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The golden age of thermal baths in Budapest
The first turkish baths in Budapest were built in the 16th century during the Ottoman occupation. Some of the earliest baths that still exist today include the Rudas, Racz, Czaszar (now part of the Lukacz complex) and Kiraly thermal baths, all located on the Buda side of the city, at the foot of Gellert Hill. Att the beginning of the 20th century, the first luxury spa hotels opened in Budapest, and the Gellert Complex is the oldest and most famous of them all. Built between 1912 and 1918, the hotel remained open - though it suffered extensive damage - during World War II. It was subsequently restored and modernized. The spa complex includes several saunas, pools - including one of the world' first wave pools, added in 1927 - and baths filled with the mineral hot springs that flow from Gellert Hill, The baths' temperature runs around a comfortable 37ºC and have been credited for curing, or at least relieving the symptoms of diseases such as arthitis, neuralgia, circulatory problems, asthma and chronic bronchitis. The Gellert Hotel, which is part of the Danubius hotel chain, is operated separately from the baths. The spa is open to all visitors; although we only walked around, I saw that daily-access tickets to the spa and its different services could be purchased on site.
- Historical Travel
- Luxury Travel
- Spa and Resort
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!
The Gellert bathes
The most famous thermal bathes in Budapest. They are very beautiful.
The Gellért baths together with Gellért Hotel was opened 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 the medical services of a spa are here available. The Gellért is renowned not only for its waters but also for its superb Art Nouveau architecture and details
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
Another famous thermal bath
Gellert Thermal Bath is very famous in Budapest. The main disadvantage is the seperation between men and women. There are seperate thermal pools and only the central pool accepts both men and women. However, temperature of this pool is not as high as the other pools and serves for cooling down. There are also sauna and steam bath chambers in men and women sections. If you come to Budapest for thermal theraphy, you should visit Gellert too.
Hungry is well-known for its thermal waters. We visited the Gellert Hotel and Baths complex. Open to both the public and guests.
The complex has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and two separate thermal spas (one for men and one for women). We took to the spas. These consisted of three different temperature plunge pools, a sauna and a steam bath.
If the naked human form in all its wonder offends you - think twice before entering these spas - you may think you have seen it all- think again!!
This may sound crazy, but I shall quickly run through how the changing rooms operate - most of the signs and information is in Hungarian, the attendants do not speak much English and I have never felt so lost and confused!!
1) Pay the entrance fee.
2) You're given what's termed a 'modesty cloth' - and sure enough it certainly is a modest piece of cloth. Take this into a vacant cubical and get changed into either your swimwear or as most Hungarians seem to be- in the nud.
3) Find an attendant (if you have chosen the nude option put on the cloth), point them to where your cubicle is. They will lock it and give you a wooden tag to put around your wrist.
4) Once finished in the spa, find an attendant, show them your wooden tag and they will open your cubicle for you.
I don't know what the procedure is....but I gave the attendant a tip - anyone who has to work dealing with confused foreigners, masses of naked human flesh under such close quarters all day deserves one!
If you can- bring some flip-flops - if you like your sauna really hot it avoids your feet burning.
I cannot seem to find the opening times for this spa - but CLICK HERE for the Gellert Hotels's website, providing contact details and other information.
Bath in Budapest
This is something you have to do while in Budapest, the city is known by its many and nice bath, Gellert is the famoust one, I have to say it's more touristic, I didn't try any other bath but I still found Gellert nice and clean, you have to pay your entry and you can stay as much as you can, beside the bath there is a sauna and a massage room .. it worth the visit ;)
Gellert Baths - Tiles
I have just returned from Budapest where, amongst other things, we visited the Gellert Baths. I have nothing to add to the praise already given, it was a wonderful experience. My one disappointment was that I really wanted to see the beautiful blue tiling i had seen on all the postcards but this is in the Men's Turkish Bath so I never saw it - my husband did. The Women's side is not so beautiful. So if, like me, you chose these baths from the many available in Budapest for the tiling, be warned! Ladies, you are in for a disappointment! However, the rest of the experience made up for it. Oh, and get a cubicle! The locker area appears to be run by former Eastern European gymnastics coaches - the Western service ethic has not reached there.
