- Budapest is nicknamed the ‘City of Spas’ with over a dozen thermal baths in the city.
- Széchenyi, the city’s most visited bathhouse, welcomed 1.7 million visitors in 2017.
- Some of the city’s oldest baths, built by the Ottoman rule between 16th and 17th century, are still used today.
Following is a transcript of the video:
Narrator: Every year, Budapest is flooded with visitors wanting to soak up some of the city’s most famous thermal baths. From therapeutic spas to lively nighttime swim parties, there’s no shortage of spa experiences in the city. But how did it get the name “city of spas”?
It has to do with what lies beneath the city. Bubbling underneath the city is a massive reserve of spring water that produces 70 million litres of thermal water a day. Intrigue for Budapest’s thermal water supply dates back to the first century AD when the Romans took interest in the city’s unique features. Now with over a dozen thermal bath locations in the city, Budapest thrives on spa culture, and for good reason.
Roman settlers discovered that the waters were rich in dissolved minerals and could be used for relaxation and medicinal purposes. Bathing in or drinking the mineral well water provides an array of health benefits for joints, organs, and certain chronic illnesses depending on the type of minerals in the water. With so many thermal baths around the city, the question is: Which one is for you?
Let’s start in Budapest’s most popular thermal bath, Széchenyi. Széchenyi was the first hot spring bath palace on the Pest side of Budapest, built between 1909 and 1913. Now over 100 years old, it has become a top tourist attraction in Budapest, with 1.7 million visitors in 2017. Grand architecture and medicinal waters make this a bucket list experience when visiting the city. Széchenyi features lap pools, whirlpools, and the main pool where most visitors tend to relax and people-watch. For a livelier experience, Széchenyi even offers night parties known as “sparties.”
During the 16th and 17th century, this site was known for its natural healing spring. Built in 1918, the Gellért Baths is best known for its pools filled with mineral water from the Gellért Hills, the art nouveau architecture, and luxurious spa treatments. The outdoor wave pool is a popular Gellért activity during the summer days.
The Lukács Baths are heated naturally by the oldest hot springs in Hungary. It became a healing spa in the 19th century and features plaques of gratitude on the wall from guests who claim they were cured there. Lukács is frequented by locals who prefer a less touristy spa culture scene. There are four indoor baths and two outdoor baths for enjoying. There’s also mineral-rich sulfurous water available for drinking.
Rudas Baths is a Turkish bathhouse built in the 16th century during the Ottoman Empire. The bathhouse features a cold plunge pool, thermal pools, and a rooftop hot tub with a panoramic view of the city. Parts of Rudas Baths are coed on weekends with a woman-only day during the week.
Király Baths is one of the oldest thermal baths in Budapest. It was built away from its hot spring so that, in case of war, bathing could go on uninterrupted. Király Baths features four indoor pools and a wooden outdoor hot tub during the summer months.
Which bath would you soak your toes in?
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