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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  • Francesca

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      hubs need to man up! lol, just kidding..

  • Lazy Travelers

    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

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

  • Alana – Paper Planes

    Love the pic with the men playing chess :)

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      Tough life, right? LOL

  • Fiona Hilliard

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

  • The World of Deej

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

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

  • Rika at Cubicle Throwdown

    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

      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. :)

  • Traveling Ted

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hahaha.. exactly!

  • Ana Silva O’Reilly

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

  • Raul

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol, we were quite prune-y… :P

  • Leah Travels

    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. ;-)

  • The World Wanderer

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

  • Pola (JettingAround)

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

  • CaptainandClark

    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

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

  • Wanderlust Marriage

    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

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

  • Katka Lapelosová

    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

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

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  • idelish

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