Nestled along the banks of the majestic Danube River, Budapest is a city steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. One of its most iconic and cherished features is the abundance of thermal baths that dot the cityscape.
Budapest’s thermal baths have been welcoming visitors for centuries, and they continue to draw in tourists and locals alike, offering a unique and rejuvenating experience.
If you’re interested in relaxing at one of these hotspots, check out this list of the best thermal baths in Budapest.
1. Gellért Thermal Bath
Nestled within the Gellért Hotel, the Gellért Spa Bath is a true architectural gem. The bath’s stunning Art Nouveau design makes it stand out from the other thermal baths in Budapest.
The highlight of Gellért is the main hall, featuring a grand dome adorned with colourful mosaics. The thermal baths here are renowned for their medicinal properties and are said to be particularly effective for treating joint and muscle pain.
The outdoor wave pool is a unique and delightful feature, offering visitors the sensation of being at a beach right in the heart of Budapest.
- Website: http://gellertspa.com/
- Address: Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
- Opening times: 9:00 to 19:00
2. Széchenyi Thermal Bath
Located in the heart of City Park, the Széchenyi Bath is one of Budapest’s most famous and majestic thermal baths. Built in a neo-baroque style, this sprawling complex features 18 pools fed by two thermal springs.
The warm, mineral-rich waters range in temperature, catering to all preferences. Whether you’re looking to relax in a warm pool or indulge in a therapeutic soak, Széchenyi has you covered.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to play a game of chess while immersed in warm water at the outdoor chess tables.
Széchenyi is also famous for hosting Sparty, one of the best nights out in Budapest. You can dance and party all night long in the perfectly heated outdoor pools.
- Website: https://www.szechenyibath.hu/
- Address: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
- Opening times: weekdays from 7:00 to 20:00, weekends from 8:00 to 20:00
3. Rudas Thermal Bath
For those seeking a more authentic and historical experience, the Rudas Bath is a must-visit. The bathhouse, originally constructed during the Ottoman occupation in the 16th century, retains much of its original architecture and character.
The octagonal-shaped central pool, adorned with a magnificent dome, creates a truly atmospheric environment.
Another of the standout features of Rudas is the rooftop thermal pool, offering breathtaking views of Budapest’s skyline while you bathe.
The modernisation efforts have introduced various wellness amenities, including saunas, steam rooms, and a wellness pool, providing a harmonious blend of tradition and contemporary comfort.
Rudas also offers late night bathing on Fridays and Saturdays, which makes it stand out from other thermal baths in Budapest.
This makes it a perfect option for a night out or even for those who need a chance to rejuvenate after a busy evening at one of the best ruin bars in Budapest.
- Website: https://en.rudasfurdo.hu/
- Address: Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9, 1013 Hungary
- Opening times: Sunday to Thursday from 6:00 to 19:30, Friday and Saturday from 6:00 to 20:00 then 22:00 to 2:30
4. Lukács Thermal Bath
Tucked away on the Buda side of the city, the Lukács Bath is a local favourite known for its healing waters and peaceful ambience.
The bath’s history dates back to the 12th century when knights of the Order of Saint John chose the spot to help curing the city.
The Lukács experience is all about tranquillity and wellness. Visitors can enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a plethora of therapeutic treatments and wellness programs.
- Website: https://en.lukacsfurdo.hu/
- Address: Budapest, Frankel Leó út 25-29, 1023
- Opening times: 7:00 to 19:00
5. Palatinus Thermal Bath
Situated on Margaret Island, right in the middle of the Danube between Buda and Pest, Palatinus Bath has one of the most fascinating locations out of the best thermal baths in Budapest.
Opened in 1919, it was the first of the baths in Budapest where visitors were able to bathe outdoors, and for some time it had the largest pool in Europe.
With a minimalist, Bauhaus design, the building is set apart from some of the other thermal baths in Budapest, and it’s still one of the most popular leisure centres in the city.
Visiting Margaret Island is one of the best things to do in Budapest for couples, and if you’re there it’s also worth spending some time at the Palatinus Baths.
- Website: https://en.palatinusstrand.hu/
- Address: Budapest, Soó Rezső stny. 1, 1003 Hungary
- Opening times: 9:00 to 16:30
6. Dandár Thermal Bath
One of the lesser-known thermal baths in Budapest is Dandár, partly due to being located in the 9th district, a bit further out from the touristy centre.
While not a long-serving spa with an Ottoman history like some others on this list, Dandár can be found in a more industrial centre, complete with a 1930s art deco facade.
As it’s less often frequented by tourists, prices are lower than some of the other more popular Budapest thermal baths. Plus, you’ll get a more authentic experience as you’ll feel more like one of the locals.
You can relax in a thermal pool located in a courtyard outside, or try out one of the inside pools or wellness facilities.
- Website: https://en.dandarfurdo.hu/
- Address: Budapest, Dandár u. 7, 1095 Hungary
- Opening times: 9:00 to 19:00
7. Veli Bej Thermal Bath
Located in the same building as Hotel Csaszar Budapest, Veli Bej is one of the oldest Turkish baths in the city.
With the oldest part of this Ottoman bath being built in 1574-75, Veli Bej has long been offering its relaxing waters to the residents of Budapest.
With five thermal baths, it’s not as big as some of the other spas in Budapest but you’ll still find all the amenities you could want, such as two steam chambers saunas, and a jacuzzi.
- Website: https://www.csaszarhotel.hu/veli-bej-spa-budapest/
- Address: Budapest, Árpád fejedelem útja 7, 1023 Hungary
- Opening times: 6:00 to 12:00 and 15:00 to 21:00
Practical tips for enjoying Budapest’s thermal baths
1. Bring swimwear and flip-flops: Most thermal baths have strict rules about swimwear and footwear, so make sure to pack accordingly.
2. Check opening hours and admission fees: Opening hours and admission fees vary between different thermal baths, so make sure to have a look in advance.
3. Book treatments before visiting: If you’re interested in spa treatments, it’s a good idea to book them ahead of time to secure your spot.
4. Hydrate and take breaks: Spending time in hot thermal waters can be dehydrating, so remember to drink plenty of water and take breaks to cool down when needed.
5. Respect bathhouse etiquette: Be mindful of bathhouse rules, such as showering before entering the pools and maintaining a quiet and respectful atmosphere.
The history of Budapest’s thermal baths
The history of Budapest’s thermal baths dates back to Roman times when the ancient city of Aquincum, the precursor to present-day Budapest, was established as a military settlement.
The Romans were quick to recognise the therapeutic benefits of the thermal springs in the area, leading to the construction of the first bathhouses.
The tradition of soaking in these naturally warm waters has persisted through the ages, with various civilizations, including the Ottomans, leaving their mark on the city’s bath culture.
The benefits of thermal baths
Budapest boasts a rich geological heritage, with over 100 thermal springs bubbling up from beneath the city. These thermal waters are not just soothing; they are also believed to have numerous health benefits.
The waters are rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sulphates, which are known to relieve various ailments, including arthritis, skin conditions, and respiratory issues.
Additionally, the warm waters promote relaxation and reduce stress, making them a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of modern life.