Bathing in Budapest

Bathing with locals in Budapest. At least suits are mandatory this time.

When we initially decided to go to the bathhouses in Budapest, I had not so pleasant flashbacks of our onsen experience in Japan. Needless to say, we were both hesitant to strip down naked and bathe in front of total strangers. Thankfully, we did not run into that issue here in Budapest. Suits are mandatory. Phew!


Hot thermal spas in baroque-style baths on a cold winter’s day.. can you think of a better way to spend the afternoon in Budapest? Didn’t think so. This is the reason why we packed our swimwear for a winter in eastern Europe. That, and our flip flops.

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We decided to have a day of relaxation and visited the Szechenyi Baths and Spa because we read it was cheaper and less crowded. Thanks to traveling off-season, we weren’t smushed like sardines. Just a few locals in their speedos playing chess, hardly anything to be uncomfortable about.


There are a total of 15 pools with larger pools outdoor, smaller group size ones indoor. Water temperature range both hot and cold from 26-38*C. After having spent time in the hot springs of New Zealand and Japan with water temperatures as high as 42*C, the Szechenyi pools were just not hot enough for our liking. But it did the trick to relax our muscles and ease our minds.


We spent the recommended 20 minutes at the thermal “sitting pool” outdoor before switching to the “whirlpool” – by far our favorite of all pools.


Gerard got a kick out of the massaging water beam where streams of water would shoot out at his back. And we both had loads of fun spinning in the giant human whirlpool at times going in circles minutes on end screaming wheee! the entire time, it was so much fun. We could have stayed all day but we wanted to check out the indoor pools also.


Three hours later, we dragged our prune-y limbs out of the baths and reluctantly headed home. It’s been months, possibly the entire year, since I’ve been this relaxed. I’m sure Gerard would agree, our bodies have taken a toll from a year of constant travel. The baths, especially on a chilly day, was exactly what we needed.

Would you soak it up at the baths in Budapest?


Our trip to Eastern Europe was made possible by the awesome folks at Travel Europe this winter by train, book now for great winter savings.


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27 Responses to Bathing in Budapest

  1. Francesca January 15, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    I’d totally soak it up in Budapest! I wanted to visit the baths in Turkey but hubs was too chicken :-/

  2. Lazy Travelers January 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    we were JUST researching this for our summer trip to eastern europe! don’t know if we’re quite ready for public bathing, but you gave a good argument. we’ll let you know what we decide…

    • Kieu - GQ trippin January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Not sure how the baths are like in the summer.. isn’t it hot in eastern Europe then? Should be interesting.. :)

  3. Alana - Paper Planes January 15, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Love the pic with the men playing chess :)

  4. Fiona Hilliard January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Aww, chess in a thermal bath! How very European! :)

  5. The World of Deej January 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Good to know everyone kept their clothes on this time. I had never heard of these baths until now…

    • Kieu - GQ trippin January 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Yes, I was very happy to see speedos were in full use. LOL

  6. Rika at Cubicle Throwdown January 17, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    That sounds so fun! And yeah, I did the onsens and the sentos in Japan, so I understand your happiness at bathing suits required :)

    • Kieu - GQ trippin January 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Right on! Although there is something liberating about the onsens in Japan, I was very pleased to have been able to wear our suits here. :)

  7. Traveling Ted January 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    I am so there. I love thermal baths. The feeling of relaxation outweighs the creepy factor.

  8. Ana Silva O'Reilly January 18, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I think I totally would try it! Looked actually quite good!

  9. Raul January 19, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    That looks phenomenal! But I don’t know I could stay for 3 hours!

  10. Leah Travels January 19, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Oh, I really want to do this! Thank goodness the bathing suits are mandatory. This old gal ain’t getting naked in front of anyone. ;-)

  11. The World Wanderer January 20, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    More reasons for me to head to Budapest. These baths look incredible!

  12. Pola (JettingAround) January 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    It’s never dawned on me to use public baths, but your pictures make it look fun! Maybe I’d try. :)

  13. CaptainandClark January 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Amazeballs. That actually looks very relaxing. We’re pleased to see that people keep their clothes on. When we were in Korea it wasn’t the case :)

    • Kieu - GQ trippin February 12, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Same for us in Japan.. and I felt like I was being shun because I have tattoos. This was a much better experience. :)

  14. Wanderlust Marriage January 21, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Great post, love the Szechenyi Baths! We also checked out Rudas when we were there… wish I could pop over there now and warm up!

    • Kieu - GQ trippin February 12, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      I wish we had more days, I would have gone everyday to different bath houses.. wish we had those here.

  15. Katka Lapelosová January 21, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    I went to the Szechenyi Baths and it was such an amazing experience. It’s inexpensive (by Western standards – got a massage for $12!), it’s unique, and it’s relaxing. I went in the dead of winter, with snow on the ground, but the springs outside were still hot and soothing. You can spend all day in this spa but if you only want to stay for a few hours, they’ll give you a refund at the end for the time unused! Nice!

    • Kieu - GQ trippin February 12, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Oh, I wish I knew about the spa and refund thing.. boo! Next time for sure. Thanks for the tip!

  16. idelish March 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    That looks so fun! We’ll definitely add this to the list of things to do! Thx for sharing!


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