Széchenyi Thermal Baths

This was on the top of my list of things to do in Budapest thanks to Rick Steves. Bathing with 500 of your neighboring tourists might not be for everyone but it was one of my favorite experiences in Europe so far. Sure it’s great to see the thousands of cathedrals in Europe, but to have an unforgettable experience is something else. It’s these kind of adventures that I look for when I book a trip.

A bit of history on the Széchenyi baths. The palace was built between 1909-1913. They drilled into the earth to access the hot springs below Budapest. The city Budapest literally means water. The baths began expansion during 1920’s to include an outdoor pool. There are now around 20 different pools of varying temperatures, both indoor and outdoor. They are now co-ed, where some of the other bath-houses in Budapest are strictly male or female only.

My tips:

  1. Book online. This will save you a lot of time in lines and you can skip all the lines and walk right in.
  2. Upgrade to a cabin instead of a locker. A cabin is your personal changing room and you keep your belongings in there. You will receive a wristband upon entry that is your electronic key to the cabin. The cabin will only open when you put your wristband next to the scanner.
  3. Bring your own towel, flip flops, and extra plastic bag for wet suit and towel. You would think this is common sense, but I saw too many people paying around 15€ for a towel rental. Save your money for a nice refreshing beer
  4. Walk around to all the different pools both inside and outside. On a chilly day, I spent a good amount of time in the indoor pools but it was refreshing to get some fresh air in the outdoor pools. They also have a sauna, but I walked in and walked right out. I don’t think humans should be able to tolerate 140°F.
  5. Treat yo self. Get a massage. They have two different levels (aroma massage or deep tissue massage) and multiple different time increments. 20 minutes in heaven! I was also able to book this and choose a time slot online before I even arrived to Budapest.

This is such a relaxing and must-do on your Budapest list. You can spend as long as you want there during the day. But no entry and re-entry, be warned. It was the perfect way to unwind from two hectic days of touring and sightseeing and prepare for a crazy few days ahead. Just relax and enjoy.


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