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Bük and Sárvár: the region of miraculous medicinal water

Bük - Sárvár

Vas County is home to two internationally recognised thermal baths that are only 25 kilometres apart. The baths in Bük and Sárvár have both been operating since the 60s and have been through several developments, but you can also find other smaller, lesser-known bath complexes in the region to relax in a cosy atmosphere. 

In 1957, in Bük – to people’s great surprise – thermal water instead of oil gushed out of the ground. Initially, ‘ditch-bathing’ became popular among local residents, but later the Bük Thermal Bath officially opened its doors. This tiny village has since grown into a popular bath town, with foreign tourists flocking to visit. Bükfürdő Thermal & Spa has become a massive complex and its thermal water – extracted from four wells – is certified as medicinal water. The waters have a very unique composition: their alkali bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium, fluorine and mineral content is relatively high, even by international standards. The unique thick, yellow water has a wide range of applications: due to its anti-inflammatory effect and its ability to improve circulation, it can be used for musculoskeletal, gynaecological, urological and digestive issues. You can enjoy the beneficial effects in both the outdoor and indoor pools, but there are many other ways to bathe in Bükfürdő: the new indoor section also has a lazy river, a hot tub and slides with light effects. 

The enormous outdoor park is one of the bath’s great advantages, since it provides a sprawling area of green space and shady trees, which provide a feeling of comfort even at busy times. There is even an outdoor pool for sports. The bath is a real paradise for kids, with a water playground, pools with toy dolphins and bears, a basketball pool, an interactive shark cave, and outdoor and indoor slides all available – and even the adults will enjoy the latter. The fabulous sauna world includes an outdoor devil’s sauna and a Finnish forest sauna, however, please keep in mind that in Bükfürdő these are completely textile-free areas.

There are several adventure and play-parks nearby to try, such as the three-storey adventure course at Kristály Torony (Crystal Tower) in Bük, but these are just part of the adventure experience Bükfürdő has to offer. Visitors are welcome to try the medical therapies (some weeks long) or the wide range of complex, traditional and modern spa services in the medicinal spa area. People with osteoporosis or rheumatic complaints can opt for a programme created specifically for them. Today, Bük has become an important destination for health tourism, since other service providers are also exploiting the benefits of thermal water. They include the Caramell Medical Center, which focuses mainly on diagnostics. 

The precious thermal water in Bükfürdő and most of the country’s thermal baths was found purely by accident, however, in Sárvár, thermal wells were specifically sought out in the 60s. Two types of medicinal water were found: 43°C water welling from 1,200 metres deep and 83°C medicinal water with a high salt content surging up from 2,000 metres. The legendary Sárvár Thermal Crystal salt was made from the latter through a process of distillation and is extremely effective against gynaecological, dermatological or digestive complaints when applied in a tub bath. Its legendary commercial was an iconic piece of retro Hungarian advertising industry from the 80s. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt, but there are plans to restart production of Sárvár Thermal Crystal salt.

In the pools at the Sárvár Health and Wellness Spa, you can submerge yourself in the 43°C alkali bicarbonate medicinal water – but not in the salty one – which contains mainly sodium chloride, bicarbonate and minerals and is an effective treatment for musculoskeletal diseases, injuries and neurological complaints. The health spa and adventure area is thoughtfully separated from the family area with a corridor, to allow visitors to relax completely undisturbed in one of the four semi-indoor and indoor pools. 

In the family area, the little ones are free to play noisily with their family in the children’s pool equipped with slides, water cannons and a water spraying gate, or in the wave pool, baby pool and on the giant slides meandering inside and outside of the building. There is even a free playhouse supervised by kindergarten teachers to help out parents who are tired from splashing around together. The outdoor area is open from May to September and awaits visitors with adventure pools, various slides, a diving bay, a pirate ship and adventure pool with a water castle for the little ones, sport courts and a playground. It’s an interesting fact that the Sárvár Thermal Bath is not the only health resort in town: the Sárvár Arboretum next to Nádasdy Castle was also certified a health resort.

There are other, smaller but all the more cosy thermal baths to try in the Sárvár-Bük region. The Vulkán Spa and Pool Complex in Celldömölk is located at the base of Ság, a five-million-year-old volcanic mountain. The bath awaits guests with eight pools filled with medicinal water containing high levels of sodium bicarbonate. There is also a quaint little bath on the other side of the mountain in Mester: the thermal water of the Mester Thermal Bath, which is high in calcium, magnesium and hydrogen bicarbonate, is also called “earthy calcic” water, and is very beneficial for the circulation due to its high levels of carbonic acid.