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Your Insider Guide to the Best Budapest Thermal Baths

Your Insider Guide to the Best Budapest Thermal Baths

An absolutely incredible place to visit, Budapest is one of the prettiest cities in Europe, and no visit to Hungary’s capital is complete without stopping by one of the beautiful Budapest thermal baths.

For over 2000 years, people have flocked to Budapest for its waters’ healing powers and medicinal properties, so relaxing in the baths is an absolute must when visiting the city.

Budapest is known as the City of Spas. Many of the Budapest baths date back to the 16th and 17th centuries and were built by the Ottomans, although each bath has its own unique style and feel. While some of them have fun whirlpools and pool parties in the evenings and nighttime, others are more relaxing and are the perfect place for a massage or wallowing in the pool.

Yet other bathhouses in Budapest were built during the 20th century when Budapest was the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The grand imperial buildings look spectacular as you kick back and relax in the warm waters.

The thermal baths in Budapest are now a very popular tourist attraction and on everyone’s things to do in Budapest list. Everyone from the Romans and Ottomans to the Austro-Hungarians and Soviets has benefited from the delightful hot springs that proliferate below the city, and the bathhouses themselves look amazing.

In fact, Budapest was founded by the Romans for its thermal springs, and you can still find ruins of the huge baths they built in the city today.

Still very popular today, Budapest is synonymous with the numerous thermal baths that are dotted about the city. Szechenyi Thermal Baths are the largest complex in the whole of Europe. At the various baths, you can expect to find a delightful mix of excited tourists from all around the world – as well as Hungarians, young and old, lounging in the warm waters.

As there are loads of thermal baths on offer, we’ve come up with a list of our seven favorite thermal baths in Budapest for you to check out. They’re all great, so it really depends on what you’re looking for – a relaxing massage and soaking in the warm waters or a beautiful setting and pool party!

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sunburst coming through the yellow archway of the Szechenyi Thermal Baths - Famous Budapest Baths

1. Szechenyi Thermal Baths

One of the most popular Budapest baths, Szechenyi, looks absolutely gorgeous. It is the largest spa complex in Europe. Built in 1913, the Neo-Baroque building houses 21 thermal pools as well as saunas, steam rooms, and an aqua fitness center. There is also a range of wonderful massages that you can try out and even a thermal beer spa for beer-lovers to check out!

Located in City Park, Szechenyi is often the first Budapest bath that people visit, and with good reason, its beautiful architecture and distinctive yellow walls stand out so beautifully against the blue waters of its outside pools.

Now a historic and very recognizable landmark in Budapest, the interior of the building is just as elegant and grand; mosaics, statues, and chandeliers can be found here and there – it really is lovely to visit!

Built by Gyozo Czigler, the baths are supplied by two hot springs. While some of the pools have Roman features, others look more Greek or northern European in appearance and style. There are tons of different options available to visitors. Some baths are only open for medical treatments, but the ones outdoors have a fun whirlpool for you to go in as well as spurting fountains.

A lot livelier than most other baths, Szechenyi can seem quite crowded, although there are definitely spots where you can just sit back and relax. You can find anyone from old Hungarians playing chess to excited visitors shooting around the whirlpool.

On most Saturday nights throughout the year, Szechenyi hosts pool parties. If you’re looking for some crazy fun Budapest nightlife, this is the spot. These are loads of fun to go; clubbing in the warm waters is certainly a memorable experience!

A special place, Szechenyi Thermal Baths’ incredible architecture and a wide variety of pools make it a must-visit place when in Budapest. The pool parties are definitely worth checking out if you want a fun night out.

Gellert Thermal Bath in Budapest

2. Gellert Thermal Bath

Located in an absolutely stunning Art Nouveau building, Gellert Thermal Bath’s elegant entrance hall will immediately wow you as you walk in, and it only gets better from there! Built between 1912 and 1918, the thermal baths at Gellert have been known and used since at least the 13th century. It was previously known as both ‘Virgins’ Bath’ and ‘Muddy Bath’ for very different reasons!

While part of the thermal baths was destroyed during the Second World War and had to be rebuilt, much of it survived. The early 20th-century marble balconies, sculptures, and mosaics really do make it an impressive place to sit back and soak in the warm waters. Apart from the healing waters themselves, there’s a wave pool for visitors to enjoy as well as a sauna, steam room and lots of different massage options.

In addition to the opulent interior, the outdoor pool looks just as good. It is an amazing feeling bathing in the water when the night falls around you and steam rises off of the water.

A great combination of both lovely architecture and fantastic facilities, Gellert’s 11 pools are well worth checking out; the massages on offer are amongst the best that the Budapest baths have to offer!

Related Article: How To Spend The Perfect 3 Days in Budapest


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3. Irgalmasok Veli Bej Bath

One of the oldest thermal baths in Budapest, Irgalmasok Veli Bej Bath’s thermal waters have been used since Roman times, although the current building dates to the 16th century when the city was ruled by the Ottomans.

Less well-known than the other Budapest baths, Veli Bej is quite hard to find and is now located in the same building as the Hotel Czaszar Budapest. The hotel is in a great location and, on average, $100 a night, click here to check rates.

A delightful combination of old and new, Veli Bej has a wonderful octagonal Turkish pool with a dome above it. This lies alongside a sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi. The Order of Hospitaliers runs Veli Bej, so many people come here for the thermal bath’s healing properties.

