On our arrival in Budapest, Hungary, there was one thing right at the top of our to do list and that was to spend a day at one of Hungary's Baths. After much deliberation we decided upon the Szechenyi Baths which is home to the largest medicinal bath in Budapest. There are 15 indoor pools and 2 large outdoor pools.
We paid around 4000 HUF for entry with a locker. This gives you access to all the indoor and outdoor pools.
The outdoor pools are cool and refreshing. On the day we visited it was fairly hot and it was lovely to relax in the pools and enjoy the sunshine.
One of the pools is for everyone and the other requires a swim cap to be worn. There is a whirlpool in the centre of the main pool which provides hilarious entertainment and was mainly a hit with the children, but we couldn't resist having a go ourselves!
We spent around an hour lazing away in the heat of the day before retreating indoors to make use of the thermal and medicinal baths.
You leave your towel and flip flops by the edge of your chosen pool and just get in and enjoy. There are plenty to choose from and each has a sign indicating what type of pool it is. We had the experience of going from a pool that was around 38 Degrees Celsius to a pool that was 20 Degrees Celsius and the difference felt intense, we were shivering!
There are also healing pools accessible to hospital patients that are filled with various minerals to help heal the body.
We spent most of the day dipping from one pool to the next, before stopping at one of the hottest saunas. The exact temperature we can't remember but it was above 50 Degrees and we could only bare a few minutes in the intense heat before calling it quits and looking for the nearest cold pool. Hats off to those who had been sat there for a while.
After a good few hours we ventured back outside in search of food. There is a little café next to the outdoor pools serving a range of food from your usual chips, to sandwiches, salads and more. We opted for a light meal just to take the edge off of our hunger. The prices were reasonable.
If you are planning a trip to the Szechenyi Baths we would recommend only bringing the essentials. A little cash for entry and food, a towel (these are not free and come with a high deposit charge), flip flops and sun cream. Try not to take valuables as the safes are very small. The lockers are good but are right inside the building so not easy to keep accessing once you've made your way outside. If you are a bit of a party animal the baths have a party every Saturday in summer that runs until 3am! Unfortunately we arrived on the Sunday in Budapest and were leaving before the following Saturday so missed the opportunity to visit this.
The facilities are really good with a toilet and shower near to most of the pools, all of which were clean.
Although it got a little crowded at midday (it was high season) the baths were an amazing experience, we had a pleasant few hours of relaxation which was a welcome break in our intense backpacking trip. It was a lovely way to take a step back and drink in all the memories we had made so far whilst having the sun on our skin and our feet in the cool water.