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.