Fancy a dip in Budapest? With the weather so hot, often jumping in the pool is the only thing to do. We’ve revisited our favourite lidos and pools to create this selection, from the most basic to the biggest of its kind in Central Europe. The hot thermal baths will all be getting a revisit soon.
Thanks to the Fina World Championships held in Budapest in 2017, this swimming complex was fully renovated two years ago. Although it was revamped with professionals in mind, a section of the outside pool can be used by the public, too, especially in summer.
- Admission: 1,800 forints, jog-and-swim 2,100 forints (enables you to enter twice, before or after your jog).
- Pool: 50-metre pool.
- Relaxation: There are no sunbathing beds, but you can chill a bit outside the pool on the concrete. Not much shade.
- Swimming caps: Compulsory.
- Extras: Lessons for beginners and summer camps for kids and adults.
- Child-friendly: Not much apart from extra swimming lessons for kids.
- Changing rooms, showers: Co-ed changing rooms with lockers and changing cabins. Although the showers don’t seem too old, they are not super clean.
- Refreshments: The buffet is pretty cheap.
- Good to know: Water-polo players, swimmers and other sportsmen are always training here. A section of the 50-metre pool is often dedicated to their needs, with the rest available for the public.
District II. Árpád fejedelem útja 8
MOM Sports Complex
Among Budapest pools, MOM stands out thanks to its views to the surrounding Buda hills, and the fact that it’s open until 10pm every day. Although it is popular, it is never overcrowded and offers a great price-value ratio, with both indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and sauna section.
- Admission: The 1,900-forint ticket valid for two hours is popular, but on summer weekends, entry is restricted between 6am-8am and 7pm-10pm until 31 August. Weekend entry is otherwise 3,900 forints.
- Pool: 33-metre pool outside.
- Relaxation: There’s not much greenery, and sunbeds need to be rented.
- Swimming caps: Compulsory.
- Extras: Aqua fitness (registration required), children’s tuition, steam cabin, Finnish and bio saunas, and a pool with massaging water jets inside.
- Child-friendly: No extra services, but there is a learner’s pool inside.
- Changing rooms, showers: Modern and generally clean – a bit less so around closing time.
- Refreshments: No food outlet.
- Good to know: There’s normally enough room for everyone, but you can check here before you go.
District XII. Csörsz utca 14-16
Hajós Alfréd National Sports Complex
Although this is the national swimming pool where professionals often train, the outdoor area is full of amateur paddlers in summer. There are a lot of green areas and although this is a swimming pool, too, it feels the most like a lido out of all of them. The opening hours, though, are not too convenient, so check before you go as sometimes the pools are closed for training.
- Admission: 1,800 forints, jog-and-swim 2,100 forints, swim-and-sunbathe after 3pm 1,200 forints.
- Pools: 50- and 33-metre pools outside, and a learner’s pool for kids inside.
- Relaxation: There’s seating around the 50-metre pool, some greenery outside and free plastic sunbeds.
- Swimming caps: Not compulsory outside.
- Extras: Sauna.
- Child-friendly: There’s a kid’s pool, but no playground.
- Changing rooms, showers: Retro but clean. There’s room for improvement.
- Refreshments: There’s a buffet outside with sandwiches and pastries.
- Good to know: You can see the’schedule here.
District XIII. Margit-sziget
Pesterzsébet Iodine Lido
Healing waters with iodine and salt are rare in this country. These are the only baths in Budapest to contain them, hence the interest when this lido reopened in 2018 after two decades. There’s a healing pool inside, a lido outside and a wave pool.
- Admission: 2,800 forints, 3,600 forints including the sauna.
- Pools: The thermal pool takes you outside, too, where you find a 25-metre swimming pool and a children’s pool.
- Relaxation: There’s not much shade, but the sunbeds are free.
- Swimming caps: Compulsory in the outdoor 25-metre pool.
- Extras: A wave pool plus a sauna section.
- Child-friendly: Nothing major, a children’s pool and a few playthings.
- Changing rooms, showers: New and clean, but a little too small.
- Refreshments: There wasn’t anything when we visited but food trucks have been promised.
- Pesterzsébet Iodine Lido
- District XX. Vizisport utca 2
This is Budapest’s oldest lido, whose park was turned into a modern spa centre in 2018. Slides, thermal waters and saunas now await, and there are still enough trees to provide shade. Its atmosphere still makes it one of the loveliest of its kind.
- Admission: All-in-one tickets 3,600 forints on weekdays and 3,800 forints at weekends.
