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Wellness superpower in the heart of Europe

Veli Bej Bath
Budapest
Greater Budapest

If Hungary can be called a superpower, it is because of its medicinal water, thermal water and mineral water resources. The only countries that can actually compete with Hungary are those that lie on volcanic land, such as Italy, certain parts of Turkey and Iceland. The mineral-rich hot water that surges up from underneath the crust of the Earth has always attracted people.

The Romans who conquered Pannonia as a province brought bathing culture with them from Italy, and this was easily accepted by the local people; in addition, the Romans discovered medicinal natural waters here. Bathing was nothing new to Hungarians who arrived here during the Hungarian conquest: their dignitaries had their own portable leather baths. According to Galeotto Marzio, visitors from distant lands were invited to take steam baths in the court of King Matthias.

From Turkish baths to thermal baths

The Turks had their own advanced bathing culture when they arrived here and established numerous Turkish baths in Buda, Eger and other parts of the country. Many of these (like the Rudas Thermal Bath, Király Thermal Bath or the Irgalmasok Veli Bej Bath) are still open today and offer services that combine the advantages of traditional Turkish baths and those of the modern wellness baths, with services ranging from massages to the Classic hammam experience. One thing has not changed, however: they continue to serve as forums for rejuvenating body and mind.

The doctors of the Habsburg Empire also used thermal waters for curing different diseases. The aristocracy in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and – with increasing frequency – members of the upper-middle classes spent their summers in different health resorts around the country, from Opatija to Băile Herculane. Although the country lost several famous thermal baths due to the Trianon decision, those in Hévíz, Hajdúszoboszló and Budapest are still prestigious members of European bathing culture today.

 

Wellness experiences for every member of the family

In the post-WWII period, most visitors to baths and spas were seeking relief for their musculoskeletal complaints, but in the 1990s, and even more so in the 2000s, there has been sharp increase and development in the Hungarian bathing culture. Many old classic baths have been renovated, and many new wellness hotels and spa complexes have opened.

These new wellness baths and spas attract visitors not only with their medicinal waters or their spectacular natural environment, but also with the wide range of services they offer. Most of them offer activities for every member of the family, from the little ones to sporty, adventurous youngsters to adults looking for peace or healing. Every wellness bath provides medical hydrological services (such as pool baths, a tub bath with medicinal water, underwater jet massage or medical therapeutic massage and mud wraps) which are in certain cases even subsidised from social security, but they also have saunas, steam baths, massages and other wellness treatments, and in some cases you can even enjoy beauty and cosmetology treatments. Sports enthusiasts can choose the swimming pool, the gym or the slides inside the baths. Both the old classic baths and the modern wellness complexes also impress with their architectural value. In addition to the historic Turkish baths and the bath resorts evoking the splendour of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the modern wellness centres and hotels also regularly manage to make it onto the lists of top international baths.

 

MOVE AROUND LIKE A HUNGARIAN