- Historical Travel
Open Mon-Fri: 6 am - 7 pm. Sat-Sun: 6 am - 5 pm. One of the most popular baths for tourists coming to Budapest, decorated with original Art Nouveau furnishings. Entrance fee: HUF 3500=EUR 15. Services offered: 30 min. massage HUF 3100=EUR 13, Pedicure HUF 2000=EUR 13, Facial treatment HUF 10300=Eur 44,Manicure HUF 1450=EUR 6. There are 2 pools with temperatures 36*C & 38*C. Sauna room.
It's not cheap, it's full of blokes wearing loin cloths (covering their fronts with their bums exposed - apart from the oddballs wearing them the wrong way round).
But the architecture is great, the baths quite relaxing and all in all an experience I'm glad I went through (and there were a few of us wearing shorts - probably all British).
Wouldn't pay to do it again but you've got to try it if you're in Budapest.
The Worlds nicest swimming pool
Like having a swim in an opera house. Main swimming pool and hot tub with cloumns and balconies , ring a doorbell and you get into the steam room ,cold plunge and thermal baths. Looks like ancient Rome but just relax and take the weight off.
Relaxing baths and other things to do in Budapest
Try to make/find a couple of hours soaking in one of the baths. It is a wonderful and very relaxing experience and very much a part of Budapest. Also, very reasonably priced. I would not buy any of the services or treatments (massage, etc.), just the soak.
Two popular ones are the Gellert Baths and the Szechenyi Baths.
The Gellert is in a beautiful castle-like building attached to the famous hotel and stands majestic on a hill facing the Danube. It is about a 10 minute walk (or a 2 minute tram ride) on the same side and street (sort of) as your hotel. There is a convenient tram hub outside the Gellert and some of the trams from there run right past your hotel door. These baths are divided into seperate and private bathing areas for men and women. However there is another swimming pool in a different area nearby where both sexes can swim laps together, appropriately attired, and with mandatory bathing caps. Bring your own cap if you plan to use this pool, to avoid being given something that looks like a blue grocery shopping bag to put on your head. This pool sometimes has amazing sparkling bubbles in the water at one end.
The private bathing areas are large, bright and cavernous (no personal space issues) and are in an art deco style. Both side have been recently refurbished. There are also pools of different temps. and a very hot sauna.
The Szechenyi baths are in another direction but also near lots of tourist attractions so you may find yourself close to them at some point. These are largely outdoor pools, (theres lots of indoor stuff too) and are a lot of fun. Both sexes bathe together here in the large open air heated pools and bathing suits are obviously required. There is also a large pool for laps. This is the place you see people playing chess in the water. One of the pools has bubbles and jets all over the floor and sides and a whirlpool feature in the middle that is not to be missed : a circle of very swiftly swirling water and everyone in it gets whipped around at great speed. Be careful of theft here. I had a rucksack stolen outdoors, later found tossed deep inside the building. Camera, book and towel untouched, but a small amount of cash was gone.
Your hotel is situated in a great location and if you're facing the river as you say you are, you will have a view of the parliament buildings straight ahead. I've met friends for drinks there but not stayed myself.
Please post a trip report when your return. My first visit was for just 2 days 4 years ago and was crammed with no end of things to do as I'm sure you will find yours to be. Visit one of the many famous cake houses for coffee and a slice of amazing cake, the Museum of Terror, a night at the Opera even if only to marvel at the interior, and a walk up castle hill to the citadel (right beside the Gellert), in addition to many other common tourist activities. Budapest is a very beautiful city and I hope you have good weather.
Can't wait to return at the end of October for my 4th visit in as many years.
Gellert Bath (3)
Ticket price on weekdays with small locker = 4,900huf(child=3,100). Weekends with locker=5,100huf .(20% discount with Budapest card) If you need private cabin plus 400huf. Private cabin means that you will have your own private changing room to get changed and keep your bath gear, and other items,otherwise we have to change among other people but they separate male and female section.After paid ,you’ll get plastic wrist band or let’s say “a watch”, we use this watch to enter and exit , lock and unlock your locker/cabin door. You can wear this watch in the water. Drop it into the turnstile to exit.The changing room and locker is upstair,one side for men ,other side for women.It’s better to take off your shoes downstairs before walk up to the changing area and if you are more than one person,talk and agree everything before separate,don’t run around looking for each other up to the other section( in case you are not same gender) cuz in changing area people are naked,so please respect. In changing room area ,there’s toilet and pre-bathing shower room .Bring your own what you need ,towel,flip flop and bathing cap. If you need to rent something,they need deposit for each items.Renting fee for swimming suit =2,000huf ,deposit 3,000/towel 700,deposit 2,000/bath robe 700,deposit2,000/plastic swimming cap=200(for sale) If you lose any rented items,you won’t get deposit money back.Beware of losing them too cuz there were some report of stolen things.
