Budapest Baths

Budapest has a range of great baths, spas and pools as well as open air lidos. Once in Budapest, it is a must to go to a bath. No wonder, Szechenyi Baths is the most popular attraction in Budapest!

On the surface, Budapest is divided into two parts (formerly two different towns), the hilly Buda and the flat Pest side, while under the surface a deep geological fault is running, right along the river Danube.

Szechenyi Spa Baths in summer

Szechenyi Spa Baths in summer

As a consequence, every day, millions of litres of hot and mild mineral water bubble up, or gush forth through this fault, and many of the natural warm springs are used in thermal baths in Budapest.

Hungarians take it for granted to get access to ‘healing waters’ (gyogyviz) easily, and “the baths are actually a part of the health-care system. Doctors regularly prescribe treatments that include massage, soaking in baths of various heat and mineral compositions, and swimming laps. For these patients, a visit to the bath is subsidized.” (Rick Steve on CNN Travel).

The good thing is that spa baths are available to the general public, not only to those in need of aqua-therapy, so locals and tourists can enjoy a great relaxation in the warm thermal waters at affordable prices throughout the year. Even if you are completely healthy, you will feel great after a 2-3 hour spa bath ‘meditation’.

Budapest Spa Parties known as 'Sparties' at Szechenyi Bath

Budapest Spa Parties known as ‘Sparties’ at Szechenyi Bath –photo by Levente Hernadi

Budapest Baths FAQ

General info about Budapest Baths

Baths and Pools

The most popular spa baths in Budapest have not only smaller / bigger thermal baths but also normal swimming pools, like Szechenyi Baths, Rudas Baths, Gellert Baths or Lukacs Baths.

Rudas Spa Baths - Octagonal Pool

Rudas Spa Baths – Octagonal Pool

Some of the spa baths sell combined tickets for the baths and the pools (like Szechenyi or Lukacs), while others sell separate bath-only and pool-only tickets, which are cheaper.

Before choosing a thermal bath, make up your mind what facilities you would like to use, and pick your bath accordingly. Note: if you want to go to a swimming pool, bring your own swimming cap (compulsory to use) unless you want to use the one the bath provides: a shower cap, which can easily come off in the water. As for pools, the waters may feel slightly more chlorinated than pools in western countries (based on tourists’ reviews and our limited experience)

Mixed or Segregated Baths

These days most of the thermal baths are fully mixed in Budapest, like Szechenyi Baths, Gellert Spa or Lukacs Baths (or very recently Kiraly Baths, the first Turkish baths built in Budapest), while other famous spa baths are segregated on certain days or most of the week, like Rudas Baths (which is co-ed at weekends). For more details see Which Baths Are Mixed in Budapest?

Cabins or Lockers at the Baths

Each thermal bath has both lockers and cabins to store your belongings in while soaking in the thermal baths. Cabins are more private and more expensive, they look like little cubicles with a bench, hanger, etc.

You can pay for a special cabin ticket for about 1.5 Euros, or you will pay for a 2 in 1 bath and cabin ticket (the surcharge for the cabin use is built into the admission fee). The cabins are opened and closed by your personal waterproof wristband (cabins bought with the online tickets), but some more traditional cabins are managed by the strict bath ladies.

Gellert Spa Baths - Art Deco Interior

Gellert Spa Baths – Art Deco Interior

Lockers are smart lockers with a number combination and a waterproof wristband. They are man size lockers that can take up a lot.

Each bath ticket comes either with a locker or with a private changing room called cabin. It is up to you which you choose.