If you’re searching for the best thermal bath in Budapest you won’t have to look far! Just a quick train ride from the city center is the famous Szechenyi Thermal Bath. Although there are many Budapest spas this one is truly special for a multitude of reasons. The Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest is complete with 18 swimming pools and 10 saunas. If that doesn’t make this a must see in Budapest we’re not sure what will! In this post we breakdown everything from the history, what to expect, and tips for your visit to this amazing place!
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History of Thermal Baths in Budapest
The Budapest spas are as big a part of the city as anything else, and are uniquely tied into its history. While baths have been in use since the Roman days in this region it was really not until the Ottoman’s conquered these lands when they really became popular.
Cleanliness is of the upmost importance in the Muslim religion, and the building of the Budapest spas was essential to their daily life. Once the Ottomans were expelled in the late 17th century the thermal baths stayed and evolved into a social gathering place in Hungarian culture. These days, both locals and tourists share the pools, and they’re an absolute must see in Budapest on your visit!
The Makings of the Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest
When it comes to building the best thermal bath in Budapest it was no easy task! The Artesian Baths were first built nearby in the 1880’s and were so popular that the city eventually decided to build a nicer version.
Incredibly, it took the engineer Vilmos Zsigmondy 10 years to find the geothermal waters underneath the current Szechenyi Thermal Bath in City Park. It was built between 1909 and 1913, and is now the most visited thermal bath in the city!
Szechenyi Facts to Know Before you Go
1. Szechenyi Thermal Bath is the largest in Budapest, and one of the biggest spa complexes in all of Europe.
2. There’s 18 pools both indoor and outdoor, and 10 different saunas.
3. It’s located in City Park which is also the largest park in Budapest.
4. In 1963, the thermal baths were opened in the winter season as well.
5. Chess is popular at Szechenyi and it’s quite common to see old men playing as they soak in the water.
6. A 4,000 foot well sits deep beneath the pools to generate the thermal water.
7. The thermal pools have many minerals that are good for your health, and are also believed to be an aphrodisiac.
8. Beer baths are available if you’d prefer to soak in a tub of booze.
9. It’s estimated that over 100 Million people have now bathed at Szechenyi!
Quick Tips for Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest
Since it’s such a must see in Budapest you should get there as early as possible to opening time. It fills up quickly becoming fully packed around 11am in the late morning. In the summer the baths are open from 6am to 10pm.
We booked the Full Day bath ticket with locker usage for 5,800 HUF ($20 USD) and had no problem getting our tickets when we arrived early. You can also pay extra for a private changing cabin if you’d like.
The closest train stop is Széchenyi tér which drops you off right outside the baths and is only a few stops from the city center.
Men and women share all the pools at this thermal spa. Unlike some other Budapest Spas, bathing suits are mandatory at Szechenyi. Also, a swim cap is required if you want to go in the large outdoor lap pool.
Make sure to pack flip flips, a towel, and water bottle which can be filled up on site.
Every Saturday night the baths turn into a massive Budapest spa party!
→ Skip the line and book a Széchenyi Spa Full-Day Entrance Pass. The ticket is valid for the entire day, but note once you leave you can’t re-enter.
Szechenyi Thermal Bath Outdoor Pools
From the moment you walk outside at Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest you’ll be absolutely blown away by its beauty. We arrived early around 7:30am mid-July and it honestly felt like we’d been dropped into a different world. The pools were glimmering with the summer sunrise, and there were only a few other bathers there.
The outdoor pools are comprised of 3 different sections. Two circular thermal pools are on opposite ends of a long gorgeous lap pool stretching across the middle. They’re surrounded by Neo-Baroque architecture and bright yellow walls with many intricate white sculptures at every turn. It almost feels like you’re swimming on the inside of a massive palace!
Szechenyi Thermal Bath Indoor Pools and Sauna Rooms
Once you step foot indoors you’ll see how big the Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest really is. Explore the endless rooms with different designs while mixing in saunas when you please. There’s also a cold bath if you need an icy dunk in between pools.
We loved finding a quiet thermal bath that we could have all to ourselves! Even if there’s others around in the indoor area it’s peaceful enough where you can still enjoy yourself. Take your time walking and soaking in the many thermal pools and see what makes this such a must see in Budapest.
Where do you think the best thermal bath in Budapest is? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Budapest Hungary
Ultra Luxury – The Ritz-Carlton – What really can we say? The Ritz-Carlton is the premier luxury hotel throughout the world, and that’s no different in Budapest! Enjoy the most central location in the city with all the amenities you’d expect from the Ritz.
Fun Vacation – D8 Hotel – Just steps from the chain bridge, this hotel is located in the heart of the city. Unique interior design and a great breakfast before you go out to adventure around Budapest.
Hostel Life – Wombats City Hostel – Located in the center of the city close to popular cafes and bars. Daily buffet breakfast, shared kitchen, and large common room. Private rooms are perfect for couples, and this 24/7 hostel has something for everyone!
For more places to stay in Budapest you can explore the latest prices here!
Hungary Travel Planning
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a Széchenyi spa full day pass in Budapest, try a Hungarian wine tasting, or jump on a sightseeing river cruise.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Hungary, there are many beautiful cities and small towns to explore.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.