Budapest isn’t called the ‘City of Baths’ for nothing. Budapest has more thermal springs – with healing qualities ! – than any other capital city in the world. An amazing 70 million litres of thermal water rises to the surface daily. The hot springs have given birth to dozens of medicinal baths and to a bathing culture dating back to Roman times.
Budapest is also one of the few places where you can experience traditional Turkish baths dating back to 16th and 17th centuries. Check out Rudas, Király or Császár / Veli Bej. If you’re looking to kick back and relax over your holiday, Budapest is the place to be. Take a dip in one of its many famous thermal baths, enjoy a unique spa experience or stay in one of the city’s health spa resorts, and bathe your cares away.
Click on the name to open a box with picture and information on the
- Széchenyi Baths
- Gellért Baths
- Rudas Baths
- Király Baths
- Császár Baths - Veli Bej
- Lukács Baths
- The Spa at the Four Seasons
- Danubius Health Spa Margitsziget
Although it may look like a Baroque palace, Széchenyi Baths (Széchenyi fürdő) is the largest medicinal bath and one of the largest public baths in Europe. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the healing waters, or to take a few laps in the swimming pool. The Széchenyi is a favorite for both locals and tourists alike.
The first thermal bath in Pest opened here as a temporary establishment in 1881. As it became more and more popular, construction began to expand the bath. The medicinal baths were built in 1913, and the northern wing, with a beautiful Neo-Baroque interior, was completed in 1927. Today, there are 18 pools, of which 15 are spring fed. In one of the large outdoor pools, you can witness the surreal spectacle of men playing chess while immersed up to their chests in steaming water.
‘Szecska’ – Late Night Summer Fun at Széchenyi
Throughout the summer Széchenyi Baths offers a popular Saturday night party series called Szecska. Pool parties with plenty of great music run every Saturday from 10:30 pm to 3:00 am from June through August.
Gellért Baths is one of the most beautiful thermal baths in Budapest. The world-famous Gellért Baths, located in the same building as the Hotel Gellért, was built between 1912 and 1918 in Art Nouveau style. Ever since its opening in 1918, Gellért Baths remains one of the most beautiful baths in Budapest. References to healing waters in this location can be found from as early as the 15th century. The hot springs that feed the thermal baths rise from deep within Gellért Hill, and the Turks used them during the 16th and 17th centuries during their stay in Hungary. Today, Gellért Baths shines in its former glory after recent renovations and restorations carried out in 2006 and 2007.
Wow! No wonder that Gellért Baths is the most photographed spa in Hungary. The Art Nouveau style is mastered here in every aspect.
The Rudas is one of Budapest’s famous Turkish baths. Rudas (Rudas fürdő) is a Turkish-style bathhouse that was built in the 1560s by the Pasha of Buda, Sokullu Mustafa. During the time of the Ottoman occupation, Turkish-style bathing culture flourished in Hungary and many steam baths were built. Rudas is one of the oldest and most beautiful baths in Budapest and to date it retains many of the key elements of a Turkish bath, exemplified by its dome and octagonal pool. Throughout the years several extensions were added to the core building. The swimming pool was built in 1896. In the past, following Turkish traditions, Rudas was exclusively for men only. Today, it is open to both sexes on the weekends and there is also a women-only day during the week.
Rudas was used as a location in the 1988 action movie Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi.
Visiting Rudas Baths is unlike any other experience. In operation since the 16th century, the Turkish-style bathing traditions were kept here throughout the years. The Turkish bathing traditions and architecture add character and a sense of history. On Fridays and Saturdays the thermal pools and the swimming pool are open late for nighttime bathing.
The Rudas Restaurant & Bar, featuring a Turkish-Hungarian fusion kitchen, is now open. Rudas Restaurant & Bar is located in a new wing of the historic thermal bath, which opened its doors in September 2014. In addition, Rudas has a brand new wellness area with four new pools (including a 42°C/114°F thermal pool and a 11°C/52°F plunge pool), and a rooftop terrace with a rooftop pool.
