Budapest is famous for its hot springs and proliferation of spas (about 80 springs dotted around the city I believe.) The natural hot water is so bountiful that it is used for domestic hot water apparently!.
So you can’t possibly visit Budapest without indulging in at least one of its watery based fun palaces.
Today, there are 15 public thermal baths in Budapest, not counting the private thermal spas established in some of the posher hotels.
There’s so many to choose from, from the stately fading grandeur of the old school grand dames such as Hotel Gellert to more modern, state of the art places.
We opted for Széchenyi Thermal Bath as I had seen lots of pictures of the huge, sprawling yellow complex and its sparkling, inviting turquoise pools. (Plus you can book via Paypal before you go!)
We booked a day pass that included a little cabin for storing our stuff for the day.
You are advised to bring your own towels as there’s a hefty deposit for one of theirs. Also flip flops and a water proof camera are our recommendations!
This sprawling complex is the largest medicinal bath in Europe and its water is supplied by two thermal springs – their temperature is 74 °C and 77 °C respectively.
The spa, in planning since the 1880s was built in 1913 in an Neo-baroque style and was designed by Győző Czigler. Did I mention it’s very YELLOW!!
Construction cost an eye-watering 3.9 million korona and the baths saw more than 200,000 people visit in 1913 alone.
Originally it had private baths, separate men and women’s steam-bath sections, and different male and female public baths.
Although mixed bathing is now the norm, inside it still retains its old fashioned feel with room after room of pools, all varying sizes and temperatures.
One of the quirkiest bits of the baths are the chess boards in the water that always attract a certain type of elderly man in small shorts. . .
The complex was expanded in 1927, and it still boasts three outdoor and 15 indoor pools. After its expansion, the thermal artesian well could not fulfill its purpose, so a new well was drilled in 1938.
Here’s the outdoor section of the baths, bathed in sunshine and just starting to fill up with punters.
We arrived early to enjoy the pools while they were still quiet – by mid day every crevice was crammed with swimmers and sun seekers.
Between 1999 and 2009 a full restoration took place and it attracts thousands of visitors, eager to soak up the rays in the pools of varying temperatures.
Here we are taking the plunge and enjoying / enduring the various water features and whirly river rapids.
The rushing water, even though it is heated, is really rather lovely on a sunny Hungarian day.
See you later dear readers!!!!……….