An authentic place that is very much off the beaten path, head to Irgalmasok Veli Bej Bath if you want a relaxing soak in a traditional Turkish bath.

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 6 am-noon and from 3 pm-9 pm. The baths are co-ed, but children under 14 are not allowed in.
  • Price: Admission starts at 2,240 HUF, and this allows you to stay for three hours.
  • Address: H-1023 Budapest, Árpád fejedelem útja 7.

Related Article: Traditional Hungarian Foods To Try in Budapest


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4. Rudas Bath

Located alongside the Danube on the Buda side of the river, Rudas Bath was built in 1550 and has remarkably been in operation ever since. Founded by the Ottomans who had conquered Budapest and, indeed, Hungary, the bath sits on 21 hot springs, and there is a lot of lovely Turkish architecture on show.

The thermal bath lies beneath Gellert Hill. Its historic features now include modern facilities since its recent renovation. Alongside the six therapy pools are a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room. One of the best things about Rudas Bath is the rooftop pool, which boasts amazing views of the Pest side of the city. Wallowing in the waters while taking in the panoramas is definitely recommended!

Another lovely part of this Budapest bathhouse is the traditional octagonal pool that lies beneath a dome dotted with colorful stained glass. Sitting back and soaking in the warm water is a delightful experience as you gaze up at the starry ceiling.

With massages available and treatments of Hungarian wines and medicinal mud to boot, there are loads of reasons to visit Rudas Bath besides its wonderful Ottoman features. It is one of our favorite Budapest baths.

  • Opening Hours:
    • Monday-Sunday 6 am – 10 pm. The wellness and sauna sections are only open from 8 am. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can visit the baths from 10 pm to 4 am.
    • While both men and women are allowed to visit Rudas Baths on the weekend
    • Tuesday is reserved for women
    • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are men only.
    • Children under the age of 14 are not allowed to use thermal baths.
  • Price: Admission starts at 2,800HUF for a morning at the baths, and full-day admission starts at 3,500 HUF.
  • Address: H-1013 Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9.


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5. Kiraly Bath

Another one of the Budapest baths that were built during Ottoman rule, the Kiraly Bath, doesn’t have its own water supply, as the Turks built it within the Buda Castle walls just in case Budapest was conquered and they didn’t have access to a bath!

As such, water is piped to the baths from Thermes Szent Lukacs – just as it was all those years ago. Construction began in 1565 and was completed shortly after. Some features were added later by the Konig family, who give the baths their name – Konig means Kiraly in Hungarian or King in English.

While it is slightly run-down, Kiraly Bath is a very historic place to visit. Its peaceful atmosphere is ideal if you are looking for a little rest and recuperation after a busy time spent exploring Budapest. There are four thermal baths on offer here, as well as a sauna and steam room. The old architecture featuring a delightful dome and octagonal pool really makes it feel like you’re bathing back in time!

Although there is less on offer at Kiraly Bath than at other thermal baths in Budapest, people come for the amazing old-time feeling. There aren’t too many other places in the world where you can soak in such a historical setting.

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 9 am-9 pm. The baths are co-ed, but children under the age of 14 are not allowed in.
  • Price: Admission starts at 2,800 HUF.
  • Address: H-1027 Budapest, Fő utca 84.

Related Article: Things To Know Before Visiting The Budapest Jewish Quarter


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6. Thermes Szent Lukacs

Located on the Buda side of town, Thermes Szent Lukacs is a popular place with both locals and visitors. There are loads of pools, saunas, and wellness facilities that will keep you occupied for hours. There has been a thermal bath in this location from at least the 12th century when the Knights Hospitalier set up the baths to heal the sick.

Nowadays, the bath’s healing waters are reputed to be amongst the most effective of the Budapest baths. The numerous treatments on offer will certainly leave you feeling revitalized and raring to go! The huge complex has both outdoor and indoor pools, a fitness park, and a massage service, in addition to loads of other features that are part of the modern facilities.

Less touristy than some of the other baths in Budapest, Thermes Szent Lukacs’ modern facilities and healing waters are what attract many people to the spa complex.

7. Palatinus Strand Baths

Located alongside the banks of the Danube on Margit Island, the Palatinus Strand Baths were the first among the Budapest baths to offer outdoor pools back in 1919. Due to its popularity, more open-air baths were opened; there are now ten for visitors to choose from. The baths’ location in a nature reserve means that it’s a peaceful place to spend an afternoon.

With playgrounds and a sports ground on offer, it is perfect for families traveling to Budapest with children; the water slides, lazy river, and wave pool are loads of fun! The turquoise waters of the lido glisten in the sun, and there are lots of great sunbathing spots.

More like a water park than a thermal bath, Palatinus Strand Baths’ numerous outdoor pools make it an ideal spot to head to during summer. It is a Budapest thermal bath that the whole family can enjoy.

There are many more thermal baths in Budapest we are yet to visit. If we missed one of your favorites, please leave it below in the comments. We’re always looking for new Budapest baths to check out on our next trip.

We hoped we helped plan your visit to some of the best Budapest thermal baths! If you are suffering from jetlag, we highly suggest going to the thermal baths early in the morning. They are very peaceful early in the morning, and very few people.

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