Szechenyi Baths - Szechenyi Furdo, Budapest
My visit to the baths limited itself to the architectural aspects of the buildings. The imposing neo-baroque design is from Győző Czigler. The construction started in 1909 under architect Eugene Schmitterer.
It is a real architectural success with the five domes on the main building and the ocre yellow spa semi circular building.
As expected water-related motives such as stylized water monsters, shells, fish, mermaids are an important part of the exterior and interior decorations.
The spa is named after István Széchenyi who was a Hungarian politician, theorist and writer.
Living in a rainy country makes that I developed some water phobia. Cold or warm, water is wet so that I avoid everything that as to make with water especially thermal baths even if the Széchenyi gyógyfürdő (spa) are the largest in Europe and hot water is coming from two very deep thermal artesian wells.
Furthermore I'm not so fond of "promiscuité" lack of privacy typical of spas so that when I have to go in the water I prefer the sea.
Consequently I entered by the main entrance in the Czigler wing just to see the dome and its mosaics and the fountain of the Triton Centaur.
From here I could also have a look at the open air pools.
Just a few minutes away from the zoo there
is the 'széchenyi fürdo'.
I think it is the most beautifull bath in Budapest.
It has a large open air section with 3 pools.
One is quit hot , 40°. That is the one where
they play 'chess in. It is great to watch them.
In the middle there is the coldest one.
You need to wear something on your head if
you want to go swimming. Don't forget.
It is also meanth for swimming , not for floating.
Then the last one is the one with what I call
'recreation'. It has some massage options.
You can swim really fast in the whirlpool
in the middle. Do some exploring here.
And watch the other people very closely...
it has some surprises here and there.
On the inside there is a sauna , a steambath
and some other health baths. Enjoy them.
Maybe this bath is among the most touristy.
I think it is the nicest one.
If you can only got to one - choose this one.
If you want a special treatment , you'll have
to pay for it in advance. Swimming itself and
using the baths is very affortable.
There are many entrances but if you want
to pay with a credit card. Use the head entrance.
' the nicest thing' is of course you got the
feeling of swimming in a castle that is made
by the bakery around the corner.
The Szechenyi Baths are where the locals do their dipping and have a choice of indoor or outdoor with multiple pools in each location. We did not venture into the inside pools but to the three outdoor. I was reminded of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. One pool is too cold, one is too hot and the other just right. Actually they are different in ways other than temperature. On one end is the fun pool with lots of jets and a center section with a strong current you can ride. It is a comfortable temp of about 86 F. The middle pool is more for serious swimmers doing laps, etc. It is the coolest. The pool on the other end is quite warm and where you find the plump old men in speedos with their floating chess boards.
The admissions and refunds are a bit complex, but if you do not stay for the full time purchased you get money back. We paid about $6 or $7 each to enter and then got back about $1.
We put this in the ‘must do’ category as our VT friend Bonso wrote that she would hit ‘hard’ anyone who went to Budapest and did not get in the water. Didn’t want to risk a knot on my head.
You can rent swimsuits but that did not appeal to us. Of course I had forgotten to bring one but there are vendors in the park outside selling swimsuits, flip flops, etc. at pretty reasonable prices. Towel rentals inside are also available.
Summertime in Budapest can get quite steamy, we had two days over 30C so we decided to head to one of the baths in the late afternoon on a weekday.
Although Gellert is the more widely known, we headed to Szechenyi on the recommendation of some fellow travelers.
The beautiful gold painted building is visible when you exit the metro station. After paying the admission charge head into the locker room, change clothes and then head out to the pools. There are 3 central pools outdoors, one hot, one cool for swimming or doing laps, one warm with a circular pool that's sort of like a wave pool (current pushes you in a circle).
And don't miss the indoor pools as well, rooms and rooms filled with pools of varying temperature and mineral content. There are also Thai massages for an extra fee and a fitness room but we didn't use either.
Admission is currently 2000ft for unlimited admission, slightly more if you want a cabin. If you stay less than 4 hours, you get a partial refund so make sure you retain your receipt.