I treid to dip myself in all pools and I think the water temperature wasn’t hot enough.I expect more from something “thermal bath” to be hotter than this.Here the maximum is 40 degree and I felt like nothing.May be because I tried something much hotter before from Thermal bath in Costa Rica and Japan.
There’s steam room which is very hot ,I was in there only 1 second becuase felt uncomfortable,I couldn’t see anything inside.( as you can see from last pic.)
Normally they separate men and women section for thermal and steam room but,so far I saw all gender in all pools and staffs seem to be ok with that.I think now things changed,they used to allow to be naked in thermal area but now every where you must wear swimming suit,so now all the pools are communaul.
I didn’t go out for outdoor section because it’s too cold at the moment,most people stay indoor pools.The total water surface of this spa is 1,317 sqm., about half size smaller than Szechenyi Bath. All those special spa and massage have to pay extra ,price range from 3,400-25,000 huf,depends.If you stay in Gellert hotel ,the first admission to the spa is free but for the next entry ..50%discount.(the hotel room rate is about 70-150 euro)
Many report about the unfriendly staffs,..in my experience old staff are unfriendly but young one are very friendly,they always ask what I need and where I was looking for.And the complaint about being lost ,I wondered “why” at the beginning and indeed.. they don’t put clear sign enough ,it’s a little bit confused some time in case that “can I (woman) go in this section?” cuz I saw both men and women walk in and out everywhere and now I know…you can walk in every where…There’ s a woman asked me “ Hi ! I think I got lost” so I asked her where she was going?.. “ to the toilet” .. This was the example of how confuse the sign made,even a simple thing like toilet,people couldn’t find.How can it be?
Over all ,I felt satisfied with the experience there,but next time I’ll go to Szechenyi Bath.
The Gellert Bath open everyday from 6.00 to 20.00 .To get there ,I walked .. but you also can take tram 18, 19, 47 and 49, or buses 7, 7A and 86.
Pic 1.This pool supposed to be men’s thermal pool but now communal.
2.This is women thermal pool but now also communal.
3.Where the healing water came from.
4.Shower area next to staem room.
relaxation to the max
me and three friends(summer travelers) went to the thermal bath on kelenhegyi, and trust me we were not dissapointed. For about 15 US dollars we got an all day pass to swim, sit in the baths, and use the wave pool.(you can also get massages and use the jet baths) the patio upstairs and outside is nice for sunbathing and drinking wine. You also meet alot of travelers there, as well as locals(which is cool if you're a people person)
- Family Travel
Gellert Bath (1)
(I'll write story about Gellert bath into 3 parts,cuz it's little long and to share more photos.This is part 1)
There are 2 thermal baths in Budapest that I want to try,..Gellert bath and Szechenyi bath.They are 2 of the most famous and extensive in Budapest.The reason I want to see them is to see the beauty of it’s architecture.Actually I’m not a big fan of bath or spa thing much, but to have a special experience to bath in such a beautiful building is tempting.Both places are beautiful but I finally chose Gellert bath because it’s closer to my hotel and I had only half day in the morning to spend time in Budapest before flying back home in the afternoon.
Budapest locatated on such a lucky position that has this kind of natural resource, make it unique for being the only large city in the world,being rich in fountains of healing water.They said there are 70 million liters of 21-78 Celsius warm thermal water spring forth daily from its 118 natural thermal springs, that as early as in 1934, Budapest was awarded the supreme title "Spa City” welcoming million of tourists from all over the world.
Gellert Spa was built in secessionist style.The spa and hotel opened for public in 1918.The surf bath and bubble bath were added later.
Lets see some pictures of it.
The pic 1-3 is reception hall ,looks like a grandeur hotel.
Pic 4 ..The ceiling ,looks like a beautiful cathedral .
Pic 5 The floor ..piece of arts.
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