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8 Best Thermal Baths in Budapest in 2023 (Local's Guide)

Last updated: Aug 10, 2023

Portrait of Adam Dimitrov.

Author: Adam Dimitrov — Budapester, Hungarian & City Expert/Guide

If you're planning a trip to Budapest, you'll definitely want to make time to visit one of the city's amazing thermal baths.

They're not just a great place to relax, but also a cultural experience that you don't want to miss.

I've researched and visited many of the baths in this guide, and put together a list of the eight best thermal baths and spas to visit in 2023 to help you decide which one would be right for you.

Certainly some thermal baths are more luxurious, expensive and/or touristy than others, so I made sure to highlight different aspects of each bath.

Disclaimer: This website uses affiliate links. I get paid a small commission if you purchase anything through my links. It costs you nothing and makes my job of creating high quality articles financially sustainable. Cheers!

Map — Budapest Thermal Baths

Why Visit a Thermal Bath in Budapest?

Relaxation and rejuvenation

Visiting a thermal spa in Budapest is an excellent way to unwind and relax after (or before!) a long day of sightseeing.

The warm waters, saunas, and massage services offered at the baths provide the perfect environment for relaxing your body and mind.

Cultural experience

Thermal spas have been a part of Hungarian culture for centuries, and visiting one is a great way to experience a unique aspect of the local culture.

Each spa has its unique history, architecture, and atmosphere, making it a memorable experience.

Indeed, Hungarians generally don't visit the most famous thermal baths often (like Széchenyi or Gellért) - likely due to the high entrance fees. However, don't let this deter you —  the "touristy" baths are a visit-worthy too, even if you go just once.

Health benefits

Although the science is inconclusive, thermal spas are sought for their therapeutic properties, which can help with everything from muscle pain and stiffness to stress and tension.

The warm, mineral-rich waters in the thermal baths have been used for centuries to improve health and wellness. Additionally, many spas offer additional treatments and therapies like massage, hydrotherapy, and sauna that can positively impact overall well-being.

1. Széchenyi Thermal Baths

4.0/5 +33.000 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.4/5 +42.000 reviews (Google)

Visiting Széchenyi Thermal Baths

Széchenyi is the #1 most visited thermal bath in Budapest. The popularity is well-deserved, but the flip side is that you can't have the place all for yourself.

Yes, many people do visit here, but Széchenyi's guest capacity is high - they receive almost 2 million visitors annually.

Ever been to a fifty-meter-long sauna? 🙂

The best advice I can give to avoid the crowds is arrive early (7-10am), come on weekdays and outside of peak season.

Location

  • The quickest and most convenient way to reach Széchenyi Baths is by taking Metro 1.
  • Upon arrival, it only takes a brief 2-minute walk to reach the entrance.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • Buying tickets in person is fine, no need to book online. Queues are managable and tickets don't run out (unlike in the Parliament).
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Online Tickets

  • You can also buy tickets online directly or on other platforms. Third-party platforms do tend to be pricier than purchasing direct.
  • Upon entry, you can validate online tickets at the self-service machine.

Cabins

  • Private dressing cabins are available for 1000HUF, but they aren't mandatory.

Lockers

  • If you buy a regular ticket without the cabin add-on, you will have access to a regular lockers.

Outdoor Pools

  • There are three outdoor pools available. One of them is a colder lap swimming pool (26°C) which requires mandatory caps, while the other two are warm thermal pools (38°C).
  • The warm pool with the famous whirlpool is a lot of fun to enjoy.

Indoor Pools

  • There are 15 indoor medical, leisure, and plunge pools available, each with different temperatures (18-40°C).

Saunas & Steam Rooms

  • There are six types of saunas (55-100°C) and steam rooms (45-55°C) available, including Finnish, Volcanic, Aroma Sauna, Wet Steam Room, Salt Inhalation Room, and Thermal Cascade Hot Air Chamber.
  • Scheduled sauna sessions are offered for convenience.
💡 These might also interest you: Get a Széchenyi bath ticket with Pálinka Tour, soak in a tub of beer at the Beer Spa (with full day bath ticket) or try out the (in)famous Sparty, held every week on Saturday.

Quick Info — Széchenyi Thermal Baths

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 90-10%
  • Price: 9400HUF (Mon-Thu), 10.900HUF (Fri-Sun and holidays)
  • Opening hours: 7 am - 7 pm (Mon-Fri), 9 am - 8 pm (Sat-Sun)
  • Location: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary (map)
  • Website: Szechenyifurdo.hu
  • Facilities: 18 pools (3 outdoors, 15 indoors), saunas, steam rooms (details)
  • Virtual tour: Available

2. Gellért Thermal Baths

3.5/5 +11.000 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.3/5 +20.000 reviews (Google)

Visiting Gellért Thermal Baths

Gellért is the #2 most popular thermal bath in Budapest, located in the Gellért Hotel on the Buda side of the city.

