The Ultimate Guide to Budapest’s Thermal Baths
Budapest, Hungary, is known as the city of thermal baths, with a long history of therapeutic waters and spa culture. The city has a plethora of thermal spas, ranging from centuries-old Turkish baths to modern, cutting-edge spa facilities. Budapest’s thermal baths provide a unique mixture of history, culture, and relaxation, making them a must-see experience for anybody visiting Hungary.
Enjoy yourself in the therapeutic waters of thermal baths such as the famous Gellert Thermal Baths, which have been in operation since the 20th century, or the magnificent Széchenyi Bath, Europe’s largest thermal bath complex. If you are like us you most probably have a lot of questions about the thermal bath in Budapest. For that reason, we gathered the most frequent questions at the end of the article. Of course, if you have more questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below 🙂
Soooo, get your towels, swimsuits, and flip-flops, and let’s go to explore the rich thermal bath culture of the city!
What to know before you visit
- You will only need a swimsuit, a pair of sandals, and a towel.
- The general admission, which ranges from €10 to €20, includes the price of a small locker.
- Visit on a weekday to avoid crowds. If you go to Széchenyi or Gellért, try to get there at the opening (Széchenyi opens at 7 a.m., Gellért at 9) — to avoid crowds.
- Nudity is not accepted.
- Bathing is a year-round activity, but soaking in steaming-hot water is especially reviving in the gloomy winter months, particularly in the outdoor pools.
- Water temperatures across the pools usually range from 30 to 40 degrees Celsius (86 to 104 Fahrenheit).
- Many of the baths provide a full range of treatments, including massages, so always specify what services you require at the door. Admission fees will be adjusted accordingly.
What to Bring to Thermal Baths Budapest?
To enjoy the thermal baths, you’ll need a swimsuit, a towel, and a waterproof bag. It’s also a good idea to bring flip-flops because the area around the pools can be slippery. Although most thermal baths rent or sell these items, it is preferable to bring your own if possible. Swimmers in the lap pools must wear swimming caps. When you enter, you are given a watch-shaped smart bracelet that serves as a key to a locker or cabin where your items can be stored. Pack soap, shampoo, and any other personal cleaning supplies you normally use after swimming. Each thermal bath has its own set of personal item rules and guidelines, so please be sure to check them out before visiting.
Which are the Best Thermal Baths in Budapest?
We’ve been to Budapest several times, and let me tell you, the thermal baths are a genuine show-stopper! Every time we travel, we try to visit a different bath to see which one is the greatest. We’ve seen quite a few of them so far, but there are still many more to discover. If you enjoy relaxing in warm, mineral-rich waters while being surrounded by beautiful buildings, Budapest is the place for you. Now, get ready to discover which thermal baths in Budapest are definitely worth your time!
1. Gellért Baths and Spa
Best for: first-time visitors & couples
After Szécheny, these art nouveau baths at the base of Gellért Hill are Budapest’s second most popular. Gellért Thermal Bath is one of Budapest’s most instagrammable attractions. The Gellért Baths and Spa offers a diverse selection of pools, each with its own distinct features and benefits. There are 8 indoor and 2 outdoor pools, each with a distinct temperature and massage jets and water currents, so you may pick the perfect one for you. Gellért Baths and Spa is ideal for unwinding with a warm water bath or indulging in a full-body massage. You can indulge yourself at the spa, which provides a variety of treatments and services.
- 5 thermal pools (36°C–40°C)
- indoor swimming pool (36°C)
- outdoor wave pool (26°C)
- 2 outdoor thermal sitting pools (36°C)
- 2 plunge pools (19°C)
The tickets to Gellért Baths cost: 24€ – 28€ depending on the day.
Open every day of the week, from Monday to Sunday: 6 am – 8 pm
Fast Track Ticket Check-in Hours: 9 am – 6 pm
Opening hours are affected by National Holidays and Bank Holidays.
For more info visit the official site.
