Budapest travel's quick Budapest bath and spa guide
Missing out on the baths of Budapest is like not visiting the Eiffel tower while in Paris. The only difference is that while one usually visits the Eiffel tower only once, the spas and adventures in Budapest will probably keep you coming back for years to come. Budapest is one of the richest cities in the world in terms of thermal and spa waters. Parts of the hot springs of the Buda side can date back to the Celts and the Romans. The name Aquincum itself (Ak-Ink – rich in waters) refers to the springs: archeological digs have uncovered 14 spas…
Rudas bath's main pool
The hot waters of Budapest are of karstic origins. Because of the unique geological circumstances, thermal springs from the deeper layers of earth mix with the karst waters. INTERESTING FACT: in total there are 130 hot springs within the boundaries of the capital. The springs provide 30 million litres of warm, and 40 millions of hot water daily, with temperatures between 22 and 76 °C. According to their chemical classification, the Budapest springs belong to the group of hydrogen carbonate waters, which occasionally contain sulphuric compounds and absorbed radioactive materials.
Baths in Budapest
The 150-year Ottoman rule left its mark in the bathing
culture – with real Hamams being
found in the pools of which Ottoman pashas
and bashas (high-ranking leaders)
used to bathe. From this period we have the Császár, the Király, the Rác and
the Rudas baths (latter is open only for men on certain days). The number of
baths increased again in the middle of the 19th century. In 1934 Budapest
officially received the title of “Bathing City” and in 1937, the First
International Bathing Management Congress was held there, officially declaring
Budapest an international medicinal bathing area. During the second wave of
bath constructions in Budapest, beautiful secessionist and romantic buildings
such as the Gellért Bath, the Széchenyi, or the small, Bauhaus-styled jewel,
the Dandár were built.
Many Budapest hotels have their own thermal baths. The most well-known is the aforementioned Gellért Hotel, but the list includes the renowned Grand Hotel on the island Margitsziget, Hotel Aquincum, or the only Pest-side health resort, the Helia. Lately, a number of complaints have been made about the rooms of hotel Gellért, however, the rest of the hotels offer true first class services.
Baths in general
In the medicinal baths we mostly find pools with different temperatures, hot air and steam chambers. Facilities include a large, quiet room with beds for resting, and a number of separate rooms for healthcare.
Gellért hotel and spa
Bathing, in all cases, is a ritual. Make sure you give it the time it needs. Relax your muscles, and immerse yourself in this century-long tradition.
Bathing time should be 20 minutes. It is best if the parts of the body above heart level do not go underwater. After bathing, wrap up in in a bathrobe or in a large towel without drying yourself, then get in a bed and stay covered up to the neck for 1 hour. If you choose to sit bathing, use up half the time as above, and make sure the kidney area gets underwater.
Steam baths are 35-40 °C chambers with high humidity levels. During steam bathing a comprehensive cleansing of the skin and sweat glands takes place, there is an increase in blood pressure, furthermore, steam also loosens secretions and can stimulate discharge of mucous from the lungs and throat.
In the steam bath, perspiration is increased very quickly, and because of the hot air, it can not evaporate, thus creating heat congestion. Since this is highly strenuous for the heart and the blood circulation, even the completely healthy visitors are allowed only 10-15 minutes inside, while people with health problems can visit only on doctor’s orders. After the steam bath, your body has to be cooled down gradually, first in warm, then in colder water, followed by at least 30 minutes of rest.
The temperature in
the hot bath chamber is 60-80 °C, but
its air is dry, less humid, so the perspiration can evaporate properly. It can
be used to keep healthy people in shape, or to decrease the weight of
Our favourite 10 steps in the bath
2. Relaxing in a warm pool
3. Cold pool
4. Steam bath
5. Ice cold pool
6. Steam bath
7. Ice cold pool
8. Pools with different water temperatures
and relax wrapped up in a beach towel
- Keep your voice low.
- Only swim in designated pools (Swimming in warm water is unhealthy!)
- Don’t jump into the pool, no handstands in the pool either.
- Don’t bring any toys, balls, newspapers, food, or anything fragile to the bathing area.
- Give way to people coming out from the steam chamber.
- At the relaxing rooms, just be quiet and relax.
- In the Turkish baths (on single-sex days), you get a privacy cloth along with the beach towel, it might look strange, but it’s worth using it.
The medicinal waters are not only used for bathing, but also for water cure purposes. Springs at the Lukács or the Rudas bath are especially suitable for this purpose. The water cure is advised if you suffer from arthritis, spine diseases, disk problems, stenosis, circulation problems, asthma, or chronic bronchitis. The medicinal vapours of the water are inhaled leading to many health benefits.
While bathing, keep in mind:
- Don’t bathe on an empty stomach, nor with a full one, or immediately after consuming alcohol.
- After taking a hot bath, a steam bath or using the sauna, don’t leave the place with a heated body, make sure your body cools down gradually.
- Bathing for more than 40 minutes in the hot water pools is not advised. In most baths, there is a warning sign with the suggested time spans.
- Bathing should be followed by a rest.
- The steam chamber strains the heart, so its usage is advised only to healthy visitors.
- In the sauna or the steam chamber you shold not spend more than 15 minutes. On one occasion, you should visit these 3 times, however, a round should not take more than 30 minutes.
- The sauna and the steam chamber should only be visited 2-3 times a week.
- Stepping out of the sauna or the steam chamber, as you get in the cool water pool, you can experience dizziness or nausea – after getting out of the pool, it is advised to take a short break before going back into the sauna.
You should not visit the bath if you have (or you are in):
- fever, cold or flu
- involuntary urination or defecation problems
- infectuous diseases
- menses, pregnancy
- heart and circulation problems, high blood pressure
- virulent phase of locomotor diseases
- reuma with inflammation symptoms
- virulent phase of certain diseases (tonsillitis, any kind of gastro enteritis)
- tumour diseases
- bad overall health condition
- certain muscular or cutaneous diseases
If you have some sort of illness, or you are just not sure whether you can visit the bath, make sure to consult your doctor.
The budapest.travel team wishes you a pleasant stay in our baths in Budapest!