Széchenyi Bath is a must-visit if you’re looking to recharge your batteries and enjoy the best of thermal tourism Hungary has to offer.
You just simply cannot spell Budapest without mentioning baths. Even if you’re only visiting the Hungarian capital for a few days, one of the 12 thermal baths should be on top of your must-see list. And if you have to select one from the dozen, Széchenyi Thermal Bath should probably get your vote – here’s why!
So, why are thermal baths so big in Budapest? Let’s see the numbers: there are over 1,300 hot thermal springs in the country, out of which 123 can be found in the capital alone. Today, you’ll find 12 thermal baths in Budapest, and 10 of them are fully functional. Hungarians regard soaking in a thermal bath not as an indulgence, more like a natural way of life: it has been part of their culture for hundreds of years. It had all begun back in the Roman times, but it rose to prominence again during the Ottoman era (16th-17th century). As part of their heritage, most Turkish baths (like Veli Bej, Király, and Gellért) have been preserved ever since. Many other baths were built during the 19th century for medical purposes, and this function is served to this day at every bath you visit: apart from chilling in the different pools, many visitors actually come here on their doctor’s recommendation. So, what makes Széchenyi the Queen of thermal baths?
First off, this is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Step aside, Karlovy Vary and Bath, we have a contestant no one can beat! Covering an area of over 6,000 square meters and boasting 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools, it’s no wonder Széchenyi attracts 4,5 million tourists each year. According to a rough estimate, the thermal bath has been visited by over 100 million people during its century-old history! Its two hot springs supply a staggering 6 million liters (1.6 million US gallons) of 77-degree water every single day.
The greatest thing about Széchenyi lies within its versatile pools. Would you like to relax on a cold winter day under the night sky in hot water? You got it. Or would you rather take the plunge and swim a little? Széchenyi’s 50-meter pool has got you covered. Are you looking for a classic spa experience? Immerse yourself in one of the 12 hot water pools indoors. The bath itself divides its indoor pools based on two categories: recovery and relaxation. The former includes pools with various temperatures (from 28 to 40 degrees), while the latter contains two pools that are 18 and 40 degrees. These are also known as ‘plunge’ pools, as it’s recommended that you plunge into one after the other to help your muscles relax.
Like every bath, Széchenyi also offers a wide range of extra services. If you have a medical problem, Széchenyi has a whole package dedicated to healing its visitors: from underwater jet massages through mud treatment all the way to balneological care, you’ll surely find a service that helps your body recover. See their full list medical offerings here.
As for wellness services, you can pick from a huge selection of different massages (find the comprehensive list here and here). You can also book your own exclusive spa: with a delux relaxing room, local delicacies, and entry to every section of the bath, this package gives you a luxurious experience during your stay.
Széchenyi is surprisingly cheap compared to its lesser cousins in the city. A single entry ticket costs 3,500 HUF ($12), and just a tad bit more during weekends (3,900 HUF). However, do bring your own bathing accessories (slippers, swimwear, a swimming cap if you’d like to swim, and a bathrobe), because buying those at the spot might cost you.
As you might’ve guessed, if a bath is this popular Europe-wide, you won’t have that much privacy either. Széchenyi Bath is pretty crowded throughout the year, so try to get in during weekdays or in the early hours.
Széchenyi bath is at the heart of the greenest spots in Budapest. Városliget (the City Park) is home to many iconic buildings like Vajdahunyad Vára, the Museum of Fine arts, but you can also find the City Zoo and Circus as well. And if you’d like to freshen up, you can stroll through the shades provided by the century-old oaks along Olof Palme promenade.
The easiest way to get to Széchenyi Bath is by getting on the century-old metro line 1 (yes, this was actually the first metro line on the continent) at Deák tér, and getting off at ‘Széchenyi fürdő’. From there, the entrance is just a few steps away. Alternatively, you can also get on a Hop on-Hop off service: one its stops drops you a 5-minute walk from the bath.
- Why is Széchenyi Bath famous?
- Széchenyi Bath is the largest medical bath and one of the most visited ones in Europe.
- Where is Széchenyi Bath?
- Széchenyi Bath is in Városliget (City Park) at the heart of Budapest.
- Is Széchenyi Bath expensive?
- Compared to other baths in Budapest, Széchenyi is fairly priced: a single entry ticket costs 3500 HUF.
- Is there food at Széchenyi Bath?
- Yes, there’s a canteen with snacks and sandwiches.
- Does Széchenyi Bath accept credit cards?
- Yes, it does. Széchenyi Bath also promotes cashless payment: they issue their own bath card, on which you can upload credit.
tuesday 07:00 – 20:00
wednesday 07:00 – 20:00
thursday 07:00 – 20:00
friday 07:00 – 20:00
saturday 07:00 – 20:00
sunday 09:00 – 21:00