2. Széchenyi Baths
Best for: first-time visitors & winter
The Széchenyi Baths in City Park are by far Budapest’s most famous thermal bath complex, and one of the largest in Europe and it is located in the heart of Budapest’s city park. It is one of Budapest’s oldest thermal spas, dating from the early 20th century. The bathhouses have traditional Neo-baroque architecture, and the yellow structures are city landmarks. The Széchenyi Baths offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor pools, with 18 pools, 3 saunas, and 10 steam cabins. There are 15 indoor and 3 large outdoor pools, allowing visitors to enjoy the hot thermal waters regardless of the weather.
- 15 indoor pools
- 3 large outdoor pools
Weekdays: from 7 am to 7 pm.
Weekends: from 9 am to 8 pm.
Saunas and hot air chambers:
Weekdays: from 9 am to 6 pm
Weekends: from 10 am to 7 pm
3. Rudas Baths
Best for: a traditional Hungarian thermal bath experience
Rudas Baths is one of Budapest, Hungary’s oldest thermal baths, dating back to the 16th century. This lovely complex is divided into three sections: an Ottoman-era steam bath, a swimming pool, and a newly renovated spa center. With its Turkish-style domed roof and octagonal pools, you can expect a unique and historic bathing experience. The thermal baths have indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a rooftop pool with a panoramic view over Budapest. Rudas, in addition to thermal baths, provides a variety of wellness services such as massages and saunas. It’s a must-see for everyone interested in the traditional and cultural aspects of Budapest’s hot baths.
- 2 swimming pools (22°C and 26°C)
- 1 thermal pool (32°C)
- 1 thermal bath (40°C)
- 1 underwater traction bath (36°C)
Daily ticket to all zones:
Weekdays 22€, Weekends: 31€
Daily Turkish bath ticket:
4. Lukács Baths
Best if you want to avoid the crowds
Lukács Baths is on our list because the visitors are mostly from the local area and it is rarely crowded. Another reason is that it is clean and gives you the impression that you are bathing in a medieval castle. The Lukács Bath may not be as large as the Széchenyi or Gellért, but it has its own charm. Lukács Bath is not as well-known as some of the other baths on the list among tourists.
- 4 indoor baths
- 2 outdoor baths
Ticket for adults with locker usage: from 10€
Ticket for adults with cabin usage: from 13€
5. Király Baths
Király Baths is a famous thermal bath from the 16th century. Király, which is half Ottoman and part 19th century, is the smallest and coziest bath on this list. The Turkish pasha had it built away from its water source and within the city, walls using underground pipes to ensure that bathing could continue uninterrupted even if there was a conflict. Visit the small indoor garden, which has a wooden hot tub and many cots. Please note that Király is now closed for renovations until 2023.
Opening Hours: Kiraly Bath is open every day 9 am to 9 pm
- 1 large pool
- 3 smaller thermal pools
- 1 small outdoor jacuzzi (opens in the summer)
Morning ticket: cabin: 4.10€, locker: 3.3€
All-day ticket: with cabin use: 6.9€ , locker: 6.1€
6. Dandár Baths
Best if you want to avoid the crowds
Dandár is housed in an art deco structure from the 1930s and situated a little beyond the city center. It comes closest to providing a fully immersive authentic Budapest experience because it primarily attracts locals. The best time to use the heated outdoor pool is on gloomy winter evenings. Since very few tourists are aware that it exists, most of the people using the bath are locals. For those who like to avoid crowds, this bath is the ideal option.
- 3 indoor pools
- 2 outdoor pools
Opening Hours: From 9:00 to 19:00
ALL IN ticket for adults:
Weekday: 8.7 €, Weekend: 8.9€
Thermal ticket for adults (only indoor pools):
Weekday: 6.9€, Weekend: 7.1€
7. Palatinus Baths
Best for children
The Palatinus Baths, located on Margaret Island in Budapest, opened in 1919 as the city’s first outdoor bath. A dozen pools, including gigantic slides, a wave pool, hot baths, thermal baths, and saunas, are available at the baths. If you are traveling to Budapest with children, they are an excellent choice. Adults can also have a good time here.
