The first thing that comes to mind when I recall my Budapest spa experience is that, until then, I didn't know what a real spa was. In fact, I have not visited any spa or spa resembling them again. I tell you the best options next:
Secure your ticket to the most popular spa of the Hungarian capital
Experience an authentic relaxation experience at the Széchenyi spas with this fast-track ticket and a tasting of the famous palinka included.
With the tickets for the Széchenyi Spa in Budapest you will have quick access to one of the largest thermal water complexes in Europe and in which you can enjoy up to 18 pools, three of them outdoors, massage jets, saunas and steam baths. A paradise for spa and relaxation lovers.
In addition, with the same ticket you will have the opportunity to visit the Palinka Museum with an expert guide, who will tell you the process of making this traditional Hungarian drink. And of course you can taste some of this brandy or if you prefer, another non-alcoholic drink.
Recommended if... You do not want to miss the authentic experience of spas in Budapest in one of the most known complexes, with modern and varied facilities, at a very adjusted price.
What is included in the entrance to the Széchenyi Spa?
These are the best known baths in the city, both by tourists and locals, and also the cheapest. You have probably seen different pictures of its huge yellow facade and its outdoor pools with chess boards. The luxurious neoclassical-decorated Széchenyi has a total of 15 pools, 3 of them outdoor including Jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas.
Prices for additional services
The total price you will pay for your full-day entrance to the Széchenyi baths is about 37 euros and includes:
- Fast-track skip-the-line access to the spa.
- Guided tour of the Palinka Museum
- Palinka tasting
- Towel and flip-flop rental on site: you can bring your own towels and save on the rental fee.
- Booth or locker rental when booking: well worth the money
Széchenyi Spa is open from 6 am to 10 pm (although the indoor pools usually close at 7 pm). It can be visited both in winter and summer, but the experience of doing it in winter is unique because with an outside temperature below zero you can be outdoors in a hot water pool without being cold at all, something unheard of in other places in the world.
The Széchenyi baths are considered the largest hot springs complex in Europe, so its large capacity makes it difficult to sell out except on dates such as Easter or holidays. Of course, it is better to book them in advance to avoid queues.
Géllert Spa: full day ticket
The second most famous spa in Budapest is the art nouveau Géllert Spa. It is part of the hotel of the same name and is located on the bank of Buda next to the Citadel. The style is different from Széchenyi and it could be said that these baths have a more "exclusive" or luxurious touch.
The demand tends to be a bit higher so we recommend that you buy tickets for the Gellert Spa, it will save you from waiting and queues. The baths of the Géllert hotel have been in operation since 1918 and are one of the most renowned in Hungary.
What you will see inside
- Marble columns and statues
- Glass ceiling
- A two-story atrium
- Two effervescent pools
- Three outdoor pools
- Eight thermal baths
- Children's pool
- Mud pool
Special services available
With 13 pools, including steam baths and saunas, there are also services you can add to your ticket such as:
- Different types of massages: aromatic, refreshing, harmony, luxury... They are available from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- I love Spa package: with towel, slippers, shower gel, shampoo, cap and mineral water.
In this package, in addition to the entrance fee to the Géllert Spa, a hotel pick-up service is included. A private vehicle will pick you up at your hotel on the day and time scheduled for your visit and will take you to the spa comfortably so you don't have to worry about anything.
Something very important to know about the Géllert Spa is that it is closed on weekends. During the rest of the week the opening hours are from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm, although these conditions are subject to change at certain times of the year. In any case, when you book your tickets online, you will know the dates that are not available.
Other spas in Budapest
If you have already visited the two most important baths of Budapest, Széchenyi and Gellert, and you want to add some more to your visit you also have other options. They are smaller spas in which you will be able to enjoy the experience in a more intimate way.
I recommend you to go on Saturday, because on this day in this bath that used the thermal waters of an ancient monastery in the twelfth century are mounted authentic parties known as spartys. You can also go any other day of the week to relax, but it is smaller than the rest of the options you have in the city.
Important: if you get the tourist pass of the city, Budapest Card, in addition to discounts on many attractions, unlimited use of public transport and much more, you have free entry to the thermal baths and the Lukács pool.