It was built in 1918 and features Art Nouveau architecture and design, with mosaics, statues, and frescoes adorning the interior — perfect for photo shoots. It's not far from the Central Market Hall and Gellért Hill, and it's easily approachable via the 47/49 tram or metro 4.

The bath has many indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, and steam rooms. Don't forget to bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you, like in Széchenyi. Swimming caps are only required for the main swimming pool.

Location

  • The quickest and most convenient way to reach Gellért Baths is by taking Metro 4 or Tram 47/49.
  • Upon arrival, it only takes a brief 2-minute walk to reach the entrance.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • It is perfectly acceptable to purchase tickets in person, without the need to book online. The queues are easily manageable and tickets are unlikely to run out.
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Online Tickets

  • You can also buy tickets online directly or on other platforms. Third-party platforms do tend to be pricier than purchasing direct.
  • Upon entry, you can validate online tickets at the self-service machine.

Cabins

  • Private dressing cabins are available for 1000HUF, but they aren't mandatory.

Lockers

  • If you buy a regular ticket without the cabin add-on, you will have access to a regular lockers.

Outdoor Pools

  • Two outdoor pools are available — a sitting thermal pool (36-38°C) for relaxation and a thrilling wave pool (26°C).
  • According to their website, the wave pool currently doesn't produce waves.

Indoor Pools

  • There are 10 indoor pools available, including medical, leisure, and plunge pools, each with different temperatures (18-40°C).

Saunas & Steam Rooms

  • There are five saunas with temperatures ranging from 50 to 80°C, as well as two steam rooms with a temperature of 43°C.

Images credit: gellertfurdo.hu

Quick Tips — Gellért Thermal Baths

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 90-10%
  • Price: 9.400HUF (Mon-Thu), 10.900HUF (Fri-Sun)
  • Opening hours: 7 AM - 7 PM (Mon-Sun)
  • Location: Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary (map)
  • Website: Gellertfurdo.hu
  • Facilities: 12 pools (2 outdoors, 10 indoors), saunas, steam rooms
  • Virtual tour: Available

3. Rudas Thermal Baths

4.0/5 +3.000 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.4/5 +10.000 reviews (Google)

Visiting Rudas Thermal Baths

What's unique about Rudas bath is its out rooftop hot tub that overlooks the Danube and the Gellért Hill. It sure is lovely to soak in the warm pool in the grim winter months.

The other unique section is the Turkish bath area, originally built by an Ottoman pasha named Sokollu Mustafa in the 16th century. This section has intricate gender rules for visiting — see the timetable below for the exact time and date each gender can visit.

If you want to make your visit even more unique, try the nighttime bathing every Friday and Saturday night (10 pm - 3 am).

Children under the age of 14 are prohibited from using this thermal bath.

💡 These might also interest you: Book the Rudas Spa Wellness and Dining Experience.

Location

  • If you want to get to Rudas baths, you can take the 107/7 bus which will drop you off right beside it.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • Buying tickets in person is fine, no need to book online. Queues are managable and tickets don't run out.
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Online Tickets

  • You can also buy tickets online directly or on other platforms. Third-party platforms do tend to be pricier than purchasing direct.
  • Upon entry, you can validate online tickets at the self-service machine.

Cabins

  • Private dressing cabins are available for 1000HUF, but they aren't mandatory.

Lockers

  • If you buy a regular ticket without the cabin add-on, you will have access to a regular lockers.

Outdoor Pools

  • Rudas has an Instagram-worthy warm panorama pool (36°C) with a stunning city view. Perfect for a cozy experience, especially when it's raining or snowing.

Indoor Pools

  • The wellness section has 6 indoor medical, leisure, and plunge pools available, each with different temperatures (11-42°C).
  • The Turkish bath area boasts six distinct steam pools with temperatures ranging from 14 to 42 degrees Celsius, perfect for unwinding and de-stressing.

Saunas & Steam Rooms

  • There are several types of saunas and steam rooms to choose from, which include 2 Finnish saunas, 1 bio sauna, 3 wet steam rooms, and 4 thermal cascade hot air chambers.

