One of the biggest attractions in Budapest is the thermal spas; there are loads of bathhouses across the city – known as Fürdö in Hungarian. So naturally on my visit to the Hungarian capital, taking in the medicinal waters was top of my hit list. With limited time I wanted to visit the most amazing thermal spa in Budapest, which according to friends who’d visited in the past was Szechenyi Baths
. Szechenyi Baths is a huge bath house in the city park near the zoo and Hero’s’ Square so pretty easy to get to, there’s even a metro stop directly outside (M1 line)
I visited on a freezing cold day in March, there were still huge piles of snow all over the place after a blizzard that had cancelled my original flight to Budapest and diverted the second one to Bratislava! It wasn’t exactly the best start to my trip, but I was determined to get on with my plans regardless. So I rocked up to the spa at about 4pm pretty much resigned to the fact it would be torturously cold, I’d take a few snaps inside and tick it off my list. I was already frozen to the bone and wasn’t exactly thrilled about standing outside in my swimmers in sub zero temps.
Luckily there were some gorgeous hot baths, steam rooms, saunas and massage pools inside that I just sat in for a good hour before I was brave enough to head out to the huge out-door pools. So many people were loitering at the automatic doors, running back inside every time the door slid open, including me! I was in and out like a yo-yo until I plucked up the courage to sprint down the stone steps, find a spot to put my towel, kick off my flip-flops and tentatively creep down the steps into a pool. It probably took about 30 seconds, but felt like an eternity with my pasty skin going blue and goose bumpy. But once I made it into the hot water it was totally worth the pain, it was the perfect temperature and with both shoulders under the water and the steam warming my face I was in heaven.
Given the freezing cold temperatures and the fact that it was now dark I had assumed the baths would be pretty quiet, but I was totally wrong. It actually got busier and busier the later it got and by 7pm I was squeezing past groups taking selfies, snogging couples and OAPs playing chess! The baths were way more popular than I’d imagined, I’d even turned down the spa party (there’s a Sparty, every Saturday night
) the night before thinking it would be pretty cold and lame so early in the year, in favour of a pub crawl (which was fun too!) But I think it’s probably jumping all year round. Ahhh well, next time for sure… I had an amazing time at Szechenyi Baths and can totally see why people think it’s the most amazing thermal spa in Budapest.
- Cost – 5500 HUF (about £15/17 Euro) for all day adult entry and a locker. You get an electronic band that is your locker key, but you can also load money on it to spend in the café or bar. You can also get a private cabin or pay for massages and other therapies; they even had a bloody BEER SPA!! Which would be amazing if you were away for a stag/hen or birthday party.
- Opening hours – 6am – 10pm all year round. Open till 3am for the Saturday night Sparties
- Things you need – swimmers (this is not a naked spa), flip-flops, and towel. Although you can hire a towel if you need to and if you want to actually swim lengths in the swimming pool a cap too, but you don’t need a cap for the thermal spas.