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{Hungary} Széchenyi Baths in Budapest

Szechenyi Bath in Budapest

Despite our love for adventure and activities on our vacation, we always find time to chill and relax (our favorites include the spa at Grand Wailea in Maui, hot spring onsen in Hokkaido).

We learnt that the largest hot spring baths in Europe is located in Budapest! So when we were in Budapest, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the largest hot spring baths in Europe – the Széchenyi Bath!

The building was built in 1913 – that explains why the building looks like a giant opera house with intricate designs on the wall from the outside.

This building was built in 1913. From the outside, it looks like a giant opera house with intricate carvings.

Honestly, we assumed that the entrance to the baths would be more elaborate than this so we actually weren’t sure if this was the front entrance! It actually is.

Baby Liam and grandpa poses in front of the entrance of the baths.

Since the thermal baths were not suitable for infants, Shirlene and family stayed with baby Liam while I went inside the complex.

One word of caution for anyone attempting this same arrangement — your partner may spend hours inside the spa complexes leaving you waiting for a loooong time! Luckily, there’s a nice little cafe you can hang out in while you wait.

Cafe – you don’t need to pay the entrance fee to enter this cafe. You can access it from the lobby.

 

One thing you will be struck by at the baths is the number and size of the pools! I felt like a child in a super duper big bath. I had a goal of soaking in every single pool they offered (I ended up spending about two hours there and that’s with me “rushing”)!

There’s probably a right way or sequence of pools to follow but given my time crunch (baby waiting), I basically went from pool to pool in the order of my line of sight!. The good news is this bath is frequented by a lot of tourists, so I didn’t feel like I was the only one that had no idea what I was doing!

There is the cold pool, warm pool with varying temperatures, sauna, steam room, solar room and the list goes on! There’s a total of 15 indoor pools,  3 outdoor pools, 10 saunas and steam chambers. I could spend the entire day here!

My favorite pool would be the whirl pool where there’s an artificial current that spins people round and round! Super fun!

If I retired in Budapest, I’d probably spend my weekends and evenings just like these men LOL!

The striking yellow of the building, contrasted with the hues of the pool against the sky backdrop makes for beautiful pictures!

A comfortable temperature… not as hot as the onsens in Japan but still a comfortable enough temperature to not be shivering while soaking in the pools.

I couldn’t stop photographing the area! Just love the color contrasts and the details of the building’s architecture.

I can imagine this place being way more crowded on weekends and holidays. Good thing there are plenty of pools to choose from so hopefully everyone will find one they’re comfortable in.

Even if you don’t enjoy soaking in the pools, the beautiful surroundings should at least intrigue you into visiting!

Can anyone guess what this sign says?

The various rooms and pools with different temperatures are clearly marked.

There are benches on the side of the pools for when you need a break from all the water

I’d recommend only bringing the very minimum that you need. Lockers are available (either standalone lockers or an actual changing room that you can lock) but it gave me peace of mind that I did not have anything valuable stored in the lockers.

Small locker that you access via the “key” on your armband.

 

TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Széchenyi Bath is located at H-1146 Budapest, XIV. kerület Állatkerti körút 9-11.
  2. Useful website located here.
  3. You can get there via trolley bus 72 or the M1 Metro (Millennium Underground) at the Széchenyi Fürdő stop. The bath is located in the City Park.
  4. You can rent towels and swimming outfit but I’d recommend bringing your own just so you save on cost.
  5. We heard that you can get a small refund for your ticket if you stay for less than three hours but we did not attempt it.
  6. Don’t forget to bring along a swimming cap if you have long hair (I believe you need a cap to swim in the lap pool).
  7. You could buy entrance tickets online. We didn’t do this just so we’d have more flexibility and only bought tickets at the entrance. There were english speaking staff so I had no issues purchasing tickets there.
  8. For those who don’t want to enter the pool/spa complexes and just want a tour, you can pay for a “just a tour” ticket that takes you up onto the 2nd floor of the building, looking down at the pools with a tour guide. Enough to give you a history/overview of the place and some photo spots. You dont get acces to the spa complexes though.

8 Comments

  1. travel srilanka May 3, 2014 Reply

    This looks awesome…you seems to have had an awesome bathing .Sounds like an amazing experience.

  2. Diana December 19, 2013 Reply

    Glad to see that you had a good time at the spa. It was wayyyyy too crowded when I was there (in June) that I couldn’t enjoy it at all! What time of year were you there?

  3. Travis October 31, 2013 Reply

    Great post and photos! We visited Budapest at the start of October and had a blast at the baths. They were a little less crowded with tourists as it was the off-season, so that probably contributed a bit as you could have some space to yourself. The building is so spectacular, and it’s a great place to relax and even enjoy a pretty reasonably priced massage. Glad to have discovered the blog!
    Travis recently posted..Sarajevo – A World ApartMy Profile

  4. lyn barden October 23, 2013 Reply

    The baths look pretty awesome,and such nice surrounds. thanks for so much detail on the signs and about the whole site. Certainly worth a visit. Do they have massages there, as well as the saunas?
    lyn barden recently posted..Sanjusangen-do Temple 1001 Golden Statues KyotoMy Profile

  5. Arnis (Tripify)
    Twitter:
    October 22, 2013 Reply

    I went to Budapest with couple of my friends this summer and termal baths was a must-do onour list. This one, however, seemed too “touristic” or more for people who want to have fun instead of relaxing. It can be quite crowded when some of the smaller pools are full of people and you can’t try them out. Not a big loss though. There are plenty of those.

    However, the one bath I enjoyed a lot more than this was Rudas Baths. If you enter it before 12:00 it is considerably cheaper (2300 HUF, half the price of others), however, it is not family friendly as only men are allowed to enter. It is a lot more compact and peaceful and lets one escape from daily rush and chaos.

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