Magyar Magyar

The land of spa culture

Anna Bath & SpaSzegedSzeged region

The Ottoman occupation of Hungary was not confined to Budapest – a bathing culture was spread across Hungary.

A gleaming example of Hungary’s hammam heritage is Eger, 140 km east of Budapest. Here bathers soak beneath a golden dome built 400 years ago and renovated over time. The traditional octagonal pool and 200,000 pieces of gilded mosaic reflect an authentic ambience, enhanced by the foam massages and apple teas also available.


Down by the Romanian border, at Makó you can bathe in a church-like building designed by the acclaimed Imre Makovecz. His Hagymatikum Spa hints at Hungary’s folk and pagan past, as well as Makó’s prime onions, hagyma. You can explore a tropical storm cave, play chess outdoors in winter and relax in medicinal mud from the Maros river.


By the Serbian border, the century-old Anna spa in Szeged offers night bathing amid Neo-Renaissance architecture.

Hungarian spas can also heal. Those suffering from respiratory ailments can relax at Tapolca cave, on the north shore of Lake Balaton. With a (high humidity and a temperature of 14-16 degrees), regenerative ions and minimal dust, Tapolca has long been a healthy retreat. During World War II, the cave was used as a refuge by the hospital above. Patients saw their conditions improve, a benefit enjoyed by today’s guests at the nearby hotel, where active leisure is also encouraged.


In eastern Hungary, Hajdúszoboszló is one of the largest spa centres in Europe. Also notable are the baths in Debrecen parkland, the Cave Baths of Miskolctapolca and alfresco Sóstógyógyfürdő by Nyíregyháza. The salt hill of Egerszalók merits a special mention, a large mound, naturally formed, around which a luxury resort has been built. The waters here are particularly salubrious. In the north-west of Hungary, the medicinal waters of Sárvár spring from two sources deep in the Earth and supply an extensive spa complex.


Further south, the unique Castle Baths in Gyula are set around a medieval fortress, the spa converted into a recreational area in 1970, 450 years after the Turks bathed here. The vast thermal spa at Harkány, much of it outdoors, can help with fertility and arthritic issues.


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