I'm sure the times vary during the year but in August the baths stayed open until 10 pm, all of the guidebooks said it closed at 6 pm.
What to bring with you? A bathing suit, of course, and it's also useful to bring a swim cap if you want to go in the lap pool (or you can buy a very stylish shower cap for for 50 ft), flip flops if you have a thing about foot hygiene, a towel unless you are a very quick dryer and shampoo/soap if you want to rinse off afterward. There are hair dryers for public use and a locker is included with the rate.
The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is one of the biggest spas in Europe. It was also the first thermal bath of Pest.
In 1881 on Vilmos Zsigmondy's initiative they started deep borings, and found thermal water in the city park. After a 1st temporary bath in 1913 on Gyozo Czigler's plans the city built the Szechenyi Bath and then expanded it again in 1927.
In the middle of the 1960s, further transformations took place, including the creation of a group thermal section as well as a daytime outpatient hospital (complex physiotherapy department).
The reconstruction of the pools of the swimming section, their equipment with water filtering and circulation devices was completed in 1999.
There is also a so-called fancy bath which includes a whirling corridor, underwater effervescence production, neck shower, water beam back massage installed in the sitting banks and many other services.
It has histrory and tradition, but it's also a lot of fun and a good opportunity to relax! Try the outside pools and the inside ones, and go to the steam cabin as well!
Once in Budapest, you have to try a bath, and this is one of the very best! :)
firstly - get a cabin it's easier. Next remember the number of the cabin, no one else will!
Unlike baths I've used before you have no locker all your things get locked in the cabin. take flip flops we didn't and got odd looks.
Try the two hot outdoor spas (the one in the middle is for swimmer and you need a cap - don't bother) look for the doors leading up and down into the saunas and steam rooms and indoor areas - explore are 2 doors at either end. Be brave - use the ice to get you r blood pumping afgain when you have been in the sauna! ENJOY
Perhaps the most popular swimming and bathing area in the city being opened all year round. The water supply of the bath is provided by St. István spring, from a depth of 1256 metres. The spring with its temperature of 77 °C is one of Europe's warmest springs.
The in-door complex offers five mixed curative baths, four women's pools and three men's pools. A complete medical team is also on hand for advice and therapy.
The open-air swimming pool with a temperature of 27 °C is huge, and there is a wide range of activities on offer, e.g. underwater gymnastics.
The fancy bath (32-34 °C ) includes a sweeping-corridor.
The banks of the sitting pool (38 °C) are featuring many interesting services, such as neck shower, water beam back massage, underwater effervescence production.
The roof is for sun-seekers and offers men's, women's and mixed nude sunbathing.
Széchenyi bath's significance is not merely on the basis of its medicinal water, the sculptures and glass mosaics decorating the building are creations of Hungary's most considerable artists.
One of the things that you should not miss while you are in Budapest is going to the thermal baths. Give yourself a few hours to just relax and enjoy it. It is a local tradition, you will see people coming home from work stopping off at the baths.
I went to the Szechenyi baths, one of the biggest and most famous ones, it was October and there was a slight chill in the evening air..but the baths were quite full and nice and comfortable. From reading the guidebooks, I had thought the water might be much hotter than it was.
There is a grandeur about this place, think of the Roman baths and their luxury and you get a good image of this place.
After you dip in the baths make sure to go inside the sauna. Be warned however, the sauna is very hot! Especially after coming in from the outside, your body will feel it instantly and gives it a mighty tingle.
The present-day complex of Szechenyi Bath was built 1909-13 in neo-Baroque style - very beautiful. Until 1927 outdoor swimming pools were added. The spring (970 m below the ground) is the the hottest in Budapest with 75° C.
The complex offers several in- and outdoor swimming pools, steambaths, saunas, spa treatments etc. It is *huge*. Also, it is probably the most popular among the locals. Prices are considerable lower than in the Gellert.
Unfortunately I didn't have time to go in. Next time then :-)
Hint: This is where the photos with the chess playing men in a swimming pool were taken.
Széchenyi Baths are at the northern end of city park, and are one of the world's largest baths.
