The Best Thermal Baths in Budapest (2020)

Budapest, Hungary is a charming and cool city that’s located in Eastern Europe. The architecture in Budapest is a mixture of both old and new designs. Much of the city was built in the 16th century and parts of it still look the same as it did during the middle ages. Candidly, I wasn’t that excited before I went to Budapest because I didn’t know much about the city before I went. After a few days in Budapest, it quickly became one of my favorite cities in the world. 
 
My favorite thing about Budapest is its plethora of thermal baths. There are so many thermal baths in Budapest that it’s been dubbed ‘the city of spas’ by many travel guides. Budapest sits on a total of 123 thermal springs that pump out natural mineral-rich water. The thermal waters were first documented by the Romans in the 2nd century. The now-famous “bath culture” began to flourish in the 16th century when the Turkish occupied Hungary—thus the name, “Turkish baths.”
 
Thermal baths are a staple of Hungarian culture and going to them is something that Hungarian’s do often. A few Hungarian’s that I spoke with told me that they like to go to thermal baths at least once a week. I spent about a month in Budapest and went to all of the popular thermal baths while I was there—it was a unique, relaxing, and affordable experience.

Here are some tips to help maximize your experience at the thermal baths in Budapest:

Budapest Bath Hallway
There are a few things that visitors should keep in mind when visiting the thermal baths in Budapest.
  • Certain baths offer discounts during specific hours/days. Look at their website to see if/when they offer discounted tickets to save some money.

  • Sometimes, a bath will give you a partial refund if you don’t use the entire time allocated on your ticket purchase. This is not advertised or automatic, so you’ll have to ask the bath employees for this, and it’s not always guaranteed that they’ll say, ‘yes.’

  • Bring a bathing suit, flip flops, and towel. A swimming cap is required in all baths if you want to use the swimming pool. Locker/lock will be provided to you there.

  • The best time to visit baths are usually on weekdays; admission is usually slightly lower and the baths are far less crowded during this time.

  • For more popular baths such as Széchenyi and Gellert, it’s suggested that you arrive as soon as the baths open in the morning to avoid the crowd.

List of the Best Thermal Baths in Budapest, Ranked:

Here’s a list of the best thermal baths in Budapest, ranked. I prefer places that are less touristic and have a local feel, which is what you’ll see represented on this list. The two most popular baths for tourists are Széchenyi and Gellert—they’re both very cool but not at the top of my list because they were super crowded and overridden by tourists when I went, which is not a combination that I enjoy. 

Disclaimer: Hours of operation, fees, and safety regulations may vary due to COVID-19. Spas might even be closed due to COVID-19. Contact the spa directly for information. 

#1: Rudas Baths

In my opinion, Rudas is the best thermal bath in Budapest. It was built in the middle ages, during Ottoman rule in Budapest, and much of its ancient architecture still remains intact. It’s been renovated since it was first built and now includes some modern enhancements—including a sky terrace that visitors can relax on. The bath offers great views, including a view of the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge and the surrounding parts of the city. 

Rudas Baths are more than just thermal waters, they do a great job of building a sense of community. The bath has a “drinking hall” where visitors can buy naturally curative beverages that are made of mineral water from the spa’s natural springs. Many guests often linger in the hall or bring their drinks up to the sky lounge to drink & chill while taking in the view.
 
# of Pools on property:
  • 6 therapy pools
  • 1 swimming pool 

When is Rudas Bath open, and for who?
  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: only open for men.
  • Tuesdays: open for women-only.
  • Weekends: open for everyone. 

Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Location of Rudas Bath:

1013 Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9.

#2: Lukács Baths

Lukács Baths​ in Budapest
Lukács Baths rank high on my list for a few reasons:
  • The crowd is mostly local
  • It was rarely overcrowded
  • It’s clean (I saw cleaning staff frequent the baths every hour)
  • It felt like I was bathing in a medieval castle while I was there because of the architecture
Lukács Bath is simple and great, it doesn’t try hard to impress. Lukács Bath is not as popular among tourists as some of the other baths on this list. I think that its lack of popularity amongst tourists is because it’s far away from the area that most tourists stay in. For reference: most tourists stay in the 5th district of Budapest which is on the ‘Pest’ side and located near the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
 
# of pools on property & other amenities:
  • 4 indoor baths
  • 2 outdoor baths 
There’s also a sun terrace that visitors can sunbathe on during the summer months and sauna’s that guests can use (and are never crowded). 
 
When are Lukács Baths open, and for who?
  • Lukács Baths are open seven days a week for both males and females.
     
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Location of Lukács Baths:

Budapest, Frankel Leó út 25-29, 1023 Hungary

#3: Király Baths

Kiraly Baths Budapest
Just like many of the other popular thermal baths in Budapest, Király Baths were first built in the 16th century during the Ottoman rule of Hungary. Even though the baths have been renovated since they were first built, much of the original architecture remains intact, which creates a charming experience. Király Baths are a secret hot spot in Budapest because not many tourists know about it.
 
# of pools on property & other amenities:
  • 1 large pool
  • 3 smaller thermal pools
  • 1 small outdoor jacuzzi that’s open during the summer months
 
When are Király Baths open and to who?
  • Király Baths are open seven days a week and are co-ed every day
 
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 

Location of Király Baths:

Budapest, Fő u. 84, 1027 Hungary

#4: Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Thermal Baths Budapest
Széchenyi Baths are one of the topmost frequented spots by tourists in Budapest. The architecture of the bath is very Instagram-worthy and beautiful. It’s the largest medicinal pool in Europe and that fact alone makes the bath worthy of a visit. I ranked this bath a little lower on the list because it can often be very crowded and it seemed that the bath is more invested in attracting tourists, rather than ensuring that its guests have a relaxing time.  
 
