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.