Budapest’s Best Outdoor Baths
The finest places to relax in the City of Spas
On the banks of the river Danube, sitting on a network of natural thermal springs, Budapest and its hot baths are a great mid-winter escape: from the greys and from the cold. Famed for their stunning architecture and healing powers, the Roman Baths in Budapest offer a rich variety of pools, saunas and spas, each one offering its own unique twist on this ancient, luxurious custom.
Gellért Thermal Baths and Swimming Pool
With its extravagant art nouveau design, and gold and turquoise furnishings, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more lavish hot bath than the Gellért Spa. Built as part of the famous Hotel Gellért between 1912 and 1918, the Gellért Thermal Baths comprise eight indoor, and two outdoor geothermal pools, surrounded by ornate mosaics and carved marble columns. To get away from the crowds, the Gellért also offers private couples baths (with a bottle of sparkling wine) and indulgent spa treatments.
The Széchenyi Baths is one of Europe’s largest bathhouses, and with 18 geothermal pools, ten saunas and an eco-friendly ‘Palm House,’ you could spend a whole day pool-hopping to find the one that’s just right. Being one of the busiest bathhouses in Europe, it can get pretty busy at peak times, so we recommend a late evening visit, especially if you’re visiting with a special someone: Go for a sunset dip in one of Széchenyi’s three outdoor pools for a truly romantic – and healing – experience.
Rudas Thermal Baths
Of all the pools and baths in Budapest, the Rudas Thermal Bath is arguably the most opulent. Dating back to the 16th century, the Rudas is an exquisite example of Ottoman style meeting modern influences. Centrepiece of the baths is the expansive octagonal pool, housed beneath a dome studded with small, circular fragments of stained glass. Not content with one gorgeous setting, The Rudas also has an impressive rooftop pool, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the city as you soak. In keeping with its ancient heritage and traditions, The Rudas is one of the few baths in Budapest that segregates genders: on Tuesdays the baths are women-only; for the rest of the working week it’s men only. On weekends the baths are open to all.
Now part of the Csázár Hotel, much of the Csázár Baths’ original stonework dates back to the 16th century – when it was called Veli Bej – making it one of the oldest in Budapest. This is thanks, in large part, to the team of archaeologists and art historians who oversaw the bath’s recent restoration. The Csázár has become one of the most sophisticated bath complexes in the city, yet has remained off the radar for most tourists. In addition to four thermal pools, a swimming pool, both Finnish and infrared saunas, steam baths and a Jacuzzi, the Csázár is renowned for its spectacular octagonal pool which sits beneath a remarkable Turkish dome.