thermal baths in berlin

A first-time guide to the Budapest thermal baths


Budapest thermal baths are famous worldwide and going for a therapeutic dip in the hot springs is a part of everyday life for the locals. There are several baths to choose from around the city; some are historic mainstays with charm and simplicity, while others are recent additions with modern interiors and treatments.

One aspect that all the thermal baths in Budapest share is that they are relaxing and rejuvenating. You’re guaranteed a memorable experience in a tranquil environment where you and your needs always come first. Have a little ‘me time’ away from the stress and strain of everyday life, or enjoy a couples experience with your partner. Above all, pamper yourself with a practice that is uniquely Budapest.

What to expect at Budapest's thermal baths

Each of Budapest’s thermal baths has different opening times and rules, so be sure to check their websites and with tourist guides before you go. Most are open every day with extended hours during the weekend.

Male-only and female-only days used to be common. These are rare now, although some baths may have male-only or female-only sections. All sessions at the Széchenyi Baths, located in City Park, are mixed – perfect for spending some quality time with your partner. The outdoor thermal pools are a wonderfully romantic experience – as the sun sets, you can relax together and enjoy the peace and tranquillity as you look up at the stars.

Where a bath is running a men-only or women-only day, men will be given a drawstring loincloth and women will be given an apron-like garment. However, a lot of people will simply wear their bathing suit instead. Bathing suits are required on mixed-sex days and can be hired if needed.

Most of Budapest’s thermal baths are laid out in a similar fashion. There is usually a large, cool pool (where there is plenty of room for swimming) together with smaller, hotter pools for relaxing and unwinding. You’ll find a number of indoor thermal pools with varying temperatures that range from warm to hot. You’ll also find saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools, massage rooms, and areas to sunbathe. Some of the baths have outdoor pools which may feature whirlpools, sprays, and fountains.

What treatments are available?

Most of Budapest’s thermal baths are laid out in a similar fashion on the inside. There is usually a larger, cooler pool where people are actually swimming – together with smaller, hotter pools for relaxing and unwinding. You’ll find a number of indoor thermal pools with varying temperatures that range from warm to hot. You’ll also find saunas, steam rooms, a plunge pool, massage rooms and areas to sunbathe. Some of the baths have outdoor pools which may feature whirlpools, sprays and fountains. Given the water temperatures, they can be open year-round.

Some of Budapest’s thermal baths (for example, the Király) don’t look as attractive as others – but be assured that they are very clean, and the water is changed constantly. A pair of flip flops or plastic sandals is recommended in any case, regardless of which of the city’s baths you visit, as the floors can be slippery.

Spa treatment mother and daughter
A red wine bath isn’t exactly how it sounds; you won’t be offered a bath full of vino. Instead, wine extract is added to hot, clean water which releases antioxidants into the skin.

Don’t be too disheartened about the lack of actual wine though. At places such as Gellert Spa, you will be offered a full bottle to enjoy during your soak.

What is the cost of thermal baths in Budapest?

Admission to Budapest’s thermal baths is typically around 7,200Ft (about £15.41) for the day, though the smaller baths tend to have lower price points. Many places will also have a “fast track” option at a higher cost, so you can skip the queues for entrance or for certain add-on treatments.

Massages and facials may come included, but upgrade treatments are fairly common. An inclusive 20-minute massage, for example, may become a 60-minute VIP massage that would incur extra costs.

Entrance fees, amenities, and item hires can also be paid for in euros, but given the exchange rate, you are better off paying with the Hungarian forint – which is good advice for the whole of Hungary, not just the Budapest thermal baths.

Are thermal baths in Budapest open all year?

There are many thermal baths in Budapest that are open all year round, including on public and national holidays such as Easter and Christmas. However, on certain special holidays, some amenities may be limited due to smaller staff and visitor numbers.

Is there food available?

If you start to feel hungry, there are on-site cafes at some of the larger thermal baths in Budapest. Quick snacks and hot or cold drinks are about all you will find on offer, so you may need to wait until you leave for a more substantial meal.

Many of the baths will allow you to take your own food and drink but check if there are any exceptions before brining anything. Please remember that no food will be allowed within the actual waters for hygiene reasons, and a ‘no glass’ policy is highly likely.

How many thermal baths are in Budapest?

Budapest has nine medicinal spas and 123 hot springs to enjoy. Each thermal bath is different in terms of size, architecture, services, and patrons. Hungary in general is considered Europe’s hot spring capital with over 1,300 in total across the country.

Why does Budapest have thermal baths?

The city has hosted thermal baths since Roman times, as Budapest was built around a series of hot springs. The waters which bubble up to Budapest’s surface are steaming hot and rich in minerals, making them ideal for therapeutic bathing. The Roman custom of hot-spring bathing has been passed through the centuries, with the Ottomans, Turks, and Hungarians continuing the tradition. 

Wondering which thermal bath to visit? Take a look at our interactive map below:

Take some time out for yourself with Emerald Cruises

budapest river
Budapest thermal baths are a great way to unwind and pamper yourself. Our range of Danube river cruises all include a day’s stop at Budapest where you are free to enjoy your time as you see fit. Some of our guests explore historical sites, others are more interested in the local cuisine. If rest and relaxation is more your thing, the thermal baths in Budapest are not to be missed.

For more details, download your free Europe River Cruises 2023 brochure and start planning your day’s rejuvenation in Budapest now.