Budapest – Szechenyi Thermal Baths   14 comments

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One of Budapest’s most famous assets is its abundance of hot springs. It lies on geological fault between the Great Plain and the Buda Hills allowing 30,000 cubic metres of water a day to gush upwards in more than 400 springs with temperatures between a balmy 21C to a scalding 76C. “Taking the Waters” has been a tradition since Roman times and is now a major attraction in the city.  We were eager to give one a go and after perusing the various options we chose the Szechenyi Baths in the city park.

Even the journey there from the city centre has a touch of history. Metro Line 1 that runs the length of Andrassy Utca is Continental Europe’s oldest underground railway (opened in 1896).

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Known locally as the little yellow train, it runs only a few feet beneath the surface. It’s a like an old fashioned toy railway with carriages and wooden and tiled stations to match

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It’s a fun way to travel and it drops you right outside the baths

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Getting changed was a complex affair involving locker keys, attendants and working out where you changing room is and how to use it. Then you step outside into this

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The most well-used comment you see is it’s like taking a bath in wedding cake and it’s not hard to see why. The water is some of the hottest in the city at around 38C. This was the hottest pool and was like bath water

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The bright yellow decor is striking especially against a blue sky. It looks a little worn around the edges but it was spotlessly clean and had bags of character and charm

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We decided it might be quieter first thing in the morning so we were there before 10am when indeed we had plenty of space and a choice of sun loungers

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The outdoor area has two large thermal pools and one cooler one for swimming

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One of the pools has jacuzzi-like jets of water and a whirlpool

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They force water around this circular section and it whirls you round at a fair lick

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Needless to say we loved it, great fun. A little video below:

 

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It’s a really relaxing place as the water is so warm you just lounge about

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It’s quite a surreal experience to float in a swimming pool that’s as hot as a bath especially when you put your head underwater

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In addition to the outdoor pools there are dozens of indoor pools of varying shapes, sizes and temperatures. There are also a range of more serious therapeutic treatments as well as saunas and steam rooms. A whole day of watery entertainment

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As we’d arrived early the air still had a bit of chill to it when you’re wet so dipping in and out the pool was rather nice

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We spent a couple of happy hours just lounging in the water alternating with lounging on the sun beds

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As morning gave way to lunchtime the air warmed up and the place and the pools started to get crowded

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It must a be real experience to come here in winter when its cold and snowy and swim in hot water below the chilly air

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We decided that we’d done our stint in the medicinal waters. It’s supposed to be good for joints. Can’t say for sure but my knees have been in a good place since we went there! 🙂

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We headed into the City Park looking for some lunch. My guidebook indicated an array of street food stands but the park had been taken over by and International Swimming event (Hungarians are really big on swimming) and there was no food anywhere. Still the park had some nice buildings in it and was pleasantly warm and sunny

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We walked back to the Metro through Heroes Square. It’s an important monument and open space dedicated to “those who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence”

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It looked particularly fetching on this clear sunny day

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We headed back to the main square in the centre of town for what would become our regular lunch of traditional Hungarian food in the park

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14 responses to “Budapest – Szechenyi Thermal Baths

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  1. That’s an amazing building around those baths. Not what I expected at all in Budapest

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    • There are loads in the city but this one is the biggest in terms of outdoor pools. Some of the indoor ones are apparently very impressive. One of them is supposedly like taking a swim in a cathedral

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  2. Finally found time to catch up on my reading of your amazing holiday Wonderful to revisit Rome and Budapest, especially in summer not winter. Our images are quite different. These baths are quite sensational aren’t they.
    We have just visited them through Bradshaw’s Rail Journeys.

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    • Its a real highlight of Budapest and one of the many things that make Budapest so special, great fun as well. I’ve never been in a thermal spa like this (although I have swum in a natural hot spring in the US once) – a unique experience and actually rather relaxing as well as fun

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  3. Wow! What a place! Looks like your family had a good time.

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  4. Now that looks like fun!

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
  5. Weird, but it reminds me of Portmeirion for some reason. Maybe the pastel colours on the buildings and the style of.architecture… or the long rows of open archways.

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    Blue Sky Scotland
  6. I love the colours in those photos of the pool. Interesting to see the different approaches in the video, TBF and TJF studiously ignoring you and TJS, for once, acknowledging the camera and giving a thumbs up. I didn’t know that Hungarians are big on swimming. Maths is a big thing there too – they really go in for competitions: I hope there will be more maths in one of your Budapest posts?

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    beatingthebounds
    • Sadly there wasn’t a maths theme park in Budapest (although they have a top notch scienece museum which we never had time to see). I had it the back of my mind that Hungarians were big on swimming. There are several outdoor pool complexes, mostly for proper swimming, as well as all the thermal baths. These spa pools are just great fun and a real novel experience in a very grand setting. I really loved the yellow of the buildings against the blue sky and water. Hence the reason I took so many photos

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