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
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 – 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
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
Some baths are fully mixed in Budapest, like Szechenyi Baths or Lukacs Baths (or very recently Kiraly Baths, the first Turkish baths built in Budapest), while many famous spa baths are segregated on certain days or most of the week, like Rudas Baths and Gellert Baths (both 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. 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).
Lockers are smart lockers with a number combination and a waterproof wristband.
Gellert Spa Baths – Art Deco Interior
Hi, my name is Irene. We are coming to Budapest on 9/26. We would like to book Turkish spa. Can you tell me how much is it and can we book it
Hello Irene, unfortunately the company managing the spa baths in Budapest does not sell tickets online. You can buy your bath tickets on the spot. There are two Turkish baths currently open to the public in Budapest, both of which has a historic Turkish bath complex: Rudas Spa Bath and Kiraly Baths. Rudas Baths is better quality and bigger (extended with a normal swimming pool), but only weekends are mixed days (Tue is women’s day). The older, more authentic and more run down (consequently cheaper) Kiraly thermal bath is mixed all week. More about both baths, including current prices:
Rudas Baths: http://baths.topbudapest.org/rudas-baths
Kiraly Baths http://baths.topbudapest.org/kiraly-baths
Does any one know if we can also enjoy the bath and spa which are shown in this images in Budapest in cold wetaher like fall or winter time?
Thanks in advance
Hello Niloo, all of the main spa baths are open throughout the year, so yes you can visit Szechenyi, Gellert, Rudas, Lukacs, Kiraly, etc. in winter time too. i.e. all of the baths in Budapest have various interior pools to choose from.
In addition, some of the spa baths have open-air pools like Szechenyi, which is really cool to visit in winter time (the very warm water main thermal bath at Szechenyi Furdo is about 20 metre walk from the building, where you can just sink into the hot steam and pampering warm water, right in the fresh air). Lukacs Baths is another great option for open air winter time swimming / soaking, the warm (36 degrees Celsius) water pool is right at the building. Have fun in Budapest.
I’m frank and I’m coming to budapest in 04-10-11 and would like to know where I can go for an infrared sauna and a proper deep tissue massage of the body?
I’m only in budapest for 2 days.
Hello Frank, there are lots of beauty and wellness salons in Budapest to choose from, especially in the city centre (their qualities are very varied. e.g. this one by Oktogon metro station, Terez korut 6. seems to be OK: http://www.meridianwellness.hu/A-szalon). Nevertheless it may be a better idea to visit one of the baths in Budapest if you would like to feel rejuvenated, and you can spend a couple of hours in a thermal bath (Lukacs is not so touristy but very professional, while Szechenyi and Gellert are most frequented by tourists). In addition to baths, you may find high end salons with infrared sauna and all kinds of beauty and massage therapies in 4 and 5 star hotels, like Corinthia Grand Hotel or Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, etc. Danubius Spa Hotels, e.g. their hotel on Margaret Island is a hotel chain specializing in wellness, thermal water spas, etc. Hope this helps.
I think the best bath is the Szechenyi Bath during winter time. There is nothing better to sit outside in a natural water source pool while it is snowing…
Do you know something about Racz Thermal Bath? From what I’ve seen, this is the most appealing one (for me, at least, I’m very much interested in the turkish bath).
I’ve visited their website but I couldn’t find any prices thou.
Hi Elena, the footer of the website shows that the planned opening year for Racz Hotel and Thermal Bath is 2011 so the hotel has still not opened yet. Although Hotel Racz and the magnificent spa bath facilities are technically ready to open, there are some legal / business complications that the owners need to figure out to get things going. Sorry about that, the place looks amazing. Anyway, Rudas Bath is also a Turkish bath expanded with some modern facilities, so I think it might be a good (maybe second) choice.
it is open already. I had the chance to visit it and it is rather a hotel spa area than a thermal bath like Szechenyi or Kiraly.
But anyways its a great place to relax.
i want to know if there is a party (cinetrip) in the silvester ???
Hi mor, the thing is that even the Cinetrip Water Circus organizers themselves have not responded to this crucial question neither on their website nor on their official facebook page. The problem is that there have been legislative changes for mass events (including spa bath parties) recently and I assume they are still waiting for some official bureaucratic reply in order to say a definite yes to a New Year’s or January Water Circus cinetrip party. There is lots of interests of course. You need to check back on their FB page: http://www.facebook.com/cinetrip
Hello. Is it possible to enter any baths just to take photos, not to bath btw?