Because the complex is outside, it is only open throughout the summer, from June to mid-September.
Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 to 16:00
Adult: Weekdays 7.4€, Weekends: 8.7€
2-hour ticket: Weekdays: 5.3€ Weekends: 5.9€
8. Veli Bej Baths
The Hotel Császár Budapest houses the Veli Bej Baths. The baths are a “hidden place” in Budapest and receive significantly fewer visitors than the two large bath complexes, Gellert & Széchenyi. This Turkish bath complex is older than Rudas and Király, having been built in the 16th century. The dome and stone arches are still present, but the interior is clean and boasts beautiful salmon-pink walls. Due to its non-profit status, Veli Bej Baths are more affordable than other Budapest hot springs.
- 5 thermal baths
- 1 sauna
- 1 steam room
- 1 therapy pool
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 06.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 21.00
Monday – Thursday: 3-hour morning ticket: 5.7€, 3-hour afternoon ticket: 7.1€,
Evening ticket (19.00-21.00): 5.7€,
Fri: 3-h morning ticket: 5.7€, afternoon & evening: 7.1€,
Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays (3-hour stay): 7.1€ all day.
Frequent asked questions
Are Thermal Baths in Budapest Free?
Not all of Budapest’s thermal baths are free. Some places require visitors to buy a ticket in order to enter. The fee of admission to Budapest’s thermal baths varies depending on the bath you visit. Thermal bath tickets in Budapest typically range from 10€ to 20€ per person. You can also buy a multi-bath pass, which gives you access to numerous different thermal baths throughout the city. These packages are a more cost-effective option and often provide a discount when compared to purchasing individual bath tickets. Furthermore, if you are visiting Budapest with a large group of people, several thermal baths offer group discounts, making this an affordable option.
Are the Thermal Baths in Budapest Clean?
Today, Budapest’s thermal baths are known for their high standards of cleanliness and maintenance. The baths are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis, and many of the newer baths have state-of-the-art filtration systems to assure the water’s cleanliness. Furthermore, several of Budapest’s thermal baths include separate changing rooms and showers for visitors, making it simple for them to maintain their personal cleanliness.
The maintenance and upkeep of Budapest’s thermal baths is critical to the city and its citizens. The thermal baths are regularly maintained and renovated to keep them in top condition, with some of the older baths being modernized with modern amenities and services.
Do You Need to Book Thermal Baths Budapest in advance?
It depends on the popularity and peak seasons of the thermal bath. Some thermal baths demand reservations ahead of time, while others accept walk-ins. During high season, it is recommended to book in advance to secure your spot and avoid long wait times. Booking ahead of time has various advantages, the most important of which is ensuring a seat at the thermal bath of your choice. Furthermore, scheduling ahead of time allows you to select the perfect time period for you, assuring an optimal thermal bath experience.
Are the Thermal Baths in Budapest Open All Year?
Budapest’s thermal baths have different operating hours, but most of them are open 7 days a week, year-round. There are some seasonal variations, especially during the winter months, so it is always best to check the schedule in advance.
During the peak tourist season, many thermal baths have extended hours of operation to accommodate more visitors. During the winter months, some thermal baths may have reduced hours, but others remain open all year-round.
During holidays and special events, the operating hours for thermal baths in Budapest may vary. It is always best to check the schedule in advance to ensure that the thermal bath is open when you plan to visit.
Are the Thermal Baths in Budapest Naturally Heated?
Budapest is known as the “City of Baths” because because of its numerous thermal springs, which provide natural heat. There are several thermal springs in and around the city, which provide a continuous source of naturally heated water for the thermal baths. The thermal baths in Budapest use natural heat from thermal springs to keep the water temperature stable. This differentiates Budapest’s hot baths and provides visitors with a really authentic experience.
Are Budapest Baths Worth It?
Yes! It is definitely worth it. Budapest’s thermal baths provide an experience, unlike any other city in the world. Budapest has a thermal bath for everyone, whether you’re seeking a romantic soak, a vibrant thermal bath party, or a healing soak for your muscles.