Visiting Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest
Budapest is the best city in the world to recreate yourself in the spas! You just have to experience Budapest’s historical spas and what they are offering you. Let me be honest with you … if you don’t, you so miss out!!
So during my 4 main-landmarks-packed days when getting the first impresion of Budapest, one of the afternoons I decided to do what everyone just HAS TO do in that beautiful city. Yes, I went to forget about work and all the hassle to Szechenyi thermal baths 🙂
Thermal baths are one of the most popular attractions of Budapest for both tourists and the locals. No wonder if Budapest is the only world capital where 118 (somewhere also stated 123) medicinal springs can be found under its territory. Every day these 70 million litres of hot therapeutic water from 21 to 78 Celsius degrees rich in minerals is used both for drinking and in thermal baths and health spas all over the city. There were already 14 baths in the Roman period – known as Aquincum (nowadays its ruins can be visited).
I had a chance to visit Szechenyi, the Neo-Baroque thermal baths in Budapest. Szechenyi were the first thermal baths built in Pest, and still remain one of the biggest thermal baths of Europe. Located in Varosliget City Park next to the ZOO and Circus, the baths are easily accessible by Yellow Metro Line which stops just outside of one of the entrances to Szechenyi.
This place first worked as ”Artesian bath” in 1881, then the Szechenyi baths were built in 1913 and rebuilt in 1927 when the swimming pools, male and female baths originated.
There are 15 indoor and 3 outdoor pools rich in calcium, magnesium, sulphate, chloride, hydrogen carbonate, sodium, fluoride and metaboric acid that help with joint diseases when bathing in them. There are drinking fountains spread throughout Szechenyi which mineral water is believed to relieve kidney, stomach and gall-bladder problems so enjoy that instead of buying water in the restaurant.
The first thing I did was to get some food – late lunch I’d say 🙂
Then I started with the outdoor pools first, then tried all the different indoor saunas and steam chambers (there are 10 of them!) and also thermal pools there. Each of them is of different temperature so I could choose those I liked the most. Oh yes, definitely not the hottest sauna haha but yes the hottest outdoor pool.
In total, I spent just a bit more than 4 hours in tub baths and later on enjoying the sunset bathing in hot water of Szechenyi outdoor baths. How beautiful was it to feel all warm with cold breeze starting outside while watching that marvelous yellow sunset skies! There was no better way to finish my day than this together with water beam back massage and neck shower 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, I was not sure what I was going to do alone in thermal baths and saunas for long, even though I am one of their BIGGEST fans ever and a frequent spa visitor, but most of the time I try to visit them with more people.
But, Szechenyi is NOT just for older people like many other thermal baths. Many young tourists or groups of locals come here to relax which I found perfect! I was not there the only one who came alone, it was easy to speak with others while bathing and I even got some nice compliments 🙂
It was even funny to watch men playing chess while dipping in the hot thermal water, too!
And if you get bored in thermal baths and saunas (mission impossible!), there is a beauty salon, massages, fitness, aquafitness, gymnastics, fish pedicure and much more to keep you entertained!
Szechenyi thermal baths are open all year round so I make sure to visit them next time in winter. Relaxing in the hot mineral water there with snowflakes falling all around me must be an unforgettable experience! And after, there are many other thermal baths in ”hot Budapest‘‘ to experience, too.
Don’t forget to bring with you a towel, swim suit, flip flops and a bathing robe if you are visiting in colder months or at night hours. And a swimming cap as without it you won’t be let in the swimming pool (the only outside pool good for swimming). I forgot mine so for me it meant no getting in shape, but relax instead 😀
One more glimpse of Szechenyi before leaving!
Remember to use your Budapest Card to get 10% off your entrance fee to Szechenyi. Szechenyi baths are open every day, indoor steam department and thermal baths from 6am to 7pm and outdoors pools from 6am to 10pm. For more information please visit Szechenyi website.
My visit of thermal baths was a press trip organized by Visit Hungary tourism board and Szechenyi baths. As always, all the thoughts in this article are my own.