Hello, I’m afraid in most you will have to buy an entrance ticket in order to take a look around. I do not think that you are allowed to take photos as an average tourist unless you have a press ID (however, it does not mean that many tourists will be deterred from taking photos in the baths in Budapest).
You may try to contact Gellert Baths (Gellért Fürdő), the most spectacular of the spa baths in Budapest to find out what the conditions are for taking photos inside the thermal bath.
Hello. I am fine in buying ticket as it is quite reasonable. But I really wanna take the photo in the Szechenyi bath because of its spectacular atmosphere. Definitely I am not gonna take the photo of other tourists because this could harm people’s P&C, I understand that. What I would like to know is am I eligible to take photo of the bath inside and how much is the entrance fee for Szechenyi?
You can certainly take your camera into the baths and take photos. My wife and I bought an underwater camera just so that we could take it IN the baths with us! And we were not the only ones doing so. I have many fine photos that I took from inside Szechenyi.. The entrance fee is roughly $30 per person for a cabin to share with two. Not too shabby!
hello,does baths work on december 31?
the opening hours of Budapest Baths on Dec 31 are as follows:
Széchenyi, Gellért, Rudas, Lukács and Dagály Baths are open from 6 am to 6 pm, Király Bath is open from 9 am to 6pm. (In case you want to recuperate on Jan 1: 11 am – 8 pm)
Hi!! I would like to find out if the baths will be open the 1 of January( new year) and the hours.
Thank you very much ;)
Hi Angel, the comment above yours gives the details for Jan 1 opening hours of Budapest baths:
from 11 am till 8 pm
I would like to visit Rudas spa on Wednesday (3rd of January) but is it going to be open only men?
Thank you for your help!
Hi lympadora, Jan 3 is a Tuesday, which is a women only day at Rudas spa bath (Wed is for men)
Are the mixed days at the baths with swimming costumes, or with the little face cloths on a string you normally get on single sex days ?
Hi Rachel, mixed days swimwear at Budapest baths are like at any traditional pools: men wear swimming trunks and women wear bikinis or swimsuits.
Hey, I’ll go to Budapest in February and want to go to a bathparty, how big is the chance for such a party, because I read that there were no more such partys…
Hi Weeky, I’m afraid I have bad news: there is no chance for a Cinetrip spa bath party in Budapest until this summer. Here is a quote from the Cinetrip official FB page: “It will be the summer of 2012 that we can meet next time, at our musical night bathing series, Szecska, every weekend at Széchenyi Bath”
Hope you will still find some nice parties in town. Check out the ‘ruin pubs’ and some more http://topbudapest.org/bars-pubs
And there are loads of parties on Hajogyari sziget (an island in the Danube, in Budapest, literally called the ‘Shipyard Island’ with lots of clubs and parties)
can I ask you, I would like to visit Szechenyi bath, but I donť know which days are open for men and women together(mixed). And it compulsory wear swimming cap?
Thanks for answer, Monika
Hi Monika, Szechenyi Bath is mixed every day. Swimming cap is only needed if you want to do laps (in the normal swimming pool). For the thermal baths no cap is needed as far as I know.
I will be at Budapest day 17(Saturday) and 18 March 2012 , do you know any place where i can have a nigth bath or a nigth bath party in these days?
Hi Tony, as far as we know there are no night baths in either Szechenyi (Szecska) Bath or Rudas Baths due to the new regulations in Hungary until this summer (the big night bath parties in December were also cancelled). Sorry. Hopefully you will find some fun party elsewhere in Budapest.
Anyway, the single evening party (part of an annual series) called ‘Night of Baths’ is scheduled for March 2, hopefully it will take place as planned, but it does not fit your schedule unfortunately.
hi, i came to budapest this wednesday|
when closed on saturday and sunday the rudas bath and theSzechenyi bath? and can i rent a towel in both and how much does it cost?
thank you very much!
Szechenyi is open from 6am to 1opm at weekends, while Rudas from 6am to 8 pm.
You can rent a towel (not a nice fluffly one though ) but is relatively expensive, so you may be better off to take yours if you have enough room in the bag.
thank you verty much for the information!!!
hi!i’m going to go to budapest on and of april.cuold you tell me which place am i have to see?and do you thing i should go to the thermal baths?is it famous?
