Take a dip in Budapest’s famous baths and pools

Located in City Park in District XIV on the Pest side of Budapest, Széchenyi Bath & Spa is a massive aquatic complex with 18 thermal baths and swimming pools. One of the largest bathing complexes in Europe, the Széchenyi medicinal bath dates back to 1881 and became a permanent structure in 1913. The swimming pools were added in 1927. Harking back to the bathing culture of the 19th centuries, a dip in a thermal bath is a must-do in Budapest.

Rendered in stunning Neo-Baroque style, the 3 open-air and 15 indoor public pools of Széchenyi are open all year round. The thermal baths draw their water from two deep wellsprings that heat the water to 38 degrees Celsius. The minerals in the water are said to have therapeutic qualities for a range of conditions including arthritis and stomach ulcers. There’s also massaging, whirlpool and water streaming available within the pools, while the complex contains a fitness centre and daytime hospital. Expansions in 1960 and again in 1999 mean this yellow architectural and bathing attraction has modern elements meshing with the traditional pastime. Try a thermal bath followed by an invigorating dip in a cool plunge pool for the ultimate bracing bathing experience.

So, what’s the bathing etiquette here? You can opt for a locker or cabin to change in (swimsuits and swim caps please) and stow your stuff with safe boxes, bathrobes and towels available for hire. Széchenyi Spa is open to both men and women at all times, and a curious tradition is local men playing chess while chest-deep in thermal waters!

In summer, you can also check out the Szecska Saturday night pool parties with live music that run from 10pm to 3am. To get here, the closest metro station is Széchenyi Fürdo.

Állatkerti körut 11, XIV, Pest, Budapest, Hungary, Europe.

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