If you never get out of Budapest proper to see the countryside (and you absolutely should take excursions to the countryside) then you should pamper yourself in town by visiting a different spa each day, interspersed with many glasses of the most excellent local wines and healthy portions of the great food (with lots of fresh paprika peppers naturally.) Make sure you include the Gellért Bath and Széchenyi Bath. While you are at treat yourself to a 30 minute massage - it will cost you about $7 US at the Gellert.
If you do take excursions, at a minimum take the trip to Eger, to Esztergom, to Lake Balaton and to Pécs. And while you are in the area of Pécs, see the wine museum in Villany, the wineries outside Villany, and Siklos castle (see here and follow the links to photos from both trips.)
The fountains are 200 years old. The bath itself was built in 1918 in art nouveau style, and is probably the most famous among all baths in Budapest for its architectural beauty are highly remarkable. Massage and other medical services are available.
You can buy tickets to the thermal bath from 6 am to 6 pm on weekdays, from 6 am to 12 on Saturdays and Sundays. Entrance to the swimming pool is possible from 6 am to 6 pm on weekdays, from 6 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Entrance fee: only to the thermal bath 700 forints ; daily ticket valid for all areas: 1200 forints, cabin 300 forints (You don't need to pay for a cabin, if you go only to the thermal bath). On weekdays after 5 pm and weekends after 2 pm special entrance fee for bath and pool
Don`t be alarmed, but the ground beneath your feet is fairly percolating with superheated water. Countless natural springs and wells lie just below the surface of Budapest. As long as 2000 years ago, the Romans were channeling this water into public and private baths in Budapest, at the settlement of Aquincum (literally `abundant water`). Centuries later, the occupying Turks built baths; others in Budapest were built around the turn of the century, as new springs were discovered.Heated deep within the earth`s crust, the thermal water in the baths often contains mineral water with natural healing powers. Some visitors come to the baths as treatment for ailments of the joints and arthritis (thus the many elderly bathers). Bust most come for pure soggy, steamy, flotational relaxation. Most baths are strictly segregated by sex, since bathers romp around naked. (You will be issued a loincloth and a towel - more precisely, a sheet.) Expect to feel pleasantly enervated and a bit thirsty after a good long soak. Budapest In Your Pocket accepts no responsibility for wrinkled fingertips. Note: the ticket windows at all baths close one hour before the baths close!
You must go to a spa! There are dozens to choose from.
After climbing the hills of Buda, our muscles were sore, tired, and ready for a soak. We went to the Hotel Gellert to pamper ourselves in the curing waters. You might feel self-conscious about your nakedness at first, but no one cares, and soon you don't either. The shallow 'pools' are slightly different temperatures, so you circulate between them to get the best effect. You could fall asleep looking up at the gorgeous tile work on the ceilings, but if you need a wake-up, plunge into the well of ice cold water that serves to get your heart going.
Luxurious atmosphere, a closeup look at native Hungarians
The baths is believed to have been built in the 1550s and rebuilt by Pasha Sokol Mustafa in 1566. At that time it was called 'Green Columned Baths'. The centre of the present Rudas Baths, the Turkish bath, was formed during the Turkish occupation. It has an octagonal pool under a 10m-span dome supported by eight columns and surrounded by a barrel-vaulted corridor. It exists today almost in its original form and is the core of the present baths. The swimming pool dates from 1896 and was the second indoor pool in Budapest. The thermal baths is popular with all ages, though is for men only. The swimming pool, which operates as a medicinal pool, is primarily visited by the elderly. However, children's groups also visit in large numbers. Several generations have learnt to swim here. There are also complex physiotherapic services (daily hospital) offered on the second floor of Rudas Gyógyfürd.
This is one of the things Budapest is really famous for and you shouldn't miss it. There are at least 8 baths in the city centre. We tried the Gellert Hotel which was a great experience including a bargain massage by big women. Never figured out the point of the 'bum aprons' but it was part of the fun. Gellert is also a beautiful building.
The Gellert Baths opened to visitors in 1918. The wave pool was added in 1927, and in 1934 the bubble pool was built on the site of the former winter garden. Nearly all of the medical services of a spa are here . The Gellért is a renowned not only for its waters but also for its superb Art Nouveau architecture and details. ( see my web site www.europewithasmile.com for more pictures of the bath )
Services: Underwater jet massage, medical massage, refreshing massage, foot massage, dentist, gingival shower, physicotherapy,complex physiotherapeutic department, inhalation, individual and group therapeutic gymnastics, dry air and steam chambers, sauna, clothing and valuables safe deposit, naturist sunbathing, (women and mixed) buffet,summer restaurant on the wave terrace, men's and women's hairdressers, beauticians, pedicure, mud-packs, effervescent-bath,traditional Thai massage, tub bath for two.
I visited Gellert baths, the water was hot but the facilities are old. It's more like a park, but I wouldn't call it SPA at all. If you go there take your own towel, flip-flops, and bath cap.
Swimming at the Gellert Baths is good fun . Don't be tempted to swim in the wrong direction though on a fierce pool attendant will admonish you!
The old Hotel Gellert and their bathhouse is a must. It's a great way to relax after a day of walking and climbing around the city.
The Art Nouveau building was constructed between 1916 and 1918 and is shared by the 4-starred hotel and the famous Gellert Thermal Bath. It consists of several indoor pools and an outdoor pool.
The Gellert Baths are a very relaxing place. Staff was incredibly rude but once you're past them, enjoy yourself!
The glass-roof of the indoor "bubbling-bath " swimming pool can be opened in fine weather. In the park of the Hotel there is another swimming pool with artificial waves and several warm-water pools.
If you've got the time head over to the Gellert Hotel and Bath to take a soak with the tourists, and a few locals.