Whether you admire Budapest’s fabled thermal baths for their architecture or just prefer to stretch out beside the pool, your choice of spa in the Hungarian capital is guaranteed to entail a completely rejuvenating itinerary. Infused with rare minerals like calcium and magnesium, a long soak in these thermal waters is said to relieve joint pain and improve vascular health. Housed in the finest examples of centuries-old Turkish architecture, you’ll feel a decade younger after your visit.
If you haven’t enough time for more than one spa day, the Gellért thermal baths, located in the famous Hotel Gellért, are an ideal choice. Built in the fanciful Art Nouveau style, Gellért’s architecture is a magnificent achievement of stained glass, colorful tilework, and bronze arabesques. It’s highly regarded as the most beautiful facility in Budapest. Though the bustle of other travelers could be seen as a distraction by some, there’s plenty of peace of mind beneath the shade of a lofty terrace. Gellért’s staff are fluent in English and happily offer additional services to their guests, including private baths and Swedish massage.
2. Veli Bej
The Turkish-designed bath of Veli Bej, located within the Hotel Csaszar, has smartly incorporated just the right amount of modern renovations into this traditional thermal complex. The results are especially novel and include glass ceilings, the “infra-sauna” heated by infrared light, and breathtaking cascades of water from deep underground, triggering a burst of color from the special tiles. There are a variety of octagonal pools to enjoy at Veli Bej with dim lighting, more secluded cloisters and different levels of temperature for your personal comfort, all pleasantly enclosed beneath a dome ceiling.
Széchenyi is an enormous complex built in the early 20th century and designed after the Baroque style of architecture. Europe’s largest medicinal bath, the waters here are high in magnesium and calcium and said to ease joint pain and improve blood circulation. They also hold the record for hottest temperature! Széchenyi is located in the heart of City Park with multiple pools that transform into an outdoor party on Saturday nights in the summer. Swimming caps are required in the main pools, but from the rear entrance you’ll find easily accessed private cabins. The facilities are always open to both sexes, making this bath a great option for couples who are traveling together.
When it comes right down to it, Rudas nabs the top spot in our list for Best View. Giving each guest a clear view to the beautiful blue Danube, the facility’s latest addition is a rooftop whirlpool. However, the bath originally made by the Turkish people way back in the 16th century is located indoors. Management has recently completed some important architectural renovations in this section in order to preserve the Rudas’ traditional cupola ceiling, stained glasswork and huge supporting columns. You’ll easily slip into a state of relaxation as the passing sun drops through the dappled pattern cut into the ceiling.
The Király Bath was first built in the mid-1500s when Hungary was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. This small but very charming building, with octagonal pool and traditional ceiling, can trace its design to famed bath houses of the Turks. There are four thermal pools in all. Király’s genuine architecture and intimate setting were once popular with Budapest’s thriving gay community, though today its appeal chiefly lies with couples looking for a romantic escape. Guests can find sought-after relaxation under the sky-lit dome while reclined against the pulsating massage of powerful underwater jets.