When the Romans first colonised the area now known as Óbuda, in northern Budapest, it was with the specific intention of having access to their thermal springs. To this day, Budapest draws crowds from all over the world who have the sole intention of dipping their buns in their calming and medicinal waters.
Naturally, when I visited, dipping my buns was quite high on my bucket-list. The Gellert Baths were within walking distance of my hotel, but I had been reading up, and the one that most drew my attention was the Széchenyi Thermal baths in City Park. It was a 20-minute ride by underground train but the combination of outdoor and indoor pools, as well as the stunning photos that litter the internet turned out to be quite the motivator.
There are 15 baths and pools in total, with three of them being outdoors. They all vary in size and temperature and you have the option of making use of their steam rooms and sauna. On the day I visited, it began as quite a sunny day that eventually turned to rain. Surprisingly, however, the combination of the warm spa and the chilling rain was one of the most memorable parts of the visit!
When buying your ticket, you’ll be given the choice between a cabin and a locker. A locker is the same as you would get in any gym; a place to put your stuff. A cabin, however, is a private area and for your exclusive use. Both are accessed by wristband rather than a key, which is probably wise consider how screwed you’d be if you dropped it in the bath. In case you haven’t guessed, a cabin costs more than a locker but if you’re the shy type, it’s worth considering.
The baths themselves are structurally quite old. However, the tech used for crowd access and control is both modern and impressive. The wristbands I mentioned, for instance, are wireless and allow you to lock or unlock your chosen facilities.
While there are still ruins of old roman baths littered throughout the city, the Széchenyi Thermal baths were actually constructed in 1913 in the Neo-baroque style and is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Medicinal baths have been found to be useful when dealing with degenerative joint illness and chronic pain. All of this is a very long way of saying that it’s a perfect way to end your visit to Budapest, as all the walking will have left you with at least a few of those ailments.
Things to bring with you
- A towel
- A bathing suit