A guide & tips to visiting the Szechenyi Thermal Baths Budapest
What saunas are for Helsinki, the eponymous hot springs for Hot Springs and Spa in Spa, Budapest is known as the city of baths and attracts thousands of visitors drawn to its relaxing waters. Thanks to the abundance of natural thermal water underground, the city has been reaping the benefits for hundreds of years and still continues to make it an integral part of local life.
There are several baths located throughout the city, but since we had a limited time, we chose the most popular one – Szechenyi Baths.
The entrance fee differs depending on if you purchase a full day ticket with either a locker or cabin, length of stay and time of day. You can also pre-purchase tickets online if you’re organised like that. We opted for the full day bath ticket with a cabin that normally costs 5,200 HUF (weekday) per person – but our hotel threw in a free Budapest Winter card as part of our stay which we used for a 50% discount on our tickets #winning.
Once you’ve changed into appropriate swimwear, you can head straight to the outdoor or indoor heated pools or the saunas. The middle outdoor pool is a lap pool if you prefer to be a bit more active. If you want to get your sweat on, you can retreat into one of the hot steamy sauna rooms.
You can easily spend several hours exploring the 15 indoor and outdoor pools and saunas housed in the pretty baroque style building.
Unless you have an aversion to public pools or the sight of many men with speedos on, I highly recommend visiting the Szechenyi Baths- whether you want to benefit from the waters healing qualities, have a massage and mani, or just to enjoy a few hours of bath bliss (or all!), the baths are a great experience and cannot be missed. I’ve compiled my top 9 tips below to help you plan ahead.
1. Upgrade to a cabin ticket
For a few coin extra, I highly recommend upgrading to the ticket with a cabin instead of the locker. The cabin gives you access to a private change room that you can also store your valuables in. The cabins are slightly smaller than the cupboard under the stairs so if you are going with a friend, you would need to take turns changing to avoid the risk of any
parts touching awkwardness. You’ll be given a wristband that you then scan on a small machine that will tell you your allocated cabin. We weren’t actually given these instructions, but it was pretty straight forward and there were plenty of staff to help guide us.
2. BYO towels, slippers & bathrobe
We brought towels from our hotel and had our own slippers, but if you forget, you can hire them for a fee. You’ll also need to pay a deposit that is refundable once the items are returned. I highly recommend bringing your own though as you’ll save money and time not having to line up for them.
3. Bring a swimming cap
Most people visit the baths to relax in the saunas or pools, however if you plan on getting a little active, there’s a separate lap pool outdoors. Swimming caps are compulsory only in the lap pool – if you forget to bring one these are also available to hire.
4. Invest in a Budapest Card
If you’re staying in Budapest for a few days, the Budapest card has some pretty awesome discounts including savings for the Szechenyi Baths. We were given the Budapest Winter invitation card which had free access to selected baths or 50% discount at Szechenyi Baths.
5. Set your alarms
Go early – we went early morning and managed to get a bench on prime pool side real estate.
6. Pack bottled water
You’ll be sweating quite a lot in the heated pools and saunas so hydrate! A cafeteria is on site if you need to buy water and snakcs.
7. Get your Sparty on
If you prefer your thermal baths with loud music and a light show with fellow revellers, make sure you check out the Saturday spartys.
8. Get sober
If you must quench your thirst, alcohol is served at the cafeteria in pool friendly plastic cups and cans, however Management discourages drunk and unruly behaviour at the pools for obvious reasons.
9. Bring cash
Entrance tickets at the cashier can be purchased with a credit card, however if you plan to rent any towels, slippers or swimwear you’ll need to pay cash at the separate hire cashier. The rental stations don’t have credit card facilities and you’ll need to ensure you have the local currency (they didn’t accept euros like the entrance cashier).
Prices of Rentals *Deposits are refundable when items are returned to the rental stations. Bath sheet 500 HUF + 1000 HUF deposit*
Towel 1000 HUF + 2000 HUF deposit*
Bathrobe 2500 HUF + 5000 HUF deposit*
Ladies one piece swimming suit 1000 HUF + 4000 HUF deposit*
Ladies Bikini 1000 HUF + 4000 HUF deposit*
Men’s swimming trunks 1000 HUF + 2500 HUF deposit*
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