There is enough in Budapest to attract the millions: chain bridge, a breath-taking basilica, afternoon strolls along the Danube, the best goulash on earth and a nightlife unchallenged in Central Europe. If that’s not enough, you can add thermal baths galore to that list! (Note to self: pack bathing suit for trip to Budapest)
Can you imagine anything more incredible than stepping off the airplane and into a thermal bath? Taking a shower is the first thing many travellers do once they make the journey from airport to hotel room. Freshen up and head out to explore. Why not do two at the same time? Grab your swim suit and take to the streets. There are half a dozen really great thermal bath houses (fürdő) within the city’s main core. Depending on where you’re staying, it’s probable that at least one is within walking distance from your hotel. The most popular ones are Király Spa, Rudas, Gellert, Lukács Spa, Rac Gyogyfurdo and Szechenyi Gyogyfurdo.
These thermal pools are not only huge tourist attracts but the place where locals hang with locals. It is not uncommon to see a couple of Hungarian granny’s meeting at the baths to spend an afternoon gossiping or the men playing chess on the side of the pool together. Children learn to swim in these baths and other just come to relax and de-stress. Budapest has been famous for its medicinal waters since the time that the Celts lived in the region. Later the Romans took the city’s bathing culture to a new level building palaces around the wells and designing pools. If it wasn’t for the influence of Turkey though, Budapest wouldn’t have the bathing culture like they do today.
When visiting one of Budapest’s thermal baths, make sure you give yourself enough time. You need at least 2 hours to take full advantage of the different baths, the saunas, steam rooms and massages. Many bath houses have multiple pools with waters at different temperatures, mineral levels, some have jets while others are still. Some bath houses even offer same-sex bathing, at which time you’ll be provided with a traditional bathing suit to wear (don’t be embarrassed, all of the bather’s wear them).
What to bring:
- flip flops to wear from pool to pool
- bath robe (especially in the winter)
- shower gel & shampoo for afterward
Budapest is the perfect location for a girl’s spa weekend or a few days of stress relief for yourself. Why not bring your special someone for a short holiday to soak in the city’s baths, take in the sights and taste some traditional flavours. Search for cheap flight to Budapest on liligo.com and start digging out your bikini or swimming trunks!
Image source: Elin B / flickr