Love getting pampered?
Want a movie star life, but cringe at the cost?
Thankfully Hungary, a thermal rich country, has Budapest spas where you can enjoy days of luxury, for pennies on the dollar.
Budapest spa tickets start from $7 and massages start from $15…
Credit: Unique Hotels Group
What To Do With So Much Water?
Hungary may be the most water rich country in the world with over 1,300 springs nationwide, of which a third has been turned into spas. With Europe’s longest river (the Danube) and its biggest lake (Lake Balaton), it’s no wonder why Hungary is the place to get watered down. Here, they say you can’t poke a stick in the ground without finding a new thermal water source.
Budapest Spas – So Many To Choose From
There are about 20 spas, wellness centers and Turkish Baths in Budapest alone, with hundreds more are peppered throughout the country. Budapest spa culture has been thriving here since the Romans exploited this natural resource more than 2,000 years ago.
Benefits of Baths
Thermal baths are full of mineral and vitamin rich elements making them great for joint diseases, chronic and sub-acute arthritis, hernia, neuralgia, calcium deficiency in the bones and much more.
Credit: Alex E. Proimos
Best Budapest Spa… Szechenyi
Szechenyi was the first bath house on the Pest side of the Danube River, created back in 1881. It was called “Artesian Bath” and was only meant to be a temporary establishment. However, in 1999 Szechenyi was completely renovated with modern installments and is now the biggest Budapest spa and one of the best in Europe.
The Turks Are Coming!
Hungary was under Turkish occupation for more than 300 years, and their influence is visible all over the city. Now you can enjoy a Turkish Bath in the spas they built over 500 years ago.
The Kiraly, Rudas and Racz Baths offer a great experience for those wanting a little more than just a spa and steam. These places offer you a chance to marvel at some beautiful architecture. It’s not just a bath, it’s a history lesson!
The Cream Of The Crop
If you visit Lukacs Bath there is a good chance that you will run into some actors, writers and artists. This is the place where local celebrities and politicos frequent to enjoy the exclusive bath experience.
The architecture is beautiful, but it’s the location of this spa that makes this place truly special. Unimpeded views of the city are breathtaking from this height, and after a soothing bath you can take a walk around the 1800 square meter park and enjoy being surrounded by centuries old trees.
When You Need More Excitement
After enjoying the lazy and relaxing baths, take a walk around the city, sometimes called the Paris of the east. Szechenyi is near Liget Park (the biggest park in Budapest) where you can visit several museums and a beautiful Church.
It’s also very close to the impressive Hero’s Square (about 5 minute walk), which is a tribute to Hungarian Saint’s, Martyrs and historical figures throughout the centuries. At one end of the square you will find the Museum of Fine Arts, while at the other is The Hall of Art.
When To Go
The best time to enjoy an open Budapest spa is during the summer months of June, July, and August. The Turkish baths are covered and open all year round.
Budapest has four very distinct seasons. The winter months are cold and snowy (usually under 32°F, 0°C), spring and autumn are mild and humid (60-70°F,15-20°C) and the summer is hot and dry (over 90°F, 30°C).
Getting There & Around
Fly into Budapest (Ferihegy International Airport) located 10 miles (15 km) from the city center.
From there a taxi can take you to the city center.
You can find out more about the locations of the baths in your hotel reception.
If you decide to visit Szechenyi Bath, take public transport. Take any bus, tram or metro until Deak Square and from there metro line 1 (yellow line) has a stop Szechenyi Bath.
- Tickets: $7-15
- Mid-range accommodation: $60-80
- Meals: $5-10
- Beer: $2
- Go to a Cinetrip party held in one of the big Spas. There is really nothing like it, with booze, electronic music and psychedelic visual art while in a spa the size of an Olympic pool.
- Go at winter time. The contrast is amazing, you are in a hot bath and around the pool snow.
- Try the soapy massage in Szechenyi Bath.
- Go to Rudas Bath on men only days, unless you are also interested in men, if you know what I mean…
- Show up in a bath topless if you are a woman. These are meant to be healing places so treat it with respect.
- Miss the “happy hours”. Every day a different Spa gives 50% off from the ticket! This is the list of Spas.
- There are 19 ancient roman bath ruins in Budapest.
- The third biggest Roman ruin, the Aquincum (North West part of the city) had complete plumbing and of course a a Bath for the Roman solders.
- Hungary has enough thermal water to supply heating for the majority of households in winter, but this technology is not being used in the country.
- If you go in February you can catch the “Night of the Baths” when many places stay open all night and offer great discounts.
Feature Image Credit: hillman54