Ever since the first inhabitants set foot in Hungary and founded the Aquincum – an ancient Roman city found where today’s Óbuda is set – the area has been famous for its hot springs. Hungary’s thermal-water reserve is one of the largest in the world, and as a result Budapest is rich in world-class healing baths. Here, in our article we present some of the best medical meccas in the Magyar metropolis.
The best thermal baths in Budapest
Photo : Széchenyi Thermal Bath
Budapest is the only capital in the world with healing water flowing beneath its grounds. When it comes to per capita thermal water on the planet, Hungary ranks second after Iceland with its medical waters ranging from 21 °C and 76 °C. Six of Budapest’s eleven thermal-heated baths have a history dating back to hundreds of years, keeping spa traditions alive in the city. Now scan through our list to find out which healing oasis best suits your needs.
Established during the 15th century, Gellért is characterized by Art Nouveau grandeur and it’s one of the most stunning baths in the Hungarian capital. During the country’s Ottoman occupation, Gellért was popular among the Turkish, mostly due to its cavernous spaces and constant supply of geothermally-heated water supply. Gellért boasts several indoor pools and an outdoor wave-pool during the summer months, while guests on its site can sign up for numerous medical treatments.
Nothing compares to diving into the outdoor pool of amid magical snowfall during the winter months. Budapest’s largest thermal bath and its alfresco pool is open all year round to provide muscle-melting experience throughout all four seasons. When lounging in the steaming baths outside, you can play chess in the water with the locals, while additional pools, sizzling sauna sessions, and a variety of medical treatments await guests indoors, plus here you can purchase the healing water that is said to have fantastic curing effects on the body.
Built during the Ottoman rule in Hungary, Rudas is a state-of-the-art complex, offering a charming locale for swimming and escaping the city’s bustling scenes. With an old tradition still in place, during the week the bath has separate dates assigned for men and women for using its steaming facilities, while on the weekend Rudas is open for both genders. After a thorough renovation, now this healing heaven boasts modernized facilities, while a panoramic jacuzzi provides sweeping vistas to Pest’s skyline on the rooftop level. Plus Rudas has a drinking hall to those who want to taste the natural spring water, flowing beneath its ground.
Lukács Thermal Bath was established by the knights of Saint John’s order, who settled in the area with the aim of curing the sick. Later, orders from Rhodes and Malta took over what’s known today as Lukács Bath, and established their own monasteries with the same healing purpose, while the building was transformed into a Turkish bath during the Ottoman occupation. In 1999 Lukács was fully revamped, and now the spa features a blend of modern and traditional facilities, including indoor and outdoor pools, alongside a wellness area with sauna, Kneipp pool, a Himalaya salt wall, and much more.
With a distinct Turkish infusion in its architecture, Király Thermal Bath – once in the possession of the König family – features an eclectic atmosphere of modern and traditional elements. With four pools filled with hot spring water bearing magnesium, calcium, fluoride ions, it’s a soothing haven, where additional elements, including a jacuzzi, steam cabin, sauna, gym, and various medical treatments ensure complete relaxation.
As one of the city’s lesser-known baths, Veli Bej is a tranquil recreation zone, established during the Ottoman occupation. Its tastefully renovated scenes reserved the place’s century-old architecture, while the spa’s internal facilities were upgraded and Veli Bej now boasts a thermal-water pool, infused with calcium carbonate – recommended for those with rheumatic problems or recuperating from surgeries – a jacuzzi, a steam room, and much more.