- Pools: 33-metre swimming pool, a big lido pool as well as a kids’ pool.
- Relaxation: There’s a lot of shade, greenery and free sunbeds by the pool.
- Swimming caps: Only compulsory in the lane pool.
- Extras: A playground, a street workout space and a smaller football court. Massages and saunas also feature.
- Child-friendly: A playground and a paddling pool for little ones.
- Changing rooms, showers: Everything is brand new.
- Refreshments: A buffet serves beer for 550 forints.
District III. Pusztakúti út 2-6
The newly renovated, former Népfürdő (‘People’s Baths’) is once again a hit with locals. After a two-year rebuild, the baths opened at the end of August 2018 with a spa and medical section, seven fully remodelled pools, play areas, sports courts and a fitness park. Unfortunately, it has become much more expensive than before, and space has been squeezed down to make room for the Danube Arena indoor events pool. We found the water in the big pool quite cold, so not many were using it and we could swim in peace. Although many have been mourning the lost beach feel of the old lido, a number of useful and practical improvements have been made, with cleaner, safer and more exciting features for kids. With the Danube alongside and the relatively large grassy areas, this is one of the most pleasant lidos, its proximity to metro line 3 (nearest stop Forgách utca) making it easily accessible.
- Admission: Weekdays 2,900 forints, weekends 3,100 forints.
- Pools: Two deep swimming pools, one 25-metre, the other 50-metre, a large thermal pool, two large lido pools and two for children, one for splashing about, the other for tuition.
- Relaxation: Loads of shade to lie down beneath the trees, many sunbeds available free of charge.
- Swimming caps: Required for the 25-metre and 50-metre pools.
- Extras: Volleyball, basketball and beach-football courts, exercise equipment and a park at the end.
- Child-friendly: Two kids’ pools, a water play area.
- Changing rooms, showers: Clean as a whistle, though the locker area gets a bit cramped and crowded if there are many visitors.
- Refreshments: Three buffets around the lido area, with different offerings but similar prices. Hake 500 forints/100g, sausage with bread 1,500 forints, pancakes 290 forints, draught beer 600 forints, espresso coffee 450 forints, burgers around 1,200 forints, lángos around 800 forints.
- Good to know: The 25-metre pool is used for children’s swimming lessons so it’s usually out-of-bounds in the mornings. Lanes are left free in the 50-metre pool.
District XIII. Népfürdő utca 36
Quite easy to reach by HÉV suburban train, this charming lido has a beautiful park which has its own special atmosphere thanks to all the Roman monuments and faux historic decoration. Clean, decent pool and great slides for adults – definitely a favourite. And hardly any crowds.
- Admission: Weekdays 2,500 forints, weekends 2,800 forints. From 4pm Mon, Tue and Thur 1,900 forints.
- Pools: 33-metre swimming pool, lido pool with slides, children’s pool.
- Relaxation: Loads of green space to relax, free sunbeds.
- Swimming caps: Not required.
- Extras: The lido pool is all about watery fun, with huge slides, neck-massage jets and jacuzzi areas, as well as saunas and ping-pong tables.
- Child-friendly: Loads of shade, modern play area, mini-slides and children’s pool.
- Changing rooms, showers: A little retro but clean.
- Refreshments: Retro burgers at the ‘artisanal’ burger outlet around 1,200 forints, set menus 1,000 forints-2,900 forints, draught Staropramen 690 forints, coffee with milk 400 forints.
District III. Rozgonyi Piroska utca 2
This popular lido in Zugló is the youngest one in town, serving locals since 1989. It has since been renovated to excellent standard, so the quality of service is quite high, whether it’s the cashiers or the pool staff. This attitude spreads to visitors as well – one colleague is a regular and had nothing stolen whenever leaving anything by accident. There’s a large car park and bike storage is also available.
- Admission: Weekdays 2,800 forints, weekends 3,000 forints. For 2hrs: weekdays 2,000 forints, weekends 2,200 forints.
- Pools: Four outdoor pools, including a lane pool with water at 26 degrees, the others (relax pool, lido and children’s) warmer. Five pools indoors, one half-in and half-outdoors, served by an outside bar.
- Relaxation: Ratio of greenery to concrete 70%-30%, with plenty of space to sunbathe. There are trees as well, although a few more wouldn’t hurt. Free sunbeds.
- Swimming caps: Required for the outdoor pools but it’s not too strictly enforced.