Spring Water (Potable)

Images credit: www.rudasfurdo.hu

Quick Tips — Rudas Thermal Baths

  • Coed: Varies based on date and time (check timetable)
  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 75-25%
  • Price: 8.600HUF (Mon-Fri), 12.200HUF (Sat-Sun), night baths 12.600HUF (Fri-Sat)
  • Opening hours: 6 am - 8 pm (Mon-Fri), night baths 10 pm - 3 am (Fri-Sat)
  • Location: Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9, 1013 Hungary (map)
  • Website: rudasfurdo.hu
  • Facilities: 12 pools (1 outdoors, 11 indoors), saunas, steam rooms
  • Virtual tour: Available

4. Palatinus Thermal Baths

4.5/5 +500 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.6/5 +2.000 reviews (Google)

Visiting Palatinus Thermal Baths

Palatinus has the vibes of a beach more so than a thermal bath, yet the waters are the same as in Széchenyi.

It's located on Margaret Island, where one could spend a whole day exploring nature.

Loved by locals and tourists alike, you can have a great time here, especially in the summer.

Location

  • A fast and easy way to reach Palatinus Baths is taking Bus 26, which will take you to Margaret Island and drop youoff in front of the entrance to Palatinus Baths.

Tickets

  • It's okay to purchase tickets in person there's no need to book them online. An adult ticket will run you 4400-4900 HUF.
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Online Tickets

  • You can also buy tickets online directly or on other platforms. Third-party platforms do tend to be pricier than purchasing direct.
  • Upon entry, you can validate online tickets at the self-service machine.

Lockers

  • The adult tickets provide access to standard lockers which I found to be quite small, so it's advisable not to pack too many things.

Cabins

  • Free changing cabins are available or you can purchase a private cabin add-on for 1000HUF.

Wave Pool

  • There is a wave pool that gets activated every 30-60 minutes and it's a fun experience to try. However, it tends to get crowded.

Kiddo Pool

  • There is a shallow and safe pool that is perfect for keeping infants entertained and occupied.

Adventure Pool

  • The adventure pools feature a whirlpool, similar to the one at Széchenyi, as well as bubble baths and water sprays.

Lap Pool

  • If you're interested in practicing your swimming skills, Palatinus has a lap swimming pool available.

Thermal Pool

  • Palatinus features a "thermal pool", although technically all pools are thermal pools. This particular pool provides a more tranquil atmosphere without any extra features, making it ideal for relaxation and unwinding.

Waterslides

  • Palatinus offers a range of water slides that are loads of fun. The lines for certain slides were long, but that's unavoidable in the summer.

Indoor Pools

(Source: palatinusstrand.hu)
  • There are 4 indoor pools available. Unfortunately, I was not aware of the indoor pools, so I have not had the opportunity to try them out myself.

Restaurants

  • The restaurants inside offer a variety of food options ranging from langos to hamburgers and cocktails.
  • However, I found them to be quite expensive. With the same amount of money, one could dine at a mid-range restaurant in the city.

Quick Tips — Palatinus Bath

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 50-50%
  • Price: 4.400HUF (Mon-Fri), 4.900HUF (Sat-Sun)
  • Opening hours: 9 am - 7 pm (Mon-Sun)
  • Location: Budapest, Soó Rezső stny. 1, 1003 Hungary (map)
  • Website: Palatinusstrand.hu
  • Facilities: 14 pools (10 outdoors, 4 indoors), saunas, steam rooms
  • Virtual tour: Available

5. Lukács Thermal Baths

4.0/5 +1.000 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.4/5 +7.500 reviews (Google)

Visiting the Lukács Thermal Baths

The history of Lukács bath dates back to the 12th century when knights of the order of Saint John and other Catholic orders settled near the thermal springs to cure the sick.

It was bought and renovated at the end of the 19th century by Fülöp Palotay.

This bath is often frequented by locals and tourists alike due to the alleged health benefits of the thermal water. The bath is more contemporary and functional in design than others and have several pools, saunas, and steam rooms perfect for 3-4 hours of simple relaxation.

Location

  • The Lukács Baths are located on the Buda side of the city, a little far from the center. To reach there via public transport, take Metro 2 until Batthányi Tér and then board Tram 41/19 until the Szent Lukács Gyógyfürdő stop.
  • Veli Bej Bath is also in the area, so be sure not to mix it up with Lukács.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • Buying tickets in person is fine, no need to book online. Queues are managable and tickets don't run out.
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Online Tickets

  • You can also buy tickets online directly or on other platforms. Third-party platforms do tend to be pricier than purchasing direct.
  • Upon entry, you can validate online tickets at the self-service machine.

