A Hungarian institution

Considering I’ve been here 5 weeks already, I thought it time to post something..

Budapest happens to lie on a geographical fault line, situated between the Buda Hills and the Great Plains – that wont really mean anything to anyone reading this, but literally, it means Budapest is basically sitting atop 120+ Thermal Springs, making it one of the major Spa/Thermal Bath centers of the world.

There are dozens of Bath Houses scattered all over the city and surrounds, some date back to Turkish times, others super modern.

Szechenyi Baths is the largest and one of the most popular, it was established in 1881 and has been going strong ever since.

So what is a ‘bath house’ exactly? Realistically its just a glorified swimming pool.
Typically, its in a nice old building, and there’s a bunch of fountains and pretty water installations, jets blast from all angles in the pool, and you laze about enjoy all the ‘theraputic goodness’ of winding down.
Think big human soup.

That cliche photo you see of Hungary, with the old guys playing Chess in the pool, that happens here.

Most of the baths houses have multiple pools, different temperatures and mineral contents (to the point where they smell like sulphur), and you always know which pool is a freezing one because there’s nobody in it.

All that said, if you don’t mind turning into a Prune it is pretty fun and a great way to chill out for a few hours after you’ve been on your feet all day.
Go in the afternoon and let the sun melt against the Art Nouveau surrounds, when its dark, the lights come on and its like your own private candlelit dinner, except your sitting at the communal table.

A session at Szechenyi Baths will cost around 2800 HUF (10 Euros / $15 AU) and you can simmer as long as you like.


32 Responses to “Szechenyi”

  1. 1 dancingirja April 13, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Looks lovely. Nice photos as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Where will you be going next?

    • 2 leavemehere April 13, 2010 at 2:52 am

      Thanks. I’m in Budapest for the next while, slowly but surely heading South, I’ll beat around the Mediterranean for a bit, but eventually destined for the Middle East. Stay tuned ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. 3 OOMS April 13, 2010 at 2:36 am


  3. 4 flatland April 13, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Man, I’ve got to get there. It just ooks lovely

  4. 5 Eva April 13, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Wow, what a surprise to see my favourite bath on your blog.
    I used to spend a lot of time there. For that price you can also use the fitness
    facilities. Have you visited Gellรฉrt as well? Don’t miss it. That’s my other favourite bath on the other side of the Danube. Enjoy your stay in Budapest.

  5. 6 Leon Feng April 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Love the first photo! The others are nice too, but the first one is just too awesome…

  6. 8 slamdunk April 13, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Excellent photos. I bet that is quite an experience.

  7. 9 nduff April 13, 2010 at 4:06 am

    That’s fantastic, and great photos!!! To be honest I didn’t even know that bath houses were still a regular part of European culture. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. 10 Trish Sissons April 13, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Beautiful photos! How awesome.

  9. 11 Rohit April 13, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Hey, thats a nice post. Thanks for sharing.

    I had only heard of baths, never seen one.

  10. 13 Patrick Pyatochkin April 13, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Beautiful photos! How awesome.

  11. 14 Kris April 13, 2010 at 6:31 am

    What lovely photos! I have never been to Hungary but have heard how beautiful Budapest is… waiting for pics from the next destination…. :o)

  12. 15 katerina April 13, 2010 at 7:40 am

    A beautiful city – one of the most romantic in the Central Europe (after Prague though :-). Enjoy.

  13. 16 Adam Saeid April 13, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I think some of the pools look a bit too busy for relaxing! :p

  14. 17 simiyellow April 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

    so beautiful… I would love to visit Hungary one day…

  15. 18 simiyellow April 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

    can you believe that my grandmother is hungarian but I’ve never been there? ๐Ÿ˜€ damn

  16. 19 Ceslie April 13, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Wow, I love thermal springs too and had no idea this existed! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Enjoy. Budapest is now on my list of places to visit. Is much of the whole country like that or are the springs mainly happening in that area? Enjoy!

  17. 20 SallyK April 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Our local paper had a story in the Travel section this week on the baths of Budapest but your story is better – love the photos too! North Coast Muse @

  18. 21 Jewman April 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Colchester Road reprazent….

  19. 22 routinebitinghard April 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

    ‘shoulda seen me swimming with those plebs, couldn’t breaststroke for shit… no richmond squad’

  20. 23 loisron April 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Never knew the bathhouses existed even with all the books we have read over the years. I guess the sulphur smell gets to you. A bit like Rotarua N.Z. Great photos. Didn’t know about the fault line either. Don’t know much about it at all. Glad you are educating us. G.n G.

  21. 24 Sugarcane April 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    The photo’s are lovely – sounds like a great place.

  22. 25 Amanda April 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Beautiful photos, especially the first one.

  23. 26 stopthesmell April 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Looks like a place I could enjoy and live life…

  24. 28 White Cabana April 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Ah! I was there this summer. It’s a fantastic place! I loved all the different massaging jets. And yes, watching the old men play chess was quite entertaining!

  25. 29 Nathaniel April 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I’m going to Hungary in August, so I will be sure to go to baths now.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Love your work, as always.

  26. 30 Laughing Hard Crying Harder April 17, 2010 at 8:48 am

    My concern would be you’d never know if you wandered into a ‘warm patch’.

  27. 31 hellenjc December 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    The spas in Budapest are all gorgeous… I have been a few times….
    Nothing quite like getting in one outside on a freezing cold day …
    Nothing quite like getting out of one outside on a freezing cold day too !!!!

  1. 1 Budapest – Thermal Baths « Coffee Anywhere Trackback on April 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm

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