The 5 Best Thermal Baths in Budapest Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

The 5 Best Thermal Baths in Budapest

Since the 1930s, Budapest was renowned as the “City of Spas”. Today it still enjoys that recognition with more than 15 medicinal and thermal spas, more than any city throughout the world; over 117 springs provide the city with more than 65 million therapeutic liters of water each day. It began with the Romans affinity for hydrotherapy, but it was when the Turks occupied Hungary during the 16th century that the culture of bathing really blossomed. Today, Budapest’s biggest attractions are its collection of 15 public bathing houses hosting millions of visitors annually.

5. Veli Bej

Veli Bej is an historic bathhouse from Turkish times constructed during the 1570s. It has recently undergone a large renovation, restored to its original grandeur and updated with modern facilities. The co-ed bathhouse features long hours, making it convenient for just about anyone to enjoy a soak throughout the day. Veli Bej features one large pool and four separate, smaller pools, each featuring different temperatures. The bathhouse also offers other services including a steam room, popular Finnish spa, a Jacuzzi, showers, and something called “Kneipp Walking”, a practice of walking barefoot in the snow, based upon a wellness philosophy from Bavarian Sebastian Kneipp, a huge advocate of hydrotherapy and one of the founders of the original naturopathy movement. Veli Bej is one of Budapest’s best-kept secrets, a bathing house where you’ll meet mostly locals. Don’t miss the onsite exhibit of Ottoman-era archaeological finds—a small, but definitely interesting, display.

4. Kiraly Bathhouse

Kiraly Bathhouse is therapeutic destination originating from the Turkish occupation of Hungary and is also the oldest of Budapest’s bathhouses. Completed in the 16th century, shortly after the Ottoman’s began ruling in Hungary, the mineral-rich thermal baths were exclusive to Kiraly and featured most key facets of a traditionally built Turkish bathhouse. Today, it’s obvious that Kiraly is in need of some repairs, but the thermal waters are still sublime, the history of the building adds an authentic air and tons of charm, and the experience is definitively one-of-a-kind. There is an original Turkish section within the bath with some Hungarian additions, like the classic wings built at the turn of the 19th century, evident throughout different parts of the building. Prior to soaking there is a dry sauna available, and following a mineral bath, visitors can use the hamam (steam sauna) in one of two side domes.

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