Budapest, the city of spas

Spending a long weekend in Budapest is just enough to see the major sights, but if you want to visit a few museums, I think you have to make some choices (or to spend more time over there !). After visiting the town, Buda Castle District and Gellért Hill, we deserved to chill out and relax a bit !

It is said that Budapest has more thermal and medicinal water springs than any other capital city in the world… with its 118 springs all over the town, no wonder why. Most of them are private, but there are more or less 15 public spas where you can enjoy different baths, with temperatures ranging between 21 and 78°C.

We chose to try Szécheny Bath, despite being the most popular one (it is the largest medicinal bath in Europe), mainly because of its architecture and colourful design. It has 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools. Nonetheless, I have to admit that it was a bad choice.

Despite the impressive building (I took the pictures with my phone, I didn’t dare taking my SLR over there), I wasn’t too impress by the obvious lack of hygiene from most of the tourists. Showers are compulsory, but I’ve seen several people skipping them. Almost all visitors do NOT follow the hygiene guidelines displayed everywhere in the place. People with shoes and without can take the same paths… I let you picture the disaster.

I was in the 38°C inside pool, and all I could think of was bacteria, bacteria and more bacteria. I couldn’t even relax. I was crossing my fingers not to get any skin infections or other horrible stuff (ok, maybe I was a bit paranoid, but if you had seen what I saw…)

So, if I had to do it again, I would only go there for sightseeing, take pictures the exterior, because it is truly beautiful but I would go to a quieter and better maintained place to enjoy a relaxing soak. You are warned ! :-)

I’m leaving for London tomorrow, I’m quite excited even if it’s for work, I’m sure I’ll be able to sneak in one visit or two :-)


10 responses to “Budapest, the city of spas

  1. Ohhh I’m usually scared of bacteria so I don’t think I would’ve relaxed at all. Nevertheless, your pictures look pretty! At least that compensated it 😄


  2. ha ha from my most touristy things I’ve done blog
    Budapest – Gellert Thermal Baths are listed as one of the Top Ten Things To Do in Budapest in most guidebooks – guidebooks probably not written by Hungarians. They are expensive, dirty (both the water and the facilities ) and rundown. The lobby looked like the photographs but the women’s area has all the charm of Soviet housing. Stuff gets stolen out of the lockers all the time. Sometimes the towels are stolen when you are in the baths and then you are asked to pay for them. The towels are very small –more like towelettes. Most of the staff is rude or not helpful. Save your money for Istanbul and try a hammam.


  3. We went in the direction of the Szécheny Bath,Gin, as our daughter had been there with her friends the year before and recommended it but we decided not to go in – we went and had lunch in a restaurant nearby instead! Perhaps I am too “English” but I couldn’t quite see the attraction myself especially as we had a very nice spa bath back at our hotel!


    • I understand, I was a bit disappointed by the baths themselves. It was not very clean and I was so scared to go a nasty skin infection, especially since people didn’t really take showers. Yuk. The building on the other hand was just amazing ! In Iceland on the other hand, you have to shower naked before entering into a pool or a spa and that’s great. People are checking that your hair is actually wet and you cannot skip the shower. I prefer that kind of style :-) And no, I’m not biased… :p:p


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