Welcome to Bud-ahhhhh-pest! Or at least that’s what you’ll be saying when you dip into one of the Hungarian capital’s incredible thermal baths. Here’s the complete guide (bring on the prune-y fingers!)
Soak like a local
Head to the northern end of Pest. Just a block away from the riverfront is Király Baths, a small, dark, but very authentic Turkish bath that was built in 1556. After changing in your “cabin” (tiny closet/locker), you’ll head downstairs, where a door to the right leads to the showers, and then the four baths (all varying warmths), a sauna and steam room. There’s also an outdoors tub. Though it may be in need of an update, you’ll feel like one of the regulars as you relax in one of Budapest’s oldest Turkish baths.
Attend the hottest pool party
. . . literally! Water temperatures at Széchenyi Baths can reach a balmy 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 C). The grand yellow building houses the largest medicinal bath in Europe: 15 indoor pools, three outdoor pools and six million liters of water a day. And on warm Saturday nights, the baths transform into probably the biggest pool party in Europe, too. Nicknamed “sparties,” these summer night spa parties take clubbing to an entirely new level: lights, dancing, music and no shortage of alcohol.
Relax with a view
At Rudas Bath, the healing spa experience offers visitors access to their rooftop thermal pool which overlooks the Danube river. It’s a less-seen view of the city, and is the perfect vantage point for sunset. Rudas Bath is also the only remaining thermal bath in Budapest with women-only and men-only days.
Gellért Baths is an elegant, stately building with a maze of soaking options. Whether you’re more of an outdoor wave pool kind of person or you’d rather get lost in the beauty of its Art Nouveau design whilst soaking, Gellért has 13 indoor pools and 3 outdoor pools, so there’s a good chance you’ll find something you like if you just start wandering.
–The Wandering Alligator