# of pools on property & other amenities:
  • 15 indoor pools
  • 3 large outdoor pools
When are Széchenyi baths open and to who?
The Széchenyi baths are co-ed and open seven days a week. It’s advised to go as early as possible to avoid the crowd. 
 
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Bonus: Sparty at  Széchenyi Baths!
 
What I like the most about Széchenyi Baths is its Sparty. Sparty is a wild party that takes place during after-hours at Széchenyi on weekends. Sparty features an open bar and night-club esque entertainment such as: flame throwers, dancers, and more. I’m not much of a club-goer and was hesitant about going to Sparty but I enjoyed it because it was a unique experience. Sparty turns the thermal bath experience into a rave. 
 
 
Location of Széchenyi Baths:
 
Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary

#5: Gellert Thermal Bath

Gellert Thermal Bath in Budapest
Gellert Thermal Bath is Budapest’s second most popular bath for tourists, after Széchenyi Baths. Gellert Thermal Bath is associated with Hotel Gellért, which is next to the baths. Gellert Thermal Bath is one of the most Instagrammed attractions in Budapest. Tourists like to take pictures of the Baths, especially of its ceramic tiled walls and photogenic Medieval columns. 
 
Another great thing about this spa is its location, it’s located across the iconic Liberty Bridge. Liberty bridge crosses the Danube River and connects the “Buda” side of Budapest to the “Pest” side. Walking across the bridge is a popular tourist activity and many tourists like to visit Gellert Thermal Bath when they do. Gellert Bath is about a five-minute walk from the bridge’s exit on the “Buda” side of Budapest.
 
# of pools on property & other amenities:
  • 8 indoor pools
  • 2 outdoor pools 
When are Gellert Baths open and to who?
The spa is co-ed and is open seven days a week.
 
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Location of Gellert Baths:
 
Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary

#6: Veli Bej Baths (at Hotel Császár Budapest)

Veli Bej Baths
Veli Bej Baths are located inside the Hotel Császár Budapest. The baths are a “secret spot” in Budapest and are far less overrun by tourists than the big bath giants: Gellert & Széchenyi. The baths are located on the “Buda” side of Budapest and are a little off of the beaten path for tourists. 
 
Veli Bej Baths are non-profit, which makes it a cheaper option than others in Budapest. Check the website listed below for more information about the exact pricing.
 
# of pools on property & other amenities:
  • 5 thermal baths
  • 1 sauna
  • 1 steam room
  • 1 therapy pool
 
When are Veli Bej Baths open and to who?
Veli Bej Baths are co-ed and are open seven days a week. 
 
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Location of Veli Bej Baths:

1023 Budapest Frankel Leó u. 35.

#7: Dandár Baths

Dandar Bath in Budapest
Dandár bath was built in the 1930’s and is located inside of a cool, art-deco building that has since been restored but still maintains its original design. The visitors in the bath are mostly local, as very few tourists are aware that it exists. This bath is the perfect choice for visitors that don’t like crowds. 
 
# of pools on property & other amenities:
  • 3 indoor pools
  • 2 outdoor pools 
 
When are Dandár Baths open and to who?
Dandár bath is co-ed and open seven days a week. 
 
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Location of Dandár Barhs:
 
Budapest, Dandár u. 7, 1095 Hungary

#8: Palatinus Baths

Palatinus Bath BudapestPalatinus Bath Budapest
The Platinus Baths are located on Margaret Island in Budapest and became Budapest’s first outdoor bath when it opened in 1919. The baths feature a dozen pools that include giant slides, a wave pool, hot baths, thermal baths, and saunas. The Palatinus Baths are a great place to bring children if you travel with kids to Budapest. Adults can have a great time here, as well. 
 
Because the complex is located outdoors, it’s only open during the Summer months: from June to mid-September. 
 
Check out their website for exact hours, packages & pricing:
 
 
Location of Platinus Baths:

Budapest, Soó Rezső stny. 1, 1003 Hungary

Enjoy your time at some of the best Thermal Baths in Budapest!

Whether you’ve got a trip to Budapest planned or you’re reading this article in an attempt to quench your wanderlust, I hope you found this guide useful. Going to the thermal baths in Budapest has been one of the best activities that I’ve ever participated in and if you’re going to Budapest then I hope that it will be for you, too! 

Drop a comment below to let me know your thoughts.

Photo Cred: 4, 789

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Bliss

    When I went to Budapest they’d closed the baths due to Covid! I’d love to go back and try them.

    1. Jess

      That’s too bad, I do believe that they’re all still closed, unfortunately. Hopefully, you get to try them whenever you go back.

  2. Mayuri

    Ahh! I miss Budapest. I’m surely going to check out some of the baths you mentioned here, I have only been to the first 2. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Jess

      anytime, thanks for the comment and glad it was helpful!

  3. Krista

    The thermal baths are one thing in Budapest I didn’t have time to do and they look great!

  4. Katy

    I actually had no idea about this! They look so amazing and this is a really great guide. Saving this one!

  5. SHANY

    Wow! This looks incredible! I honestly can’t decide which is my favorite. Thanks for putting together this great guide 🙂

  6. Arielle Kurtze

    This is such a cool idea! I love the photos and now I can’t decide which ones I might like best. Just means we’ll have to check out them all! We’ve never been to Hungary but it’s definitely on our bucket list. Great post and thanks for sharing!

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