With a decorative style dating back to the 16th century, these baths are very popular in Budapest. They are located on the Gellert hill facing the Danube (do not forget to take a walk around before entering) and highlights its octagonal-shaped central bath with a dome of 10 meters in diameter. When buying the ticket you will have the option to select only the morning schedule, which will save costs.
It is the best option if you are looking for a smaller spa where you can relax without being surrounded by people. It only has five pools, so it is better to book your ticket in advance to ensure your place.
Király Thermal Bath
Do not expect large structures in these baths, as its decor is quite rustic, something that, on the other hand, make it the most authentic option of all those available in Budapest. These Turkish baths date from the sixteenth century and are not usually very crowded, especially if you go during the week.
Organize your visit to the spas of Budapest
How to get to Budapest
Although there are spas like Széchenyi further away from the center, in the city of Budapest everything is accessible either on foot (depending on where your hotel is) or by cab (prices are quite affordable). Remember that you can also buy tickets with hotel pick-up included for a small supplement, but the return is on your own.
Where to eat
If you are going to spend a whole day at the Budapest baths, you will probably be interested in where to eat. Most of the baths with full day entrance have inside restaurants or cafes with prices somewhat higher than the restaurants in the city center but still quite affordable.
In many of them you can also bring your own food and keep it in your locker or in your cabin to take it with you when you get out of the water. In any case, don't rule out going out in the middle of the day for lunch or a walk around; if you let the front desk know, you can go back in with your bracelet at any time of the day, at least in most spas.
When to go
The spas in Budapest are open all year round and in both summer and winter the experience is worthwhile. In winter, you will be quite cold when you go from one pool to another, but it will be worth it in exchange for being in a hot pool when outside the temperature drops below zero degrees.
Avoid holidays such as Easter if you do not want the spas to be saturated with both tourists and locals. At night the magic of the pools is amazing, so try to be there when the sun goes down even if it is only for a while.
Although all these baths are properly cared for, the amount of people that concentrate daily inside makes it advisable to take some precautions. Above all, wear your own flip-flops or rent them on site and wear them whenever you are out of the water. Although the water cap is not mandatory, it is advisable to wear it to avoid leaving hair in the pools.
In any of the spas to which you can go in Budapest you are going to find, above all, with great changes of temperature. This is something very good for the circulation, but if you have some concrete pathology that you think that it can affect you, consult your doctor or the personnel of the spa before making use of its facilities. Also try to stay hydrated during your visit.
Why visit a Spa in Budapest?
There are many cities that lend themselves to visit a spa or a spa during the trip, but in Budapest this goes beyond. To go to the spas of the city is a practically obligatory experience for the visitors as it can be to visit the Parliament or to cross any of the bridges of the Danube that communicate the two banks of the city.
While in other countries this type of facilities are used as a place of relaxation, in Central Europe they are recommended by their medicinal properties. It is for this reason that the sanitary systems of countries like Hungary promote and pay for balneotherapy in baths like these.
The spas of Budapest, in addition, are not an attraction for tourists although it is recommended to visit them during the trip. The Hungarians themselves use these facilities as they did in the old days: as a medicinal therapy. This tradition has been going on for centuries and that is why in many of the baths of the city you will find a decoration according to the time in which the baths in question were built and that is worthwhile in itself.
Finally, if you are wondering why the city of Budapest in particular has so many spas, perhaps the fact that in the city there are more than 100 springs of thermal waters that are used to provide these baths will clarify it to you.
If you are interested in the spas of Budapest, you will also be interested in
Visiting the spas of the city is undoubtedly one of the most authentic experiences you can live during this trip. If you don't have much time available, at least go to the baths one afternoon (most of them close quite late so you won't be crowded with other tourist activities) and reserve the morning for, for example, a cruise on the Danube. I tell you about the best cruises here: Danube River Cruises in Budapest.
The tour on the river that bathes the city is also a relaxed and authentic experience in which you can also see the main monuments of the city and learn about its culture with the indications of the guide. If you only have one day in Budapest, with the cruise and the visit to the baths you will leave the city with the feeling of having made the most of your time.