Have you tried a wellness holiday? If not, why not try one now? If you have, why not combine your health-regaining holiday with sightseeing in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary and one of the most magnificent cities in Europe?
BUDAPEST – THE CAPITAL OF THERMAL SPAS
Budapest is one of the most interesting European cities. There are a lot of must-see sites and plenty of things to do.
Take a tour of the city’s historical attractions, shop for interesting things, try traditional delicious and spicy Hungarian food served in numerous csárdas (taverns) accompanied by excellent Hungarian wine, or taste a Zserbó Slice in the famous Café Zserbó.
And then you come to what makes Budapest really exclusive: its many spas, places to combine pleasure and healing.
HISTORY OF THE THERMAL SPAS
Although Budapest has formally been the City of Thermal Spas for 80 years, the first to enjoy these healthy waters were the Romans, 2000 years ago. The tradition declined together with the Roman Empire, but when the Ottoman Turks took control of the city in the 16th century, they revived the use of thermal springs for bathing. The baths built during the Ottoman era are still in use, some with remnants of the ancient Roman buildings. In Budapest, there are 123 natural hot springs and drilled wells delivering water non-stop at temperatures between 21 and 78o C at the enormous rate of 70 million litres a day. In one of these places, there is just the water for you!
THERMAL AND OPEN-AIR BATHS
When in Budapest, choose from these thermal and open-air baths:
Thermal baths are mostly located in the centre of the city, while outdoor baths are scattered throughout the outskirts.
WHY VISIT THE THERMAL BATHS?
There are a lot of reasons to visit Budapest’s thermal baths. Some people come just for fun – sunbathing and swimming, doing water sports and enjoying various features at special pools. Others seek relaxation – getting a massages or just sitting in the pleasant surroundings and reading a book. But the spas offer much more than that, and a lot of people come for their health. The curative effects of thermal water and the accompanying facilities give relief for troubles, and make healthy people feel better.
As your body and soul find relief in the soothing thermal waters, there is also much to stimulate your artistic side. While soaking in comforting warm water, gaze up at stained glass windows, mosaic floors, domed roofs and massive columns in Art Nouveau or Ottoman style. You might also enjoy the immaculately-built new edifices that house some thermal pools.
Typically, baths have several indoor pools, saunas, ice-cold plunge pools and massage rooms. Some have outdoor thermal pools with sprays and whirlpools. Many are open all year round, so if you are brave enough, you can enjoy outdoor pools even when the air is freezing. The water temperature never changes.
Spend some time in Budapest thermal baths and find more than a cure or a recovery from everyday stress. As you share the pools and other facilities with the local people, you learn about Budapest and Hungary in a different way.
WELLNESS – GET RID OF STRESS AND TENSION
We all know the potential dangers of continuous stress – high blood pressure, immune system issues, psychological disorders and a lot of other problems. We often underestimate relaxation as the first step to keep ourselves healthy. Budapest thermal baths offer a wide range of massage to rid you of the effects of stress and improve your overall health.
If you are not familiar with massage, start with the basic ones like aroma massage and thermal massage. The first is enhances your feeling of wellbeing with warm oil, fragrances and aromas, some which can be traced back in the Roman times. It infuses you with physical and psychological relaxation, and improves the quality of your sleep.
Thermal massage is has developed to reduce pain in the joints and the spine. The technique makes use of thermal massage creme that has been specially designed for use in Budapest spas, with high-quality ingredients obtained from the hot water springs.
For those seeking more extraordinary treatment, there are also several VIP massages.
Rosemary Wonder Massage, based on rosemary oil, protects the immune system, improves blood circulation and protects the body against the infections, but above all it has anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects to fight rheumatism.
Orange Happiness Massage, as the name says, will return joy to your life with its sweet fragrance and soft massage motions.
Elderflower Harmony Massage, especially loved by women, helps to rejuvenate the skin.
Royal Thermal Massage is a an intense therapy enhanced with thermal massage creme.
There are treatments that make use of Hungary’s Natural Treasures, like Mátra mountain herbs, wild plants with unique healing properties.
For chronic diseases of the joints and spine, gout, and sports injuries, treatment with Kolop medicinal mud is an excellent choice. The mud is excavated from the river Tisza and mixed with the thermal water, and the therapy is highly efficacious.
If none of these is your cup of tea, try the treatment with Hungarian wines and benefit from the precious antioxidants and valuable minerals found in grapes. Hungary has several outstanding grape-growing regions that produce fruit of great quality. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the astonishing red-wine bath.
Not all of these are available in all of the baths. Find more about massages at the Official Budapest Thermal Baths site and the sites of individual spas.
After years of using more and more medicaments, people are now looking for alternative ways of healing. Budapest thermal baths are undoubtedly an important stop on the health tourism route. Spare yourself the harmful side effects of drugs or complement their beneficial effects, and get long-lasting relief from your health problems.
Budapest thermal baths offer numerous treatments for specific troubles: thermal bathing, thermal tub-bath, mud treatment, underwater traction, bathing in carbonated water, medical massage, underwater water jet massage, underwater healing gymnastics in groups, and complex medicinal spa facilities. These are medical treatments usually prescribed by physicians. There are also drinking cures, salt chambers, medicament inhalation chambers and even tooth-gum showers.
Thermal baths give you relief from rheumatism, gynaecological disorders, constant stress and insomnia, upper and lower respiratory problems and gastric and renal disorders, and have excellent rehabilitative effects.
ORGANISING EVENTS AT THE SPA
If you are planning a party and you want to surprise your guests, there some of the spas in Budapest may have just what you are looking for. Have your birthday party, cocktail or dinner under ancient domes with a mosaic floor under your feet. At your request, the indoor swimming pools and lounges can be transformed into exquisite ballrooms.
At weekends, some baths are also open at night.
GOOD TO KNOW
Keep in mind that some spas are reserved for men or for women on certain days of the week, although they also have mixed days. Some are always open for both men and women. This rule is constantly changing, with most spas showing a tendency towards fewer single-sex days.
As for your spa attire, both men and women wear something even at single-sex days. Recently, visitors have started wearing bathing suits regardless of the type of group. Swimming caps are a must. You can rent them, as well as the bathing suits.
The water in the baths is not recommended for children under 14.
If you wish to bring very young children into the pools, you must guarantee that they are toilet trained!
To make most of your time in the Budapest Thermal Spas, get a Festipay card to make all of your payments. It relieves you of the need to carry money or credit cards. Just top it up with the amount of money you intend to spend. It is a waterproof, contactless-technology card that can be carried round the neck. Any money left on the card at the end of your stay is refunded.
Cabins and/or lockers are available for your clothes and personal belongings, but the arrangements vary from spa to spa.
SKIN AND HAIR PRODUCTS
There is also a range of thermal bath skin and hair products that deliver palpable benefits. Shower gel, massage cream, shampoo and handmade soap incorporate ingredients extracted from thermal water, complemented by other natural components, like herbs and oils. The shower gel, the soap and shampoo are tender an nurturing to your skin, and the massage cream also helps relieve pain.
If you have difficulty choosing a spa that is right for you, don’t worry: whichever you choose, you can’t go far wrong. They are all spotless, and the water is constantly changed.