The Széchenyi Baths are the most famous thermal baths in Budapest 👙Follow the guide !
Accommodation, flights, activities, citypass …
You’ll find all the Captain’s suggestions in the section
Captain Ulysses’ favourites at the very end of the article!
Brief history of the Széchenyi thermal baths
Budapest, an ancient thermal town
If the Széchenyi Baths are the most emblematic thermal baths in Budapest, there are plenty of other bath complexes in the Hungarian capital! Why this craze for thermal baths?
The answer is simple: the city once was under Roman rule, and then, much later, under Ottoman rule. And what do these two cultures have in common? Their love for the thermal baths, of course. The Romans and then the Ottomans found thermal springs in Budapest: a godsend!
Although they have long since left Budapest, the tradition of thermal baths has remained and is deeply rooted in Hungarian culture!
And the Széchenyi Thermal Baths?
The Széchenyi Baths, Széchenyi gyógyfürdő in Hungarian (good luck trying to pronounce that!) were built at the beginning of the 20th century.
The thermal baths were named after Hungarian politician, writer and economist István Széchenyi, nicknamed “the greatest Hungarian” for his contribution to the political and cultural life of the country.
Located in the heart of Városliget, literally the “City Park”, the Széchenyi Baths are a sumptuous example of neo-baroque architecture. Construction of the Széchenyi Baths lasted four years, from 1909 to 1913, and the thermal baths instantly attracted immense crowds. On the first year, more than 200,000 visitors came to the newly opened Széchenyi Baths. In 1919, the number of bathers was multiplied by 4.
In 1927, the thermal baths were enlarged. Today, the Széchenyi Baths include 3 outdoor pools and 18 indoor pools.
Between 1999 and 2009, the bath complex underwent extensive renovations: in ten years, the Széchenyi Thermal Baths were entirely refurbished. They are now open to both men and women, while some sections were originally reserved for men or women only, with public areas open to all.
👍 The Captain’s tips 👍
Captain Ulysses highly recommends this Budapest free tour.
You’re free to choose how much you want to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!
The water of the Széchenyi thermal baths: therapeutic virtues?
As soon as you’ll enter Széchenyi thermal baths, you’ll definitely notice a very recognizable (and slightly unpleasant) smell: sulfur, of course!
The water contains calcium carbonate, magnesium bicarbonate, chlorides, sulfates, alkalis and fluoride.
It is said to have many therapeutic virtues, including relieving joint pain, arthritis, gastritis, inflammation of all kinds or calcium insufficiency.
⚓Attention, sailors! ⚓
Want to find out more about Budapest’s top landmarks and museums? Check out the Captain’s article on the best things to do in the Hungarian capital!
Visiting the Széchenyi thermal baths
The Széchenyi Baths rank high on the list of the largest thermal baths in Europe. And it goes without saying that this immense thermal complex is absolutely gorgeous. They neo-baroque yellow buildings are incredibly picturesque!
The Széchenyi baths include a set of indoor and outdoor pools, the temperature of which varies between 18 °C / 64.4°F and 48 °C / 118.4°F, as well as hammams (moist heat) and saunas (dry heat). But the Széchenyi baths are mostly famous for their large outdoor pool.
To experience a session at the spa like a true Hungarian, Captain Ulysses recommends going from one pool to the next.
Getting to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths
The Széchenyi Thermal Baths are located in Városliget, on the eastern bank of the Danube (Pest), in the 14th district.
You’ll find a subway station and a tram station right next to the bath complex: Széchenyi Fürdő station, served by subway line 1 and tram line 72.
The hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also stop near the Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
Admission rates vary between 5,200 Ft (16 €) and 6,200 Ft (19 €) depending on the time of day and the package you choose (with or without individual cloakroom).
The thermal baths are very successful with locals and tourists alike, so you’ll have to be prepared to wait in line for a while. The Capitaine Ulysses recommends booking skip-the-line tickets in advance, especially since the price difference is really minimal. Several packages are available:
If you feel like the entrance tickets to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths are too expensive, know that there are many other thermal baths in Budapest. They might not be as grandiose, but they’re definitely cheaper and / or less crowded:
- The Gellért Baths : Skip-the-line entrance / Skip-the-line entrance + 20, 45 or 60-minute massage
- The Lukacs thermal baths: official site / the entrance is included in the Budapest Card
It goes without saying, but remember to bring your swimsuit and your towel! You can also bring a pair of flip flops: they may not be very elegant but they can come in very handy!
If you want to take a dip in the sports pool, you will also need a swimming cap. If you don’t have one, no worries: you can buy one on site.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and tours beforehand!
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation:if you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Booking. You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital. The Captain recommends in particular:
– for small budgets: Avenue Hostel
– for intermediate budgets: Hedonist Lodge, Dolce Vita Rumbach and Tempo Life Apartman
– to treat yourself: Hotel Moments Budapest
🎟️ Activities:As for booking visits and tourist activities, Captain Ulysses recommends three websites: GetYourGuide, Tiqets and Civitatis. Guided tours, cruises, skip-the-line tickets, tourist activities… there’s plenty to choose from!
🎫 Citypass: If you are staying in Budapest for several days, you might want to consider investing in the Budapest Card. It includes free public transport, free entrance to the Lukacs Spa, two guided tours, free entrance to 17 museums, as well as numerous discounts.
🚐 Transfers: Budapest airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city. If you want to take a load off your mind, you can book a private transfer into Budapest’s city centre from the airport. A car will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in the city. Find out more: shared transfer or private transfer.
🚌Transport in Budapest:Budapest’s public transport system is well-developped and quite easy to navigate: metro, bus, tram and even ferry. If you wish, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Budapest (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.
✈️ Flights:Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.
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