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Budapest, the Queen of bathing cities

Gellért BathBudapestGreater Budapest

No other capital in the world has more hot-water springs. Whether for rehabilitation or recreation, it’s worth devoting some time to discover the city’s thermal baths. No visit to Budapest can be complete without a visit to its spas, which give the sense of stories from the pages of a history book coming to life.

Bathing in medicinal water and springs in the Hungarian capital has an over two thousand year-old history. The Romans established a flourishing bathing culture on this spot, which was enriched by further additions and numerous, still active facilities by the Turkish conquerors in the 16-17th century. The development of bath culture was made possible by the network of hot springs running under the capital city. The springs ranging from pleasantly lukewarm temperatures up to 77 degrees Celsius surge to the surface through over a hundred man-made wells and in several spots in natural form.


Budapest continued to shrewdly use nature’s gifts: a number of reputable baths were built in the 19th century, which have been renovated, one by one, over the recent years. You can see this for yourself when you visit the city, as the latest aquatic complexes suitably preserve these traditions. The beneficial effects of the springs can be enjoyed at 14 different spas. Additionally, the capital city with a population of 1.8 million offers the bustling scene of a real metropolis coupled with a range of wonderful architectural creations from various periods of history, impressive panoramic views of the Danube and a lively cultural scene.


Patina and art

Some of Budapest’s baths have an atmosphere that feels as though you were unwinding in a museum. The breathtaking complex of the Széchenyi Thermal Bath lies in the City Park on the Pest side in a stunning location. With a flair of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the building is a stately sight amongst the park’s lush trees – it looks more like a real palace than a bath. Water-lovers are treated to a total of 21 pools, three of which are outdoors. The sight of chess players in the pool during the day is just as common as the array of colours offered by the “sparty” musical bath nights.


Another unforgettable sight is the Gellért Thermal Spa, nestled at the foot of the Buda Hills, situated in one of the loveliest stretches of the Danube. The halls of the nearly one hundred year-old secessionist building might seem familiar from a number of successful movies: its turquoise Zsolnay tiles, lead glass windows and statues have served as inspiration for countless artists in the past. The other favourite site of the art scene is the Lukács Thermal Bath, which features a wall of commemorative plaques of all the miraculous cases of healing that took place there.


Historical Turkish Baths

Another unique feature and historical value of Budapest are the original Turkish baths found throughout the city. Following its full-scale renovation, the 16th century Veli Bej Bath has been restored to its former glory. Make sure to study its incredibly detailed mosaic ornaments reminiscent of the art of the former Ottoman Empire.


Located at the foot of Gellért Hill, the nearly 450 year-old Rudas Thermal Bath has also been recently restored. Apart from experiencing the atmosphere of traditional Turkish baths, visitors can take in the stunning views of the Danube and its many bridges from the panoramic pool found on the top of the building.

Family experiences

Bathing in the centre of a global city on a lush green island surrounded by parks is just one of the unique experiences offered by Margaret Island in Budapest. Since 1919, this has been the site of the capital’s longest standing open-air swimming pool, the Palatinus. Today, the facility features timed giant slides and 14 pools, amongst other things.


Aquaworld, an adventure pool complex for families, is one of the youngest complexes of the city, located on its outskirts. The Southeast Asian Angkor ruins served as the inspiration for the bath’s impressive interior: the five floor high, gigantic dome houses a total of 4,000 square metres of water surfaces, including 15 different pools, 11 slides and dizzying rope-bridges that offer a multitude of engaging adventures.


World-famous stars in the pool

One might easily stumble across a famous person or two when visiting the prestigious Gellért Thermal Bath. The bath’s guests included the likes of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, former US President Richard Nixon, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, as well as world-famous actors such as Uma Thurman and Ryan Gosling.

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