Cabins

  • Private dressing cabins are available for 1000HUF, but they aren't mandatory.

Lockers

  • If you buy a regular ticket without the cabin add-on, you will have access to a regular lockers.

Outdoor Pools

  • Three outdoor pools are available — two are cold water swimming pools (22-26°C) and one is a relaxing warm thermal bath (32-33°C).

Indoor Pools

  • There are 10 indoor pools available, including medical, leisure, and plunge pools, each with different temperatures (19-40°C).

Saunas & Steam Rooms

  • The facility has four saunas: Finnish, Infra, Naturist, and Salt Room. Temperature ranges from 30 to 80°C. There's also an aroma steam room at 40-50°C.
💡 These might also interest you:

Quick Tips — Lukács Thermal Baths

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 50-50%
  • Price: 4.400HUF (Mon-Fri), 4.800HUF (Sat-Sun)
  • Opening hours: 7 am - 7 pm (Mon-Sun)
  • Location: Budapest, Frankel Leó út 25-29, 1023 Hungary (map)
  • Website: lukacsfurdo.hu
  • Facilities: 6 pools (2 outdoors, 4 indoors), saunas, steam rooms

6. Veli Bej Baths

4.5/5  +500 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.6/5 +2.000 reviews (Google)

Visiting Veli Bej Thermal Baths

Next, we have another Ottoman-built bath blended with modern architecture. There are a handful of pools and saunas here, so if you want more variety, try Széchenyi or Gellért.

It's not a prime tourist destination, so if you don't like the crowds, this is where you should come.

The bath is inside Hotel Cászár but is run by a non-profit religious organization, so the ticket prices are friendly.

Location

  • The Veli Bej Baths are located on the Buda side of the city, a little far from the center. To reach there via public transport, take Metro 2 until Batthányi Tér and then board Tram 41/19 until the Szent Lukács Gyógyfürdő stop.
  • Lukács Baths is also in the area, so be sure not to mix it up with Veli Bej.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • Buying tickets in person is fine. Queues are managable and tickets don't run out. Purchasing tickets online isn't possible.

Lockers

  • If you buy a regular ticket without the cabin add-on, you will have access to a regular lockers.
  • Veli Bej bath has a total of 8 indoor pools for your enjoyment. These include medical, leisure, and swimming pools, each with varying temperatures ranging from 22-40°C.

Saunas & Steam Rooms

  • The facility offers two types of saunas, Finnish and infra, as well as two steam rooms.

Quick Tips — Veli Bej Thermal Baths

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 50-50%
  • Price: 4.500-5.000HUF
  • Opening hours: 3 pm - 9 pm (Mon-Sun), 6 am - 12 am (Sat-Sun)
  • Location: Budapest, Árpád fejedelem útja 7, 1023 Hungary (map)
  • Website: irgalmasrend.hu
  • Facilities: 8 indoor pools, 2 saunas, 2 steam rooms

7. Dandár Thermal Baths

4.5/5 +500 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.6/5 +2.000 reviews (Google)

Visiting Dandár Thermal Bath

Dandár is a more obscure bath with no charm for tourists visiting Budapest. The fact that it's outside the city's center doesn't help. It's a stone's throw away from Zwack Unicum factory — a manufacturer of a herb liqueur drink called Unicum.

The decor and the vibe are a bit plain, but if you want an authentic bathing experience where Hungarians hang out, this is the place.

Children under the age of 14 are prohibited from using this thermal bath.

Location

  • The quickest and most convenient way to reach Dandár Baths is by taking Tram 2 along the Danube.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • Buying tickets in person is fine, no need to book online. Queues are managable and tickets don't run out.
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Online Tickets

  • You can also buy tickets online directly.
  • Upon entry, you can validate online tickets at the self-service machine.

Cabins

  • Private dressing cabins are available for 700HUF, but they aren't mandatory.

Lockers

  • If you buy a regular ticket without the cabin add-on, you will have access to a regular lockers.

Outdoor Pools

  • Two outdoor pools are available — both are warm thermal pools (35-38°C).

Indoor Pools

  • There are 4 indoor pools available, including medical, leisure, and plunge pools, each with different temperatures (20-38°C).

Saunas & Steam Rooms

  • The facility has a Finnish Sauna and aroma steam room.

