Hey everyone! Now that you’ve heard about the first part of our trip in Prague, it’s time to share some things about our 3 days in Budapest. We did A LOT in our short time there, so we decided to split up our posts. One of our favorite things about Budapest was visiting the Széchenyi Thermal Baths!
These baths were actually one of the reasons Budapest first caught our eye and landed a spot high on our bucket list. They are medicinal baths, which take water from a hot spring underground. The baths contain calcium, magnesium, sulphate and bicarbonate. The natural minerals and heat are supposed to be good for your joints. Construction for these large baths began in 1909 but they didn’t open until 1913. At first, there were separate pools for men and women, but now everyone is welcome in all the pools. Budapest also has a few other thermal baths, but this is the largest / most famous. You can find more information about the other baths here.
We chose to visit the baths on a Monday (since it’s less busy than on a weekend). We also got up very early to make it to the baths by 7:30am. Luckily for us, our plan worked and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! (Besides the few Hungarian locals who seemed to have the same idea as us). By the time we were leaving at 9:30, more people seemed to be flooding in.
There are 3 outdoor baths and 15 indoor ones at Széchenyi. The middle one is a large lap pool for swimming, which we didn’t go in (since we were there mostly to relax). There are two baths on each side of the lap pool. One is referred to as the adventure pool, because it is more shallow and many people walk around in this one. Our favorite was the bath on the other side, known as the thermal pool. This was deeper than the adventure pool and the temperature of the water was higher (between 85-90 degrees).
Since we chose to go early in the morning (and it was winter) the air temperature was around 30 degrees when we first arrived. (Imagine being outside in your bathing suit in those temperatures–we did it!) One of our favorite things about the outdoor baths, was the way the steam rolled off the water. It felt very mysterious and secluded. At times, you couldn’t even see the other side of the pool you were in!
Now that you know a bit about the baths, let me explain how to visit! You can take the metro line 1 (in the direction of Mexikoi. ut M) right to the baths (Stop: Széchenyi Furdo). If you are a couple, family or a small group of friends, I recommend having one person purchase the Cabin Ticket and the rest purchase the locker tickets. You can put everyones bags inside the cabin, and it can be a space for everyone to change privately. *Note that really only one person can fit inside at a time.* If you don’t get a cabin, they have a locker room/shower area you can change in and lockers to keep your things safe. (There are private bathrooms/showers in the area with the cabins as well for rinsing off after using the baths).
We recommend that you bring your own towels as well. You can rent towels there by putting a deposit down but I think it’s best to have your own. (Be careful when the pool is crowded, some people may steal / or accidentally take your towel, and you lose your deposit and have nothing to dry off with when you leave the pool). We kept our towels close to the edge of the pool, near the area we were in.
All the information about prices can be found here, on their website (in Hungarian Forints). Here are some general estimates of the cost in euros for you.
- Daily ticket with Cabin Use (Weekday): 17.30 euros (5400 Forints)
- Daily ticket with Cabin Use (Weekend/Holiday): 18 euros (5600 Forints)
- Daily ticket with Locker Use (Weekday): 15.80 euros (4900 Forints)
- Daily ticket with Locker Use (Weekend/Holiday): 16.40 euros (5100 Forints)
In the summer, they also have parties in the outdoor pools at night. Tickets are around 50 euros a person though, so if you are a budget traveler, I would opt for something cheaper (like a pub crawl or booze cruise).
You can also get massages and spa treatments here for reasonable prices. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in our budget but we read many great reviews about it on TripAdvisor. There is also a sauna inside, but when we were there they were doing repairs, so we didn’t get to check it out.
When you purchase your tickets, they give you a bracelet to wear that gives you access to your cabin/locker. This is great because you don’t have to worry about losing it! Some people have concerns about the cleanliness of the pools but we found them to be very nice and clean!
Stay tuned for our next post and video blog about the rest of our adventures in Budapest!