, some topless and some completely naked.
This part of Rudas Thermal baths is almost 500 years old and it’s a magnificent structure. After enjoying the 5 different thermal pools, even braving the 42 degrees pool which was crazy hot, I decided to explore the more modern section of the baths.
By now it was dark outside and the views of the city lite up at night were simply amazing. Now I love the city at night, but sitting in a heated rooftop pool made it even more enjoyable!
For me, the Rudas Baths are the best choice for you thermal baths in Budapest because it includes something for everyone.
Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl
“At Christmas, I went home to Hungary to visit my family. I was eager to visit Rudas Bath during my time in Budapest, as seeing pictures on my Instagram of its cool rooftop pool overlooking my city always made me homesick. There is a thermal and wellness part of the bath.
The thermal baths part has set days when only men or women can visit it, so check this before you go. I went with my boyfriend and we only got a ticket for the wellness part, which was cheaper. Our main interest was the pool overlooking the city and the wellness ticket gave us access to it. I suggest turning up early in the morning as otherwise, you will have to wait to get in. We arrived at lunchtime and had a 40-minute wait!”
The Szechenyi thermal baths were built between 1909 and 1913. They were the first ones built on the Pest side of the Danube River and the source of their thermal waters comes from the second deepest well in Budapest, which reaches temperatures of 76C degrees! Ouch, that’s hot.
Check availability here Skip the Line: Széchenyi Spa Full-Day Entrance Pass
Vicki at Make time to see the world
“Szechenyi Thermal Baths (in my opinion) are the best thermal baths to visit in Budapest. Over 100 years old it’s the largest medicinal baths in Europe with 15 indoor baths and 3 large outdoor pools – all of which are perfectly heated to various temperatures – you can hop between them for hours without getting bored! Add in the fact the indoor pools are located in a beautiful old building filled with Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance architecture, it’s a feast for the eyes as well as therapy for your body.”
Laura at The Travelling Stomach
“Szechenyi baths have to be the most iconic thermal baths in Budapest, with the Neo-baroque yellow exterior and steam rising off the external pools it’s super instagrammable. The interior is a complete maze of various saunas, steam rooms, hot and cold plunge pools and jacuzzis to explore (if a little bewildering) you can easily spend hours relaxing here. You can even play a spot of chess in the external baths. I also visited Szechenyi for the renowned ‘Sparty’ – a pop-up nightclub within Budapest’s baths and it was certainly a wild night!”
Sanket at Nomadic Lives
“You can spend the entire day at the baths and still fail to bathe in each pool. The baths are usually well populated, with an assortment of locals and tourists. Personally, I think they are usually a little too crowded and I’d rather go when there are fewer people splashing water all around you!
For the party mongers, every Saturday Széchenyi throws its gates open to another of Budapest’s notorious party events – the SPArty. If you decide to give this a skip, you wouldn’t be missing out on too much except some bragging rights. In hindsight, it feels like a bit of a health hazard with so many drunk bodies inside the pools at night temperatures, lots of alcohol, urine and who knows what other bodily fluids flowing freely in the ‘medicinal’ waters.
Don’t get me wrong – it IS an experience; the production is extraordinary, the amusement pool with all its tricks and games is innovatively used by party-goers and it’s just a cesspool of adrenaline and testosterone (since the male: female ratio is usually 2 or 3: 1).
Nonetheless, I’d highly recommend at least one visit to the majestic Széchenyi (possibly more).”
Lukacs Thermal Baths are popular with tourists in Budapest, mainly because it is included free as part of the Budapest Card. But it is also said to have the most medically effective water of any of the baths in Budapest. Although, I’m not sure how you would actually prove this! But if you’ve been walking around a lot it’s the perfect way to relax.
Buy your Budapest City Card here before your trip!
Michelle at Young Broke and Wandering
“While in Budapest I visited the Lukacs Thermal Baths. While I originally wanted to visit the more popular Szechenyi Bath, I am quite happy we ended up going to this Thermal Bath. One main reason is due to the sheer amount of people that visit the Szechenyi Bath compared to the Lukacs Baths. I would describe the Lukacs Bath as a more local feel, whereas Szechenyi seems much more a tourist hub. Frankly, when you’re visiting these baths – you’re sitting in a pot of hot water, I think the fewer people in there the better don’t you?
One of the main things I liked about this Bath was that there were so many options, and specifically pools of ranging temperatures. If you got too hot in one, you could cool down in another. Or if you got too cold in one you could go heat up in the sauna. Then, if you tired of sitting in a tub of hot water you could do laps in the swimming pool. I really liked that there were so many various options for all your needs.
If I could do it again, I would definitely bring my own flip-flops, a cheap throw away pair would have been ideal. I made the huge mistake of not bringing my own and didn’t want to purchase any while at the Baths. Big mistake – I’m cringing now thinking about the state of my feet walking around everywhere. You do also have to pay to rent a towel, but if you’re like me you can feel free to bring your own!
Lastly, I highly recommend bringing a water bottle. You don’t realize it, but sitting in those baths dehydrate you quickly, and you’re mighty thirsty when it comes time to leave.”
Book in advance here – Skip-the-Line: Gellért Spa Full Day Ticket in Budapest
Kate from Our Escape Clause
“Imagine a place dripping with so much luxury that it almost feels like a fantasy, where you immediately want to relax and lay back, and where you could almost swear you see Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan strolling across the room out of the corner of your eye: that’s the Gellert Baths in Budapest. If you’re looking for a luxurious thermal bath experience that will make you feel like royalty for the day, the Gellert Baths are absolutely the baths for you!
We felt so completely relaxed at the end of our day at Gellert that it was all we could do to emerge out of the warm, tiled pools and stumble into the locker rooms to get dressed again. In hindsight, that would have been the perfect time to spring for a massage at Gellert’s spa. On our next visit, we won’t make that mistake.”
Shandos from Travel Nuity
“Gellert Baths is one of the most stunning bath complexes in Budapest, oozing old-world style. Located on the western bank of the Danube, it’s easy to reach for anyone staying in the Buda side of Budapest or just across the river.
The one downside I found with Gellert is that if you want to bathe outside in the colder seasons, there’s only a single smallish heated outdoor pool, which can become crowded. On the evening I visited, it was overtaken by a large group of American college students!”
*Prices are based on Weekday prices with a locker. Costs are more on weekends and for cabins.
Are you visiting Budapest? Do you have any questions about which is the best bath in Budapest to suit your needs? Ask me in the comment or message me on Facebook
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