Quick Tips — Dandár Thermal Bath

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 10-90%
  • Price: 3.400HUF (Mon-Fri), 3.500HUF (Sat-Sun)
  • Opening hours: 9 am - 7 pm (Mon-Sun)
  • Location: Budapest, Dandár u. 3, 1095 Hungary (map)
  • Website: dandardarfurdo.hu
  • Facilities: 6 pools (2 outdoors, 4 indoors)

8. Király Thermal Baths

4.0/5 +1.000 reviews (Tripadvisor)
4.3/5 +2.500 reviews (Google)

Visiting the Király Thermal Baths

Note: Király thermal bath has been closed for renovation since March 2020.

We are starting to enter the domain of smaller, cozier, off-the-beaten-path baths. This bath was also built by a Turkish pasha named in the 16th century, like Rudas.

Király baths don't have as many 19th century bells and whistles as the more ornamental baths like Széchenyi or Gellért. It's smaller and has fewer pools. But the vibe is unique — you feel like you've flown back to the 16th century and shared a bath with a pasha who built it.

It's frequented more by locals rather than tourists, so if you're looking for a more authentic experience, this is it.

Location

  • To reach the Király Baths, head to the Buda side. Take Metro 2 and get off at Batthányi Tér station, then walk towards Fő Street.

What to Bring With You

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops, towels, and a swimsuit with you. Swimcaps are not mandatory, except in the lap swimming pool.
  • You will receive a plastic watch upon entry that you can use to open your locker.

Tickets

  • Buying tickets in person is fine, no need to book online. Queues are managable and tickets don't run out.
  • You can pay for food and drinks with a bank or top-up card. Load the top-up card with funds and get a refund for unused funds when you leave.

Quick Tips — Király Thermal Bath

  • Tourist-to-local ratio: 50-50%
  • Price: -
  • Opening hours: closed indefinitely since March 2020
  • Location: Budapest, Fő u. 84, 1027 Hungary (map)
  • Website: kiralyfurdo.hu
  • Facilities:  5 pools (1 outdoors, 4 indoors)

Thermal baths — Know Before You Go

What to Bring and Wear

Thermal baths in Budapest require visitors to wear swimsuits and bring towels and a pair of flip-flops. They will charge you excessive prices if you buy them on the spot. You are not required to wear swimming caps for most baths except for lap swimming pools.

When to Visit

The thermal baths are open year-round, but it's the most enjoyable soaking in the warm waters in the winter season.

The more popular baths are often crowded, which can reduce the enjoyment factor of your visit. If you go on weekdays versus weekends and the early morning hours versus later in the day, you have higher odds of avoiding crowds.

Facilities and Services

Each thermal bath in Budapest offers different facilities and amenities, such as indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and various services like massages, pedicures, or other treatments.

How Long to Stay

3-4 hours is more than enough to try every pool, sauna, and point of interest in any thermal bath.

Water Temperature

Water temperature varies between 30 and 40 degrees Celcius (86 to 104 Fahrenheit). You can check the exact temperature on a sign near any pool.

Brief History of Thermal Baths in Budapest

Budapest's thermal baths have a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire. The city's natural hot springs were discovered and used for therapeutic purposes by the Romans, who built the first public baths on the site.

The thermal baths continued to be used throughout the centuries by various cultures and empires that controlled the city, including the Ottomans, who built several grand bathhouses during their rule.

The thermal baths experienced a surge of popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when several grand bathhouses were built, such as the Széchenyi and Gellért baths, which are still in operation today.

Today, Budapest's thermal baths are a popular tourist attraction and a cultural heritage site - one of them (Gellért Baths) is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are thermal baths safe in Budapest?

Yes every thermal bath is safe for all genders. The "Sparty" in Széchenyi Thermal Baths has negative reviews from women.

Are thermal baths in Budapest free?

No — none of the thermal baths are free. However, entrance to Rudas is free if you have the Budapest card.

Are the Szechenyi baths worth it?

Yes Széchenyi is the #1 most popular thermal bath in Hungary. However, some travelers are annoyed by the crowds and how touristy it is. The solution is to go before noon when it's emptier.

Do you need flip-flops for Budapest baths?

Yes You must bring flip flops, towels, and a swimsuit (nude bathing is not allowed in any bath). You can buy the latter two at the entrance, but they are expensive.

What do you wear to a thermal bath?

A normal swimsuit will do (nude bathing is not allowed in any bath).

Which is the best bath to visit in Budapest?

  1. Széchenyi Thermal Baths
  2. Gellért Thermal Baths
  3. Rudas Thermal Baths
  4. Palatinus Baths
  5. Király Thermal Baths
  6. Lukács Thermal Baths
  7. Veli Bej Thermal Baths
  8. Dandár Thermal Baths