These are one of the hottest thermal baths in Budapest, with water temperatures reaching 38°c. The Neo-baroque building was constructed between 1909 and 1913, and if of immense size!. No wonder a dozen thermal baths and five swimming pools fit!
In front of the building stands a statue of Zsigmondo Vilmos, the geologist who discovered the thermal spring that feeds the pools.
As the water is quite warm to hot, the outdoor pools are open year-round.
PRICES: Please check the website as there are many different prices.
This was my first experience at a thermal bath and I had no idea what to expect but I figured I couldn't go to Budapest without at least trying one. Széchenyi Baths are perhaps the most popular ones in the city - they're also the hottest with water temperature running at a toasty 75ºC. Like all baths in Budapest, its mineral waters are credited for curing all sorts of chronic pains and illnesses. The baths date back to 1879 when a hot spring was accidentally found while digging a well in the city park. The beautiful Neo-Baroque building that houses the baths and saunas was completed in 1913, while the outdoor swimming pools were added in 1926. We found the place a bit confusing at first, but once we found our way outside to the swimming pools, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon there. It's not as quiet as the baths inside so I thought it was much more fun - though possibly less relaxing - than inside the building.
Daily admission costs 3400 forints, and it's worth it!
The Szechenyi Baths complex should definitely be on your programme in Budapest, ideally not at a weekend when the place tends to get too crowded. They are open every day.
They are easy to find, having their own metro stop on the yellow line. When you emerge into the daylight just look for the large yellow building to your right.
Although the entrance price list looks complex and daunting, all you will probably need is an entry ticket costing 3100 Forint (March 2011). This will give you unlimited access to the vast range of internal and external pools, saunas and steam rooms. Credit cards are allegedly accepted
You won't need a bathing cap unless you intend to go (length) swimming in the large central outdoor pool, but a swimming costume and towel are essentials (as well as soap and shampoo if you want to have a good shower at the end). Most Hungarians also wear flip-flops, although these are not essential.
For your money you will be given a 'proxy watch', a clever system which will get you through the entry turnstile and into and out of a locker of your choice (you can return to the locker as often as you want - the watch keeps working until you drop it into the machine when you finally leave). The locking mechanism is a little fiddly, but it works OK once you get the hang of it. There are a few attendants around who will help.
Now all you have to do is to meander in and out of pools, saunas and steam rooms to your heart's content. You can take a book to read in the outside area and a camera for photos, but neither of these is recommended in the sauna!
I stayed for just over 2 hours and found that a good length of time to be there.There is a cafe alongside the outside swimming area, so you can have a bite to eat and/or a drink if you feel like it.
Do not buy the Budapest Card (as suggested below) just for a discount here. It is not worth it. And there are no longer any refunds on the entry price for a shorter stay, as there once were.
All the buildings of Szechenyi Baths are impressive! One group (Francsek-wing), is painted quite a deep yellow, where-as the main building of the Baths has been left unpainted.
This is known as the Czigler-wing. The front façade with its three large domed pavilions made me first think it was Palace and not a bathhouse. The roof of the central hall is decorated with bronze statues of galloping horses and the entrances are flanked by massive Corinthian columns.
The dome in the main entrance hall of the Czigler wing, is decorated with a mosaic that shows the sun god Helios driving a four-horse chariot. A fountain with a statue of a centaur adds to the beautiful interior.
The outdoor pool area has many statues, balustrades and urns and there are even fountains near the pools.
Located in the Varosliget, the Szechenyi Gyogy-es Strandfurdo, the Szechenyi Bath, are a very nice bath. They were built in a neo-baroque style in the 1909-1926 and they use a solforous termal spring with watar at 74°C. This bath is very good to cure orthopaedic illnesses, stomach and intestine troubles, dysfunctions of the Cistifelea, illnesses of the respiratory apparatus.
One of two most famous baths in Budapest (another is the Gellert). There are three pools, each of them has a different temperature (cold, warm and middle). Spa facillities are also available - they are located in a neobaroque buildings surrouding the pools.
Open: 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Open-air pools run also during winters!
Entrance: 1600 forints for 5 hours. If you are there for a shorter time, you can get back your change.
Info in English is available.