Budapest baths: complete guide to thermal baths

Szechenyi thermal baths

Planning a vacation in the Hungarian capital? Then be sure to visit the Budapest Baths!

The Budapest thermal baths are undoubtedly one of the Hungarian capital’s most popular tourist attractions. They are also an integral part of Hungarian daily life. Many locals hold business meetings, romantic get-togethers and family reunions here. Some even come to play chess! A visit to the Budapest Baths is an opportunity to enjoy a unique experience in enchanting surroundings, while discovering an aspect of local life.

To help you in your quest for relaxation, this article tells you all there is to know about the thermal baths in the Hungarian capital. You can then choose your next place of relaxation and wonder with complete peace of mind.

History of the Budapest thermal baths

bains gellert budapest

Photo credit: Shutterstock / A G Baxter

As early as the Bronze Age, people came to Budapest to bathe in the natural thermal waters. These waters were one of the reasons why the Romans established their regional capital at Aquincum, now part of Óbuda in northern Budapest. Ruins of these baths can still be seen in the district.

However, the current baths were built during the Turkish period from 1541 to 1686. They were used for both bathing and medicine. Some of them are still in use today. Later, in 1934, Budapest consolidated its reputation and was officially classified as a spa town.

Today, the town continues to uphold this reputation and tradition. Its inhabitants come here regularly for appointments or simply to relax. As for the medicinal properties of Budapest’s baths, whether true or false, there’s nothing more pleasant and stress-relieving than bathing in deliciously warm water! All in all, a visit to the Budapest baths is relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.

Our tips for visiting Budapest’s thermal baths

Here are a few practical tips to keep in mind when visiting the Budapest Baths.

  • Firstly: you’ll receive a key in the form of a plastic watch once you’ve purchased your admission ticket. This electronic bracelet will allow you to pass through the turnstiles and into the baths. You’ll also have access to a locker for your personal belongings.
  • Secondly, you’ll need to wash before and after your bath. Remember to use shower gel and Marseille or Aleppo soap. Cleansing is an essential hygiene measure to ensure clean water.
  • Third: always remember to bring your own towel, flip-flops and bathing cap if you have one. If you forget your towel, you can always rent one. The same applies to bathing caps, which are sometimes compulsory in some Budapest pools.

When to go to the baths?

  • If you want to avoid the crowds, then we recommend visiting the Budapest Baths in the morning.
  • For a romantic and enchanting experience, we recommend coming late in the day or at night. Some baths are open late into the evening, or even into the night.
  • Finally, the baths are usually very crowded at weekends. We recommend that you come during the week.

Are the baths mixed?

You should also be aware that not all spas and baths are open to both men and women all the time. Some establishments have men-only or women-only days. Others have both men’s and women’s areas.

If you’re visiting Budapest’s baths with a mixed group, be sure to check this kind of information in advance!

Budapest’s various thermal baths

The 130 springs in use today are mainly located on Buda quay, near or on Marguerite Island and under Mount Gellert. The most interesting thermal baths in Budapest are the Gellert Baths, the Rudas Baths, the Szechenyi Baths, the Kiraly Baths and the Palatinus Baths.

Gellert Baths

Photo aérienne de la piscine spa Gellert et bain Budapest, Hongrie. Vue aérienne

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / aerocaminua

Address: Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Budapest

Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Lockers: Yes

Massage: various massages, mud baths and other exceptional treatments

Access: single-sex baths Monday to Saturday, except in the swimming pool

If you can only visit one spa in Budapest, it should be the Gellert Baths! Unfortunately, if they’re the most beautiful, they’re also the most crowded.

Inside, you’ll find a magnificent tiled swimming pool, as well as indoor and outdoor baths. In summer, a large outdoor wave pool welcomes you, along with lovely shaded terraces.

How do I get to the Gellert Baths? The Gellert Baths are easily reached by metro line 4, streetcars 19, 41, 47, 49 and 56, and buses 7, 107, 109, 133 and 233. Stop at the Szent Gellért stops.

Les Bains Rudas

Les Bains Rudas

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Address: Döbrentei tér 9, 1013 Budapest

Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for steam baths, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for swimming pool

Lockers: Yes

Massage: various massages, including aromatic and medical ones

Access: single-sex baths on weekdays, single-sex on weekends, under 14s not permitted

The Rudas Baths are among the most authentic in the city, with their 16th-century Ottoman architecture. They are located beneath Gellert Hill in the Buda district, offering a superb setting.

The indoor pool is also a true work of art, with its octagonal structure and turquoise waters bordered by imposing columns. And if you’re looking for a quiet, romantic moment, the baths offer evening events every Friday and Saturday.

How do I get to the Rudas Baths? This establishment is easily reached by buses 7, 8E, 110, 112, streetcars 19, 41, 56 and 56A, and night buses 907 and 973. Stop at Rudas Gyógyfürdő.

Szechenyi Baths

visiter les bains de Budapest Les Bains Szechenyi

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / T photography

Address: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Budapest

Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Lockers: Yes

Massage: massages, mud baths and various treatments

Access: mixed baths

Located in the heart of the city’s main park, this vast neo-Baroque complex is one of the most famous and well-known baths, not least because of its exceptional setting.

We particularly recommend it in summer, with its three large outdoor pools. If you’d like to relax, don’t hesitate to try out the Jacuzzi and the hot pool, where some people come to play chess.

  • Saturday evenings in summer: the baths are transformed into a giant dance floor and host a Spa Party!

How do I get to the Szechenyi Baths? This establishment is easily accessible via the M1 metro or trolleybus 72 at the Széchenyi fürdő stops.

Les Bains Kiraly

Bains de Kiraly, Budpaest

Photo credit: kiralyfurdo

Address: Fő u. 84, 1027 Budapest

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Lockers: Yes

Massage: basic massages, treatments and pedicures

Access: mixed baths, under 14s not allowed

These baths are among the oldest in Budapest, and also one of the smallest. Built by the Turks in the 16th century, they’re perfect for those looking for a 100% local experience!

These picturesque thermal baths have four thermal pools, as well as a steam bath and sauna. Beware, though, as they are small, so it’s best to get to the baths early to enjoy them.

How do I get to the Kiraly Baths? Streetcars 19 and 41 stop at Bem József tér.

Palatinus Baths

Bains Palatinus à Budapest

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ungvari Attila

Address: Soó Rezső stny. 1, 1003 Budapest

Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Lockers : Yes

Massage: No

Access: mixed baths

Located onMarguerite Island, this spa complex is very popular with locals.

This exceptional site is home to 7 pools and hot springs. Its pools are also equipped with slides! It’s the perfect complex for adults and children alike.

How do I get to the Palatinus Baths? You can take bus line 26 to the Palatinus fürdő stop to reach these exceptional baths.

How much does a ticket to the Budapest Baths cost?

visiter les bains de Budapest bains gellert

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Botond Horvath

Have you decided to visit the Budapest Baths? Then here are the prices for the baths mentioned above:

  • Gellert baths: from €17
  • Thermes Rudas: from €11
  • Széchenyi baths: from €17.50
  • Király Spa: from €8.64
  • Palatinus baths: from €9.50

Most establishments also offer a full range of massages and medical treatments, at extra cost of course.

The Budapest Card

The Budapest Card is the official tourist card issued by the Budapest Tourist Office. For one, two or three days, it gives tourists unlimited access to the city’s museums, thermal baths, public transport and a free ride to their hotel.

As far as thermal baths are concerned, the Budapest Card allows hot-bath lovers to bask in a dozen Spa establishments, as well as the famous Lukacs, Gellért and Széchenyi baths.