Király Baths retains many traditional elements of a Turkish bath. Király Baths (Király fürdő) was built in the second half of the 16th century, at the beginning of the Turkish occupation in Hungary. In fact, the Pasha of Buda ordered its construction in 1565. Bathhouses played an important role in the Ottoman culture, serving as places of social gathering and ritual cleansing. To date, Király Baths retains many of the key elements of a Turkish bath that can be seen also from the outside, such as its octagonal roof. After the Turkish era, the König family purchased the bath in the 18th century. Király Baths was built far from the healing waters and there is no hot spring on the site, so its thermal water supply comes from the surroundings of the current Lukács Baths.
Services at Király Baths
The hot spring feeding the thermal pools is rich in calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulfate and sodium. The waters are recommended to cure degenerative illnesses of joints, chronic and semi-acute arthritis, and spinal problems and for post-injury rehabilitation treatments.
Hidden in the backyard of a Classicist-style building in Buda, Veli Bej, also known as Császár Baths, has a rich history. References to healing waters in this location date back to Roman times. The Turkish bathhouse, originally named Veli Bej, was built in the 16th century during the Turkish era. Commissioned by pasha Szokullu Musztafa, this was one of the most beautiful baths of its time. The original stone building survived the varied history of the ensuing centuries. After the Turkish occupation the bath was renamed to Kayser Bad, Császár Baths in Hungarian, and later it was given to the Order of Hospitallers, who used it for healing the sick.
Throughout the years several extensions were added to the core building. The Classicist-style building, still in use today, was designed in the 19th century by architect József Hild. Today, this building houses a hospital and a hotel that faces the Komjádi Sport Swimming Pool, another one of the additions to the original complex. The historic Turkish bathhouse, which was closed to the general public for decades, regained its original splendor with the recent renovations.
Visiting Császár Baths – Veli Bej
The beautifully renovated Turkish bath complex is still in a pre-opening phase (as of Dec. 2011)*, m
Lukács Baths is a favorite among the locals. Tourists do not frequent the Lukács Baths (Lukács fürdő) as much as others in Budapest, as it is not as extravagant as the famous Gellért or Széchenyi. Nevertheless, Lukács has a great reputation among locals. Those cured have placed marble tablets in the courtyard to express their gratitude, with the oldest tablet dating back to 1898. When it opened in 1894, Lukács was the biggest and the most popular bath in Budapest. Besides those coming for cures, the Lukács was also a favorite meeting place among writers and artists, and it still remains popular in literary circles.
Facilities at the Lukács include a drinking fountain, with healing water that is helpful for stomach problems, gallbladder and kidney stones. The thermal water has been bottled since the turn of the century and distributed around the world. Look for green bottles labeled Szent Lukács (Saint Lucas).
The Spa at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace conforms to all the high standards that Four Seasons Hotels are known for worldwide. Luxury is combined here with signature treatments that utilize the effects of Hungary’s mineral-rich thermal waters. The spa and wellness area features an exercise room, a swimming pool, a sauna, separate steam rooms for men and women, a whirlpool and a number of private massage and treatment rooms, including a suite that offers treatments with Vichy showers. The spa welcomes day guests, so even if you’re not staying at the hotel you can still enjoy quality treatments, state-of-the-art facilities and an attentive service from the brand that is known for being a master in hospitality.
A spa located on the beautiful Margaret Island
About the Danubius Health Spa Margitsziget
The thermal water on Margaret Island, known for its healing powers, was first brought to the surface in 1886. The 70°C/170°F warm, mineral rich, natural water comes from the Sigmund spring (Zsigmond forrás) that rises from the deep beneath the island. The water, rich in sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, hydro-carbonate and sulfate, exerts its healing effects both as thermal water in the spa’s pools & baths and as drinking water.
The Danubius Health Spa is part of the Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget, which opened in 1979 as one of the first urban spa hotels in the world. Although the building looks like (and it is) a memento from socialist times, don’t get turned off by its appearance, the spa facilities are up-to-date and offer everything you need to unwind and relax.
One of the biggest indoor water theme parks in Europe offers unforgettable entertainment for the whole year, for the whole family. This complex, which is located in the northern part of Budapest is waiting for adrenaline addicts with 11 giant water slides, wave and surf pools, and lovers of relaxation with saunas and thermal baths.
The Aquaworld, one of the biggest indoor water theme parks in Europe, is directly accessible from the hotel for surcharge, and gourmet cuisine is served in the Aquaworld Resort’s several restaurants.