- Extras: Sports courts, swimming lessons, tuition in water-polo, aqua fitness. All kinds of thermal-water services (mud treatments, thermal jacuzzi) and massages available, sauna sessions on Friday evenings. Pour your own thermal water free from the tap.
- Child-friendly: Children’s pool, swimming tuition, playground.
- Changing rooms, showers: Given the renovation in 2016, the changing rooms, showers and toilets are pristine, kept clean and well-stocked.
- Refreshments: Average prices for food and drink, burgers around 1,000 forints, draught beer 600 forints.
District XIV. Egressy út 178
Pricy but worth it, to sum up the Palatinus, the oldest lido in town. Great food, fresh air, thermal and medicinal pools, wave pool, fun slides and an indoor spa make this a must. No one is drawn to any lido for its architecture but here it’s worth admiring the magnificent pre-war Bauhaus style that provides the backdrop to your splashing about .
Here, all ages are really taken care of, from the youngest to the oldest. If you’re planning on a full day’s visit to any lido, this would be the optimal choice. The slide park and wave pool are phenomenal, as is the peaceful green environment – it’s hard to believe that Margaret Island can be such an oasis in middle of a major European capital.
- Admission: Weekdays 3,200 forints, weekends 3,600 forints. Admission after 5pm or for 3hrs, 2,400 forints/2,800 forints.
- Pools: There’s a special thermal area outdoors, a 40-metre lane pool, wave pool, children’s pool, fun pool and lido pool.
- Relaxation: Pleasant shaded grassy areas, free sunbeds.
- Swimming caps: Required for the lane pool.
- Extras: Fitness park, court for football-tennis, surfing lessons given out of hours. The wave pool is the most outstanding feature, along with the fantastic slide park.
- Child-friendly: There are even thermal pools for kids indoors and out, as well as an outdoor playground. The slides are a must.
- Changing rooms, showers: Spotlessly clean, and lockers work with a plastic watch key that you’ll be given when you pay.
- Refreshments: The Palatinus probably offers the best food of all Budapest’s lidos: classic hake and lángos at the Margaréta buffet, Mexican food at the Chimichanga (sandwiches and salads from 1,800 forints). All kinds of fish at the Grabowsky Grill from around 600 forints/100gr.
District XIII. Margit-sziget
AquaWorld should also be included among Budapest’s lidos, even though it’s a hotel with a spa centre and a waterslide open on the outside. This is one of the largest water parks in Central Europe and unique in Budapest. Although far from the city centre (near the Pest side of Megyeri Bridge), a special free bus runs from Heroes’ Square every day between 9.30am and 9pm. It’s well worth heading out here with the family at least once in summer, even though prices are high, because all senses will be stimulated. Ten visitors and above are given a group discount which might be important if you want to hold a birthday party – events are a big deal here.
- Admission: All-day 6,490 forints, 3hrs 4,390 forints, weekdays 6pm-10pm 3,790 forints, morning swim 6am-9.30pm 1,990 forints.
- Pools: The complex has a total of 17 pools, some indoors and includes lane pools, various fun pools and a thermal pool. The outdoor area is open from May to October, with a swimming pool and two children’s pools, the rest being a so-called water playground, said to be the largest in Hungary, no idle boast. Among the pools, you will find a gradually deepening wave pool and a four-metre diving pool.
- Relaxation: The lido is mostly indoors with free sunbeds available, and plenty of green space outside. Although there aren’t many trees, sunshades make up for it.
- Swimming caps: Required for the lane pools.
- Extras: Swimming lessons, baby swimming lessons, diving and surfing lessons, water zumba and aerobics. Sauna world and 11 slides, one has you in practical free fall, another allowing a family of five to slide down at once.
- Child-friendly: The water park and slides should be enough to keep the children happy but there are plenty of other activities around the complex, from the Bongo Kids Club to birthday parties, beach parties and a playhouse. Parents will be delighted to take advantage of the free baby sitting, plus film screenings, craft activities and family quizzes all in Hungarian. A playmate monkey also appears, one of the entertainers in costume.
- Changing rooms, showers: Given the nature of the place, the changing rooms and showers are pukka.
- Refreshments: Be prepared for a few surprises. There are several restaurants around the complex, some quite pricy – one charging 1,300 forints for a half-litre of beer, for example. But for two people, lunch was no more expensive than anywhere else: two vegan green-pea soups, BBQ chops with vegetables, grilled sausage with grilled vegetables and mustard, plus two large drinks for around 5,500 forints-6,000 forints.
District IV. Íves utca 16