Budapest is famous for its spas and public baths, and the most famous of all are the Széchenyi thermal baths and spa, situated to the north-west of the city centre. At over 100 years old it is quite a ‘young’ bath, in comparison with Király and Rudas baths which were built in the 16th century. It is, however the largest thermal bath in Budapest and the largest medicinal bath in the whole of Europe!
There are 18 different pools at the Széchenyi baths, including three outdoor pools, and all are of different temperatures and water compositions. The water supply for the baths comes from a hot spring which contains calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, sodium, sulfate, fluoride and metaboric acid. It is said to have therapeutic properties for degenerative joint diseases and arthritis, and can help in orthopaedic and post-accident treatment. As well as the baths, there are steam rooms and saunas, and a jacuzzi and whirlpoool. There is also a massage facility that also offer pedicures, and aqua fitness classes on offer.
On the third day of our Budapest trip we took took the tram and metro out to the Széchenyi baths. We spent a good four hours (at least!) trying out all of the different pools, and when I say all of them I mean all of them! We went into every single pool in that place without fail. We also enjoyed the proper sauna experience – going from the 40 degree sauna straight into the 20 degree pool! It was a shock to the system, but afterwards we felt so relaxed. My favourite part was the outdoors geothermal pool which sits around 38 degrees centigrade. It was nice to sit in the water on the steps and relax, people watch, and watch the old men playing chess – yes, there are chess boards in the pool! I think it says a lot about how much we enjoyed it that when we arrived it was full daylight but by the time we left (as you can see in the photos) it was starting to get dark!
So what do you need to take? Technically, you could go to the baths with only your money and get away with it. There is a small shop that sells swimwear, there is a towel hire facility, and the cheapest ticket includes locker hire. But of course, I recommend that you take your own swimming costume and towel, and also a swimming hat if you want to go swimming in the outdoor lengths pool. Taking all of these with you will keep the price down, but you can buy all three there if you forget one or want to travel light. On another note, there is a café at the baths which is not badly priced. They serve sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks, but again if you want to do the day cheaply then I recommend you take your own food.
The ticket I bought was the day ticket with a locker which cost me 4700HUF, around £10-£11 at the time (June 2016). This was well worth it, meaning we could stay as long as we wanted! To get to the baths you can take the metro line 1 to the Széchenyi fürdő stop, or you can take the number 72 trolleybus. For all the information on other ticket prices and the spa treatments they offer, you can visit the official baths website.
I highly recommend the Széchenyi thermal baths to anyone travelling to Budapest! They are a great way to relax and enjoy an experience that you might not be able to have in your home country. I know we certainly don’t have baths like this in the UK!
Read more about my trip to Budapest!
Budapest is the Buda-Best!
Budapest Great Market Hall | Nagyvásárcsarnok
Ráday Street | Raday Utca
Buda Castle & Castle Hill | Budavári Palota & Várnegyed
Budapest’s Ruin PubsGozsdu Courtyard | Gozsdu Udvar