I think the top ten things to see in Budapest is in this list:
And of course you should go to the thermal baths. Definitely. But I must add that I am / we are biased. After all we are from Budapest and we can enjoy the thermal baths all year round! :)
The two top choices are usually Szechenyi bath (as it is mixed and in a nice baroque building) or Gellert bath as the interior is so exquisite and unique. All thermal baths however, including the least ornamental Lukacs bath or the oldest Turkish bath (quite neglected in its present form) have high quality spa waters – regardless of the architecture.
Just wanted to add my two cents…. The obvious places to visit are Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Chain Bridge and Parliament. However, there are plenty of lesser known things to do and see that should not be missed. The Buda Labyrinth, for example, is a good fun way to kill a few hours underneath Buda Castle. While most of the labyrinth is tongue in cheek, the experience was nevertheless cool! Definitely take a trip to Cafe Gerbeaud and enjoy some of the most beautiful and tasty treats you could ever imagine. Szechenyi should not be missed. And do not save going to a bath as your last day “thing to do.” You will leave the bath thinking to yourself how you should have gone to the baths every day you were in Budapest. And since you are going to Szechenyi, make sure you get their via the yellow line metro, which was the first subway built in europe. It’s cars are tiny, and the stations equally as small, however, it is ridiculously charming (especially the chime that rings marking the arriving at each stop).
One last thing, make a reservation at Cafe Kor, an outstanding little restaurant near St Stephen Basilica. I have been there twice now, and no where else in the world have I had a better turkey dinner!
Hi Josh, thank you for your comment and suggestions. You are welcome to add any two cents or more. :)
Just one note: unfortunately the Buda Labyrinth is closed down, the government decided to take it back and shut down the Buda Labyrinth last year.
I will come from the 7th to the 9th of june and would like to know if a termal party at szechenyi bath is organized during this time ?
Hello Nico, sorry to say but the first summer thermal bath party in Budapest at Szechenyi will be on June 30:
Even though there won’t be any bath parties organised by Cinetrip that we know of during your Budapest stay, there is a really cool foodie festival in Budapest from June 8 to June 10 in a superb location (an if you want to watch the football matches you can on the open air screens) http://topbudapest.org/ai1ec_event/budai-gourmet-festival-june-2012 Lots of jazz and other concerts and a true gastro festival (hopefully we can make it too!) :)
You will definitely have a nice – non -water – party in one of the ruin pubs of Budapest: try Szimpla Kert bar, Corvinteto on Blaha Square or Otkert for a cool vibe in Budapest. Let us know how you liked it! :)
Can you tell me what the most exclusive day-spa in Budapest is? Not bath but spa with massage..
Hello Tor-Arild, indeed most thermal baths in Budapest offer massage services. However, there are more spas than the ones in the medicinal baths. I think the most exclusive spa in Budapest is in the Four Seasons Hotel. You cannot get more exclusive than that. Here are some Budapest spa hotels for further consideration: http://szechenyispabaths.com/spa-hotels/
Let us know if you had something different in mind. Have a good spa experience in Budapest!
I am looking for small private intimate thermal baths (not giant man-ball soup baths). I would like to be in a private thermal bath while beautiful girls loofa my body, feed me grapes, and take care of my every need. What have you got for that ? I’ll be there June 17th and 18th, 2013 Woohoo!
Hi ewmUSA, we are sorry but these sorts of private spa services are completely unknown and unheard of in Budapest thermal baths (there was once a big private party for a German company in Gellert Bath where similar things happened, and it became a huge – HUGE – media scandal. Mind you, it was a private event years ago, where Gellert Bath was rented as the special event venue, and the organizers simply ignored the policies of the bath).
Picture Budapest baths more like public pools placed in historical palaces, where general, family friendly services are provided, including massage treatments of the medical and refreshing type (mostly). While the city of Budapest is often said to have beautiful girls, adult services you seem to have in mind are simply not part of the public, open to all thermal baths. What you are expecting to find in Budapest baths will only be available in private settings outside the baths. I am sure if you search for such adult spa services the search engines will churn out some ideal options for you (oftentimes similar services are advertised as “massage” services with all sorts of fancy, enticing nicknames).