Wellness in Budapest Spa
Most places think it’s very trendy to offer wellness facilities, but the people of Budapest have been into this for years. Inhabitants of the Hungarian capital follow their wellness routines regularly, forming circles of friends or business associates who meet at the baths, some of which are centuries old and of architectural interest.
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City of baths and medical treatments
These are the city’s oldest thermal baths, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries when Budapest was occupied by the Ottoman Turks who introduced the bath culture. The Rudas Baths were built in 1566 and are still more or less in their original state. The pool has an enormous cupola standing on eight marble columns. A day clinic and a physiotherapy department are attached to the baths. Women were not admitted to the baths prior to 2006 and, even now, they are only allowed on certain days.
Döbrentei tér 9, Tel.: +36-1/356 13 22; Admission: from approx. €9 for the thermal bath, plus supplements for physiotherapy and other services; open daily from 6am-8pm, Fri and Sat also 10pm-4am.;
These are the city’s best-known baths and probably its biggest, too. They were built together with the hotel of the same name in so-called “secession style,” a variant of the highly-stylized Art Nouveau architecture. The open-air pool (including a separate one for children) is very popular in the summer and the roof over the main indoor pool can also be opened. Many people, especially tourists, come to the baths for the medical and therapeutic services.
Kelenhegyi út 4, Tel.: +36-1/466 61 66; Admission: from approx. €10,50 for the thermal baths, plus supplements for physiotherapy and other services; open daily from 6am-8pm,
An El Dorado for bathing fans. Erected in 1913, this stately building looks more like a palace. The Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest of their kind in Europe and have a spacious open-air section including a pool complete with sandy beach. Major renovation in 1999 restored the Széchenyi Bath to its former glory. Non-swimmers can take lessons or opt for fitness exercises in the Gym and Workout Area.
Állatkerti krt. 11, Tel.: +36-1/363 32 10; Admission: from approx. €11 for the thermal baths, plus supplements for physiotherapy and other services; thermal baths open daily 6am-7pm, swimming and steam baths 6am-10pm,
Loincloths, lasers and natural cosmetics
When visiting traditional baths in Budapest – and the Lukács Baths dating back to the 19th century are definitely one of those –special etiquette must be observed. Bathing caps are a must in the swimming pools. No normal bathing wear is required in the thermal baths. People using these wear only a sort of loincloth.
Frankel Leó u. 25-29, Tel.: +36-1/326 16 95; Admission: from approx. €8 for the thermal baths, plus supplements for physiotherapy and other services, open daily 6am-8pm,
Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget:
Given the city’s long bathing tradition, it’s no wonder that the people of Budapest are well to the fore with new wellness trends. Quite close to downtown Budapest but sheltered from all the bustle on an island in the Danube stands the Hotel Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget. It has a spacious spa area offering a wide range of wellness, fitness and beauty facilities. Many of the hotel’s guests take the opportunity to visit one of the medical facilities during their visit. These include a dental clinic, an eye clinic offering laser treatment, a cardiac center and a cosmetic surgery department.
Margitsziget, Tel.: +36-1/889 47 00
Royal Spa in the Corinthia Hotel:
Right in the heart of downtown Budapest on the city’s Erzsébet Boulevard stands the Royal Spa – an oasis where tourists can enjoy some well-earned relaxation after exhausting shopping and sightseeing tours. The atmosphere is elegant and old-fashioned, but the spa facilities are right up-to-date. Products from the Phytomer natural cosmetics range are used in the treatments.
Erzsébet krt. 43-49, Tel.: +36-1/479 46 50,
Photos: Karnow/Corbis, Madaj/Bilderberg, PR (5)